The telecom testing and measurement (T&M) segment has evolved significantly in recent years with the introduction of several advanced technologies. The increasingly complex telecom networks have created a demand for advanced testing solutions. Also, the industry is moving towards a software-defined approach to testing, which will bring in efficiencies and lower costs. Madhukar Tripathi, Head, Marketing and Communications at Anritsu, talks about the latest trends in the Indian telecom T&M space…


What are the key trends in the Indian telecom market?

The Indian telecom market is growing both in terms of technology adoption and services. Given the current market scenario, where mergers and acquisitions are almost complete, mobile network operator activity is expected to reduce.

4G is reaching the masses and users are experiencing the power of staying connected and using digital services. The internet is becoming a mass phenomenon due to the availability of affordable data tariffs and mobile handsets. Further, voice over long term evolution is being launched by some operators, offering benefits to customers.

Meanwhile, 5G research and development (R&D) has emerged as a focus area as the industry is gearing up to adopt the new technology. Commercial deployment may take some more time though as the ecosystem is still not ready.

Big data, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and internet of things (IoT) are the new technology trends that are changing the social scene. IoT will soon transform into internet of everything. Meanwhile, M2M will bring in business efficiencies and reduce operational cost.

How have customer demands changed with the launch of 4G services?

The launch of new services, particularly 4G, has changed customers’ lifestyle. Con­su­­mers these days have become extremely data centric and the growing data revenues are a proof of this trend. Users are utilising 4G technology for their day-to-day activities. E-payments/cashless transactions are the best example of 4G applications in the country. Better network coverage and higher speeds also help in navigation.

What are the T&M requirements for 5G? Is the Indian T&M market prepared to deliver these?

Anritsu is a leader in delivering new technology to the telecom industry. Its MS2850A signal analyser has been selected by Samsung and other 5G R&D companies. The analyser is now equipped with 5G NR- new radio support. The new software options are compliant with the 3GPP 5G standards and are used for measuring the RF Tx characteristics of next-generation 5G base stations and mobile terminals.

What are the testing challenges relating to 5G?

The development of new network concepts and technologies for 5G calls for corresponding development of testing methods and processes. Future 5G test methods must provide operators with an assurance that the technology and services being im­plemented are as per the latest specifications, and that the quality of service matches the application/service requirements.

A fully data-centric 5G network with a wide and diverse set of applications would require standalone testing. Test automation, monitoring and built-in test systems will be essential for analysing the performance of such a network. In addition, the emergence of scenarios, where ultra dense networks are being used for interconnecting the radio access elements with the backhaul architecture using cloud, will lead to the development of cloud-based test services. This will help test everything from everywhere.

Interestingly, while the growing usage of software-defined networking/network functions virtualisation and cloud services will introduce new test requirements, these same technologies will also help in creating new test solutions. Therefore, cloud technology is being seen as both creator of T&M demand and the solution for 5G network testing.

What is your outlook for the growth of the T&M market in India?

As 4G gets further commercialised, there will be a continuous demand for T&M solutions in the Indian market. The ongoing digital transformation and programmes like Digital India and Make in India will continue to drive demand for T&M at various stages of technology evolution – R&D, validation, deployment, maintenance and optimisation of existing networks.

Given its huge market size, India will continue to create demand for both legacy and new technology T&M. The government’s defence communication project will need various T&M solutions on account of network upgradation and new challenges in security and surveillance. Cyberthreats and unmanned aerial vehicles are creating new challenges from the national security point of view. In this respect, T&M will play an important role, ensuring a connected and safe society.