“In the 5G Era, Wireless Access will be Ubiquitous”: Sooktha


As the telecoms world is inching towards embracing 5G – deploying and managing 5G networks will be radically different from the way cellular wireless networks are being managed now and Sooktha Consulting is ready to make its mark in the 5G space.

Balaji Rangaswamy, Managing Director and CEO, Sooktha Consulting Pvt. Ltd interacts with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s strategy to drive development towards 5G and be ready with its set of innovations.

What are the key priorities for Sooktha today?

The key priorities for Sooktha today are to continue leveraging our 4G LTE eNodeB and EPC solutions in multiple segments and to execute on our 5G development plan effectively to be ready for trials by the end of the year.

How does the company look at the emerging trends in the wireless access segment? 

We see continued investment in LTE not only in the consumer broadband space but in niche segments like Rural Broadband, Public Safety, Defense, Railways, and Industry.  Smart Cities, Smart Grids, and Smart Meters will be enabled by the Narrow Band Cellular Internet of Things technology (NB IoT) standard. In the consumer broadband space we see continued demands for capacity leading to even further densification of cells in urban spaces.

5G opens up the opportunity for more verticals and has well defined migration options so that the investment in LTE is protected. We see LTE being around for the next decade while being increasingly supplemented by 5G.

There is also a move towards virtualization and cloud architectures in the wireless access segment.

What is the company doing to tap on the big opportunities in this space?

We have an end-to-end portfolio of solutions in 4G LTE access space, which is further being augmented by the development of our own baseband software and hardware this year (we were earlier dependent on third parties for these). We are building on this extensive portfolio to offer early 5G solutions and gain first mover advantage. We will be showcasing our solutions in multiple forums globally this year and engaging in lab and field trials with a number of prospective customers.

What kinds of innovations are being driven by Sooktha today and what are your plans to drive further ahead on the road to innovations?

Sooktha is focusing on the cloud architecture for wireless access and also developing solutions that can address various deployment scenarios and the challenges that are unique to each of them. We are building end-to-end test beds in our labs this year to give us the freedom to experiment and continue to drive innovation at a rapid pace.

Please share details on your go to market strategy? What are the key markets that you are targeting?

We have a number of go-to-market options. The approach that we take depends on the specific opportunity. The standard model we would adopt would be use a contract manufacturer (CM) to mass-produce our designs. In the higher volume opportunities we would have a large OEM or System Integrator sell our products, which we would offer to them as white-label products. We may also brand, sell, and support directly for lower volume opportunities and niche segments.

We are primarily targeting the India region for our 4G LTE solutions where we aim to address both the consumer broadband space as well as cater to the requirements of the defense and public sectors. We will expand our market base to South East Asia, Africa and Tier-2 operators and MVNOs globally in the coming years.

We will offer end-to-end NB-IoT solutions in the India and China markets. We will continue to offer our solutions to the Test & Measurement requirements globally.

How do you look towards the development of 5G today? What role will be played by wireless access in 5G era??

5G specifications are still being finalized. We expect that the development of 5G solutions will happen in this year and the next with first roll outs happening in 2020. 5G is highly flexible and supports a wide variety of applications and network architectures. There is a very determined move towards virtualization. Deploying and managing 5G networks will be radically different from the way cellular wireless networks are being managed now. So how the legacy networks will co-exist with the new 5G architecture and now the two network architectures will be blended and managed will be interesting to watch unfold.

In the 5G era, wireless access will be ubiquitous. It will revolutionize the way we live with concepts such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality being supported over cellular wireless access networks. Higher bandwidths will allow more rich and high-definition content to be delivered to us.

Everything – humans and all the devices, gadgets, and machines we use will be wirelessly connected. Secure communications will be more critical than ever. Managing this wide variety of applications will be a new challenge that the industry has to address. Network operators will continue to move beyond offering a data pipe and will instead offer more and more content, applications, and services.