Sandeep Sudeep, vice president, telecom, NEC Corporation India,

NEC Corporation India is helping businesses and the government by offering various technological solutions. It is currently focused on developing the telecom sector, including the deployment of open radio access network (RAN) and 5G solutions for Indian telcos through the newly opened centre of excellence (CoE) in Chennai and other telecom infrastructure projects. Sandeep Sudeep, vice president, telecom, NEC Corporation India, talks about the company’s strategy and focus areas for the Indian market…

What are NEC’s current focus areas in the India market?

With our “India Go Big” initiative, we want to leverage our solution development and delivery capability from India to aid global business growth and serve as a global delivery hub for offshore support and product development. As 5G necessitates extremely high capacity backhaul in order to deliver on the promise of high speed/low latency, NEC is well geared to introduce high capacity E-band microwave. Further, NEC is positioning itself in the operations support system (OSS)/business support system (BSS) space, fuelled by Netcracker’s OSS/ BSS solutions.

How is the Covid-19 pandemic impacting clients’ requirements?

Emergency response is extremely critical in these Covid-19 times. It is also critical that high capacity/low latency solutions be ready to deliver. At NEC, we see massive demand for network infrastructure, fuelled by the anticipation for 5G and E-band. Further, we see a rise in the uptake of low latency surveillance solutions and anticipate a jump in the data centre/cloud business. All through the crisis, NEC will continue to play a huge role in ensuring that service providers are able to keep up with the ramped-up usage and increased load on networks across geo domains.

What are your views on India’s evolving 5G landscape? What role is NEC playing in the ecosystem?

5G is the next big disruption that will put India on the trajectory for a digital transformation. As far as the capability for large-scale deployment is concerned, the infrastructure and ecosystem have already been created.

With the government approving the 5G spectrum trials recently, Indian telcos will go into hyper drive to conduct trials across their markets. The statement by the telecom ministry clearly says that the trials need to be conducted in rural and semi-urban settings in addition to urban settings, so that the benefit of 5G proliferates across the country.

Being a front runner in 5G deployment globally, NEC understands the requirements for the seamless roll-out of the technology, especially in a developing market like India. The existence of an open architecture along with an ecosystem of vendors, gear manufacturers and service providers is of utmost importance. We need to envision 5G as a cloud-native technology, as the networks need to transform into something more scalable and flexible with ease. Most importantly, we need to ramp up security and privacy protection before the technology can go mainstream. The recent cybersecurity and data breach cases are examples enough.

What initiatives have been taken by NEC in the open RAN space? How is the open RAN ecosystem in India maturing?

NEC is one of the first companies globally to have created an open RAN 5G network. We want to combine our global leadership and understanding of the local market to be a front runner in 5G hardware and software development in India. NEC’s first open RAN laboratory was inaugurated in December 2020 in Chennai as a part of the company’s plan of “In India, for India and from India for Global” and to actively contribute to the bustling 5G opportunity. The new facility will be complementing the operations of NEC’s CoE in the UK. As India gears up for 5G, this lab facility can support in the establishment and execution of customer-specific 5G system integration cases. The lab has the necessary infrastructure in place, and provisions to expand collaborative multivendor partnership. It will also perform interoperability tests across various open RAN solutions, as well as conformance testing and 5G security consultation for internet of things.

Our strategy is clear – NEC takes an open ecosystem approach to address the requirements in deploying 5G tech, as opposed to legacy proprietary architecture.

Going forward, what will be NEC India’s growth strategy?

NEC India’s growth strategy is based on evolving customer needs. As a company, we have significant play in areas such as smart cities, transportation, public safety, big data, telecom and logistics. For telecom, this year our key focus is to disrupt the Indian telecom landscape by bringing 5G open RAN solutions and also high capacity backhaul solutions to carry the 5G traffic. Given that NEC has multiple vertical solutions, it will be our growth strategy to position industry vertical solutions on 5G networks.