The evolutioanary road for the indian Telecom network

The wireless tele-density in India has now reached 48% and is showing no signs of slowing down. The number of wireless users will only go up as the penetration moves farther into the rural hinterland. In these times Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are faced with a multitude of different competing technologies, frameworks and paradigms. On the telecom network side there is the 2G, 2.5G, 3G & 4G. To add to the confusion there is a lot of buzz around Cloud technology, Virtualization, SaaS, femtocells etc., to name a few. With the juggernaut of technological development proceeding at a relentless pace Senior Management in Telcos, Service Providers the world over are faced with a bewildering choice of technology to choose from while trying to maintain the spending at sustainable levels. For a developing economy like India the path forward for Telcos and CSP is to gradually evolve from the current 2.5G service to the faster 3G services without trying to rush to 4G. The focus of CSPs and Operators should be in customer retention and maintaining customer loyalty. The drive should be in increasing the customer base by enhancing the customer experience rather than jumping onto the 4G bandwagon. 4G technology for example LTE and WiMAX make perfect sense in countries like US or Japan where smart phones are within the reach of a larger set of the populace. In India smartphones, when they come, will be the sole preserve of high flying executives and the urban elite. The larger population in India would tend to use more of the VAS services like mobile payment, e-ticketing rather than downloading video through their mobile phones. In US, it is rumored that iPhones with their data hungry applications almost brought a major network to its knees. This is primarily due to popularity and affordability of these smart phones in countries like the US. Hence it makes perfect sense for Network Providers in the US to upgrade their network infrastructure to handle the increasing demand for data hungry applications. Hence the move to LTE or WiMAX would be a logical move in countries like US. In our nation the thrust of Service Providers should be to promote customer loyalty by offering differentiated Value Added Service (VAS) service. Also the CSPs should try to increase the network coverage so that the frustration of lost or dropped calls is minimal. The Service Providers should try to attract new users by offering an enhanced customer experience through special Value Added Services (VAS). This becomes all the more important with the impending move to Mobile Number Portability (MNP). Once MNP is in the network many subscribers will switch to Service Providers who offer better services and have more reliable network coverage.
Another area where the Service Providers should focus on is in creating App Stores like iPhone which has spawned an entire industry in the US. Mobile App s from app stores besides providing entertainment and differentiation can also be a very good money spinner. While the economy continues to flounder the world over the Service Providers should try to reduce their Capacity Expenditure (Capex) and their Operating Expenditure (Opex) through the adoption of Software-as – Service (SaaS) for their OSS/BSS systems. Cloud technology besides reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Network Providers can be quite economical in the long run. It is quite possible that prior to migrating to the Cloud all aspects of security should be thoroughly investigated by the Network Providers and critical decisions as to which areas of their OSS/BSS they would like to migrate to the Cloud. While a move to leapfrog to 4G from 2G may not be required, it is imperative that with the entry of smartphones like iPhone 3GS, Nexus One and Droid into India the CSPs should be in a position to handle increasing bandwidth requirements. Some techniques to handle the issue of data hungry smartphones are to offload data traffic to Wi-Fi networks or femtocells. Besides, professionals these days use dongles with their laptops to check email, browse and download documents. All these put a strain on the network and offloading data traffic to femtocells & Wi-Fi have been the chosen as the solution by leading Network Providers in the US.
So the road to gradual evolution of the network for the Network Operators, Service Providers are
1. Evolve to 3G Services from 2G/2.5G.
2. Create app stores to promote customer retention & loyalty and offer differentiated VAS services
3. Improve network coverage uniformly and enhance the customer experience through specialized App stores
4. Migrate some of the OSS/BSS functionality to the cloud or use SaaS after investigating the applications of the enterprise that can move to the cloud
5. Offload data traffic to Wi-Fi networks or femtocells.


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