Convergence Plus
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Sterlite Tech Steps into Telecom Network Solutions, Plans to Supplement Fibre Growth in the Country

Sterlite Tech Steps into Telecom Network Solutions, Plans to Supplement Fibre Growth in the CountrySterlite Tech, a company owned by Vedanta Resources has stepped into the telecom network market after making its name in the fibre manufacturing segment. The company has made its foray into the sector by presenting a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its latest product as Reliance Jio’s solution for last mile connectivity. In its statement to ET, group chief executive of Sterlite Tech said, “We are looking beyond fibre. We now design end-to-end network solutions for fibre-to-the-home, fibre-to-the-enterprise, and fibre-to-the-small cells.”

The executive further added that the company would not only cater to fibre but would also provide end equipment, software and deployment solution to the telco. Notably, Sterlite tech is based out of Pune and is right now engaged in the work of making a proof of concept of Fibre to the last mile or FFTx as a service platform for the Mukesh Ambani led telco.

Sterlite Ventures in Designing and Building Networks
He further added that the company would focus more on the access part of telecom networks in which the application of fibre is increasing day by day owing to the open source hardware and software. As per his statement, the easy availability of these hardware and software resources has resulted in the present scenario of network management.

Another thing which has worked in favour of the company is its merger with Elitecore Technologies in 2015 which has positioned it to market Operations Support Services (OSS) and Business Support Services (BSS) solutions to telecom giants in the Indian market. However, now the company has also arrived on the turf to compete with the likes of Cisco, Amdocs, Ciena and Juniper Networks and even, Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia.

As per the described work, the giant is involved in catering to the optic fibre infrastructure, Wi-Fi systems, software services, in-building solutions, managed services and Ethernet network services to the telcos. As per a top executive, the company designs and deploys network solutions for the telecom operators. Besides, Sterlite is also working with the former market leader, Bharti Airtel and the other telecom giant, Vodafone Idea on a pilot project.

Agrawal further said about this new development, “For Jio’s 1,100 cities and 50 million homes, fibre is the key, and for doing that, the execution plays a major role, and a part of our solutions work towards faster execution together with our hardware capability.”

Sterlite to Power Reliance Jio’s Goals
With its fibre based solutions, Sterlite is looking forward to powering Reliance Jio’s audacious goals of connecting many cities with the help of its Reliance Jio GigaFiber service which will bring FTTH, router, set top box and content services to the subscribers. Further, the telecom wing of the Mukesh Ambani led company is looking to expand to 1,500 cities to bring 30 million merchants and small and medium business owners under its subscriber base.

Analysts have also affirmed the ongoings in the two industries saying that the partnership between these two Indian companies is undoubtedly bound to bolster growth in the fibre sector. Further, Reliance Jio has expressed its willingness to take India in the top three spot, when it comes to fixed-line-broadband services. The partnership would also be in line with Modi’s Make in India initiative, the analysts remarked. Sterlite has also reported that the production of fibre has now doubled on the back of a brimming order book with the current capacity being 50 million route kilometre (rkm). The company had also reported a revenue of Rs 3,244 crore for the FY ending in March 2018.

The officials of the fibre manufacturing giant have also expressed interest in the government’s push for Wi-Fi, rural, connectivity and fibre. The executive also said that the company would explore holistic opportunities as telcos venture into rural areas, bringing all these services to a much larger pool of potential customers. As per an ET report, 48% of its revenue comes from the global business while the year on year rate of growth, according to Agrawal’s statement is currently 29% for the company. The company has also recently bagged the contract worth Rs 3,500 by the Indian Navy to design, build, operate and maintain its digital network.(Source: TelecomTalk)

Tech Mahindra looks at global 5G rollouts as huge opportunity

Tech Mahindra looks at global 5G rollouts as huge opportunity "On the telecom side, our visibility is that it will show a gradual growth from now on, the trajectory is right and we should be able to sustain it," said C P Gurnani. Fifth biggest domestic tech company Tech Mahindra is looking at upcoming 5G rollouts in global markets as a big opportunity and is on the right trajectory in its communications vertical to achieve 'gradual growth' from now on, a top official has said.

In the recent past, communications, which has traditionally been the mainstay for the company, had delivered mixed results due to difficulties faced by the sector around the world, but the company surprised with a 4 per cent growth in revenue in the September quarter compared to the preceding three months.

"On the telecom side, our visibility is that it will show a gradual growth from now on, the trajectory is right and we should be able to sustain it," chief executive and managing director C P Gurnani told PTI recently.

