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Interview with Oracle Communications’ Boudewijn Pesch and Udit Shanker

May 29, 2018
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The Indian telecom technology landscape is evolving significantly as telcos prepare themselves for the 5G era. Internet of things (IoT) is set to go mainstream and lead to the emergence of various use cases. Companies like Oracle Communications are helping telcos adopt new technologies without compromising their legacy infrastructure. In an interview with tele.net, Boudewijn Pesch, group vice-president, Japan and Asia Pacific, and Udit Shanker, head, South Asia, Oracle Communications, talk about the emerging technology trends and the company's key focus areas in India. Excerpts…

Which technology trends will shape the telecom industry in the next few years?

Boudewijn Pesch

The most interesting trend will see consumers experiencing more bandwidth on the back of 5G. The key characteristic of 5G that will drive a whole new market for operators is the possibility of network slicing. With 5G, the enterprise market will present a big opportunity for operators. Today, operators are working very closely with smart cities or car manufacturers to see how to put an internet of things (IoT) ecosystem together. With network slicing, one can build sub-networks within the same infrastructure. So, if an operator has users with different requirements such as high voice, SMS or data usage, a single but sliced network can cater to all of them.

Do we have any India-specific 5G use cases?

Udit Shanker

The Indian market is still discussing and exploring various use cases. The general understanding is that 5G is going to be very useful for enterprises.

What is the scope of cloud solutions for telecom companies?

Boudewijn Pesch

In the last 25 years, the telecom industry has undergone a significant transformation, from 2G to 3G and now 4G. With each new generation, operators are required to build a robust infrastructure to support customer requirements. The biggest challenge, however, is that before such massive investments have paid off, a new technology is already ready to enter the market. Operators need to continue supporting older-generation networks, while there is a growing demand for new services. As a result, they are now spending most of their money on keeping their existing infrastructure running, leaving them with very little money to spend on innovation. We believe that with cloud-based offerings, Oracle can actually help operators not only take care of and run their old/legacy services, but also achieve the capability to innovate with the cloud-based platform. At Oracle we are continuously looking at applications and network components, to find out which of these can be made cloud native.

What about the security requirements of such solutions?

Boudewijn Pesch

At Oracle, we invest substantially in security and leverage that across most of our products. Security is our key priority, particularly when delivering products and solutions to the telecom industry. We have been running the network for about 20 years now, so the stakes are high and security needs are addressed first in anything and everything we do.

What is your outlook for 4G services, with the industry now talking about 5G?

Boudewijn Pesch

In India, all telecom companies are conducting 5G trials. But I believe there are still a lot of opportunities in terms of building 4G networks and enhancing bandwidth. In the coming years, rolling out 4G infrastructure will not only bring operational cost benefits to Indian telecom companies, but also help in pushing data consumption.

What is your role in the mobile number portability (MNP) space in India?

Boudewijn Pesch

We are the leaders in the MNP space in India. When Reliance Jio launched its services in India, a lot of people ported to its network, but when Jio started charging for its services, several of them ported back. This whole activity around number porting in India has resulted in significant uptake of our solutions.

What is your outlook for the Indian telecom industry? What will be Oracle’s focus areas for the country?

Boudewijn Pesch

Our focus will be on leveraging India’s IoT and 5G readiness. We want to make sure that the investments that we have made in 4G get utilised for 5G as well.

Udit Shanker

It is a very interesting time for telecom operators as a lot of mergers and acquisitions are taking place. Eventually, the industry will have three large private operators plus the government operators. We foresee that once all this consolidation activity concludes, there will be stability in the market and consumer services will increase.

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