Convergence Plus
Reports
Saturday, May 8, 2021
IT Cos Turn to Low-code Tech as Clients Seek Simpler Solutions

Damages to telecom towersInterest in no-code technology rising in pandemic as cos rush to create easier apps for customers

Indian IT services providers are seeing increased traction for low-code, no-code technology solutions, as clients look to build and customise their own applications.

Low-code, no-code solutions are ones that do not require coding to build an application. They allow non-technical professionals, or citizen developers, to quickly build apps through simple drag and drop features and user-friendly layouts. According to industry experts, the Covid-19 pandemic heightened interest in low-code, no-code technology as companies scurried to create digital applications for customers.

Businesses have started using such technology as non-technical executives, or citizen developers, are creating applications at a time when entire workforces have shifted to a remote working model.

“What we’re seeing more and more is what we call low-code, no-code work. You see more and more automation, more machine learning, artificial intelligence. These technology elements are going to impact the business model, because the way they interact with clients is going to be automated, is going to be driven by artificial intelligence,” Salil Parekh, chief executive of Infosys, said at a Nasscom conference last week.

Tata Consultancy Services chief operating officer N Ganapathy Subramaniam told ET in a recent interview that such technology has been useful when “rapid prototyping is required” to demonstrate an application to a customer before deploying it across an organisation. “For the purpose of quickly showing something (to the client), you could use the low-code, no-code technology to quickly put together an app to say that, this is the way it (a given platform) could work. One can then refine it, use it and then see whether it can scale,” he said.

While such solutions are predominantly offered by technology leaders such as Microsoft, Amazon, Appian, Pega and ServiceNow, Indian firms like Infosys, HCL Technologies and Tech Mahindra are also building their own low-code, no-code technology. “Indian managed service providers usually partner with pure-play low-code, no code platform vendors as well as with the hyper-scalers that now also offer this capability. They leverage the existing solution platforms to enhance their domain-specific capabilities,” said Mrinal Rai, principal analyst at technology consulting firm ISG.

“There are some exceptions though. Infosys has developed low-code capabilities specifically targeting the banking industry. Tech Mahindra offers its own Phenom solution for low code. HCL announced Domino Volt — a low-code capability solution,” Rai added.

According to a Gartner forecast, low-code will be responsible for over 65% of application development activity by 2024.

Though these tools pose some threat to Indian services firms because they allow companies to build their own applications, analysts said help from services firms would be required to ensure that customer data is safe, especially when non-technical professionals work on this technology. “There is the argument that as low-code, no-code use rises, the need for technical expertise drops – but in reality there will always be a place for firms with talented developers to tackle the really complex technology needs of the modern enterprise,” said Ollie O’ Donoghue, senior analyst at PAC.

Security and governance issues will emerge when such technology is use, for instance when non-technical experts build applications that touch customer data. “A service provider that can help enterprises balance the benefits and risks of the technology in their environment to get the most value will be in high demand,” O’ Donoghue said. (Source: Economic Times)

M5 Technologies Signs India Distribution Agreement with VOIC Networks

Damages to telecom towersM5 Technologies (Formerly Media5 Corporation) leading manufacturer of VOIP media gateways and Enterprise session border controllers join hands with VOIC Networks, India’s Leading ICT Technology distributors to explore the Indian market.

VOIC Networks will promote the complete range of Enterprise session border controller and Media Gateway products and offer full support and training for channel partners and system integrators. At a strategic level, the agreement will allow VOIC Networks to offer Media5 VOIP Media gateway and SBC as a bundle with a range of interoperable UC and CX products brands including Microsoft Teams, Mitel, Genesys, Aspect, Altitude, Unify, and Ericsson.

Mohammed Zameer, Senior VP – M5 Technologies commented “We are very pleased to have VOIC Networks as our distributor in India. In such a crowd market full of challenges and price competition, a strong pairing between Voic network and M5 will be a good choice to explore the business in India. VOIC Networks has proven experience in the VoIP hardware distribution market and offers a high level of support and a comprehensive range of value-added services. We look forward to working with VOIC Networks to grow our India market share.

“We are delighted to be working with M5 who we see as a pioneering player in the Enterprise session border controller and VOIP media gateways. With growing interest in unified communications, we want to work with our channel partners so that their customers get the most out of their investment in technologies such as Microsoft Teams. Our aim is to build a strong partnership with M5 that will address the new and future needs of the unified communications channels and service providers in India” said Rohan Fernandes who heads Partner & Alliances at VOIC Networks.

