More Gloomy Days Ahead

Voice&Data - - CONTENTS - Ma­lini N ma­linin@cy­ber­me­­fi­cult.for.this.seg­­gain.its.lost.growth,.it.would.­ni­hi­lated.either....

The In­dian mo­bile sub­scriber base has reached 919.17 mn while the land­line sub­scribers are 32.17 mn, as on March 31, 2012 ac­cord­ing to the Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity’s data. The fixed phone seg­ment is in a state of com­plete de­spair. Al­though broad­band is con­tribut­ing slightly to the growth of fixed­line rev­enue, due to the fo­cus on fixed broad­band and bundling of voice lines free with it, and some play­ers have in­no­vated prod­ucts with value added fea­tures such as in­ter­net browsing, textI pic­ture mes­sag­ing or in­te­grated cam­era.

Yet with the deeper pen­e­tra­tion of mo­bile and grow­ing fo­cus and ac­cep­tance of wire­less broad­band and mo­bile broad­band it is highly dif­fi­cult for fixed phone seg­ment to re­gain its growth and en­hance rev­enues. De­spite this, fixed phones would not be an­ni­hi­lated due to the needs of cor­po­rate houses and gov­ern­ment sec­tor and also as the in­ter­net ser­vice providers are of­fer­ing broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity through the ex­ist­ing wired net­work. Fixed phone, in­clu­sive of both cord­less and wired phones, seg­ment shows a lit­tle growth this fis­cal due to the in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions, de­mand from en­ter­prises and for bundling it with broad­band. In FY 2011-12 the mar­ket had a 7.8 per cent growth rate. Fixed phones mar­ket posted a to­tal rev­enue of R 235 crore in FY 2011-12 as com­pared to R 218 crore in FY 2010-11.

Play­ers At a Glance

From the past seven years, Bee­tel Teletech has main­tained its lead­er­ship po­si­tion in the mar­ket. This year Bee­tel’s rev­enues and sales have in­creased due to its in­ter­na­tional fo­cus ie, Africa. The com­pany’s

rev­enue is pegged at R 119 crore in FY12. Bee­tel Teletech’s cus­tomers in­clude air­tel, Tata Teleser­vices and MTNL.

ITI (In­dian Tele­phone In­dus­tries) had nil sales and rev­enues from fixed­line. There were no or­ders from BSNL, MTNL and the de­fense sec­tor. Non-re­ceipt of ex­pan­sion or­ders for GSM projects and non-fi­nal­iYa­tion of gov­ern­ment projects like broad­band for ru­ral pan­chay­ats and Net­work for Spec­trum (NFS) and ASCON project re­sulted it in no growth this fis­cal year.

ITI is very am­bi­tious though its rev­enues fell in fixed­line. Among its ma­jor dy­namic plans, ITI is plan­ning to take up man­u­fac­tur­ing, in­stal­la­tion F com­mis­sion­ing of the equip­ments which is in line with the gov­ern­ment’s mis­sion to pro­vide broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity to ru­ral masses. Tech­nol­ogy for the man­u­fac­ture of GPON is availed from C-DOT. The Min­istry of Hu­man Re­source De­vel­op­ment, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, has recog­niYed ITI as the leading agency for man­u­fac­ture and sup­ply of the low-cost tablet PCs to the stu­dent com­mu­nity of the coun­try at a cost of less than R 2,000 per piece. The es­ti­mated quan­tity is around 50-100 mn num­bers in 2 to 3 years; to meet this huge de­mand, ITI is plan­ning to take up man­u­fac­ture of these PCs at all ITI plants. ITI has suc­cess­fully ex­e­cuted 9 mn lines or­der of GSM west Yone and 9 mn lines or­der of GSM south Yone from BSNL.

In the ar­ray of fixed wire­less phone prod­ucts Siemens has launched Gi­gaset pro­fes­sional and op­tiPoint PL2 pro­fes- sional phones. In the fixed wire­line phone seg­ment it has launched OpenS­tage phone, avail­able for both TDM and IP en­vi­ron­ments. It is a stylish desk­top phone. Its key fea­tures in­clude best voice qual­ity, touch sen­si­tive con­trols, pro­vides in­ter­op­er­abil­ity, sup­ports SIP voice com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it has built-in blue­tooth for hands free op­er­a­tion. It is cus­tomiYable with per­sonal phone book along with pic­tures, dig­i­tal photo frame ca­pa­bil­ity, down­load­able MP3 ring­tones.

BPL Tele­com’s cur­rent range in­cludes 24 mod­els of fixed phones with price range start­ing from R 300 to R 2,500 and sev­eral cord­less phones. It will in­tro­duce few new mod­els and also a new prod­uct range re­lated to com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

A Stroke of Luck

In the present sce­nario, the In­dian fixed phone mar­ket is pri­mar­ily driven by Caller Line Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion (CLI) and cord­less phone seg­ments. The mar­ket for fixed­line phones in In­dia is stag­nant. The CLI and cord­less seg­ments are show­ing mar­ginal growth, and are set to spear­head the growth in the fixed­line phone mar­ket.

Rev­enue from voice ser­vices will con­tinue to dom­i­nate the over­all fixed­line ser­vices in In­dia but its con­tri­bu­tion is ex­pected to go down sig­nif­i­cantly. The con­nec­tion and call­ing rev­enue is fall­ing slowly. Rev­enue from broad­band ser­vices is sig­nif­i­cantly con­tribut­ing to the over­all growth of fixed­line ser­vices in In­dia, with a growth of 25% from 2008 to 2013. High-end fixed tele­phones which are even wire­less uses broad­band modems that of­fer high speed in­ter­net con­nec­tion, by­pass­ing the tele­phone sys­tem.

The fixed phone seg­ment is con­sis­tently in­no­vat­ing prod­ucts with value added fea­tures like in­ter­net browsing, tex­tIpic­ture mes­sag­ing or in­te­grated cam­era to at­tract con­sumers. Its other fea­tures in­clude poly­phonic ring­tones. Also, FM ra­dio is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as cus­tomers are look­ing for ad­di­tional fea­tures on their fixed­line phones. In the cord­less phone seg­ment, the thrust is on sleek and slim mod­els with fea­tures like phone book, 3-way con­fer­ence calls, and 2.4 GhY dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

Dig­i­tal En­hanced Cord­less Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy has long range, re­duced in­ter­fer­ence and Link-to-Cell tech­nol­ogy en­abled phones con­nects cord­less phone sys­tems to Blue­tooth-en­abled cel­lu­lar phones. As tech­nol­ogy ad­vanced, cen­tral of­fices of­fered more ser­vices and their tech­ni­cal abil­i­ties im­proved. Ser­vices such as Caller ID, call re­turn call-wait­ing, three-way call­ing, and voice-mail were of­fered via cen­tral of­fice-based tech­nol­ogy al­though later PBXs also pro­vided them.

The mar­ket is fo­cus­ing on the re­place­ment buyer by way of newer prod­ucts and fea­tures, driv­ing deeper prod­uct pen­e­tra­tion into cor­po­rate and in­sti­tu­tional buy­ers and by work­ing closely with the EPABX ven­dors.

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