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Juniper Networks: Strengthening its India focus

Company Stories , November 30, 2012

The Indian telecom industry has been on a growth trajectory over the past decade. To cater to the increasing subscriber base, telecom operators have invested significantly in expanding and upgrading their 2G networks. This has opened up opportunities for international telecom equipment manufacturers. Moreover, the recent launch of 3G and 4G services holds promise for telecom vendors. This has increased the importance of the Indian telecom market for US-based Juniper Networks, which offers products and solutions such as routers and switches.

Juniper entered the Indian telecom equipment market in 2000 through subsidiary Juniper Networks India Private Limited. The company has since expanded its service portfolio significantly to establish a strong presence in this market. Juniper signed its first major deal in 2002 – with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for supplying M-series routers for the operator’s nationwide IP/MPLS network. Following this, it signed agreements with service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Dishnet and Spectranet. Today, the company has a 17 per cent share in the Indian router market, making it the second largest player in this space after Cisco.

Over the years, Juniper has increased its focus on its Indian operations. This is evident from the fact that the company’s state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) facility, the India Excellence Centre (IEC) in Bengaluru, has become its largest R&D centre outside the US. IEC develops hardware and software solutions for networking products such as routers; and undertakes test engineering, field trials, programme management, quality assurance, technical documentation and product line management.  It also provides global customer support for all Juniper products. IEC has played a key role in the design and development of products such as the QFabric data centre solution and the T4000 router.

Moreover, Juniper has been involved in government initiatives such as the deployment of state wide area network in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. In 2008, it deployed its M and J series routers as well as integrated security gateways to link Chhattisgarh’s public agencies and provide e-governance services. Juniper has provided networking solutions to the Essar Group, Indian Overseas Bank and RailTel to improve their network connectivity.

Today, Juniper offers networking services and solutions across verticals such government organisations, IT/IT-enabled services, financial and banking, telecom, retail, manufacturing and health care. It is targeting the government; banking, financial services and insurance; and telecom sectors for the next level of growth in India.

In order to reach out to end-customers, Juniper follows the distribution channel partner business model. Distributors act as single-point contacts for managing resellers, and their pre-sales and post-sales support. The company has signed agreements with Avnet, Ingram Micro and Transition Systems to strengthen its distribution network for equipment products and solutions, particularly for the enterprise segment. It has already established a strong presence in the metros and is now making efforts to expand this to Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities like Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Coimbatore, Jaipur and Chandigarh.

Challenges

Like most of its peers, Juniper has faced a few challenges in the recent past. These include aggressive competition from Chinese low-cost telecom equipment providers. Also, the equipment manufacturing business has been impacted by the reduction in network investments by telecom operators, which have a high debt burden and are reporting low revenues.

Even on the global front, the company is witnessing a declining demand for its networking products. It has revised its revenue growth forecast for 2013-16 to 9-12 per cent from 20 per cent. This can be largely attributed to the economic slowdown in European and US markets, which have witnessed a reduction in government spending and corporate investments, resulting in a lower demand for network equipment and security solutions.

India focus

Juniper remains bullish about its Indian operations. The Indian switch and routers market is valued at an estimated Rs 27.9 billion and Rs 17 billion respectively, offering significant business opportunities for the company. 3G and 4G service launch is expected to result in significant data traffic, thereby increasing the demand for devices that support 3G connectivity, unified threat management, and switching and routing. According to Ravi Chauhan, managing director, Juniper Networks, “The adoption of 3G and 4G services is resulting in a huge demand for data services. Ethernet and IP are the most favoured Layer 2 and Layer 3 technologies used for data, voice and packetised networks.”

Besides, the increase in data uptake has put pressure on the existing billing system of operators, who are shifting to common billing platforms and prioritising network traffic. This has resulted in a demand for single-platform suites that support both voice and data service offerings, and reduce the complexities in multiple systems.

Juniper is also looking to tap opportunities offered by the cloud computing

segment. Operators are pursuing cloud services as part of a strategy to reduce expenditure on network infrastructure. Juniper’s strategy includes selling equipment for data centres, providing secure connections for virtual data centres and cloud customers, and facilitating the allocation of virtualised resources for cloud applications.

In sum, India continues to be a key market for Juniper and the company is looking to strengthen its presence in this market. “Going forward, Juniper is building an ecosystem in India with the objective to grow significantly and increase its market share,” says Chauhan.

 
 

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