“We want to enable an ecosystem for OTT broadband services in India”


The UK based New Call Telecom has already initiated its plans to invest $100 million over the next 18 months in India. The company is looking forward to creation of an ecosystem for over-the-top (OTT) broadband services in India and create better value for its set of customers.

Nigel Eastwood, CEO, New Call Telecom speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com on the present focus of the company and its future plans for India.

Nigel Eastwood CEO NewCall Telecom

How important is the Indian market for New Call Telecom? What kind of growth are you looking at?

New Call Telecom, the sixth largest residential ISP in the UK, plans to invest $100 million over the next 18 months in India towards strategic acquisitions of four mid-level telecom companies to enter the fixed line connectivity, Wi-Fi and messaging domains.

We are looking at an ecosystem for over-the-top (OTT) broadband services in the country, leveraging the existing service provider infrastructure with revenue sharing through various innovative business models by identifying synergies across a number of different existing businesses. Our first acquisition in the country has been mobile messaging powerhouse Nimbuzz with 200 million registered users and growing fast.

We are also exploring the e-commerce segment in the country going ahead. Under our medium to long-term strategy, we would be looking at building synergies around our different business areas involving data analytics and e-commerce, thus, developing a unified communications platform.

What would the broad strategy that the company will have for the India telecom market in the coming year?

We aim to offer fixed-line broadband and public Wi-Fi services in the country. Our initial focus for 12-24 months will be on metro cities, since there is a concentration of subscribers in these cities. Moving forward, we would be tapping the semi -rural and rural areas of the country for the internet services.

Please share your opinion on Trends and outlook for the telecom market for 2015.

Here’s some of the trends that I feel will be prominent in the coming year:

1. Data consumption will continue to grow across 2G, 3G, fixed broadband and 4G. India will see Wi-Fi rollouts that will facilitate growth. Although challenges will remain with introducing localized content en masse, but with smartphone penetration on the rise and network quality set to improve, many of the requirements for data growth will be met.
2. Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud: As has been seen in 2014, operators will attempt to integrate services more closely with social media platforms, and start introducing advanced analytics through big data in order to get a 360-degree understanding of customer behavior. This data will really help e-commerce companies and many other FMCG and retail brands connect with consumers. Enterprise players will increase their focus on collaborating for solutions in areas such as healthcare, logistics and financial services, though we see this as a two to three year play.
3. Network expansion will continue to increase: With new revenue growth to come from rural voice and customers demanding better quality, network expansion and upgrade will pick up.

What could be some of the unique opportunities that the India telecom market presents and where can you help in realizing these opportunities?

With India preparing for the next level of growth through ambitious projects like Digital India by 2019 and 100 Smart Cities by 2022, The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in India, as well as sectors like Agriculture, Banking, Education, and Healthcare which will leverage ICT to improve service delivery, is set for the next level of growth. The small and medium business (SMBs) in India, a major contributor to Indian GDP, also will gain immensely from these initiatives. Once accomplished, these projects will make the Networked India concept a reality by eliminating the digital divide between the urban and rural population and enabling service delivery through digital channels.

There is an absolute need of a broadband operator focused on small and medium sized business, since all telecom operators are focused on big enterprises. The segment needs a robust broadband network that provides services as per their needs. We are addressing the market and looking to partner with a company that targets the need in the space and address the problem in terms of connectivity.

The fixed line infrastructure in India is may be 5-10 years behind the U.K and the Western countries in the small and medium business segment. We hope to rollout applications, developed by Nimbuzz to address the needs of small business users in terms of connectivity and enabling e-commerce for them.

New Call is in a unique position to create next-generation internet operation. We find ourselves in a space where we have got huge interest in the business. We are developing app ecosystem with consumers in mind and developing applications that answer the problem in the telco internet area. We are also looking at opportunities such as Big Data and Money Transfer to complement the internet centric play in the country.