He, however, made it clear that achieving 4 per cent growth quarter-on-quarter is not possible.

The communication vertical accounted for 41.5 per cent of its Rs 8,629 crore revenue in the September quarter. The revenue share of the segment had stood at 45.2 per cent in Q1FY18, which had steadily declined to 39.6 per cent by Q1FY19 before going up.

Gurnani singled out the upcoming 5G technologies as an opportunity for the company to grow, saying many countries have allocated spectrum in the newest technology to telcos.

He said the ability to offer virtualisation is a strength that TechM has in the segment and it will be bidding for upcoming contracts.

When asked about the domestic telecom business, Gurnani said all the companies have invested in spectrum and will be looking at monetising their investments at some point of time, but declined to specify an outlook.

Even though he did not wish to give a guidance on revenue growth, Gurnani said the company is committed to grow at 8-10 per cent per year.

Chief operating officer L Ravichandran said hiring has not grown in proportion to the revenue growth due to greater automation and added that a bulk of the recent hiring has been of freshers.

The company has hired 3,000 in the first half of the fiscal, including 2,200 in the first quarter, he said, adding it is looking to hire more people.

The company is working on ways to up the margins, including automation, increasing utilisation, more efforts on training so that employees can start working on projects quickly and pursuing the right business mix, he said.(Source:ETTelecom)

Sterlite forays into telecom access solutions, teams up with Reliance Jio for last mile fibre connectivity

Sterlite forays into telecom access solutions, teams up with Reliance Jio for last mile fibre connectivityThe Pune-based company, according to the top executive, is currently doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its newly-unveiled fibre-to-the-last mile or FTTx as a service platform with the India's third-largest telco. Homegrown fibre manufacturer Sterlite Tech, a Vedanta Resourcescompany has entered into telecom network market to provide integrated services to telcos, and is currently doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its newly-unveiled fibre to the last mile solution with Reliance Jio.

“We are looking beyond fibre. We now design end-to-end network solutions for fibre-to-the-home, fibre-to-the-enterprise, and fibre-to-the-small cells,” Anand Agarwal, group chief executive of Sterlite Tech told ETTelecom, adding that the new portfolio involves end equipment and software as well as a deployment solution.

The Pune-based company, according to the top executive, is currently doing a Proof of Concept (PoC) for its newly-unveiled fibre-to-the-last mile or FTTx as a service platform with the India's third-largest telco.

Agarwal said the company’s activity is centered around the access part of telecom networks which are increasingly becoming fibre-oriented with open-source hardware and software readily available for network management.

The development on the back of Elitecore acquisition, however, would make Sterlite to partially compete with the likes of multinationals such as Cisco, Amdocs, Ciena and Juniper Networks, and as well as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia.

With the telecom software company Elitecore Technologies’ merger in 2015, Sterlite is now well poised to market Operations Support Services (OSS) and Business Support Services (BSS) solutions to telecom companies.

The telecom arm of the mining giant offers optic fibre infrastructure, Wi-Fi systems, in-building solutions, managed services and metro Ethernet network in addition to various software-driven services.

The company, according to the top executive, design and deploy network solutions and besides Mumbai-based Jio, it is also running pilot programs with Sunil Mittal-driven Bharti Airtel as well as recently-merged entity Vodafone Idea.

“For Jio’s 1,100 cities and 50 million homes, fibre is the key and for doing that, the execution plays a major role, and a part of our solutions work towards faster execution together with our hardware capability,” Agarwal said.

The oil-to-telecom conglomerate is aggressively working on home broadband service Jio GigaFiber, which, according to the Mumbai-based company would come with a router as well as a set-top box for TV.

However, Sterlite is already providing fibre to the billionaire Mukesh Ambani's ambitious Jio GigaFiber initiative.

The company's debut of FTTx Mantra or massive agile network transformation solution is aimed to make service operators’ transition to fibre-powered backhaul, much needed to precipitate fourth-generation (4G) technology and upcoming 5G rollouts.

The telecom arm of Reliance Industries is now looking to further expand fibre-based networks to as many as 1,500 cities to connect more than 30 million merchants and small-and-medium businesses in addition to large corporations.

Ambani, however, also said that Jio was determined to move India to be among the top three markets in fixed-line broadband services.

In wireline broadband penetration, India currently ranks at 134th position worldwide.

The capabilities of two domestically-grown companies when combined, according to analysts, would be a win-win situation, and that would also accelerate the country’s economic activity in line with government’s Make in India initiative.

