Are you ready for 2016?

Voice&Data - - EDITORIAL -

Year 2015 has been a year of many tip­ping points for the tele­com in­dus­try in In­dia. Broad­band, rather mo­bile broad­band, got its right­ful place as the mod­ern life’s ne­ces­sity along with roti, kapda aur makaan. The shift from voice to data traf­fic picked up steam, driven by smart­phone de­vices raining in In­dia mar­ket, which in turn fu­elled de­mand for data – set­ting up a tan­ta­liz­ing de­mand cy­cle, and a po­ten­tial for eco­nomic growth. With such heady level of ex­pec­ta­tion, a lot of it fu­elled by the back­drop of dreams of Dig­i­tal In­dia, that Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi painted across the coun­try in his run up to the Gen­eral Elec­tions, the year was a breeze. There never was a dull mo­ment. The na­tion wanted Net Neu­tral­ity and said so in over a mil­lion emails to the reg­u­la­tor. Qual­ity of Ser­vice is­sues got ex­pressed in 140-char­ac­ters, many times over. Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity of In­dia chased dis­rup­tive changes, to understand what it is, in or­der to frame poli­cies to keep it all sane and fair for all. In­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion be­gan to show form and struc­ture… (Read more on the News­mak­ers of 2015 - page 15) Given the eco­nomic shift or en­able­ment that is hap­pen­ing with data explosion, there is a lot to keep up to and more just keeps com­ing up… m-commerce, m-health, m-ed­u­ca­tion, m-pay­ments… Tele­com com­pa­nies need to trans­form. Stay­ing rel­e­vant and in busi­ness, prof­itably, is go­ing to be a chal­lenge. At a re­cently con­cluded net­work­ing con­fer­ence, in Dal­las, the emerg­ing “Third Net­work” plat­form seemed to have all the an­swers. It promised agility and mon­e­ti­za­tion for the fu­ture that can­not be fore­casted. Lean­ing heav­ily on the flex­i­ble re­quire­ments-based ap­proach, tel­cos need to get ready for life at the in­ter­con­nec­tion of cloud, In­ter­net of Things and the un­der­ly­ing tele­com in­fra­struc­ture. Clearly this re­quires a ma­jor tech­nol­ogy over­haul, which on an av­er­age will take at least five years to op­er­a­tional­ize and give rea­son­able re­turns for any in­cum­bent op­er­a­tor. In that light, Bharti Air­tel’s re­cently an­nounced $9 bil­lion “Project Leap” for net­work trans­for­ma­tion is hardly a show of strength in the face of emer­gent new com­peti­tor RJio. It’s a ba­sic busi­ness re­quire­ment to keep the cus­tomer. Though have to ap­pre­ci­ate RJio for push­ing the mar­ket to bet­ter its offering. A telco that wants to de­liver, needs to buckle up in readi­ness for the IoT era that is to be­come per­va­sive in the com­ing decade. We are all set for a shape shift­ing tele­com land­scape in 2016.

Good­bye 2015!

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