Director of Product Management, Emerging Markets, Retail Business Unit, Netgear Inc.
What are some of the trends you have observed in the networking sphere for mature markets? If you look at a mature country in Europe or the US, broadband penetration rate is really high. It is probably over 60 per cent to 70 per cent already. These numbers include fixed line and wireless. For these mature countries, what we have seen is customers really taking advantage of the router and really looking at it as the central gateway of everything connected at home.
In a mature country from a channel standpoint, the truth is that the category is very saturated. A lot of people have broadband connections and they have routers. We are seeing more and more of new sales becoming upgrades. It is not the first time people are buying routers. They want to buy a router to enable more applications. What is Netgear’s strategy to tackle networking in emerging markets? We are seeing incredible growth in emerging markets such as Russia, China, Brazil, Indonesia and India. Everyone needs some way of getting on to the internet but the broadband penetration rate in such countries is low. So the opportunity for Netgear is not only to focus on fixed line, but to branch out as well.
For many of these countries the infrastructure the cost for laying out fixed line versus the mobile option is about the same. In fact people prefer the mobile option because it has greater geographical reach. So unlike the mature country where we focus our products on fixed line routers and gateways, in these emerging countries we are focusing more on the mobile broadband connection.
The product portfolio is a little bit different, but Netgear is still the same company. We focus on three things. Firstly, championing connectivity, focusing on connecting people to the internet. Secondly, we make it simple for the customers. So when we develop a product we make sure it is simple to install and simple to purchase. And lastly is our focus on people. We try to develop the best product internally and try our best to localize it to best address the customer needs for each region. Over the last year we have seen the 802.11ac standard make a mark on the networking market. What has driven its huge adoption? There are multiple reasons for the fast adoption of 802.11ac. One is definitely the increase of broadband bandwidth in the mature countries exemplified by the move to fiber and the fact that internet service providers in the mature countries are trying to increase their average revenue per user by offering premium content. To be able to offer content is one thing but to be able to enjoy the content with the best experience is another thing. So people have the option of signing up to premium services but they also need to upgrade their services, their products and their hardware at home to be able to enjoy these services. This is what is driving the adoption of 802.11ac. What are some of the new products from Netgear consumers can expect in the coming months? For mature markets we have got to continue to ride the wave of 802.11ac adoption by customers. If you look at mobile products for next year a lot of them will have 802.11ac chipsets. Apple just announced a new line of iMac computers that have 802.11ac built in. So slowly you are going to see more client devices with 802.11ac enabled from the get go. 802.11ac is going to be massively available from the bottom half of next year. We are going to continue to invest in 802.11ac technology from both ends.
The middle part of next year we will have the 4x4 ac product line. We will continue to invest on speed and make sure people have faster inhome distribution. But from a feature standpoint we will also continue to invest in some software technologies such as desktop applications and also mobile apps.
For the emerging markets, we are going to focus more on the 3G and 4G mobile broadband technologies. Not only just ‘3G or 4G sticks’ but perhaps some of the wireless hotspot products as well. Maybe we will introduce routers and gateway products where you can input the SIM card and convert it to a 4G or 3G router.