'How Many Times Do You Boot Your Computer in a Day? Imagine What Will Happen If You Have to Boot the Telecom Switch …,' - Prakash Bajpai, vice-president, marketing & sales, Tata Lucent

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height="318" alt="Prakash C Bajpai, vice-president, marketing & sales, Tata Lucent."> ALIGN="CENTER">Bell Labs is to communications what Albert

Einstein is to Modern Physics. Lucent Technologies, the company that is putting the Bell

Labs innovations into practice, is one of the natural leaders in global telecommunications

industry. Tata Lucent Technologies, its Indian JV with the Tatas is trying to put that

global experience to work for it in India. After an initial success in the form of a $325

million order from Tata Teleservices, the company is actively targeting the emerging ISP

market in India. In an interview with

Tata Lucent’s

vice-president, marketing & sales,
COLOR="#016077">Prakash C Bajpai, COLOR="#000000">shares the outlook and strategy of the company on the two hottest segments

of communications–wireless and Internet.


Networks and

requirements might change. But the user is extremely important. Today, on one hand, you

have to give them the flexibility of the data network, and on the other, the reliability

of the telecom network.

name=""How Many Times Do You Boot Your Computer in a Day? Imagine What Will Happen If You Have to Boot the Telecom Switch …""> size="5" face="Arial">"How Many Times Do You Boot Your Computer in a Day? Imagine

What Will Happen If You Have to Boot the Telecom Switch …"

size="2" face="Arial">Prakash C Bajpai, vice-president, marketing &

sales, Tata Lucent.


COLOR="#016077">IS-95 CDMA wireless technology has been the favourite of private Indian

basic service providers. Why is it so?

We do not believe that any
technology is superior or inferior. We do not promote any specific technology. We are in

all technologies. IS-95, IS-136, GSM, and analog AMPS, we have all. But in a particular

market, we believe only those technologies win which satisfy the business needs of the

customers, the telcos. And his needs are derived from his business objective, which in

turn, is driven by subscriber needs and applications.

To answer your question on

why CDMA is winning in India, I will say there are primarily three reasons.

One, spectrum efficiency. Unlike

the mobile applications, the traffic rate in fixed telephony is very high. Only a

technology that uses the RF spectrum most efficiently can be an effective solution for

basic telephony. CDMA scores there.

Two, fast deployment is what is

needed in a country like India. That is why wireless has become the most viable access

mode. But this advantage is negated, if you have to build a large number of cell sites.

IS-95 CDMA, being a macro cellular technology, has larger cells and requires less cell

sites, allowing the operator to build the network faster. That is a definite advantage.

Finally, the assurance of

investment safety. The future migration path is extremely important for a technology. The

third generation migration path for cdmaOne is clearly defined. We have a committed


All these reasons

that you mentioned are generic advantages of IS-95. These hold good for other nations too.

In Latin America, however, you have promoted D-AMPS. Why CDMA for India?
face="Times New Roman" size="2">

You should also take into
account the time factor. IS-95 CDMA is a comparatively newer technology than IS-54 TDMA.

Yes, before CDMA, we sold IS-54 in Latin America and we are supporting upgradation of

those networks. We cannot just leave our customers. We are also committed to them. If you

look at our new accounts, they are all CDMA.

COLOR="#016077">You mean to say CDMA is a superior technology … face="Times New Roman" size="2">

There is nothing called the
best technology or superior technology, as I told you in the beginning. But if you look at

the market, there are 22 handset manufacturers and two D-AMPS manufacturers and the

infrastructure equipment manufacturers for D-AMPS are also the handset manufacturers.

There is a visible shift towards CDMA.

COLOR="#016077">Don’t you think that more vendors pushing CDMA could be a reason for

the success of this technology in India?

Of course, it is. Vendors
also influence the market a lot. Vendors promote what they have. Today, more vendors have


COLOR="#016077">You talked of the future migration path for CDMA. But one of the most

talked about 3G technologies, WCDMA, is not backward compatible with CDMA. How then can

you talk of a smooth migration?

There is still confusion of

what will happen there. I do not want to comment on that.

COLOR="#016077">The reason I am raising this question is that there is a considerable

installation base for GSM in India. If the policy allows for multiple services, we will

see hybrid networks. The GSM operators will definitely like to protect their investments.

That might see a move towards WCDMA, which is backward compatible with GSM.
face="Times New Roman" size="2">

I do not rule out that
possibility. Not only in India, the subscriber base of GSM is there in the entire

Asia-Pacific and Europe. The large penetration will ensure that the technology will remain

for some time to come. We are also a GSM equipment supplier and are working on both GSM

and CDMA future paths.

At the same time, I can

tell that the hybrid networks–the mobile-fixed convergence–which you mentioned

would help CDMA. GSM, world-wide, has been a mobile technology. Can you show me even a

single commercial fixed GSM network in the world? On the contrary, CDMA is being used both

for mobile and fixed-point applications.

Coming to the data market, Lucent has

been talking of its data strategy a lot. Can you just elaborate on your plans?

The telecom network is moving
towards what we call

data-centric architecture
. There is a fundamental change in the network. Internet has

brought that revolutionary change. The speed of electronics is doubling every 18 months.

The speed of fibre is doubling every 12 months. Internet traffic is doubling every two


While a conventional

telecom network was segmented as switching and transmission, today you have the core, the

edge, and the access. The core is mostly optical-fibre media, at the edge you see the 5ESS

and all other active components, and in the access, you have a mix of fibre, copper,


Technologies such

as DSL …

Today, the networks have to

cater to the new needs of the user. Today, he wants faster speeds, simpler technologies,

more bandwidth, single pipes for communication, information, and entertainment, and all

these, without any additional cost. In fact, may be at a lower cost. Either superior value

at the same cost or same value at a lower cost. We understand this fundamental change. We

are actively taking part in this transformation. We understand that the network is

becoming more and more data-centric. We have products, developed by Bell Labs, and which

we have got through acquisitions, to cater to these needs. We have IP and ATM products. We

are actively looking at this market.

COLOR="#016077">How will a traditional telecom company compete with traditional data

companies like Cisco in the data-centric market?
face="Times New Roman" size="2">

Networks and requirements
might change. But the user is extremely important. Today, the users want the best of both

worlds. They want carrier class reliability from the data network. On one hand, you have

to give them the flexibility of the data network, and on the other, the reliability of the

telecom network.

Only a Lucent—I mean

any good telecom switch vendor—knows how the traffic moves in a network. They have

spent years and years studying the traffic, the usage pattern. That experience will be the

differentiator. We understand what the user wants. To give him assured service.

How many times do you boot your

computer in a day? Just imagine what will happen if you have to boot the telecom switch

Are you looking at

the emerging Indian ISP market?

Yes, of course. We have sold

our ITS gateway to VSNL and Satyam. And we are active in that market.

We feel, basically there

will be three types of players in the market. The carriers for carriers, the backbone

providers—the major carriers, telcos, national ISPs and so on—and the local

access providers, who could be telcos themselves, mobile service providers, cable TV

service providers … We are looking at all of them. We have products for all of them.

What is your view

about the future of the communications service market in India?
face="Times New Roman" size="2">

A lot depends on regulation.
The barriers among different types of companies are breaking. Free for all is very

relevant. The policy should be supportive of the change.

And yes, access networks

are the key. They have to be improved drastically.

Overall, we are optimistic.