Jio did not respond to an e-mailed query.

On the back of robust order book, the company has almost doubled the fibre production capacity to 50 million route kilometer (rkm).

The company, according to the top executive, sees opportunity in government’s Wi-Fi push, and said that as more telecom networks continue to come to rural India combined with Wi-Fi systems, the company would holistically look into the new opportunity.

In line with the government’s ambition, the telecom industry aims to deploy 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots before the end of 2019 in the country.

For the fiscal ended March 31, 2018, Sterlite had reported a revenue of Rs 3,244 crore.

India currently has less than a quarter of 4.75 lakh tower sites connected to optic fibre while another 100,000 tower sites, according to industry estimates, were needed to cater to the rising data demand.

Sterlite’s 48% revenue comes from the global business while the company, according to Agarwal, is growing at around 29% Year-on-Year. It has recently won the Indian Navy’s Rs 3,500-crore worth deal to design, build, operate and maintain the latter’s digital network. (Source:ETTelecom)

One of the toughest CEO positions is being filled in India

One of the toughest CEO positions is being filled in India WhatsApp has announced that it would appoint the head of its India operations by year-end. There were reports of the company looking for its India head in April too. With WhatsApp messages increasingly being seen as a tool to incite mob violence, the company is under pressure to have a local team with a head. In September, it appointed a grievance officer for India after facing pressure from the government. Now the government has demanded that the officer be stationed in India instead of the US. ..

That will expose the officer to Indian law.

While India CEO of WhatsApp is a covetous position, it comes with its own perils when there is an increasing perception in the government that the company is not doing enough to curb the spread of fake messages that incite violence.

The position of Whatsapp India head might come with personal legal liability. The messaging platform has run into trouble in other parts of the world over messages being circulated on its platform. In 2016, a senior executive of Facebook Inc was arrested in Brazil over a court’s demand that the company provide data from its WhatsApp messaging service to help in a drug-trafficking investigation.

"Our new head of WhatsApp India, who will be named by the end of the year, will build a local team that can serve our customers in India as well as work with partners and government leaders to help keep people safe," WhatsApp said in an email statement to PTI.

In April, WhatsApp released the job description on Facebook: "WhatsApp is seeking an exceptional individual to lead our efforts in India including products for people and businesses along with our interest in peer to peer payments. This is a senior leadership position that requires product experience as well as a track record of success leading partnerships and business development in India. This leader will need to build a close partnership with product and engineering teams to influence direction and to effectively represent WhatsApp’s long term strategy."

WhatsApp came under fire in india following a spate of lynching incidents purportedly triggered by provocative messages circulating on its platform. So much so that Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had warned that WhatsApp could face abetment charges if they did not follow Indian law.

The sticking point between WhatsApp and the government is sharing of user details. The government says it wants only only traceability and not decryption of messages. It wants only location and identification of the sender of WhatsApp messages when such messages lead to provocation of violence. However, the company has said multiple times that ensuring traceability would break its end-to-end encryption standard. In an email interview to ET, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels said the messaging service was unlikely to give up on the “core” issue of maintaining its encryption standards.

WhatsApp India CEO will have to navigate these vexatious issues which will get even more complex in the next year when general elections are scheduled to be held. (Source: Economic Times)

Flipkart India’s loss rises 9-fold amid growth at a fast clip

Flipkart India’s loss rises 9-fold amid growth at a fast clipAlthough the results pertain to the period prior to the Flipkart-Walmart deal, it highlights the challenges Walmart will face in turning around Flipkart amid stiff competition from Amazon India. Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd, the wholesale entity of the country’s largest online retailer owned by US-based Walmart Inc., had a tough 2017-18 with its net loss widening nine-fold, although the company managed to grow its business at a fast pace. The marketplace arm, Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd, however reported narrower losses and a significant pickup in growth, according to regulatory documents sourced from Tofler and Paper.VC.

While Flipkart Internet books commissions on each sale through its app or website, the wholesale unit sources goods and sells them to third-party sellers who, in turn, sell them to shoppers.

Although the results pertain to the period prior to Walmart’s $16-billion buyout of Flipkart, it highlights the challenges the new owner of India’s largest online retailer faces to turn around the company amid a bruising battle for market leadership with Amazon in the world’s fastest-growing economy.

The high-stakes market share battle against Amazon India will require Flipkart to spend heavily to maintain its slender lead over its rival.

