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Indian Government Tries to Push Telecom Gear in Angola, Gambia and Mauritius

The Indian government’s Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is trying to woo service providers in Angola, Gambia and Mauritius to use Indian telecom gear to upgrade networks and replace Chinese gear, according to media reports.

TCIL has conducted market surveys in these three countries and has already recorded an early win. Mauritius has decided to undertake a proof-of-concept (POC) consisting of three basestations on an island with a population of around 25,000. The POC will use Tejas Networks’ radio access network (RAN) and hybrid optical line terminal (OLT) technology, E-band radio from Astra and converged core from Center for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), says the media report.

Deployment in these countries by Indian vendors will help them gain confidence and grow their presence in the global telecoms market. India is keen to emerge as an exporter of telecom gear and this initiative can emerge as a crucial first step in that direction. 

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is using C-DOT’s 4G core and RAN from Tejas (now part of the Tata Group). The service provider will also use an indigenously developed 5G SA core and RAN when it moves to 5G in the coming year. This deployment will give a much-needed experience of deploying at a scale and also help them to make a mark in the global telecom gear markets.

Pricing problems

India has strong ties with Mauritius – a country spread across a group of islands in the Indian Ocean – which will possibly help it to make inroads in the country’s telecom market. On the other hand, Africa is a price-sensitive market and is one of the few regions that continues to use gear from Chinese vendors. 

Several countries, including US, UK and Australia, have meanwhile banned the use of Chinese gear. If Indian vendors price their gear correctly, they can potentially advance in these markets as well. 

However, it will be tough for Indian vendors to offer better pricing than their Chinese counterparts. For one, the cost of manufacturing in India continues to be high and secondly, Indian vendors don’t have the economies of scale which could help them to bring down the rates. 

This initiative demonstrates the government’s seriousness in helping Indian vendors gain market share in the global market. At the same time, the government needs to push for domestic service providers to use indigenously developed telecom equipment. Indian gear makers recently asked the government to provide direct financial incentive to the telcos to use Indian gear and to bring down imports. This would also help them gain scale which they lack currently.  

Source : Light Reading