Indian politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, want overseas companies to set up shop, and manufacture hardware and chips in their country. Never mind the fact that the infrastructure to support a chip fab is no there, the ports cannot handle the rigors of International trade and roads at best can described as drive-able. Still, the dream lingers. In fact they make it more attractive for overseas companies to get a piece of the government spending if they set-up shop and make products in India. Perhaps that’s why you see many a few announcements from Huawei, ZTE, Nokia and Nortel, about their Indian manufacturing operations. Apparently, this is going to bring in $800 million in investments over next 12 months.
While these efforts are good, in reality they will not mean anything in larger scheme of things. Instead, India needs to develop its own set of start-ups and telecom vendors. C/Net’s Michael Kanellos, while in India recently, wrote extensively about it. One company that is generating a lot of buzz is Tejas, which has raised $29 million in venture funding, will have sales of $100 million within 18 months and has equipment installed in 20 Indian carriers. The company backed by Desh Deshpande of Sycamore Networks is developing Ethernet-over-Sonet boxes, and will try and expand globally as well. Given the popularity of wireless in India, one can see quite a few innovative start-ups get off the ground. Telsima is developing a broadband switch that works well with WiMAX. Alcatel is working with C-Dot, to develop wireless technologies, especially in the WiMAX arena and that again is an interesting development.
I think with more than 20 operators in the country, India can offer the early “market” for most of these products, and can help grow the business overseas, ala ZTE and Huawei. I think that is a more meaningful and a better strategy. Getting overseas companies to come in and assemble their products in India, well that’s short term. The minute government contracts dry up, these guys are going to pull up their tents and move elsewhere.
6 thoughts on “India’s telecom dreams”
As you point out, infrastructure isn’t there to support the modern industries. The available roads, ports, power production, etc. are scarce/inadequate and nobody seems to address these. Add to this, the always uncertain political climate. However, we keep hearing in the US media how rapidly India is “growing”. It is hard for me to reconcile the reality in India with what I hear in the media here.
I think there is change happening, however not with the speed many think it is. i feel this obsession with FDI in high tech is pointless. I think India should reconcile with its service sector status, and use broadband (instead of 20th century infrastrcuture) to uplift the economic health of the country.
Having said that, india is often a crazy place which works at its own pace, which I think is a good thing. In the end, it all evens out. Things are changing, quite a big, some for better. Just the media here, is going a tad overboard with the Indian evolution
I think the Korean Compang LG electronices where to the first to set up manufacturing facilities in India. They manufacture CDMA enabled cellphones near Pune,India.
I agree with your idea that it’s the high time India encouraged homegrown Telecom gear vendors. India may not be “the” Telecom market yet, but opportunities are opening up. For example, the state owned operators are going to spend an equivalent of US$18 billion over the next three years. Even if half that materializes into reality (US$18 bil), it is going to quite a lot of money (which can save dozens of ailing start-ups and dying major vendors:-).
And that’s why you see lot of international vendors queuing upto set-up “manufacturing bases”. But these are mostly attempts to impress the government (to win contracts) and we will be seeing just assembly shops where they import the gear in pieces and put them together here in India. So there will not be much of “technology transfer” happening into Indian R&D scene.
This where we should learn a lesson or two from Chinese. Huawei and ZTE were able to reach their current scale and size mainly due to the domestic market and State support. While China spent billions on creating the Telecom infrstructure it made sure Huawei and ZTE got a decent share along with global vendors.
So while India opens up its market, it should also work towards creating an eco-system for building homegrown Telecom gear vendors. It is not going to be easy, but then again, that’s what people said when Sam Pitroda started building C-Dot. C-Dot may not have produced world class products, but it did manage to create some working gear which still sits in thousands of LECs across India (..and scores of those CEOs in Valley start-ups!).
At the risk of digressing, I would to like to point out how India should handle MNCs. And another thing that India should learn from Chinese is handling those arrogant goliath MNCs. The case in point is the Air-India deal where Airbus acted like a dumb losing a fight. Airbus (or Boeing) would never have the guts to speak openly against China if they were to lose the deal in China. So when India is becoming an important Telecom market, it should learn to set terms and call the shots and make sure it is not dragged into unnecessary controversies.
It’s great that Indian Politicians want to Industrialize India and the Venture Capitalists want to Invest in India inspite of the lack of modern Infrastructure. But what is disheartening is thanst India are basically copycats. They know every programming language whether or not programming using one language is better than any other Language or not. They are so good doing it that all the Computer Companies (hardware or software) want to do the work in India and Investors will provide capital to Indians probably on terms the start up companies in USA would not except.
But there is absolutely no reason for Indians to worry about the Infrastruure consisting of Roads and bridges. That is the way British left India. India should bring this to the attention of the world every opportunity it gets and embarass England.
