Trans­for­ma­tion is a Must

Tel­cos are sad­dled with legacy net­works, in­clud­ing 3G, which are fast be­com­ing in­ad­e­quate in meet­ing the mo­bile data needs of an ul­tra-com­modi­tized band­width era


The last one-year has seen mo­bile net­works be­com­ing even more het­ero­ge­neous due to a pick-up in the 4G roll­out mo­men­tum, which in­creases the com­plex­ity in terms of their man­age­ment. This makes tele­com man­aged ser­vices es­sen­tial to a smooth run­ning of the mo­bile net­works and hence de­liv­ery of ser­vices to the end cus­tomers.

Tech­nol­ogy Trends

Het­ero­ge­neous net­works, also known as HetNets are very much a tech­no­log­i­cal re­al­ity to­day, and that is un­likely to change any­time soon in near fu­ture, even though a cou­ple of tel­cos are mak­ing con­certed ef­forts to sim­plify the net­works. Ear­lier, mostly 3G net­works had to co­ex­ist with 2G, GPRS and EDGE net­works (apart from a shrink­ing base of CDMA net­works). How­ever, the en­try of green­field be­he­moth Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm has ac­cel­er­ated the ad­vent of 4G LTE net­works, as there has been added pres­sure on the ma­jor in­cum­bents to in­crease their 4G LTE foot­prints in or­der to ward off any com­pet­i­tive threats.

Ma­jor govern­ment-led pro­grams like Dig­i­tal In­dia and Smart Cities have also prompted tel­cos to beef up their tech­no­log­i­cal and net­work ca­pa­bil­i­ties, in or­der to be able to reap fuller ben­e­fits of th­ese pro­grams. In fact, Re­liance Jio is strate­gi­cally po­si­tion­ing it­self as a dig­i­tal con­tent and ser­vices com­pany rather than a tele­com ser­vice provider and would be in­vest­ing around Rs 250,000 crore to build its ‘dig­i­tal pil­lars.’

The lead­ing in­cum­bent, Bharti Air­tel in Novem­ber 2015 an­nounced its mas­sive net­work trans­for­ma­tion pro­gram Project Leap. It com­mit­ted Rs 60,000 crore over a pe­riod of three years as part of the pro­gram, which among other things would see a de­ploy­ment of 70,000 base sta­tions within the first year. Air­tel said it would swap its legacy net­works and base sta­tions over a three-year pe­riod and re­place them with smaller, more com­pact and ef­fi­cient tech­nolo­gies that will sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. The ser­vice provider noted that all th­ese mod­ern base sta­tions would use a sin­gle ra­dio ac­cess net­work to man­age mul­ti­ple spec­trum bands.

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