The past year witnessed a variety of partnerships and contract awards, ranging from the deployment and expansion of 4G networks to the setting up of internet of things (IoT) platforms. The highlight of the year was the launch of 4G services by various telecom operators in the latter half of 2015. This meant that multiple contracts were awarded to network vendors such as Nokia Networks, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei Technologies and ZTE. While the contracts awarded in 2014 comprised mainly tower sharing agreements, the contracts in 2015 pertained to 4G network roll-outs and equipment testing prior to the launch of services. Contracts were also awarded for network expansion as operators looked to improve their services.
Another important trend in 2015 was an increasing emphasis on Wi-Fi services. Both the state run-operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and 4G player Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) had set up Wi-Fi hotspots across the country as a means to popularise their services. Smaller operators such as Aircel and Tikona Digital Networks also awarded contracts for Wi-Fi equipment to tap their enterprise and home consumer segments.
Apart from this, new technology segments such as cloud, data centres and IoT witnessed encouraging adoption as various service providers entered into collaborations to expand the offerings to enterprise customers.
Government initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India attracted industry attention and many smartphone vendors committed to setting up manufacturing facilities in India. A key government infrastructure project that was initiated in 2015 was the setting up of an international gateway at Agartala in collaboration with Bangladesh. The project is likely to start commercial operations in early 2016.
Going forward, the focus of contracts is likely to continue to be on 4G, while further collaboration can be expected in the enterprise segment to meet customers’ growing requirement for high speed data services.