But India should think pf another Infrastrure. That Infrastrure was not the doing of England or USA. That Infrastrure was created in the Western World probably the United States, by people like Gates, the Netscape Founder (His name probably starts with B like mine) and Steve Case because of Opportunitism. I’m talking about the Internet Infrastruture consisting of Clients, Servers and CGI whatever CGI means.
Indians have no time to see whatever to think that this Infrastrure has done more harm than good. The Browsers, based upon this Infrastrure give unlimited power to the owners of the clients to get the documents and files, belonging to others, stored in the Servers. The Hackers take advantage of this fact and use their expertise to convince the Servers that the request for the documents and files is genuine.
I don’t know about India. I’ve lived abroad since 1961 although I became USA Citizen only on December 22, 2003 although I was born in India. Hackers used this Expertise to break into the Military Files and stole personal information about 40,000,000 (40 Million) credit Card Holders in USA. Previously earlier this year they stolen personal information about richest people in USA like Paris Hiton. And to prove, that they can do it they did it to the Media Mogul and NYC Mayer Bloomberg and to get money from him they foolishly told him they did it and any one can do it.
Sony and other multimillion Companies stay busy keeping abreast of Hackers by constantly updating their Security Systems and probably Indians are the benificiaries of this spending by Sony and other Multimillion Companies.
I need the help of Indian programmers to do something about this Infrastrure. Actually redeveloping this Infrastrure completely. Redeveloping the roles played by the Clients and Servers. I don’t care what language they use to do it. It could be Java or Cobol (no kidding. Cell Phones are being developed that are programed by using Java) although I doubt there are many Cobol or Fortran Programmers atleast in India) or any other language. The new role of the Client would be to send browsing commands to a remote Server that is owned by others. The Server would process these Commands.
Here’s the main part. These servers will use multutasking and Nanotechnology whereby the servers will serve a different client after every tick or every two ticks. This is to keep the server processor busy processing instead of staying idle waiting for client instructions which is presently the case. Ofcourse the Servers will record the digital identity of every client that makes the request for server time or sends the commands to the server.
This way the HACKERS and Spammers will be Completely put out of business. This is not the only thing that will be accomplished. There will be no need for anybody to own a Laptop or desktop. I bet everybody in India has a Laptop and a Cell Phone. After the new Infrastructure and the Browser is developed there will ne need for anybody to own a laptop with or without a wireless card or 802.11 chips and there’ll be no need for anybody to take his laptop to a Wi-Fi Hot Spot. They would use a cell phone that can send text messages.
India is meant to be great. Indians are Leaders. Like Gandhi, Nehru, Indira. They led and the World is learning from them. In case Indians do not know there is a life Size Statue of Gandhi in Union Square In NYC. The name of Nehru is carved on the side walk on Broadway in downtown, NYC alonside other World Leaders.
But I’m sorry to say Indians are not leading when it comes to Internet and Telecommunications. The world is moving on to the 3G spectrum (2000 MHz) and India wants to be in the Forefront and TRAI wants to sxchange the 2G specimen with 3G specimen. The world is shifting to GDSM from GSM. This is to devide the Telecom Industry and for a GDSM cell phone Service Provider to take business away from the GSM cell phone service Provider. The loosers will be the users of the cell Phone Service.
Be that as it may. But India can be in the forefront by joining with me so that these cell phones can be used to surf the Internet whether they are based on GSM or GDSM technology who cares about GDSM or GSM. In USA FCC (the counterpart of TRAI in INDIA) has formed an agency (called WISP TASKFORCE) to promote WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE. Last year it made an INQUIRY SPECIFICALLY to ask if the FCC issues enough BROADEBAND spectrum to WISPS. Some 40 responders boasted how they are creating the hot spots and technologies to speed Data Transfer rates. But this hot spot and data transfer business is not based on BROADBAND SPECTRUMS.
I want to kill the Data Transfer rate business by redeveloping the Inrastructure and the Browser.
So I want to hear from Indian programmers who want to become filthy rich. They can become filthy rich by joining me to create this Internet revolution. I want to create Indian Gates. 100 of them. Ofcourse I don’t want them to give up their jobs. I just want their addresses (street addresses and email addresses) and their resumes.
I’ll then make a business plan to look for Venture Capitalists to Invest in our Wireless Internet service Company. If the Indians (who join me) want to start putting up an hour everyday to write some code for different phase of the operation, great. This is how Linux was created. But the Indians don’t have to do anything until the Company and its financing is in Place.
I don’t check back forums often. So if anybody is interested I’d like to hear from him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org/
The changes that are hapenning in India right now are definately quicker than the changes that happened in early India. The reason being the strict goverment policies for letting foreign companies set up their plants in India. But as time has moved on, India has adapted to these policies, which inherently has helped our own economy by creating a lot of jobs. As much as i would love to see India changing/adapting to newer technologies as U.S, i think we have a lot inital changes that India has to make before we think of making it big. An example of that would be the infrastrucure for better roads, availability of plots, less corrupted goverment policies, power production,etc, etc. Though these issues are not minute, these are probably one of the most important issues India has to work on.