For the year ended March 2018, Flipkart India’s revenue rose 39% to ₹21,658 crore from ₹15,569 crore in the year earlier. Net loss widened nine-fold to ₹2,065 crore.

Flipkart attributed the higher losses to a spike in employee benefit expenses, finance costs, and an increase in the purchase of traded goods.

A spokesperson for Flipkart did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the company’s earnings.

In the same period, Flipkart Internet’s revenue rose 36% to ₹3,060 crore from ₹2,253 crore in the previous year. Net loss narrowed to ₹1,159 crore from ₹1,639 crore.

Since Flipkart started out in 2007, the company has adopted a complex corporate structure to accommodate all its subsidiaries, since India bans foreign direct investment in online retail. The two Flipkart entities—Flipkart India and Flipkart Internet—generated roughly ₹24,718 crore in 2017-18 compared to ₹17,822 crore in the previous fiscal.

After Walmart’s buyout of Flipkart in May, the US-based retail giant had disclosed that the Flipkart Group (which includes Myntra and PhonePe) generated gross merchandise value of $7.5 billion (before product returns), with net sales of $4.6 billion, in the last financial year.

In October, Walmart cut its earnings forecast for this year because of losses expected at Flipkart.

Mint had in May reported that Flipkart is likely to burn $2 billion in cash over the next 18 months — an affirmation that sales growth, rather than cutting losses, remains the top priority for the online retailer after its takeover by Walmart.

Both Flipkart and Amazon are expected to spend several billions of dollars over the next 5-10 years in their quest to dominate India. Last week, Amazon highlighted the importance of India to its global ambitions, as it blamed a late Diwali in India for a slowdown in its international sales during the September quarter.(Source: Mint)

Matrix to Showcase its Range of Gateways and IP-PBX at GITEX 2018

Matrix to Showcase its Range of Gateways and IP-PBX at GITEX 2018Matrix Comsec, a leading manufacturer of IP based Phone Systems and Voice Gateways is participating in GITEX Technology Week 2018, Dubai. During this event Matrix will showcase its complete range of Business IP-PBXs, Converged Voice & Data platforms, VoIP & GSM Gateways and new portfolio of IP Communication endpoints.

Here, at this event, Matrix will exhibit its range of Gateways. Based on SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), these Gateways allow easy integration with most of IP-PBX, TDM PBX, Softswitch and Hosted solutions. Award winning series of Matrix Gateways are perfect for enterprise and carrier-class solutions. Starting from a single port VoIP adaptor to high density VoIP-GSM-PRI-FXO/FXS Gateways, Matrix has one stop solution for every business needs. Preloaded with superior voice quality and state-of-the-art routing features, Matrix Gateways are ideal for multi-site connectivity, remote survivability and SIP trunking.

As a major highlight in IP-PBX domain, Matrix will showcase its new Video Conferencing Solution, PARISAT VC - an Enterprise Meeting solution that sets a new benchmark by offering enhanced video and voice capabilities. The Video Conferencing server meets communication needs of modern enterprises to brainstorm ideas and devise effective strategies. Matrix PARISAT VC empowers organizations for faster decision making process and creates enhanced customer experience. Moreover, Matrix will also showcase its Network Management solution – an all-in-one solution for central control of every connected Matrix communication servers and Gateways in the network.

“GITEX is a major technology event bringing ICT professionals on a common platform. Matrix is all set to showcase its latest Telecom solutions at GITEX this year. We look forward to meeting key decision makers and service providers and give them a first-hand experience of our Telecom solutions that are redefining business communications and providing competitive advantage to our customers worldwide.” said Ganesh Jivani, Managing Director, MatrixComsec.

To get a closer look on Matrix Telecom solutions, visit us at booth #Z3-B5 at GITEX 2018 scheduled from October 14-18, Dubai.(Source: Convergence Plus)

Amazon India said to be in talks to pick up a stake in Spencer’s

Amazon India said to be in talks to pick up a stake in Spencer’sE-commerce major Amazon India has begun talks with the RP-SanjivGoenka Group to pick up a stake in Spencer’s Retail, according to sources. Spencer’s is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of the group’s flagship CESC Ltd. The market is also abuzz about Alibaba showing an interest in Spencer’s, which the latter has denied. “We do not comment on market speculations,” said an RP-SanjivGoenka Group spokesperson. Amazon did not respond to queries till the time of going to press.

A Samara Capital- Amazon consortium recently bought out hypermarket chain More from Aditya Birla Retail. Spencer’s, which operates primarily through the hypermarket format, recorded a net loss of ₹129 crore on a turnover of ₹2,012 crore in FY17. It attributed the losses to a rapid network expansion.