About M5 Technologies
M5 Technologies ( Formerly Media5 Corporation ) is Canada’s leading IP solutions provider, well-known for its reliable, carrier-grade Mediatrix gateways. With a focus on innovation and excellence in customer support, Media5 delivers highly adaptive hardware and software components for business multimedia communications and collaboration. Media5 is present worldwide with local representatives in North and Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. For more details: https://www.m5t.com/

About VOIC Networks Pvt Ltd
VOIC Networks Pvt Ltd (VNPL), headquartered in New Delhi, India is a privately held company involved in the sales and Technology distribution of VoIP & CTI products. Incorporated in the year 2013, the team had vast experience in providing solutions in the areas of Unified Communication and CTI technologies. VoIC networks have core knowledge and expertise in running distribution business locally and acquiring the customer base globally by providing value addition to their telecom network and solution, moving towards a true GLOBAL company. VNPL is an Authorised India Distributor of Media5, Synway, Yealink, Flying voice, and Fanvil. For more details: C www.voicnetworks.com. (Source: Convergence Plus)

Upgrading Production-Line inspections Efficiency for 5G Devices

Damages to telecom towersSimultaneous Announcement of New 24-port RF Test Module and New Compact Chassis. Anritsu Corporation is pleased to announce the simultaneous February-19 launch of its TRX Test Module MU887002A for upgrading the production-line inspection efficiency for wireless communications devices, including 5G, and its space-saving Universal Wireless Test Set MT8872A.

With 24 RF connectors, the newly developed TRX Test Module MU887002A is a TRX module for installing in both the MT8870A and MT8872A. It supports 5G Sub-6 GHz New Radio (NR) RF tests as well as various other simultaneous wireless communications tests, including WLAN, Bluetooth®, GNSS, etc. As a result, it greatly upgrades the inspection efficiency of production lines for wireless communications devices.

The MT8872A is a measuring instrument for mass-production and is fully compatible with the MT8870A. Its small footprint supports use in narrower spaces than the standard 19” rackmount to save installation space on crowded production lines.

Anritsu expects these new MU887002A and MT8872A solutions to improve mass-productivity on wireless communication device production lines by both saving space and cutting costs. Development Background
The numbers of 5G smartphone subscribers and shipments are continuing to increase with the start of commercial cellular 5G services. In addition, more antennas are being built-into each 5G wireless device to achieve both higher speeds and larger-capacity communications.

In this background, the key issue for wireless-device manufacturers is how to improve worsening production-line inspection efficiency caused by the increasing number of tests of more antennas, and there is high demand for development of a production-line tester to shorten inspection times. Consequently, Anritsu has developed the TRX Test Module MU887002A with 24 RF connectors per module and the space-saving Universal Wireless Test Set MT8872A to solve these issues by improving inspection efficiency of 5G wireless communications devices.

Anritsu Launches New 5G RF Regulatory Test System ME7803NR Solution

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 will not ship with a charger inside box, CEO Lei Jun confirms Optimizing 5G Mobile Radio-Wave Usage. Anritsu Corporation is pleased to announce the late-January start of sales of its new RF Regulatory Test System ME7803NR solution for regulatory compliance testing of 5G communications systems.

The newly developed RF Regulatory Test System ME7803NR uses the Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A as a simulated 5G NR base station in combination with a spectrum analyzer and signal generator to implement ARIB/ETSI/FCC-compliant FR1 RF tests. In addition, the measurement efficiency and quality of 5G terminals are assured by the easy-to-operate GUI and built-in calibration function for improved reliability. It is a platform that can perform spurious tests and interference tests, which are difficult for customers to build their own test environment. The ME7803NR makes it easy to evaluate whether the RF performance of 5G terminals meets regulatory requirements as well as simplifies evaluation of whether radio-waves are being used efficiently or not, helping 5G market penetration.

Anritsu expects its new ME7803NR to play an important role in deploying commercial 5G mobile network services by facilitating the spread of 5G terminals.

Product Outline
The RF Regulatory Test System ME7803NR supports FR1 RF regulatory compliance tests of 5G NR terminals. It is used with the Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A simulating a 5G NR base station, the Radio Communication Analyzer MT8821C operating as an LTE Anchor, and with various other test equipment and dedicated software to implement required 5G RF Regulatory (ARIB/ETSI/FCC) Conducted tests using 5G NR Non-Standalone (NSA) mode call connections.

Key Features
■ Supports World Regional Frequency Bands
Certified North-American, European, and Asian bands as well as other future regional bands to be deployed (5G NR Bands and 5G NSA mode LTE Bands for LTE Anchor) are supported.
■ Maximizes Value of Customers’ Prior Equipment Investment Customers can configure the ME7803NR test system by adding their own Anritsu standalone test equipment, such as the MT8000A, MT8821C, MS2840A/MS2850A, MG3710E, MG3694C, etc., to minimize additional required hardware purchases.
■ Common Regulatory Tests
The MT8000A and MT8821C used by the ME7803NR can share SAR/OTA/EMC tests.
■ Calibration Function for Better Reliability The built-in calibration function for use when changing the connection configuration improves measurement stability and measured value reliability. (Source: Convergence Plus)

Vodafone Idea Q3 net loss narrows to ₹4,532 crore; Arpu rises to ₹121

Damages to telecom towersThe company’s Arpu rose to ₹121 during the three months ended December from ₹119 in the previous quarter, while it was at ₹109 in the year-ago period.

