Ericsson: Working towards the vision of 50 billion connected devices by 2020


Talking about Ericsson’s year in hindsight, its 3G
rollouts and scope for LTE in India, P Balaji, VP, Communications, Corporate
Affairs and Business Development, Ericsson talks about how broadband and
mobility have become a necessity in today’s networked world.

You recently posted a revenue growth of 38 percent in
India. What segment of your market share has most contributed to this growth in

In the first quarter (2011) result, Ericsson reported
that India sales increased 38 percent year-over-year and 11 percent
sequentially. Growth was strongly driven by 2G and 3G deployments.

How important is pricing for equipment vendors like
yourself to stay ahead of the 3G game? Also, what has been your significant
value add to 3G networks in India?

India has been a competitive market and will likely to be
so. We do our best to stay ahead of the competition and add value to our
customer; constantly focus on cost reduction and operational efficiency.

Ericsson offers the end to end capability to operators – i.e. from the networks, managed services and multimedia.

*         Networks – Ericsson Networks develops and delivers mobile and fixed infrastructure
equipment and related software. We have pioneered 2G/GSM and 3G/WCDMA mobile
technologies. Our portfolio includes CDMA solutions as well as xDSL, fiber and
microwave transmission.

*         Ericsson’s
multi-standard radio base station, RBS6000, is deployed for the 3G rollouts.
This in an energy efficient compact site solution that supports 2G – GSM/EDGE,
3G – WCDMA/HSPA and 4G TD-LTE all in a single package. The RBS 6000 is build
with a state of the art technology and at the same time provides backwards
compatibility with the highly successful RBS 2000 and RBS 3000 product lines.

*         The
mobile broadband network also includes the MSC Server Blade Cluster, which
drastically boost the capacity of the network and evolve it into an IP network.
It offers best in class capacity and scalability with the power to grow up to
11 million subscribers in the same foot print. This product offers outstanding
service availability with no service interruption due to hardware/software
failure or during system upgrade, expansion and maintenance.

*         Managed
Services – Ericsson is one of the leading players in the Managed Services space
in India. Ericsson has set up four Regional Technical Centers in India – Gurgaon
(NCR region) Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. RTC has been set up to provide
managed services for 2G, 3G and (BWA) / TD-LTE technologies to the Indian
operators at a pan-India level. The RTC provides remote delivery of network
engineering functions by integrating people, tools, and processes for
proactively managing and optimizing the networks in all possible domains like – 2G, 3G, MPBN, IN VAS, transport, packet core, circuit core, radio, and more.

Multimedia – With Ericsson’s business model that features ‘Software as a
Service’; Idea and Reliance set up their application stores based on Ericsson
white labeled solution – eStore to introduce new services to their subscribers.


Ericsson has been making significant progress with LTE in
global markets. What do you see as the scope of bringing these products to

Ericsson conducted the first independent trial of TD-LTE
in India in July, 2010 in Gurgaon, using the 2.3GHz band. The trial offered the
opportunity to experience the fastest mobile broadband speed and to better
understand the potential of LTE in the Indian market.

We also conducted successful field trials with Reliance
and Qualcomm in 2010, demonstrating high speed mobile broadband access in a
mobile environment with TD – LTE. We demonstrated the presence of ecosystem and
our readiness to deploy TD-LTE in India.

Ericsson’s latest offering – the multi-standard radio
base station, RBS6000, is already available and deployed for the 3G rollouts.
This in an energy efficient compact site solution that supports 2G – GSM/EDGE,
3G – WCDMA/HSPA and 4G TD-LTE all in a single package.

How important is sustainable development for mobile
networks and what is the latest that Ericsson is doing towards the same in

Broadband and mobility have become basic needs for
people – a core part of societal infrastructure as essential as roads and
bridges. It is revolutionizing the way we provide education and healthcare, how
we build our cities and how we run our businesses. As a catalyst for more
sustainable development, we have only begun to tap the possibilities of the
Networked Society.


Some major solutions / initiatives:

*         Energy
saving feature in RBS – The latest generation of our GSM/ WCDMA/LTE radio base
stations – RBS 6000 offers greater efficiency in the power supply units, radio
units and climate system, while improved software increases energy efficiency
even further. Energy savings can be substantial: an average of 30 percent on
previous generations of base stations.