Back-end operations
The RP-SanjivGoenka Group has, in the past, maintained that it would look for partners in the back-end, an area where Amazon may fit the bill.

The talks come at a time when the RP-SanjivGoenka Group is on course to demerge Spencer’s from CESC.

On Friday, CESC announced the demerger of its non-power investments into two new companies. Spencer’s will be demerged into RP-SG Retail Ltd. Other non-power ventures including IT companyFirstsource Solutions Ltd will be clubbed under RP-SG Business Process Services Ltd.

The shareholders of CESC will be allotted additional six shares of ₹5 each in RP-SG Retail and two shares of ₹10 each in RP-SG Business Process for every 10 shares of CESC. The record date for the demerger is October 31.

The scheme is based on the company’s proposal in May 2017, which received NCLT approval last week.

According to a CESC release, the demerger of its power business into distribution and generation — as proposed in the original scheme — is pending approval from the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission.(Source: The Hindu Businessline)

Ametek opens technology solution hub in Bengaluru

Ametek opens technology solution hub in Bengaluru$5.5-m centre will be located in Whitefield. Ametek Instruments India, a provider of electronic instruments and electro-mechanical devices has established a technology solutions centre in Bengaluru. Ametek India is a unit of Pennsylvania-based Ametek Inc, with annualised revenue of more than $4.8 billion. The technology solutions centre, with investments of $5.5 million, will be located in Whitefield, Bengaluru, the company said in a statement.

The centre will support the growth of its electronic instrument and electro-mechanical products businesses in India and will design new products, train, service and calibrate devices the statement added.

“It represents a significant expansion of our technical and support capabilities in India and reflects the importance of our growing customer base in India. We now can provide customers with a wider range of services and support, including product demonstrations, training seminars and application workshops, along with factory-direct service, repair and support,” said Milind Palsule, Ametek Managing Director for India and West Asia.

Ametek has been present in India for a decade and its products are used by companies in aerospace, automotive manufacturing, energy production, glass, metal and steel processing; industrial and academic research; precision manufacturing, and other technology associated areas.(Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Qualcomm to invest $400 mn for setting up campus in Hyderabad

Qualcomm to invest $400 mn for setting up campus in HyderabadQualcomm has outlined plans to invest $400 million (about Rs 3,000 crore) to set up their campus in Hyderabad. This will be one of the largest investments by a marquee company, after the formation of Telangana in June 2014. Phase-1 of the project will include built-up space of 1.7 million sqft, housing about 10,000 employees. Vice-President of Engineering for Qualcomm, Shashi Reddy, and Director for Operations, Chandra ShekarKumili, informed State IT Minister, K. T. Rama Rao, about growth plans for Qualcomm in the city during a meeting on Saturday. Qualcomm, as a leading tech innovator, has played a key role in driving the wireless revolution by making mobile communications more accessible and affordable.

The facility in Hyderabad will be Qualcomm's largest campus globally after its San Diego headquarters, and the $400 million investment would be its largest globally.

The tech major leads in 5G and it envisions the next big change in cellular technology, spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of healthcare services and IoT.

Qualcomm, which proposes to start work on its campus in 2019, has a presence in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai. In Hyderabad since 2004, the company has expanded across multiple floors in six leased buildings, with a head-count of about 4,000 employees. Qualcomm’s campus and investment plan would give a boost to electronics and semi-conductor investment in the city. Earlier Micron, a semiconductor and a storage solutions company, had announced plans for a big presence in the city.

K.T. Rama Rao said: “By setting up its mega campus in Hyderabad and its largest globally after its headquarters in San Diego, Qualcomm now joins an elite list of companies to have their largest presence globally outside their headquarters, in Hyderabad. We have Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and now Qualcomm. This list will only increase as there are a few more companies that we are working with actively. This is indeed a big boost to the state of Telangana, the electronics and semiconductors industry and the ecosystem of operators, OEMs, regulators, start-ups and R&D engineers.”

Qualcomm Development Center engages in the areas of driving technology leadership in 5G, IoT, and Mobile Platforms (Snapdragon) Research, development of Qualcomm chipsets and support in commercialisation of advanced wireless modems and satellite communication, among other areas.

Headquartered in San Diego, Qualcomm has a market capitalisation of over $100 billion and has 167 offices and R&D and development centres around the world, including multiple sites in the US, India, Israel, Singapore, China, and Western Europe. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

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