Top 10 Telecom Trends for India

The key telecom trends for India in 2012 are:


1.          1. 3G – With 3G technology having kick-started in mid 2011, a new era awaits the country’s telecom users
that will entail faster speed, lesser network congestion, and better access to
data services. Over the next year,
we will continue to see
its increased penetration manifested in the usage of rich data enabled services.
The subscriber base for all operators is also expected to augment substantially
as the adoption is gradually becoming mainstream. Correspondingly, this trend
will also be positively fuelled with plummeting handset/device prices leading
to increased affordability of regular and smartphones alike. From a futuristic
perspective, telcos now need to outbid each other and infuse innovation into
their strategies to increase ARPU and make 3G a success.


2.          2. Disruptive 4G Models
Globally, many markets are witnessing amove towards some version of 4G.  Across US and Europe, the Long Term Evolution
(LTE) is being embraced and deployed by the large operators such as Verizon, AT&T
etc. This cycle of 4G which started in the 2010-11 will continue (with expanded
geographical and services based deployment) till about 2017-18. In India, 4G is
yet to see the light of day. Currently only two operators have been granted pan
India licences, while some other telecom players own spectrum in few circles. It
is expected that 4G services start becoming available commercially in India
sometime in 2012. This case, the latter will need to work out a model wherein
they roll-out these services in the metros and replicate the model in other
cities based on its success. 4G will usher in a lifestyle transformation as
consumers will be able to harness the benefits of this technology across
entertainment, information, healthcare (tele-medicine in rural areas), thereby
revolutionising mobile access. Faster speeds, coupled with capable and
affordable devices will bring out productivity increase in the mobile workforce
and contribute to economic growth.


3.          3. Dark Fibre Network – Many
telcos have already laid down dark fibre networks which are yet to be utilized.
With 4G coming into play, they will be optimally used for the traffic and
mobile backhaul as more and more services get delivered over IP networks. 


4.          4. Strategies to Increase ARPU – Interestingly, Western geographies have shown that innovation, commercial partnerships
and focus on targeted offerings by intelligent and analytical customer
segmentation can result in exponential ARPU growth and effective ROI on
infrastructure investments. As these markets in the US and Western Europe
mature, they continue to find ways of enhancing their service offerings by
changing user behaviour to an all new way of mobile computing. As Indian telcos
battle with challenges of diminishing ARPU, it is time for them to adopt best
practices such as customer segmentation, innovative revenue models, using non
infotainment VAS etc from these developed telecom markets to increase our
existing ARPU levels.


5.          5. Consolidation in the Indian telecom
– The Indian telecom market is extremely
competitive and over a period of time we will see that the current set of
operators will find it challenging to sustain operations here. Due to
considerable market pressures such as costs in terms of acquisitions, buying
spectrum etc. operators will be compelled to take alternative courses of
action. We don’t expect rapid consolidation in 2012, but there will be some
movement in that direction. 


6.          6. Affordability of
Smartphones/ Tablets
— We already see that the
cost of devices such as smartphones is declining and there is a considerable
level of adoption of tablets. Apple iPads and Android tablets from a number of
manufactures have seen adoption rates rise globally. The price will continue to
dip further largely because of economies of scale. A massive tablet explosion
is expected to happen as the usage of -tab technology’ will become even more
widespread. While the mobile Operating System market is currently dominated by
Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, this competition will see increasing pressure
from cash rich Microsoft whose Windows Phone OS is gaining acceptance in the
market through a renewed partner ecosystem from big names like Nokia, HTC and
Samsung.  Windows Phone based tablets are
yet to see light of day but several manufactures are reportedly working  on bringing these to market in the very near
future.  This intensified competition
will further drive down prices.


7.         7.  Value Added Services – We
expect a boost in Value Added Services as a result of a greater adoption of
enterprise mobility and consumerization of the workforce. VAS was earlier
limited as mainly being infotainment based, such as cricket updates, news,
games, wall papers etc. With the advent of 3G and 4G, VAS will have to evolve further
as the use of tablets will be more extensive. This will also translate to enhanced productivity and effective time management
for workforces — whether on the field or executives who are constantly on the


8.          8. Video over Wireless networks
Enhanced speed in wireless networks will also result in video streaming being
preferred on this technology platform manifested through video calling and
video content delivery perspective. Video calling will especially witness demand
uptick; but if that growth will be explosive or not remains to be seen. Popular
applications like Skype and Tango are seeing widespread mobile adoption.  While the adoption is largely in the
individual consumer space, Skype is touting itself to be a viable commercial
use platform within the enterprise. 


9.          9. Non Wireless Broadband
In the global market, tethered broadband (cable, DSL based broadband) will see reduced
demand as compared to wireless broadband and the consumer shift will happen in
a much larger number than before. India will definitely leapfrog to adopt this
trend as the penetration of non wireless broadband is much lower in comparison
to wireless broadband.


10.       10. Mobile cloud adoption
The most important element in the mobile world is going to be the move towards
mobility in major business.  Enterprise
mobility is seeing rapid adoption; particularly in markets where 3G and 4G
services have been rolled out.  Operators
will focus on enabling enterprises with a mobile workforce offering services
ranging from basic (sales force, field force) to specialized (focused on
industry specific applications like healthcare, Utilities, banking and
telecom!).  In India, mainstream
deployment of applications like rural medicine, financial inclusion solutions
and trade will become a reality through use of cloud solutions. Adoption of
mobility enablement services will be a sure shot strategy for Telecom Operators
in India to increase their APRU.


Mr. Samvit
Raina, SVP, iGATE Patni

e[email protected]