The last few years have changed the trend of the telecom market completely. If you notice, several countries, including India, are shifting towards homegrown technology because of security concerns.
India’s only four operators, Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), and Reliance Jio, are also expected to integrate more homegrown technology into their upcoming 5G networks. Jio and Airtel are pretty vocal about the same.
Jio has said that it will only look for homegrown 5G solutions. The telco purchased a ton of network equipment from Samsung for the 4G rollout. But now, it will not rely on the South Korean tech giant for its 5G rollout.
Airtel is also developing in-house 5G. Both Jio and Airtel will be aiming to not only roll out the 5G network in India but will also share their proprietary solutions with other nations to help them roll out 5G as well.
Era of Chinese Vendors Dying Slowly
The most affected vendors across the globe are from China. Chinese vendors, including ZTE and Huawei, are losing out on contracts worldwide because of their alleged connections with the Chinese government.
Both India and the USA have been at the forefront, looking to remove Chinese vendors from their ecosystem of networks. India has even declared that if ZTE and Huawei don’t make it to the ‘trusted vendors’ list, they will not have any future in the country.
Earlier, over 80% of the telecom market worldwide was controlled by companies such as ZTE, NEC, Samsung, Cisco, Nokia, Huawei, and Ericsson. But with the emergence of new players providing specific solutions, things have changed.
New players such as Parallel Wireless, Altiostar, Mavenir own the market for providing better software solutions. Then companies such as Google, IBM, and Amazon are known for offering world-class cloud and network technology solutions. Further, Indian companies such as Tech Mahindra and Reliance Jio are really good at integrating software and hardware.
The rise of new players and more options in the market has taken power away from companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, Huawei, and more.
Further, it is in the benefit of the operators if there are more local vendors present within their country. It will help them in keeping their networks far from national security threats.
As for BSNL, the government is already forcing the telco to go with local vendors for its 4G rollout. Even though BSNL’s hybrid 4G plan includes foreign vendors, the telco still has to go with local vendors for more than 50,000 of its sites.
Vodafone Idea’s 5G Mystery
Vi has confirmed that its network is 5G ready, but apart from that, it has been more on the quiet side when it comes to 5G. While the other two private operators of the country have been very vocal about their tests and homegrown solutions, Vi has been battling to stay afloat in the market.
The telco has been losing customers on a regular despite launching several amazing industry-unique offers. We expect that Vi won’t be looking to invest in 5G networks anytime soon. The telco’s future in India looks grim if it continues to lose out on subscribers for the next few quarters.
We expect Vi to go with homegrown 5G solutions as well whenever it decides to enter the 5G arena. But that will depend on whether it is costlier or cheaper. Vi would be very wary of investing a lot of money into 5G. In hindsight, if Vi survives till pan-India 5G rollout, it might be able to leverage the high demand of IoT devices connectivity with 5G.
While Jio and Airtel are leading, Vi can still get a sizeable amount of market with its 5G services since the demand for data and connectivity is only going to rise from here.