Vodafone Idea Ltd (Vi) reported a net loss of ₹4,532 crore for the December quarter, lower than the ₹6,439 crore a year ago, driven by higher 4G wireless customer additions, improved service quality and cost optimization. India’s third-largest telecom operator by market share had posted a net loss of ₹7,218 crore in the September quarter.

The company said in a statement that its board has also approved fundraising of up to ₹25,000 crore in debt and equity. The company is currently in “active discussions with potential investors", it added.

Vi reported a revenue of ₹10,891 crore in October-December, down from ₹11,089 crore a year ago. However, sequentially, it clocked a marginal 1% improvement in revenue from ₹10,791 crore, due to higher average revenue per user (Arpu).

The company’s Arpu rose to ₹121 in the three months ended December from ₹119 in the September quarter. It had reported Arpu of ₹109 in the year-ago period.

“Revenue is up 1% q-o-q (quarter-on-quarter), supported by improving subscriber mix with higher 4G additions. Superior network performance and launch of unified brand Vi helped in improving subscriber retention," the company said.

In September, the company had announced the launch of the unified brand Vi, over two years after the merger of erstwhile Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd in August 2018. Till the brand integration, the two companies catered to different sets of customers, with Vodafone holding a premium appeal and Idea largely serving the rural user base.

In the December quarter, Vi’s 4G subscriber base expanded to 109.7 million from 106.1 million in July-September and 104.2 million in the year-ago. Re-farming of 2G and 3G spectrum to 4G and upgrading network to 4G also supported customer additions, the company said.

“We continue to invest in 4G to increase our coverage and capacity. We have also started to actively upgrade our 3G network to 4G. During the quarter, we added about 12,000 4G sites primarily through re-farming of 2G/3G spectrum to expand our 4G capacity," it added.

Vi aims to achieve an annual cost savings target of ₹4,000 crore by the end of 2021. It has achieved around 50% of annual savings by the end of Q3FY21, it said. “We remain focused on executing our strategy, and our cost optimization plan remains on track to deliver the targeted savings," said Ravinder Takkar, managing director and chief executive, Vi.

Cost optimization measures, incremental savings on operating expenditure and higher revenue led to improved earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) of ₹4,286 crore during the quarter, from ₹3,421crore in the year ago, and ₹4,152 in July-September. Ebitda margin was up at 39.3% in Q3 versus 30.8% a year ago and 38.5% in the second quarter of FY21. (Source: Mint)

Microsoft seeks to fill void if Google exits Australia: Reports

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 will not ship with a charger inside box, CEO Lei Jun confirms Australia's government has designed a mandatory news media bargaining code that would force Facebook and Google to compensate local publishers for hosting news stories on their platforms.

Microsoft has a "Plan B available" if Google follows through on threats to leave Australia over plans to compel digital giants to pay news organisations for content, local media reported Monday.

Australia's government has designed a mandatory news media bargaining code that would force Facebook and Google to compensate local publishers for hosting news stories on their platforms.

Both US tech firms have threatened to block key services in Australia if the new law goes ahead. Google Australia managing director Mel Silva last week told a parliamentary inquiry the company would withdraw its popular Search function from Australia if the code becomes law.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella contacted Prime Minister Scott Morrison within days to make clear Microsoft's Bing search engine could expand if Google exits, The Australian reported.

The pair spoke last week, the newspaper said, with Nadella reportedly saying Microsoft had a "Plan B available".

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed the call, saying the government was in detailed discussions with "players across the industry".

Australia has reserved the right to impose the code on other platforms and it is unclear whether Microsoft's MSN service, which links to local news stories, could be affected in the future.

"With respect to the current controversy over a potential code of conduct governing Google and Facebook, Microsoft is not directly involved and we wouldn't want to comment on that ongoing process," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been lobbying Australia, contacting Frydenberg last week to discuss the code and its impact on the social media giant.

Frydenberg told the ABC it was a "very constructive discussion" but "Zuckerberg didn't convince me to back down".

Facebook has warned it could block Australian users from sharing local news stories on its platform.

"I don't dismiss the threats but I'm not intimidated by them either," Frydenberg said.

"What I do know is that media businesses should be paid for content. And what I do know is that... whether it's on this issue, whether it's on cyber bullying or terrorist content on the internet, we have been prepared to take on the digital giants."

The law would require Google and Facebook to strike commercial agreements with news organisations or enter mandatory arbitration over the size of payments if they fail to agree.

The world-first proposal is being closely watched as governments grapple with how best to curb the growing power of tech giants.

