Ericsson says Indian telcos continue to invest in network amid pandemic

Ericsson India pandemic
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Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson said that India’s telecom operators continue to expand their network to address the growing capacity needs amid the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nitin Bansal, the company’s India managing director, said that the second wave of COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down the decision-making of Indian telcos. 

“Data consumption continues; I have not seen a reduction in anything. Operators are working hard to manage capacities based on the demand. Everyone is responsible for their own employees, everyone is working in a very responsible way, and whenever there is a need for increased capacity, managing capacity, that is happening,” he was quoted as saying by PTI news.

Ericsson and Nokia are the top two telecom gear vendors in India in terms of 2G, 3G and 4G radio deployed. 

Börje Ekholm, Ericsson CEO and president, had also made a similar statement about the Indian market and said that the country needs to grow 4G capacity based on “growing and continuing data demand”.

Ekholm last month told the Economic Times that the gear vendor gained more footprint in its network business with new deals from Bharti Airtel. 

“We have continued to gain a footprint in our networks business and delivered very strong performance and very strong growth,” he said, adding that the company’s digital services also cornered new business from Indian telecom operators. 

Ericsson said that it is fully prepared for 5G deployment in India and sees opportunities in both consumer and enterprise segments. 

“We have worked across the globe in various countries, both with different kinds of traffic profiles and different kinds of spectrum. And we are ready with what is required for rolling out 5G in India,” Bansal told the news wire service. 

The company maintains that India hasn’t missed the 5G opportunity compared to deployment in the developed markets. It also urged the country to release 5G spectrum in sub-GHz, mid and millimetre bands at affordable rates to achieve 5G’s full potential. 

“If you look at why we are so confident that 5G is needed for India, one is our consumer survey (indicating) the willingness for consumers to pay more for 5G services, as they look for robust and reliable connectivity layers…there is a revenue potential also which 5G brings, we have seen this globally, and it is also relevant for India,” Bansal added. 

In its latest ConsumerLab report, Ericsson said that India could have 40 million 5G subscribers within the first year of commercial rollout. It added that Indian consumers are willing to pay a premium amount for 5G speeds.

India had this week allocated spectrum in 700 Mhz band, 3.3-3.6 gigahertz (GHz) band and 24.25-28.5 GHz band for 5G field trials in the country. Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been given trial spectrum for six months to test 5G technology in the country.

The country’s Department of Telecommunications approved telcos’ application for 5G trials with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and state-run C-DoT.

Ericsson is also looking at growing its manufacturing facility in Pune city to meet demand in Asian and Western markets. It is looking at more components suppliers to India’s supply chain leveraging the recently introduced Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom and networking product.

The company is already exporting limited quantities of 4G and 5G equipment from its Pune unit in India. 

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