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India readying to take on the global telecom equipment market

Indian entities are gearing up to take the first steps towards entering the global telecom equipment market, with an estimated annual revenue of $110 billion. This space is currently dominated just by a few players.

The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), an R&D centre of the government that has tied up with Tata Consultancy Service (TCS), is expected to be ready to export telecom equipment from the country by 2024, according to a senior official in the Department of Telecommunications (under which C-DoT functions). Reliance Jio, which is aggressively rolling out its 5G network and has built its own 5G core and radio, is also getting ready to enter the global telecom gear market, according to people in the know.

C-DoT has already developed technology for both 4G and 5G core (non-standalone) and will be soon offering the more advanced 5G core (standalone). It, according to sources, is also in the final stages of offering telco-grade 5G radios this year, along with an open radio access network. It has tied up with TCS to roll out its first large network for Bharat Sanchar Nigam — through a bidding process which it had won — sometime this year for 4G, followed by 5G across the country. To encourage and build the Indian telecom stack, the government had pushed BSNL to only use indigenous technology to bring out its 4G and 5G networks.

A top DoT official said: “By 2024, we will enter the global telecom equipment market in a grand way. What we will offer is a low-cost solution, at a fraction of the cost.”

$3-5 billion: Value of Indian telecom equipment market Jio, which is aggressively rolling out its 5G network, is readying to enter the global game C-DoT has built technology for both 4G and 5G core (non-standalone) and will be offering the more advanced 5G core (standalone) as well C-DoT has already tied up with TCS to roll out its first large network for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Jio has been aggressively rolling out its network-which also includes using its own telecom gear in various circles.

The DoT official said that the market is huge and there are only a handful of players — Ericcson, Nokia, and Samsung. Though Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE are also in the play, many countries have disallowed their entry. “This is a big opportunity for us to get into the market,” he added. The Indian telecom equipment market’s turnover is pegged at $3-5 billion annually.

The official said the American and European response to Indian telecom equipment has been “very positive” and that they have been tested successfully in the most complex telecom network in the world — India. A TCS spokesperson refused to comment at this point as the company is in a “silent” period.

Reliance Jio, too, is expected to gear up for exports soon. Reliance’s Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani has already said that once Jio’s solution is proven at the India scale, it would be well positioned to export 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally. A Reliance Jio spokesperson did not respond to queries. The company has been aggressively rolling out its network, which also includes using its own telecom gear in various circles; it has set a target that it will roll out 5G in every city, taluka, and district in the country by the end of December. That will also ensure comprehensive testing of its telecom solutions, even after it had done one earlier before 5G was officially launched at a few locations. Business Standard

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