While it has attracted wide backing from local media outlets, the US government has urged Australia to abandon the "burdensome" plan and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has warned it could make the internet "unworkable". (Source: ETTelecom)

‘4G spectrum only for BSNL's Delhi and Mumbai circles’

Damages to telecom towersGroup of Ministers leaves out MTNL. A Group of Ministers (GoM) has recommended allocation of 4G spectrum only to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in Delhi and Mumbai circles, and not to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), as earlier decided.

This follows the GoM’s recent decision to defer the merger of the two State-owned firms, citing MTNL’s high debt.

With no 4G spectrum, MTNL will have to use BSNL’s radio waves to offer the service. MTNL will continue to provide 2G services using its own spectrum in the two circles it operates. A decision on 4G spectrum allocation will be taken only after the Cabinet decides on the two companies’ merger, sources said. Last week, a GoM chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh deferred the merger as MTNL becoming debt-free was one of the conditions. Now, the Cabinet has to take a formal decision on the merger.

On October 23, 2019, the Government had approved the merger of ailing telecom firms BSNL and MTNL and allocation of 4G spectrum to both. BSNL had sought 2100 MHz spectrum for pan-India operations (except in Rajasthan), while MTNL wanted 1800 MHz for Delhi, and 2100 MHz for Mumbai.

On January 11, the Government said BSNL rose from a loss of ₹3,596 crore for the half-year ended September 2019 to a profit of ₹602 crore in September 2020, while MTNL made profits of ₹276 crore in September 2020 from losses of ₹549 crore in September 2019.

On January 1, 2021, BSNL had invited proposals for prior registration and Proof of Concepts from Indian companies for its 4G tender for 57,000 sites, of which 50,000 are for BSNL and the remaining 7,000 for MTNL.

Meanwhile, a BSNL employees association has called for indefinite hunger fast from February 15, seeking implementation of its executives’ promotions approved by the public sector unit’s board in May 2018. The fast is under the aegis of the Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association, which also wants the management to fill up vacancies following the company’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)

India’s consumer internet market saw ‘swoosh-shaped’ recovery in 2020; to hit $250B GMV in 2025

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 will not ship with a charger inside box, CEO Lei Jun confirms The online grocery market is likely to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $18.2 billion by 2024 with new players such as JioMart now competing with Amazon Pantry, BigBasket, Grofers, and Flipkart Supermart.

India’s teeming consumer internet market, which has the majority of the country’s unicorns such as Paytm, Byju’s, BigBasket, Nykaa, Lenskart, etc., was able to recover beyond the January level in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) terms by the end of 2020. What’s called a ‘swoosh-shaped’ recovery, which looks like the Nike logo or a tick mark, the consumer internet segment dropped from pre-Covid $75 billion GMV in January to $10 billion in April before it bounced back to around $45 billion in June, approximately $65 billion in August, and finally to around $80 billion in December, according to the data from RedSeer. Apart from foodtech, travel, and mobility, most of the sectors had gained in 2020. The Swoosh-shaped recovery is somewhere between the V and U-shaped recoveries wherein after a steep fall, the growth recovers with a partial bounce and later moves to a more gradual recovery.

“We expect India internet to accelerate further in 2021, driven by the massive growth in consumer adoption and satisfaction in 2020 across sectors, with India Internet expected to cross triple digits GMV for the first time in 2021 and eventually become $250 billion scale and 10 per cent of private consumption in 2025,” said Anil Kumar, Co-founder and CEO, RedSeer.

The online grocery market is likely to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $18.2 billion by 2024 with new players such as JioMart now competing with Amazon Pantry, BigBasket, Grofers, and Flipkart Supermart. JioMart had last year said that it is servicing more than 4 lakh orders every day. In terms of edtech segment, the market grew around 2.5x to reach around $850 million in 2020 while the paid user adoption jumped around 2.6x driven by Covid led disruption, according to RedSeer. Similarly, the healthtech market also expanded though only 1.4X from 2019 to 2020 in comparison to 2.5x from 2018 to 2019. The sector’s GMV stood at around $1.4 billion in 2020. Overall, “2020 has been a year of remarkable 40% growth in e-tailing, which resulted in a multifold increase in online penetration across categories. Fashion and electronics brands have been strong beneficiaries of the digital, where within fashion subcategories like footwear and accessories have seen maximum digitization. Most importantly, consumers have been shopping for product or service quality of online retailers rather than price and are keen to continue shopping online in 2021 as well,” said Mrigank Gutgutia, director at RedSeer. (Source: Financial Express)

High-speed broadband services: Telcos and technology majors spar over Spectrum band

Damages to telecom towersThe divide between the two sides is whether spectrum in the concerned band should be delicensed or should be allocated through auctions as is the case for access services spectrum.

Telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea, have once again clashed with technology players like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook etc, over a spectrum band which has the potential to provide high-speed broadband services, especially in remote areas and for better in-building coverage.

Though the fight is a couple of years old, it resurfaced earlier this month when the department of telecommunications scheduled meetings with operators and industry associations to plan issues related to spectrum management and allocation over the next few years.

The divide between the two sides is whether spectrum in the concerned band should be delicensed or should be allocated through auctions as is the case for access services spectrum.

The telecom operators are of the view that the spectrum in the concerned band should be auctioned as not doing so would lead to loss of revenue to the government as these bands have a very high commercial value proposition. Telcos have conveyed the same to the government through their association, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Opposed to their stand are technology players, who through their association, Broadband India Forum (BIF) have said that the spectrum should be delicensed and not auctioned as it is not the same as spectrum for access services. Questioning the COAI’s stand, BIF has pointed out that auctioning of spectrum in these bands would go against international best practices.

The concerned spectrum is the E and V bands, which are used as backhaul to connect mobile where fibre is not available.

Sources in the department of telecommunications (DoT) have thus far maintained that auction is ruled out but so is administrative assignment, which means allocating spectrum on first-cum-first-served basis. What’s likely on the cards is a light touch licensing but a final decision is awaited.

In fact, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which submitted its recommendations to the DoT way back in August 2014 has also favoured a light licensing approach and not auctioning this spectrum.

The Trai had recommended that both E and V band should be opened with ‘light touch regulation’ and allotment should be on a ‘link to link basis’. It had said that E band carrier should be charged at Rs 10,000 per annum per carrier of 250 MHz each and there should be initial promotional discount of 50% for three years from the date of allocation of first carrier in this band. In case of charging of V band carriers, it had said that it should be Rs 1,000 per annum per carrier of 50MHz each. It has said that prices would be reviewed after five years based on deployment and usage.

The argument against auction is because there’s not much the government is going to get by doing so unlike access spectrum. The value of a spectrum band depends upon various factors, like ecosystem but the most important factor is its propagation characteristics. The lower frequency spectrum is more valuable compared to the higher frequency as the radio waves riding on the former travels further, thereby requiring fewer base stations, which means less operational costs.

The value of E and V band spectrum is low because they have very poor propagation characteristics as they fall between 71-76 Ghz and 81-86 Ghz (E band) and between 57-64 Ghz (V Band). These bands are like fibre and can be used for broadband services but not for direct mobile connectivity.

According to some analysts, the telecom operators are opposed to the move to delicense the E and V bands as they fear that technology companies may enter into the broadband market and use the delicensed spectrum, which would come free of cost, to provide services to consumers. This may lead to a non-level playing field as telecom operators have spent billions of rupees in acquiring access spectrum to offer the same kind of services. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc have in the past shown their intent to provide broadband using delicensed spectrum. ( Source: Financial Express)

DoT cuts revenue estimate from telecom sector to Rs 40,000 crore: Report

Damages to telecom towersThe government expects to gain revenues of Rs 40,000 crore from the telecom sector, less than a third of the budget estimate of Rs 1.33 lakh crore.

The government expects to gain revenues of Rs 40,000 crore from the telecom sector, less than a third of the budget estimate of Rs 1.33 lakh crore.

The reasons for the significant cut in the estimate is due to the absence of 5G airwaves in next auctions and limited payments towards past adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues, The Economic Times reported.

Since 5G spectrum will be absent during the auction in March 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expecting companies to make maximum upfront payments of only around Rs 10,000 crore in FY20. This would lead to overall proceeds of around Rs 40,000 crore, the report said.

"The initial (revenue) estimates of Rs 1.3 lakh crore had taken a 5G spectrum auction and AGR dues into account," an official told The Economic Times.

"But it does not look like the telcos are paying anymore AGR dues till this fiscal gets over," the official added.

Payment of AGR-related dues by telecom companies is expected to be around Rs 1,000 crore, the report said. (Source: Money Control)

BSNL tender: The curious case of indigenous 4G core and Mavenir

Damages to telecom towersThe most interesting development is a claim made by OpenRAN major Mavenir at the recent BSNL meeting, which was attended by home-bred and multinational vendors and system integrators. Texas-based Mavenir claimed that their 4G core is indigenous, at least three senior executives from vendors told ET.

The suspense over 4G core from home-bred telecom vendors continues to grow even after the release of EoI document by state-run telco, BSNL of the pan-India 4G deployment.

While multinational vendors have been barred from providing their core for BSNL’s 4G network, three companies have claimed 4G core preparedness in India, sources familiar with the matter said.

State-run C-DOT (The Centre for Development of Telematics) and a lesser-known IT and telecom solutions company, PertSol, have claimed that they can provide 4G core for BSNL’s upcoming 4G network.

