26 April 2012

NetEvents APAC Press Summit, Hong Kong - Day 2 - Opening Keynote Summary

Opening keynote: Bridging India's Mobile Data Performance Gap
Nanotel CEO Pranay Misra opened the second day of NetEvents here in Hong Kong. He talked about the size of the Indian telecoms market and how Nanotel would change the volumes and speed of mobile data. Only 28.4% of rural population has mobile coverage, he said, and as well as huge growth in the numbers of mobile providers, we are also seeing a big shift from voice to data.

Users want seamless connectivity but the problem with existing networks and providers is that they are slow to develop new applications and features, and building new networks is expensive.

"Operators want more customers, increased revenues, lower costs, harmonised networks, and be fast to market," he said. "Customers want new services, value for money, less cost, personalisation, mobility, and freedom, and they want one bill and one network to handle it all."

Misra said that next generation networks which could deliver this offer high speed backhaul, are service oriented, use IPv6, can handle TV, and are all packet-based.

Potential drivers of revenue include growth in data traffic and an under-serviced rural population but operators face problems of smartphones and tablets not in place, or not affordable, said Misra. Operators also need to change their low quality, high latency networks, and need to provide billing on a per-second or data volume dependent basis. But telcos say there's no revenue model, especially for the 600+k villages in India. Such rural coverage means high opex - they don't have electricity - and need solar or diesel power, fibre connectivity to each tower not microwave in order to assure speed.

Other key challenges for telcos include a lack of local content.

Misra was then interviewed on stage by event host, journalist and NetEvents editorial director Manek Dubash. They discussed revenue models, power for base stations, competition, and average revenue per user (ARPU).

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