UTStartcom, The telecom infrastructure major is quite bullish on Indian WiFi market and has predicted that by the end of 2015 around 20 Indian cities would be fully covered by public WiFi networks. The companies bullishness doesn’t just end here, it has plans to invest almost 1/3 rd of it total global investment budget into Indian operations!
“WiFi will compliment data offload applications, which is something that all operators are implementing worldwide. India also has started (on this). By the end of 2015, WiFi will be a reality in India. It will be there in top 20 cities in India, full coverage,” Rahul Pandey, director – sales (SAARC Countries) at UTStarcom, told IANS.
WiFi is a cost effective and a high-frequency wireless local area network technology. UTStarcom, is a Hong Kong based company which is engaged in the deployment of telecom infrastructure in various countries. It worked up a $160 million revenue in 2013, with Japan being its biggest market, closely followed by India.
The company provides various broadband solutions to its customers, mainly big telecom operators across globe. Th areas of key focus for UTStarcom in India going ahead will be National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN), Smartcities, Digital India and Carrier WiFi to name a few.
“After 2G, everyone (operators) came to 3G and paid for spectrum. There will be a stage they will be running out of spectrum to expand. So, that is the time, typically, when WiFi comes in,” UTStarcom chief executive officer William Wong told IANS.
“When WiFi comes in, the cost of carrying data will be around one-tenth. If they want to offload the traffic on 3G or 4G and move it to WiFi, the operating expenses will be dramatically reduced. That’s what exactly we see in Japan,” he added.
UTStarcom claims that it is already working in tandem with some of the leading Indian mobile operators. The company declined to divulge the name of operator, however said that some of them have already started offloading their data traffic over WiFi networks.
It all started when company representatives met Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg in September last year. Soon after PM Modi’s visit to Japan, Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad visited Japan and examined the UTStarcom’s deployment there. Indian govt. has shown keen interest in the speedy roll out of WiFi services across the nation.
The company is particularly focused about the govt’s NOFN initiative, that will help ease the WiFi deployment in rural areas. With NOFN, around 600 million Indians spread across 2,50,000 gram panchayats will be linked to WiFi networks through broadband optical fibre network.
UTStarcom believes that spectrum for mobile networks is limited and telecom industry is grappling due to it. WiFi could solve this problem at a fraction of the cost of traditional deployment over mobile networks.
“Now we are looking at the government for acceleration in deployment in both public and private sectors. The Modi government is active in connecting not just the Metros but also rural areas. So, I believe they are taking the right steps. So India can catch up on the global stage,” Shalin Shah, general manager, India operations, UTStarcom, told IANS.