However, the most interesting development is a claim made by OpenRAN major Mavenir at the recent BSNL meeting, which was attended by home-bred and multinational vendors and system integrators. Texas-based Mavenir claimed that their 4G core is indigenous, at least three senior executives from vendors told ET.

Mavenir Systems Private Limited is registered in India as a subsidiary of the foreign company, as per information available with MCA.

“During the meeting, Mavenir claimed that its 4G core offering is indigenous but didn’t offer more details. People representing the company said that they will prove it when the time comes” one of the executives said.

“Mavenir’s IPs are in the US. Them participating in BSNL tender for 4G core will defeat the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat which intends to promote Indian companies. They have access to 100s of millions of dollars and it would be unfair to Indian companies and will tilt the level-playing field,” another executive said.

A Mavenir spokesperson told ET that the company has its own Core and Radio and iit is in the process of evaluating the BSNL 4G opportunity. “We are certainly keen to contribute to Atma Nirbhar Bharat Mission.” The spokesperson, however, didn’t answer ET’s query about its core being “indigenous”

Incorporated in 2014, PertSol or Pert Telecom Solutions Pvt Ltd, also claimed that it has 100% in-house telecom solutions to provide packet core for 3G and 4G LTE data services. It also claims to offer IMS (VoLTE) and the entire packet core stack along with lawful interception solutions, remote connections, and location-based services.

The company counts BSNL, MTNL, Nokia, ZTE, Huawei, and Tata Projects among its clients.

Speaking to ET, Gurjot S Sandhu, Director & Chief Business Officer confirmed participation in BSNL’s 4G tender. “We are currently in talks with MSIs for the 4G tender.”

Sandhu said that PertSol is the major third-party solution provider to BSNL under phase 8. “Around 80-85% of the business came to us through Nokia and ZTE. We deployed our security, compliance, remote access, IP log and fraud management, and location-based services for BSNL’s pan-Indian network. We were also the first company to successfully deploy lawful interception in India.”

Earlier this month, the state-owned service provider further had sought proposals through the Expression of Interest (EoI) for prior registration for proof-of-concept (PoC) from the Indian companies showing interest to participate in the bidding process.

BSNL, however, had raised concerns over the DoT’s recommendation to use only local equipment for the 4G core network. It said that the indigenous core technology and equipment was unproven and will increase the overall deployment cost.

BSNL had also said that having two different cores for its network – one for existing 2G and 3G and another for 4G - would impact the quality of service as there will be two different cores. (Source: ETTelecom)

Anritsu publish 116-Gbit/s PAM4 Error Detector FEC Analysis Function for Signal Quality Analyzer MP1900A-R

Damages to telecom towersAnritsu Corporation (President Hirokazu Hamada) has published details on the MP1900A web site about its new FEC Analysis function of the 116-Gbit/s PAM4 Error Detector (ED) MU196040B option for the Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A series.

The MP1900A series is a high-quality bit error rate tester (BERT) for evaluating next-generation 400 and 800GbE*1 high-speed devices and transceivers. The newly announced FEC Analysis function is the first time for a BERT to support real-time measurement of Forward Error Correction (FEC) Symbol Errors*2; in addition to conventional bit error measurement, it also supports jitter tolerance*3 measurements for assessing error correction capability using FEC as required by transmissions using high-speed PAM4*4 signals. Sales of this new MU196040B option start in March 2021.

Background
Data centers supporting next-generation, high-speed, large-capacity 5G mobile communications are progressing with introduction of equipment meeting the 400GbE communications standard, while also starting investigation of 800GbE and 1.6 TbE standards to facilitate even faster speeds. The PAM4 transmission method used by 400GbE expresses digital data using four voltage levels per unit time to transmit twice as much data compared to the earlier conventional NRZ*5 method. However, due to the narrower differences between the four voltage levels, the greater susceptibility to noise and transmission path losses makes error-free transmission more difficult than using the conventional NRZ method. As a result, error correction using FEC is applied to assure transmission quality. Consequently, evaluation of devices and transceivers supporting PAM4 not only requires jitter tolerance and sensitivity evaluations based on conventional bit error and error-free measurements, but also requires measurement of error correction capability using FEC.

Product Outline
To meet the above-described need, Anritsu has added this new FEC Analysis function for detecting FEC Symbol Errors based on the 400GbE FEC standard to its PAM4 ED with world-beating input-sensitivity performance. Using this new function, changes in bit errors and FEC Symbol Errors with changes in input amplitude and jitter conditions can be monitored in real-time to quickly and reproducibly evaluate when Symbol Error counts exceed the correction ability of FEC.

Moreover, since this new FEC Analysis function is compatible with conventional jitter tolerance automatic measurement software, one-button jitter tolerance measurement is supported based on whether or not error correction using FEC is possible.

The Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A series is the market-leading BERT for testing various high-speed interfaces, including 400GbE and future 800GbE, etc. Adding the high-sensitivity PAM4 ED MU196040B with expanded FEC Analysis functions supporting reliable bit error and FEC Symbol Error measurements will help cut development times for high-speed devices and transceivers. (Source: Convergence Plus)

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix underperform NASDAQ in first trading week of 2021

The spotlight for the week was on Elon Musk’s Tesla. Shares of the electric car manufacturer surged 22% during the last 5 trading sessions to sit at $880.02 per share.

In what was a controversial week in the United States of America on the political front, Wall Street was also in for something that has been rare for equity markets. The top five big tech companies on Wall Street, collectively known as FAANG, underperformed the benchmark index — NASDAQ. While the equity index gained 1.8% during the last five trading sessions, most of the FAANG stocks witnessed losses in the same time period. On the other hand, leading electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla’s stock price jumped over 20%, helping Elon Musk become the world’s richest person beating Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Facebook share price dropped 2.62% in the last five trading sessions to end at $267.57 per share. The company is under the spotlight for its updated privacy policy for its messaging software WhatsApp. The firm is seeking user approval to share user data with the parent firm Facebook. Whatsapp has chosen to go with a ‘take it or leave it’ approach where, if users do not consent to the data sharing policy, they will not be allowed to use WhatsApp after February 8, 2021. (Source: Financial Express)

Spectrum sale: Jio may shell out huge money in March auctions

Jio might also go for 700 MHz spectrum for which the reserve prices are 38 per cent higher than 800 MHz spectrum in 19 circles, and 56 per cent higher (than 800 MHz) in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles

The department of telecommunications (DoT) has recently issued notice inviting applications for radio-wave auctions slated to start on March 1. The reserved prices of spectrum in 700 MHz (megahertz), 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2500 MHz that are put up for auction are higher in some cases (1800 MHz, 2300 MHz) and lower in others (800 MHz) compared to the last auctions in October 2016.

While these auctions don't have 5G spectrum (3300 MHz-3600 MHz band), a lot of spectrum that the telecom operators currently own will be coming up for renewal. For instance, in the case of Reliance Jio, which has the highest amount of spectrum - 98.8 MHz - expiring this year (among all telcos), the renewal is extremely important for two reasons. The telco currently has spectrum in three bands (800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2300 MHz). Firstly, the 800 MHz spectrum, which is coming up for renewal, is the bedrock of Jio's network. While 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands provide capacity, the crucial 800 MHz provides Jio indoor coverage, better connectivity and wider reach.

At the reserved price, the purchase of entire 98.8 MHz is going to cost Jio about Rs 23,864 crore.

Secondly, Jio's spectrum footprint is lowest among all private carriers. For example, Jio has a total spectrum holding of 657.7 MHz as compared to Airtel's 859.3 MHz and Vodafone Idea's 924.8 MHz, as per Credit Suisse. Renewal of spectrum is key for Jio since it's catering to the largest number of wireless subscribers (406.35 million in October 2020) in the country, and can ill-afford to deliver inferior network experience to its growing subs base.

"In case of Jio, we estimate that in addition to 44 MHz of spectrum acquired from RCom coming up for renewal, there is 55 MHz of spectrum due for renewal which is still owned by RCom but being used by Jio. We expect Jio to not only renew 44 MHz of its spectrum, but also buy 55 MHz in the auctions. Further, we expect Jio to purchase additional spectrum (beyond expiring spectrum) as it will look to augment its network capacity having garnered 35 per cent subscriber market share and a much higher share of traffic," says Credit Suisse in a recent report.

But the situation is quite different in case of Airtel and Vodafone Idea. With larger network holdings, they will be selectively bidding for the spectrum. In case of Vodafone Idea and Airtel, most of their spectrum is expiring in 1800 MHz band which is not as essential as sub-1 GHz spectrum. Analysts say that Airtel has bought smaller telcos like Videocon Telecom, Telenor, and Tata Teleservices over the years which gives the telco a comfortable position to participate without any pressure. For Vodafone Idea, there are already cash flow issues besides its current spectrum holding justifies its subs count.

That's not all. Jio might go for 700 MHz spectrum for which the reserve prices are 38 per cent higher than 800 MHz spectrum in 19 circles, and 56 per cent higher (than 800 MHz) in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles. "We do not expect much activity in the 700 MHz auction unless Jio decides to build some capacity for potential 5G rollout this year," a Morgan Stanley report said.

Late last year, Reliance Industries' chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani had said that Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in the country in the second half of 2021. Since there's no visibility on the auction timeline for the usual 5G bands (3300 MHz-3600 MHz), there are speculations that Jio could buy 700 MHz spectrum to launch 5G. (Source: Business Today)

Telecom Sector will Continue to Have Good Run in 2021: Axis Securities

The company also said that Bharti Airtel will have more upside in 2021. Telecom sector along with the digital and healthcare sectors will “continue to have a good run in 2021,” Axis Securities said in a report on Thursday.

