& cplSiteName &

India Poised for Transport Network Boom

Gagandeep Kaur

Driven by a staggering increase in mobile broadband traffic in the last year, India has emerged as the best-performing optical networking market in 2017, according to a recent report from Ovum. The market research firm reckons that optical networking sales in India are up 11.8% this year.

Thanks to the growth of 4G, and efforts by telcos to prepare for the arrival of 5G in the next few years, the optical networking market is likely to continue growing for the next five years, says Ovum Ltd. "Mobile broadband growth will drive India to be the fastest-growing market through 2022," writes the company. "Ovum is forecasting an 11.4% CAGR [compound annual growth rate] driven by 4G and future 5G growth."

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), one of the vendors active in this market, is clearly encouraged by the outlook. "Leading Indian service providers have said transport -- including optical transport, wireless transport, and submarine cable systems -- is one area they have underinvested in, and there is a lot of focus and investment expected in this space over the coming couple of years," says Ryan Perera, Ciena's vice president and general manager of regional sales for the Asia Pacific.

Much of the growth in the transport network is happening as Indian consumers take up 4G services. Newish service provider Reliance Jio has totally changed the dynamics of India's mobile broadband market by offering free and low-cost data deals. Its move forced the incumbents to reduce their prices and triggered a subscriber boom. From a usage perspective, the mobile broadband market is thriving.

"The Indian market was primarily focused on voice, so the networks were primarily microwave based," says Sanjay Nayak, the CEO of equipment vendor Tejas Networks India Ltd. "Only 20% of the basestations are fiberized as of now, while it is 80% in China for a similar population spread. Our networks got built in a very skewed way. Now, the telcos have little option but to upgrade the networks to prepare them for mobile broadband and 5G growth."

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.

Indeed, there is skepticism in the global market that microwave technologies will be able to support much higher-speed 5G connections. That augurs well for the vendors of fiber optic networks that are targeting the Indian market.

"These [5G and connected things] will place enormous pressure on the way underlying transport networks are designed," explains Perera. "5G will require centralized RAN [C-RAN] architecture. In 5G networks, network slicing is being planned in the radio network and the packet core. In order to realize the full benefit of network slicing, the underlying transport network also needs to work in tandem."

"We are actively working with Indian operators to modernize core backbones to cater to this new reality [of data growth]," adds Perera. "On the other hand, access networks are arguably the most underinvested area in India. With [5G] front-haul and back-haul transport architectures will be critical."

As for the other India...
But 4G and 5G are just one part of the equation. Expansion in the rural sector through BharatNet (previously called the National Optic Fiber Network) project is also fueling demand for transport network gear. Telcos including RJio, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), Vodafone India and Idea Cellular Ltd. have already signed up to buy bandwidth from the government-backed player.

"Rural fiberization, from the government side, is the second most important area of growth in the country," says Nayak.

Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Lightning
11/17/2017 | 1:04:14 PM
Transport Market boom
Indian Mobile market is a bust for the operators [e.g. RCOM close to bankcruptcy, VOD making huge losses, Aiertel and others are also in trouble], but Transport  Network has to boom? Looks like CIENA has not learnt anything from how the mobile equipment vendors like NOK/ERIC suffered. There is no money to be made with mobile revenue per user less than 2 dollars a month, how will Transport vendors make money? There is absolutely nothing for foreign equipment vendors in India no matter the subscriber growth. 
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
February 26-28, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
Verizon's New Fios TV Is No More
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/12/2017
Juniper Turns Contrail Into a Platform for Multicloud
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 12/12/2017
Cloudy With a Chance of Automation: Telecom in 2018
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/12/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed