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Interview with Rajan Chopra, Vice President, NEC India Limited

October 29, 2013
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What are the biggest challenges facing the company in India?

The Indian telecom industry has come a long way since its liberalisation. However, telecom operators are still grappling with several issues and concerns.

Intense competition, coupled with the increasing number of new entrants has resulted in declining average revenue per user (ARPU). Moreover, the lack of telecom infrastructure in semi-rural and rural areas acts as a roadblock in tapping those markets. The regulatory framework has a complicated structure because multiple levies impede smooth implementation of telecom projects in India. In addition, the prevailing gloomy economic scenario and curtailed spending by telecom companies is hampering the launch of new carrier infrastructure projects.

What technology trends do you foresee in the telecom space?

Innovations are being made in all the segments of the telecommunications industry with wireless technology, internet, and satellite communications being the forerunners. The telecom space in India is going through a very exciting phase and we anticipate telecom companies to evolve from being mere voice service providers to becoming true data carriers. We believe that three technologies will function as the backbone for all telecom companies in the next phase of growth. Firstly, we expect deployment of small cells to solve the problem of coverage and capacity offload in areas where connectivity has been a constant challenge.

Secondly, we will see complex carrier networks move away from traditional decentralised architecture to a software defined networking-based architecture that will be centralised and far easier to build and manage. Thirdly, we anticipate telecom companies to aggressively adopt smart energy technologies that will help them reduce their carbon footprint resulting in enhanced efficiency.

With 3G and 4G networks being rolled out, how have customer requirements changed? What is the company doing to address these concerns?

With high speed 3G and 4G networks coming to India, needless to say, customer expectations have also increased. Today, we are witnessing a sudden surge in mobile data traffic facilitated by proliferation of smartphones. Forecasts estimate that mobile data traffic will increase from the current level of 15 petabytes per month to about 900 petabytes per month in 2017. This growth and can only be addressed by building massive and robust infrastructure. NEC’s small cell solution for 3G & LTE networks addresses this problem by allowing telecom companies to efficiently offload capacity and enrich their data networks. The buzz around cloud computing and virtualisation is driving the need for building elastic networks that can scale out easily.

NEC is a pioneer in the field of SDN and strives to help out telecom operators by delivering agile and flexible networks. Converged services and triple play are other areas where telecom companies are actively pursuing to be better aligned with customers’ interests and expectations. NEC understands the necessity for converged services’ capabilities and the increased need for major enhancements to existing OSS systems, and in many cases, a total OSS transformation. To address this need, NEC has built an enriched portfolio of next generation OSS/BSS to provide an end-to-end solution to the telecom operators.

What are your company's plans in India?

We aim at empowering telecom operators with best of the breed technologies and function as their strategic partners in the next phase of growth. We see huge growth potential for telecom companies in the enterprise space and are aggressively building our portfolio to meet those demands. We are also working on certain transformational pieces such as small cells and SDN for which we anticipate a huge push in the coming years.


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