We are looking at outbound calling card opportunity in India

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

What are the latest trends in voice solutions?

The voice business across the world is undergoing a change. A lot of

traffic-both retail and wholesale-is now migrating to IP. The world is fast

embracing VoIP. However, in India it is bound by regulatory constraints. The

traffic is basically driven by low cost unit/min. But I see the environment

growing complex now than it was in the past. We are already handling clients in

about fifty-six countries that have adopted mobile number portability, and in

about half of them a good number of subscribers have ported their numbers. There

are other challenges like managing high economies of scale. We handle about 30

bn minutes of international roaming in a year. Also the economic crisis has lead

to credit management.


A major boost that Tata Communications has got is from the $1 bn voice

outsourcing deal to supply BT international direct dial (IDD) and other voice

termination services outside its own footprint. We have a voice outsourcing

partnership and network expansion project with Australian communications

supplier of retail domestic and international voice services, gotalk. We are

hopeful of such tie-ups in India as well.

How about the pattern of wholesale volumes?

The market has traditionally been growing at 10% y-o-y. Due to the economic

turmoil, the rate of growth fell substantially. Asia, however, has been strong.

India and China have been driving the growth in the region. Our market share may

have shrunk, but the absolute number has been picking up.


With the Government of India bringing down the entry level fee for ILD,

the competition has intensified. Has it made the scenario worse?

We do not see these new entrants as our competitors. Instead we view them as

an opportunity. These small players have the license but do not have an

infrastructure that is robust enough to support the traffic independently. They

are eager to partner with big players to reach higher levels of efficiency.

What are the plans to guard yourself against pricing pressures?

I agree, there is a lot of pressure on price, and the margins are slimming.

The risk has increased manifolds, and that has forced the players to think if it

is worth being in the market. This is why we are seeing players diversifying

their profiles and growing in areas such as managed services, security,

broadband, etc. We are looking at outbound calling card opportunity.

Heena Jhingan