Welcome Guest Login | Register | Site Map | | Make TelecomTiger my homepage     
Telecom News
Enterprise |  Policy & Regulation |  Mobiles & Tabs |  Corporate |  VAS |  People Movement  |  Technology  |  LTE



‘Fixedline infrastructure can never deliver broadband across India’ says GSMA Director

Robindhra Mangtani
Director, GSMA
  TT Correspondent |  New Delhi | 25/06/2009

Robindhra Mangtani, Director, GSMA shares the prospects of Mobile Broadband in India in an interaction with TelecomTiger.

Q1) From an operator’s perspective, how strong is the business case for mobile broadband in India?

Ans: There are two answers to this. It depends on how strong the social policy objectives are in terms of bridging the digital divide. We see a strong role for the government of India in terms of its objectives in bridging the digital divide, e-learning, education and e-governance and so on and broadband rides on the back of that. We believe that broadband is a utility and certainly the case is demonstrated in every other country of the world. People cannot manage without it once they get it. The need for broadband maybe to access passport status, carry day-to-day transactions, education, telemedicine and so on.

The second part is that there is a latent demand for broadband in India. Truly the fixed line infrastructure can never deliver broadband in India. We have had some consultancy reports to tell us that maximum fixed number infrastructure can deliver is nine million broadband connections. Whereas the potential we believe in India by 2014 as witnessed by consultant reports was 100 million subscribers. And the reason why we say that and believe its correct is because we have evidences from other countries which bear all. Sri Lanka for instance, although a much smaller country has 160, 000 subscribers to 3G broadband in two years. And Australia, which is a very large rural area, has 7 million connections in two years.  So, there is a huge potential. Mobile broadband has just started.

Q2) Apart from conventional data services, what are the kinds of applications possible over mobile broadband environment?

Ans: Well I think it all is limited by your imagination. I have been talking a lot about software as service. Mobile network today offers software as a service (SaaS). The applications that you get on your handset are living in the network somewhere and are delivered on to the mobile network infrastructure

So any application that’s available on the web today can be mobile-enabled. If you use gmail, hotmail today there is a software applications, there are certain applications for the mobile broadband crowd as well. Globally, iPhone alone has witnessed one billion downloads from App Store in less than 18 months.

India is a huge IT industry and obviously one of the leaders in outsource billing, operations and portals for companies worldwide. The government can provide mobile broadband right down to the village panchayat level and to the council level and deliver applications over the network.

Q3) Do you feel the current guidelines and the kind of spectrum available in India make a strong case for mobile broadband in India. Do you feel there is more scope for government support on the initiative?

Ans: We are waiting for the government of India to auction regions. We are just hungry for that. We see there is demand and we conceive that government’s objectives to bridge the digital divide require broadband.

We believe that starting the process in terms of the 3G auction is critical and then expansion plans straight after is also a key.

And the reason to say that is 3G provides a massive expansion based on voice and its capabilities, which takes the pressure off the existing 2G network, which is already suffering a capacity crunch in its voice service. So the first phase if you like is taking off the weight from 2G network and moving on to 3G network. And the second phase if I may say is that we have got this extra capacity. Till then it’s good to make sure you are capturing that demand and making sure you give them this experience.

We don’t see evidence yet that the government is thinking along those lines but see that the government wants to do is 3G auction and that’s the time immediately for doing that.

Q4) When it comes to rural subscribers, the uptake of services like mobile broadband is marred by the fact that the price of terminals to access such services do not fit pocket. How should one overcome such challenge?

Ans: With regards to individual person, it’s a tough thing to say because we don’t really know what the prices are really going to be. Lets be honest, there is no service out there today available in the community. I don’t yet know what the prices are going to be. I have a fair idea that the ARPU rate in India is low as compared to other countries. So the idea that rural villagers can spend much more on broadband may not be the case. We have a fair idea about what happened.

When we come back to social policy objectives, it is to bring broadband to everybody and make universal service applications and universal service funds. So you could think of mechanisms to provide incentives to rural broadband for a price tag which is competitive and meets their requirements.

Secondly, if your objective is to provide telecentre for instance then of course the pricing for them is elastic in terms of the amount of demands and the services you want to give to the area. So, we are not coming here and saying its at a certain price but what we are saying is that you have mechanisms already, not only social mechanisms but also have the universal service fund.

The pricing has to match the expectations of the people considered in the service. I cannot come and say that you have to take the service in the price that I determine, making it the recipe for disaster.

Q5) What are the GSMA’s planned initiatives related to mobile broadband in India?

Ans: I think the main one is to fill the government social policy objectives and report their initiatives in telemedicine and e-learning and e-governance. These are the key objectives. And we also want to share is our experience in working where broadband becomes a requisite.

So that’s one thing which could give machine to machine communications and the other thing is that we have based our service is software living in a network enabled by broadband connection. So that you can have that service any way.

Other key point that we want to bring is our experience in mobile banking which has a huge potential to bank the unbanked and to bring it to former mechanisms of banking rather than the unofficial ones that exist today. Our goal is to bring reliable and consistent and other more user friendly banking to people who don’t have bank accounts. I want to use mobile broadband to facilitate that.

Q6) Please share some experiences and observations related to mobile broadband services on the global scale?

Ans: Mobile broadband is used in the same way as fixed broadband is used. It is supporting small business, it is providing e-governance, enabling telemedicine services, enabling banking services. Its hard to limit it. It does exactly the same as the fixed network broadband service. But the beauty of it is its mobility. Instead of having that we have a device, a 3G enabled data device, for instance a BlackBerry which give email to readers and how it works on 3G roadband-enabled network. But it also works on the existing 2G networks. So it has got both 2G area and the 3G area. You have got rural areas working on 3G. You want to make applications that are connected to the nearest ATM, and not only work on the 3G area but also on the 2G area. There is no limit to the fact that once we have broadband everywhere, we do exactly the same thing on the fixed line that you do on the mobile.