The company engaged in the distribution of financial services and broking services said that the three sectors were “promising even before COVID-19.” However, Axis Securities said that the “pandemic has resulted in business transformation decisions which were unthinkable a year back.” The company said that the telecom sector along with the healthcare sector has “seen massive changes” in the past year.

Bharti Airtel Set for More Upside in 2021
Axis Securities highlighted that the “business models are set to evolve further” with the companies engaged in the three sectors including telecom set to “outperform” in 2021. Crucially, Axis Securities said that Airtel with its “strong presence” in India and Africa along with its Direct-to-Home (DTH) and broadband services also registering “strong presence and highest penetration” in India will have more upside in 2021.

The company said that the demand for Airtel’s enterprise services is set to “remain robust” in the upcoming year. Axis Securities also highlighted the “key launches” of Airtel in the space including Airtel Blue Jeans, Airtel Secure, Airtel Cloud and Airtel IQ.

“Airtel has launched various products for enterprise as it is trying to leverage growth from ‘Work from Home.’ Focus on becoming a solution provider continues with its offering in Cloud, security, data centres and CPaaS solutions,” Axis Securities said in the report. “Adopting [a] partnership model to improve Cloud service offerings, it entered into a partnership with AWS Professional Services.”

Bharti Airtel Continues to Position As Digital Company
Axis Securities also highlighted that Airtel has witnessed traction across its digital apps with Airtel registering 160 million monthly active users in its second quarter across its Airtel Thanks, Wynk, Xstream and payment platforms. Further, the financial services company also highlighted that over 1.1 million retailers are making daily transactions and payments on the Mitra app, a dedicated platform for Airtel retailers.

“[Airtel] Management’s strategic bets in digital [platforms] continues to gain traction,” Axis Securities said in the report.

Crucially, Axis Securities also said that Airtel has continued to register “strong customer additions” in recent months as Airtel recorded 3 million active user additions in October, 2020.(Source: Telecom Talk)

Farmer protest: Airtel slams tower damage allegations; says Jio adopts bullying tactics to meet goals

"We have seen a history of Jio going to any length to make baseless allegations, adopt bullying tactics and use intimidatory behaviour to suit their purposes and meet their goals. This is another such instance," Airtel said in the letter.

Bharti Airtel has sent a letter to the telecom department slamming Reliance Jio's allegations that channel partners of rival telcos were inciting and provoking agitators involved in tower disruption.

"The baseless allegation made by Jio that Airtel is behind the farmer agitation to “sabotage” their network and to force customers to switch to Airtel is simply outrageous," Airtel's chief regulatory officer, Rahul Vatts, said in letter to the DoT secretary Anshu Prakash dated December 28.

"We have seen a history of Jio going to any length to make baseless allegations, adopt bullying tactics and use intimidatory behaviour to suit their purposes and meet their goals. This is another such instance," the telco said in the letter.

The Sunil Mittal-led telco said that Jio's complaint should be dismissed "with the contempt that it deserves". "We also wish to emphatically state that not a single part of any supporting annexure to the complaint by Jio demonstrates any evidence that Airtel has any hand in the ongoing issues that Jio is facing."

Airtel said that a similar allegation had been levelled by Jio in a letter to the telecom regulator earlier in December to which the company had responded.

"...we are amused as to how Jio can even believe that Airtel would be so omnipotent as to make customers forcibly port out of Jio. If we had this power, we would have exercised it over the last three years when Jio amassed a massive number of customers...the baseless allegation made by Jio that Airtel is behind the farmer agitation to 'sabotage' their network and to force customers to switch to Airtel is therefore simply outrageous," Vatts said.

Jio's letter to the DoT had claimed that "majority of the current sabotage and damage of Jio network in Punjab, Haryana and some other parts of the country is as a result of the blatant efforts by some of the distributors, retailer and channel partners of Airtel and Vodafone Idea in a malicious and inciteful campaign to capitalise on the ongoing farmers protest".

Jio had said the target of the campaign was to disrupt its services and leverage these disruptions to promote mobile number portability to other networks.

Airtel said Jio's complaint against the company was "in poor taste".

"The irony of the situation is that while the operating teams were having several conversations over the last few days on how to provide support to the Jio teams based on their request, Jio was actually spending time drafting frivolous letters and making scurrilous allegations," Airtel said.

Airtel said that telecom is an essential infrastructure and we believe it is against the law to indulge in such acts. "As a matter of fact, we have always advocated firm Government action to ensure 100 per cent continuity of networks," it added.

The Sunil Mittal-led telco urged the DoT to bring forth a policy to mandate ICR (Intra circle roaming) in such situations of vandalism and network outages as a matter of course so that customers were never inconvenienced.(Source: ETTelecom)

entrepreneurship