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Indian T&M industry in tread water scenario

5G and high-speed internet to home are the major focus for 2020 that will reshape the industry. Customer-centricity and continuous innovation will be high on radar of T&M companies.

T&M systems play a critical role in telecom sector, and a major driving factor for the growth of the telecom test-equipment market is the introduction of new technologies and standards within the telecom industry.

The telecom market can be split into three segments – wireless, wireline, and internet services, and the telecom sector ecosystem partners including network equipment manufacturers, mobile device manufacturers, R&D labs, and telecommunication service providers contribute as a whole in estimating the growth of telecom T&M segment.

Indian government is planning to develop 100 smart-city projects, where IoT would play a vital role in development of those cities. The Government of India has introduced Digital India program, under which all the sectors such as healthcare, retail, and more, will be connected through internet.

The previous years and Forecast of Indian T&M market size (Source: Frost & Sullivan)

Telecom market growth

India is the world’s second-largest telecommunications market, with around 1186.63 million telephone subscriber bases at the end of June 2019. The wireless market segment comprises of 98.2 percent of the total subscriber base, as of June 2019 compared to 95.90 percent in FY11. As of May 2019, rural subscribers form 42.9 percent of total telephone subscribers and in April 2019 43.33 percent, compared to 33.35 percent in FY11.

India is also the second-largest country in terms of internet subscribers. As of 2019, India holds the world’s highest data usage per smartphone at an average of 9.8 GB per month. It is expected to double to 18 GB by 2024.

How T&M fared in 2019

Considering the above, Indian T&M market has seen only an overall growth of 10 percent from previous years, and most of the demand has come majorly from BharatNet-II projects, service providers, high-speed broadband providers, and 4G LTE network providers.

Major projects are from fiber grids of the respective states like Andhra Pradesh (AP Fiber Grid), Maharashtra (Mahanet), Orissa, and Kerala Fiber Net, Defense projects (Navy), TATA Communications Ltd., Chaupal, 4G LTE networks from JIO, Idea/Vodaphone, and Airtel, and high-speed bandwidth providers like ACT, Hathway, and the like.

Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is implementing state fiber grids program through three central PSBs – BSNL, Power Grid, and RailTel – in the country. But implementation of the massive project has been slow due to variety reasons.

How T&M is expected to grow in 2020

5G and high-speed internet to home are the major focus for 2020 that will reshape the industry. Customer-centricity and continuous innovation will be high on radar of T&M companies.

Considering projects from Tamil Nadu Fibernet Corporation (TANFINET), T-Fiber from Telangana, Mahanet, KFON, Orissa Fibernet, and the like, which are going to be executed under BharatNet-II Project, aimed to connect village panchayats and house hold to provide 1Gbps connectivity through optical fiber network, is the main focus for T&M industry.

T-Fiber has selected L&T and Sterlite as their project-implementation companies, whereas TANFINET has just initiated the process and Orissa, Mahanet, and KFON are under implementation; hence, there is a good chance for T&M companies to increase their stake.

Forecast of Indian T&M market by product-type (Source: Frost & Sullivan)

Apart from telecom, defense sector indicates the bright future and related opportunities for the T&M segment as well. Demand for live network-monitoring system, spectrum analyzers, RF communication testers, and EMC solutions will grow at a high rate.

Moving forward

Along with huge opportunities, the Indian market also offers the following challenges to T&M players:

  • Less focus on quality and Chinese companies, offering at very low price
  • Highly price-sensitive nature

Therefore, Indian T&M players need to focus on the right strategies to grow. Companies offering high-accuracy instruments with compact and innovative features will get a competitive advantage. However, customer awareness generation, through regular product demonstrations and on-time after-sales service, is must-to-do for any T&M market player. Moreover, T&M companies need to leverage government initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, and Smart Cities. High focus on government tenders and maintaining continuous relations with customers will help T&M players in increasing market share.

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