Q7) Mobile broadband is positioned to be on the backbone of GSM network. WiMAX players cry foul that it is not justified since even they are able offer similar services. Your take on the debate.

Ans: There is not really a take to have. I just want to say that we believe that we have a compelling proposition and that proposition is that we have wireless broadband that starts at 3G, moves to HSPA and then to LTE evolving to an increased high-speed environment. 

With GSM as a platform for mobile broadband, we can roam anywhere in the country and still get connectivity. The other thing that we have got is with such a big community of ecosystem, where we have over 1,4,00 devices on 3G and HSPA from 110 manufacturers; no other system matches that capability. WiMAX doesn’t have the vendor community to support that number of devices or speeds or the backwards compatibility. Once you enter WiMAX area, you access broadband but once you leave that area, you get nothing. That’s the difference.

Cont-->> 1   2   
 mail this article    print this article    Show and Post Comment
Maintain Business Continuity with Cisco ASR 9000 nV Technology
It is a virtual chassis solution where a pair of ASR 9000 routers acts as a single device by maintaining a single contr...read more
Simplify Your Network with Cisco ASR 9000 nV Technology
With the new Cisco Network Virtualization (nV) technology in the Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers, se...read more
Cisco Small Cell Solution: Reduce Costs, Improve Coverage
It is designed to address the challenge of mobile service coverage and to expand network capacity...read more
Other interviews
Kirusa’s newly launched InstaVoice ReachMe app provides unique telephony experience for users
95%+of the products delivered today by iVOOMi is made in India
A large proportion of our product and solution portfolio is directly relevant to 5G networks
RS Sharma on the status of Digital India
Cloud telephony is the best suited medium to reach out to the masses
"Smartphones have an integral part to play in the connected world of future"
“Domestic (Indian) brands are taking a larger share of the market every month”
“I do not expect much impact on tariff for consumers”
“We would be focusing on LTE 4G solutions in 2014 in India”
“We will start rolling out 4G LTE services by end of this financial year”
After advent of LTE technological innovation is much more challenging
“Our green technology can reduce diesel consumption by 56%”
“We expect 3G revenue contribution to be at par or exceed 2G revenue”
"We are strengthening our service capabilities in India"
“We partner with right technology and utilize our competitive advantage”
Indian VAS market is huge and effectively receptive
We are looking at growth in India
3G, 4G to fuel MVAS growth
Introduction of data plans at the right price and packaging key to growth
Smartphones will be major catalyst for mobile advertising growth in India
Despite challenges VAS market will continue to grow in India
Indo-US defense ties have created opportunities for T&M industry
3G penetration will help expand VAS market in India
ZTE has formed an enterprise solutions team for enterprise business in India
Telecom operators are looking forward to deploy green wireless solutions
Our value proposition to hotels has been well accepted
Effective mobile campaign management can boost operator’s business
Interpreting and analyzing data is vital for successful business
Unified Communications is transforming India Inc
Bill shock makes 90% Indians switch off data connection
LTE will ensure lower capital investment
'We need to come quickly to LTE': J S Sarma
'Corporate war fueling 2G controversy:’ A Raja
Ruckus Wireless’ WBA solution promises cost effective alternative to WiMAX in urban areas
Mobile data services the new opportunity for Indian operators to increase ARPU feels Comverse
Capgemini foresees huge scope for engagement with Indian Mobile Operators to drive Rural uptake
“Waiting for competition to tap the $ 150 mn agri-info MVAS market along with us”: RML
“Already serving more than 657 mn ad displays monthly in India over mobile web”: Admob
“Our international reach will be our main differentiator for mobile financial services,” says Roamware
Sterlite Technologies plans multi-fold organic growth to break into the global top league
Entry of 3G will make Broadband Services more appealing in India, says NSN
Picocell as a tool for Customer Retention, the ip.access way
WiMAX not a 4G technology, only LTE is, says Ericsson CTO
No business case for WiMAX in rural India….definitely not, says Qualcomm India
Delta carving out differentiation around Green Quotient of its telecom site power solutions
TI’s new chip makes way for Smaller, Denser, Cost-effective wireless base station design
Qualcomm India: “Well-positioned to serve both GSM & CDMA operators for 3G migration”
UTStarcom: IPTV far more relevant technology to India than any other market in the world
“Decision to foray into CDMA space is with an eye on data services” says Sistema Shyam’s CEO
Loop Mobile: Engaging and then exciting our subscribers is the core focus of all our communication initiatives
With voice being commoditised, SMS set to assume greater role, foresees Tekelec
"The race is still anybody's to win in the mobile browser market," declares BOLT
“WiMAX has seen very good traction and adoption in India”, says Tata Elxsi
“.tel is the biggest innovation in the internet”
India’s largest mall on your mobile: ngpay
Economic slowdown has no impact on Airtel, says Akhil Gupta
Synchronica fully supports legal interception unlike RIM, says CEO
Motorola says uniquely positioned to best serve critical technology demands of enterprises in India
Tandberg: Real value of video-conferencing solution should be measured on usability and benefits
DTH, WiMAX and Billing to be new focus areas for Oracle India
Wireline Services will bounce back, says Chairman MRO-TEK
Motorola well-positioned to play a major role in India’s next phase of growth, says Mohanty
Aircel will double its network by 2008 end
‘We are migrating to full IP Network’, says MTNL director (technical) Kuldip Singh
Sistema will offer competitive tariff, Mobile TV in India
Mobile TV is a distant dream in India
IT & BPO growth story will continue
Redefining rules of the game