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Interview with Pankaj Gandhi, Director, Wireless Sales, India, CommScope

December 31, 2012
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CommScope provides radio frequency (RF)-based products and solutions to operators for establishing wired and wireless networks. To consolidate its market position in the country, the company is currently working on developing innovative products, such as base station antenna solutions for LTE networks, Sentinel microwave antennas, etc, which are expected to help operators increase data traffic, and enhance return-on-network investment.

In an interview with tele.net.in, Pankaj Gandhi, director, wireless sales, India, CommScope talks about the opportunities offered by the Indian telecom industry, the challenges before the company and its future plans. Excerpts…

How has CommScope performed in the Indian telecom market so far?

The company started operations in India in 1997 as Andrew Telecommunications India and was subsequently acquired by CommScope in 2007. Today, CommScope has established itself firmly in this space and has inked several significant partnerships with various telecom operators and original equipment manufacturers. We have two sales offices for our wireless business in Delhi and Mumbai, as well as a large manufacturing facility and warehouse in Goa. The manufacturing unit has the capacity to produce RF cables and base station and microwave antennas.

How does the Indian telecom market compare with the global market?

India has one of the largest and fastest growing telecom markets in the world, with more than 800 million mobile users. The telecom sector is a key contributor to the country’s economic growth, accounting for nearly three per cent of the gross domestic product.

Moreover, the Indian telecom market is uniquely positioned, with 2G, 3G and 4G technologies co-existing and hence cannot be directly compared with global markets. In countries like United States and Japan, where the market for long term evolution (LTE) is growing, the demand for 2G services has declined sharply. According to various estimates, 2G services will be phased out in several countries in the future. However, in India, even after the launch of 3G and LTE, a majority of consumers are still using 2G.

How is the company placed vis-a-vis competition?

CommScope creates the infrastructure that connects people and technologies. Our portfolio of end-to-end solutions includes the critical infrastructure our customers need to build high-performing wired and wireless networks.

In India, we have been proactive in launching 4G 2.3 GHz base station antennas and are in the process of introducing 700 MHz antennas. We’ve also launched the Sentine microwave antenna technology designed to address the three biggest challenges facing wireless network operators ­ rapidly increasing data traffic, spectrum scarcity and return on network investment. A few years ago, we launched the HELIAX FXL RF cable with smooth wall technology.

What are the company’s focus areas in the country?

We want to maintain our position as the leading provider of RF path solutions which will help wireless carriers manage cell site complexity and optimise network planning, capacity, coverage and performance. We will focus on pushing our new solutions like the Sentinel microwave antenna and base station antenna solutions for LTE and our latest generation of Heliax cables.

As a part of our strategy to address local business and industry demands, we will continue to work with our customers on fuel cells and location based solutions. A fuel cell is the green solution for power generation at cell sites and is a matured and reliable product. In India, the company has already conducted two active trials using fuel cells

What are the challenges before CommScope?

The Indian telecom market has gone through trying times but it is still growing and offers tremendous opportunities for us. There is long term sustainability for the business here despite some growth challenges we expect to encounter in the near future. There is still a vast geography to be covered and an insatiable uptake of data services that we need to tap. We expect the market to remain strong in the middle to long term.

What are the emerging trends in the Indian telecom market?

India is a unique market where data growth is taking place more on 2G, which is a positive sign, as it builds a stronger platform for 3G and 4G services. Operators are investing on expanding and optimising the capacity of their existing networks to cope with increased demand of data and bandwidth.

How have technologies like 3G and 4G impacted business opportunities for CommScope in India?

3G and 4G technologies offer immense opportunities for CommScope as these services provide a platform for consumers to experience various high speed data services. Mobile operators aim to optimise their network infrastructure and ensure smooth deployments of these next-generation technologies.

We have experienced immediate growth in our business after the launch of 3G services as well as increased demand for in-building solutions. Also, with 4G-based networks expected to be rolled out shortly, we can expect greater adoption of Heterogeneous Network (HetNet), as it would enable operators to provide a seamless 4G experience. HetNet includes two interlinking layers designed to provide coverage and capacity.


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