Segment Analysis: Telecom Training

Some Facts
  • Most of the courses offered are on networking.
  • Telecom training is mostly product-specific.
  • The segment is yet to acquire a business proposition.
  • No one is training “masses”.
  • Most of the efforts are individual efforts.
  • IIM, Lucknow, offers elective courses on telecom business management
    as part of its two-year PGDM programme.
  • Engineering colleges’ syllabi need upgradation.

I t is a fact that the Indian communication services and
product industry has undergone revolutionary changes after the NTP ’99.
However, no such statement can be true of the communication training in the
country. This, despite the fact that the demand for professionals trained in
various new communications technologies has far outgrown supply in the past few
years.

While for the past many years, the IT training industry has
been proactively fulfilling the demands of the IT industry, communication
training in India remains product or technology specific. There has been little
or no effort towards a holistic approach to training in various aspects of new
communication technologies. Unlike IT, graduates from engineering colleges still
service the communication industry in India.

As such, despite tremendous scope, telecom training is yet to
acquire a business proposition.

A Disheartening Scenario

What is disheartening is the fact that even engineering
colleges are not really updated on the latest in telecommunications and
networking. Their syllabi are not tailored to meet the challenges of a fast
changing industry. The matter gets compounded by the fact that even the very few
who are in the private sector training business prefer products like WAP or
e-commerce which are in currency with the motive of making quick money. There is
little realization that a WAP or an e-commerce professional also needs to
understand the network infrastructure, on which the service is deployed, and the
application, on which it runs. On the other hand there are little efforts
towards tackling more serious but less hyped issues. For instance, in a
bandwidth starved country like India there are no courses or training modules on
bandwidth management. This despite the fact that a lot of networking or
communication-related problems in an enterprise occur because of poor bandwidth
management.

Product-Specific

At best, telecom training in India is restricted to
product-specific training like Cisco Certification or Lucent Certification. The
clamour for certified training has grown in the past few years because of the
huge demand abroad. Most of the training modules offered by the private
institutes cover just one area of communication–networking. There are very few
training
institutes which offer a complete training on telecommunication.

New Training Opportunities
The world is gradually moving towards to a digital and
satellite-based communication for Air Traffic Management (ATM). The new
system is expected to replace the existing ground-based architecture by
2010. This could be a huge opportunity for the training business in India.

There are other industry profession specific opportunities. This
includes, training doctors for a better understanding and management of a
telemedicine or remote surgery network infrastructure. Or training MBAs to
understand and manage their e-commerce network more efficiently.

Notwithstanding the demand, there are not even generic
business area or segment-specific training on subjects like access and security,
VoIP, integration of voice and data networks, optical networking, and
communication software. Moreover, there has not been much effort at training
people in new technology areas like wireless networks, GSM, value-added services
like SMS and WAP, GPRS and Bluetooth. Training in these areas is all the more
important because the majority of even telecom engineering students is not aware
of these latest technologies.

Given the current scenario, the market size of the telecom and networking
related training business in India is very difficult to estimate. This is all
the more difficult because whatever efforts go outside the engineering colleges
to train people are basically individual efforts. Product-specific and
networking-related courses apart, none of the top players in the training
business are involved in the telecom training business. Unlike IT, telecom
training is yet to acquire a mass character. One of the reasons for this may be
the fact that telecom industry in India has still not shown its preference for
non-technical people unlike the IT industry which employs a mass of people who
do not have a technical background.

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