Ribbon says its India business is ‘on fire’ with new deals

RoW 5G standard India airtel open ran Ribbon
Image by AlexLMX | Bigstockphoto

IP and optical networking solutions maker Ribbon Communications is bullish on the Indian market and expects the local business to grow strongly on the back of telecom operators’ investments in 5G.

Ribbon’s sales in India increased 18% year-over-year. The company recently won new deals from Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, and other operators. 

Ribbon president, CEO and director Bruce McClelland said that its increased presence in scale in India is also benefiting its Cloud Edge business, with several voice infrastructure deals closing in the first quarter, as well as a good funnel of enterprise opportunities.

“Our business in India continues to gain momentum as we execute on previously announced wins with Bharti Airtel in both optical transport and IP routing as well as growth with other operators in the region, such as Tata Teleservices,” McClelland -said during a recent Q1 earnings call. “We had a strong quarter for new bookings, primarily for our new products,”

India “on fire” for Ribbon

Ribbon won Airtel’s IP Transport backhaul network expansion contract to deploy 5G throughout the country in December 2022. Another long-haul DWDM network contract from the Sunil Mittal-led telco followed the deal.

“We expect this region to continue to grow given the long-awaited investment in deploying 5G technology and the continued exponential growth in Internet traffic,” he added. “India has just been almost on fire for us, very strong demand, good bookings momentum and good revenue increase year-over-year. And that’s with the large — obviously, the very large mobile operators in that region.”

Rivals such as Ciena and Nokia have also seen growth in their India sales due to recent wins from Indian telcos as they ramp up investments in 5G networks.

5G plans

India’s top two telcos, Reliance Jio and Airtel, plan to conclude their 5G rollouts by December 2023 and March 2024, respectively. 

Third-ranked Vodafone Idea has yet to announce any timeline for 5G rollout, but may soon share a timeline. It has already started work to upgrade its network for 5G.

Ribbon’s McClelland said the gear maker works with all three Indian telcos. “They’re not at the level of business we’re doing with Bharti. And we do a mix of business in the region. Some of it’s on our IP optical portfolio, but we also have a very good presence with our Cloud and Edge business. It’s at a lower level of revenue, but it’s a higher margin, higher profitable business. Clearly, we have ambitions to grow our share in the region.”

In the January-March quarter, Ribbon reported a 7.5% year-over-year growth in revenue at $186 million and projected revenue target of $205-$215 million in the second quarter. It recorded a loss of $38 million in Q1 2023, though, down from the loss of $70 million in the same quarter a year ago.

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