*         Automated
Meter Reading (AMR) / Automated Meter Management (AMM) – Ericsson’s solution includes
end to end AMM solution and design, implementation and systems integration,
roll-out management, solution life cycle management, billing solutions, and SLA
based managed operation including meter management, communication
infrastructure and metering data center.


*         Blue
Battery – Ericsson Blue battery technology has very high charge acceptance as a
result it can recharge quickly and efficiently even at float voltage. At Float
Voltage NSB Blue can be fully recharged in 5 Hours that is 5 times faster than
standard AGM. Ericsson’s Blue Battery has a combination of Thin Plate
Technology, Premium Mechanical Construction, Premium Metallurgy and
Electrochemical design offering higher temperature performance, longer float
life and higher cycling capabilities. The benefits of this solution is
guaranteed longer battery life, low carbon foot print, no revenue losses
extended battery backup, DG life increases and lower maintenance costs.


*         People in
developing countries face barriers to education, including cost, bandwidth
constraints, accessibility and complexity. These can be overcome through models
such as PC as a Service, a solution being explored by Ericsson and Novatium
Solutions Ltd of India (in which Ericsson has a partial ownership stake). The
solution will enable consumers and enterprises to be provided with a low-cost
terminal that delivers computing services via cloud computing. Through devices
located in schools, companies or homes, the aim is to offer a virtual desktop:
the ability to access the computer operating system applications and content
over the Internet.


*         Face to
face in India – Migrant workers in rural India are finding a more rewarding way
to keep in touch their families in distant cities through a pilot project initiated
by Ericsson to bring video-conferencing facilities to Public Call Offices
(PCOs) through the concept of shared video telephony. Today eight public
booths-four in New Delhi and the rest in Begusarai in Bihar-are equipped with
3G/WCDMA – enabled video phones. Rural and urban migrant workers can now do video
conferencing at an affordable rate. It is also an economic boost for the PCO
business in India.


*         Through
our Ecology Management Program, Ericsson offers free take-back of equipment at
the end of its life. Providing the service means responsible handling of
equipment to ensure material does not end up in trade-restricted areas,
landfill, or in places where unethical business practices are taking place.
Most key material streams such as ferrous metals, precious metals, and plastics
re-enter the commodities market where they are sold to industry as raw


What are your latest offerings on the OSS/BSS side?


Ericsson provides converged, as well as standalone
billing solutions. In terms of converged solutions, we have ‘Charging &
Billing in One’ or CBIO. CBIO offers a single revenue management solution for
all subscribers and services.

The solution assures shorter deployment times and reduced
risk, while also offering highly scalable, real-time charging. The solution
provides a unified way of handling all customers and services, as well as
flexible, built-in tools that allow customers to easily configure new
offerings, campaigns, cross-service bundles and discounts. Ericsson’s CBIO system
will work across technologies 2G, 3G, LTE, Fixed line, Broadband and IPTV.

 What is the main
USP of Ericsson’s app store, against a multitude of apps stores offerings?

Ericsson’s white labeled solution – eStore was
successfully implemented by Idea and Reliance to launch their application

Through this initiative, we are also developing a
self-thriving eco-system of partners by bringing Operators, Application
Developers and Subscribers in close reach of one another. eStore provides a
platform for application developers to access the operator’s subscribers by
developing and marketing applications specific to their needs.

Ericsson’s business model ‘SaaS’ offers a hosted platform
to the operators to launch the application store as a plug & play service.


What are some of
the main challenges you have faced in India in the last one year, and what are
you doing to overcome them?

In 2010, the entire industry was impacted due to security
concerns, however the same got resolved during the year owing to the productive
discussion process. In the last quarter of 2010 and Q1 of 2011 we managed to
secure significant 3G business and retained our leadership position in the

What is your future strategy in the Indian market going

We focus on building skills and capabilities to better
serve our customers. As a leading ICT enabler, we leverage our global
leadership and experience to replicate the same success in regional markets.

As a regional unit we are proactively contributing
towards Ericsson’s global vision of 50 bn connected devices and networked
society, where everything that can benefit from being connected will be

By Beryl M

[email protected]