India’s cash-strapped telecom operator, Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), is looking to transform itself into a technology company or a ‘techco’ to give a push to its enterprise business in the country at a time when its traditional consumer voice and data business is reporting losses quarter over quarter.
“From being a telco, we are trying to become a ‘techco’ in keeping space with the changing needs of enterprises. We want to provide end to end solutions that enterprise customers are looking for…this is where the partnership will come in handy,” Abhijit Kishore, Director – Enterprise Business, Vodafone Idea said at an industry event, which held virtually.
Under its new enterprise strategy, the telco has adopted a partner-led approach to building a complete end to end ecosystem of products and services to serve the needs of large, medium and small companies.
Kishore said that the company can’t build everything on its own, hence it is now creating a “stable” partner marketplace.
Vodafone Idea, which recently rebranded itself as Vi, is bringing companies to add devices, applications, software, system integration and consultancy to its marketplace. “Our model is to give options to customers depending upon their needs,” the executive said.
The company said that Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Edge Computing and SDN-WAN have emerged as the main growth drivers for its enterprise business.
It has also increased its focus on cybersecurity and has launched its managed security service offering. “Security is one of the big concerns. Larger enterprises are aware and smaller ones are trying to understand the importance of this. Those are the real challenges, we are solving through managed security services,” he said.
India’s cybersecurity market is likely to be $13-15 billion in the next 5 years, as per the country’s IT body NASSCOM. Analysts said that the market is growing very fast since most of the companies are seeing attacks like DDoS on their networks in the country as their workforce operate from homes. They said that the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered digital adoption and transformation.
Vodafone Idea’s bigger rival Bharti Airtel has also increased its efforts to tap the growing cybersecurity market. The Sunil Mittal-led telco recently launched its Airtel Secure portfolio of cybersecurity services enabled by its latest centre, set up with an investment of Rs 100 crore ($13.51 million). It also entered into partnerships with global cybersecurity vendors like Cisco, VMware, Raware and Force Point.
Vodafone Idea’s Kishore said that the pace of digital transformation has accelerated and companies are adopting security solutions to safeguard their operations.
“The entire landscape has really changed in the last two quarters and we have seen a significant change in terms of digital transformation…security is one of the big concerns. While larger enterprises are aware and smaller ones are trying to understand the importance of this. Those are the real challenges, we are solving through managed security services,” the executive said.
Vodafone Idea is heavily invested in the Internet of Things (IoT) space with its network and solutions. It is currently trialling narrowband IoT or NB-IoT technology in the country with various partners.
Recently, the telco informed its investors that it was confident of maintaining its market share of 54% in the telco IoT connectivity space, which is expected to grow ten times. It also expects to garner 10- 12% market share in non-connectivity IoT space.
“We are three to four quarters ahead of anybody else in the country from the enterprise-grade IoT solution in the space of utility, meter reading, manufacturing, agriculture and automobile,” the executive claimed.
Automotive is the fastest-growing vertical for the company’s IoT business. It has inked pacts with companies like Maruti Suzuki, Hynudai, JCB and Tata Motors for its connected car offering.
Kishore said that the telco is currently in talks with a major automobile player to connect the latter’s entire process of engineering using 4G network. “…Vodafone Group is one of the leaders in Europe. And we are trying to do that in India with large automakers.”
Vodafone Idea claims that it has 90% customer market share in the automotive industry with over 2.2 million vehicles on connectivity. It claims to be the only e-UICC SIM supplier in India.