“We are in discussions with Indian Telcos on the Disruptive Open RAN Technology”: Mavenir


TelecomDrive.com  | Spotlight on Future-Ready Telecoms

After having entrenched itself firmly in the Indian telecom space – Mavenir is engaged with all major Indian telcos when it comes to bringing innovative telecom solutions that are ideally suited for the Indian customers.

As part of our spotlight on future-ready telecoms interactions – Sanjay Bakaya, Regional Vice President, India & South Asia, Mavenir speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current focus of activities and its future plans.

What are the key focus areas where Mavenir is putting its effort today?

Mavenir brings End to End 100% Open platform for hardware and virtualized software solution for network Infrastructure to Indian Telecom Operators. These solutions are state of the art virtualized for voice & data core, Radio Access Network (RAN), Messaging and Rich Communication Services. NFVI based solution provided by Mavenir results in de-coupling software and hardware.

Operators have the flexibility to deploy Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) hardware which leads to substantial TCO savings which are not achievable by erstwhile “locked in” hardware-software solutions. Mavenir’s Bangalore R&D has research and development expertise on Mavenir’s core and RAN solution portfolio. It also renders support to global operators.

How do you look at the fast emerging trend of digital transformation and whats your proposition to drive this transformation for telecoms?

Digital transformation has become a pre-requisite to succeed in the new world order where data is the new currency. Digital transformation encompasses the entire value chain from end customer experience to the internal organization fulfillment processes. Indian Communication Service providers have already commenced Digital Transformation across their operations in IT & Networks domain.

This transformation approach is potentially of two stages. The digital transformation towards the end user experience & connect points is the first step. Service providers have already embarked on this journey and have taken big strides.

This journey aims to have a seamless digital experience for subscribers for their service needs across multiple offerings of mobile services, DTH, Fixed & Broadband Services. OSS, BSS & analytics platforms play a significant role in realizing various aspects of this first step. The second step, which typically also goes in parallel, involves the transformation of network & fulfillment of subscriber demands. Software-defined Networking, elastic capacity with scale-in & scale-out and software-centric virtualized solutions are key building blocks for this step.

As telecom operators embrace 5G – in your opinion, how can they do so in the most cost-effective manner?

5G opens up use cases and multiple new revenue streams as it is an enabler to IoT. Cost-effectiveness for 5G will happen with economies of scale and volume availability of eco-system (network, devices and IoT sensors).

With the US leading the 5G rollout which would soon spread in Korea, Japan, Europe & Australia in the next 12 months, we expect 5G mass proliferation to begin in about 2 years from now. This would sharply bring costs down due to the scale effect. The impetus to local and indigenous solutions in IoT would be key for low-cost applications of 5G suited for Indian diaspora and industry use cases.

From a network perspective, de-coupling of hardware and software to get the lowest cost proposition for volume deployments will be a key push for operators. We expect 100% of VNFs to move to Cloud Native functions bringing in hitherto unheard of cost efficiencies.

What are some of the big challenges that you see in front of the industry today? How can these challenges be solved?

Some of the lowest global ARPUs & challenging cost levels are unsustainable in the long term for operators. Relying on legacy systems and not investing in future technologies is a vicious trap. Changing consumer behavior with data-heavy focus is pushing operators to rework their network strategy. The operators must redefine themselves in this new age. Competition with OTT and expanding the services bouquet with tie-ups with content providers will become a norm. Solo voice and data pipe value proposition will not be enough.

How do you look at the Indian market? How important is this market for the company today?

Indian market post consolidation has resulted in 3-4 global mega-carriers. Data growth in India over the last 18 months has catapulted the country to one of the highest mobile data consumption markets in the world.

Low ARPUs despite large volume base is putting pressure on the operator’s bottomlines since last 6-8 quarters. Market disruption has happened and operators need to move even faster by unshackling past engagement and procurement norms to lower their TCO to stay competitive and relevant. Legacy technology & partnerships may not be able to break the ice and bold decision making by CXOs is required.

Please share details on your go to market strategy for India?

Our go to market strategy is to transform mobile network economics of communication service providers in India through cost reduction, revenue protection, and revenue generation opportunities. This strategy is most relevant in today’s context due to the highest consumption of data while India’s price per GB is lowest in the world per month.

How has been the company’s engagement with operators in India so far? How is the road ahead shaping up here?

Mavenir is engaged with all major Indian telcos viz. Bharti Airtel, BSNL, RJio & Vodafone Idea Limited. Mavenir has existing business across voice & data core (with IMS-VoLTE) and messaging with major operators and is in detailed discussions on disruptive open RAN technology.

Please share your future plans for India?

Our plan in the next 12 to 18 months is to be one of the most preferred partners of operators in India for the transformation of network infrastructure economics. We will continue to grow India centre at Bangalore as a global hub for R&D and technical support. We will enhance our efforts on localization to enable the growth of the Indian telecom industry in both software, services and manufacturing.