Rohit Kumar, General Manager – Strategy and Business Development, Communications, Cyient

Today, telcos across the world are using digital technologies to manage their operations and enhance the customer experience. Cyient offers platforms and products that help such companies unlock value from the convergence of the physical and digital worlds. In an interview with tele.net, Rohit Kumar, general manager – strategy and business development, communications, Cyient, talks about the company’s focus areas and growth plans…

How is the technology landscape evolving in India? What are the key trends?

Globally, we are witnessing continued investments in expanding and upgrading the network infrastructure, coupled with the convergence of fixed and mobile networks. Besides, telcos across the globe are focused on enhancing network efficiency. Communication service providers (CSPs) are doing this through virtualisation to increase productivity and bring down their total cost of ownership. The evolution and implementation of 5G technology are expected to be “bespoke” to enterprise/business needs rather than focusing on generic applications. Given the high capex involved, the roll-out speed of 5G networks is expected to be moderate.

What are Cyient’s key focus areas in India?

With a large percentage of population living in the underpenetrated rural India, CSPs are focusing their energy on creating a robust middle-mile infrastructure for taking broadband connectivity to the gram panchayat level. Accelerated deployment on this front is resulting in the increased adoption of xPON fibre terminating equipment. Cyient brings its global experience, local expertise and engineering capabilities in technology to lead the growth of this ecosystem in the deployment of a robust, standards-compliant infrastructure.

What challenges do you face while serving your telecom customers?

In our experience, survey and buildout activities are subcontracting intensive and offer low margins, and are unpredictable. Besides, in India, higher upfront costs, including right-of-way low costs, lead to delays in rolling out the infrastructure.

What is the company’s roadmap for the next few years?

Strategy execution continues to be a key focus area for Cyient, with investments earmarked to exploit opportunities across the current and new segments. In the new financial year, we would like to explore the rapidly evolving technology space for next-generation networks through the launch of technology-led offerings. Our key engagements with leading CSPs continue to be strong. Further, new and emerging engagements with clients are expected to contribute significantly. Meanwhile, the new opportunity pipeline continues to be healthy and we expect to grow on the back of new commitments globally in the coming financial year.

How can CSPs expedite 5G network roll-outs globally?

A CSP can leverage technology and modern GIS techniques for effective site surveys, infrastructure capacity buildout, and radio planning to expedite 5G roll-out. Also, it can engage with leaders, such as Cyient, in this space to assess design alternatives, including de-risking its network elements through the use of open-source technologies. Regulatory support for infrastructure buildout and the elimination of hidden costs to secure RoW permissions can result in the faster roll-out of 5G infrastructure. The  government can further support the industry with policy decisions around spectrum and infrastructure sharing to ensure robust capacity buildout of 5G.

How is the company planning to tap the expected 5G opportunities?

5G is not just a generation change but an opportunity for CSPs to redefine network architecture. The technology will enable people, enterprises and “things” to connect on an unprecedented scale. It presents a massive monetisation opportunity for CSPs to increase their ARPUs and profitability. Cyient has been offering cutting-edge transformation services to global CSPs around network planning and design, integrated inventory management, and network operations. With its mature capabilities around LiDAR surveys and intelligent GIS tools for planning 5G infrastructure, Cyient helps CSPs in optimising the cost for capacity buildout. Cyient provides thought leadership for optimum coverage planning, and propagation model tuning, particularly at mmWave frequencies. It also brings in expertise to develop IoT and AR/VR applications in order to help CSPs generate new revenue streams.

What are the technologies that can favour early 5G deployment?

We believe CSPs will need to adopt several new technology concepts to prepare the networks for the 5G era. Software-defined networks and virtualisation will play a crucial role in adding agility and flexibility to the networks. The networks of the future will move away from being hardware-centric, and will be more programmable and simpler to deploy and maintain. The concept of cloud (RAN) and Open RAN will help telcos in faster capacity buildout and also in enhancing the operational efficiency of the networks. It will also help in bringing down the cost of deploying and maintaining the new-age networks. Besides, edge computing is an integral part of 5G deployment. CSPs will need to provide high-speed and ubiquitous broadband coverage, and taking content closer to the end user will be crucial to delivering high speed coverage.