Are you ready for 2016?
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.