Homegrown fibre manufacturer Sterlite Tech, a Vedanta Resources company has entered into telecom network market to provide integrated services to telcos, and is currently doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its newly-unveiled fibre to the last mile solution with Reliance Jio.
“We are looking beyond fibre. We now design end-to-end network solutions for fibre-to-the-home, fibre-to-the-enterprise, and fibre-to-the-small cells,” Anand Agarwal, group chief executive of Sterlite Tech told ETTelecom, adding that the new portfolio involves end equipment and software as well as a deployment solution.
The Pune-based company, according to the top executive, is currently doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its newly-unveiled fibre-to-the-last mile or FTTx as a service platform with the India's third-largest telco.
Agarwal said the company’s activity is centered around the access part of telecom networks which are increasingly becoming fibre-oriented with open-source hardware and software readily available for network management.
The development on the back of Elitecore acquisition, however, would make Sterlite to partially compete with the likes of multinationals such as Cisco, Amdocs, Ciena and Juniper Networks, and as well as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia.
With the telecom software company Elitecore Technologies’ merger in 2015, Sterlite is now well poised to market Operations Support Services (OSS) and Business Support Services (BSS) solutions to telecom companies.
The telecom arm of the mining giant offers optic fibre infrastructure, Wi-Fi systems, in-building solutions, managed services and metro Ethernet network in addition to various software-driven services.
The company, according to the top executive, design and deploy network solutions and besides Mumbai-based Jio, it is also running pilot programs with Sunil Mittal-driven Bharti Airtel as well as recently-merged entity Vodafone Idea.
“For Jio’s 1,100 cities and 50 million homes, fibre is the key and for doing that, the execution plays a major role, and a part of our solutions work towards faster execution together with our hardware capability,” Agarwal said.
The oil-to-telecom conglomerate is aggressively working on home broadband service Jio GigaFiber, which, according to the Mumbai-based company would come with a router as well as a set-top box for TV.
However, Sterlite is already providing fibre to the billionaire Mukesh Ambani's ambitious Jio GigaFiber initiative.
The company's debut of FTTx Mantra or massive agile network transformation solution is aimed to make service operators’ transition to fibre-powered backhaul, much needed to precipitate fourth-generation (4G) technology and upcoming 5G rollouts.
The telecom arm of Reliance Industries is now looking to further expand fibre-based networks to as many as 1,500 cities to connect more than 30 million merchants and small-and-medium businesses in addition to large corporations.
Ambani, however, also said that Jio was determined to move India to be among the top three markets in fixed-line broadband services.
In wireline broadband penetration, India currently ranks at 134th position worldwide.
The capabilities of two domestically-grown companies when combined, according to analysts, would be a win-win situation, and that would also accelerate the country’s economic activity in line with government’s Make in India initiative.
Jio did not respond to an e-mailed query.
On the back of robust order book, the company has almost doubled the fibre production capacity to 50 million route kilometer (rkm).
The company, according to the top executive, sees opportunity in government’s Wi-Fi push, and said that as more telecom networks continue to come to rural India combined with Wi-Fi systems, the company would holistically look into the new opportunity.
In line with the government’s ambition, the telecom industry aims to deploy 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots before the end of 2019 in the country.
For the fiscal ended March 31, 2018, Sterlite had reported a revenue of Rs 3,244 crore.
India currently has less than a quarter of 4.75 lakh tower sites connected to optic fibre while another 100,000 tower sites, according to industry estimates, were needed to cater to the rising data demand.
Sterlite’s 48% revenue comes from the global business while the company, according to Agarwal, is growing at around 29% Year-on-Year. It has recently won the Indian Navy’s Rs 3,500-crore worth deal to design, build, operate and maintain the latter’s digital network.