Telecom Operators in India are putting “great efforts” to welcome the “vast population” currently using 2G and 3G “into the data-driven world,” says Ira Palti, chief executive officer of Ceragon Networks. Palti said that the efforts made by the Indian telecom operators to convert existing 2G and 3G users would “drive the operators'' to swiftly enhance their existing 4G networks. Crucially, Ceragon CEO in the first quarter earnings call on May 3, 2021, also said that the company has been witnessing a “very strong momentum” in India.
Ceragon Expects to be Part of Indian Operators 5G POCs
Ceragon Networks, a company that offers wireless backhaul and fronthaul solutions on May 3, 2021, announced its 2021 first-quarter results with the company recording US$68.3 million in revenues. The company said that the first quarter revenues translated to an 22.2% year-over-year (YoY) increase with India accounting for 26% of its total revenues.
“Our strongest revenues for the quarter were from India, reflecting ongoing deliveries to Bharti,” Ran Vered, chief financial officer at Ceragon said in the first-quarter earnings call.
Bharti Airtel and Ceragon Networks in late April 2020 announced that the second largest wireless operator in India had picked solutions from Ceragon for “additional 4G network expansions beginning first quarter of 2020.” It was said that Airtel was looking to enhance its “network capacity to address growing demand for broadband amidst sharp rise in data consumption” across the country.
Palti in the first-quarter earnings call said that the telecom operators in India are investing “heavily” in enhancing their 4G capabilities while also “planning” their proofs-of-concept (POCs) for 5G.
“In India, there’s massive competition among operators who now invest heavily in strengthening their 4G capabilities and planning their POCs for 5G,” Palti said in the first-quarter earnings call.
The CEO of Ceragon Networks said that the company believes it will be part of these 5G POCs based on its existing relationships with the telecom operators in India.
“At the same time, there are great efforts to bring the vast population still using 2G and 3G into the data-driven world,” Palti said. “These efforts drive the operators to rapidly expand their current 4G networks in both reach and capacity, which creates significant demand for our products.”
Palti said “both trends” favoured Ceragon Networks in its first quarter of the current financial year and that the “operations and revenues were strong and stable” for the company during the quarter.
“In fact, in India, we believe 2021 will be even stronger than 2020, assuming no material impact on our operations from the latest COVID outbreak,” Palti said.
Indian Market Built to Work Under COVID: Ceragon CEO
Crucially, Palti said that the company is a “little bit hesitant on the capability to install” their solutions due to the current COVID scenario in India.
“In general, what we see as the demand plans, the operators put us their plans for 2021,” Palti said. “Plans were done somewhere in January, February before the very heavy hit of the COVID.”
In the third quarter of the previous financial year, Ceragon CEO said that the company had been running at “full speed” in India, since the country lifted its lockdown restrictions in early August 2020. However, Palti in the first-quarter earnings call on May 3, 2021, said that things “might be a little bit more difficult.”
“But in general, yes, I think the India market is built to work under the COVID,” Palti said.
Additionally, Vered said that the company has already witnessed “strong bookings” in its first quarter and hence has been “confident” with the question of COVID and its impact on Ceragon Networks in India.
“Our experience from the last year with COVID in India was actually a positive one, if I may say so, because we were managed and were able to deliver and execute despite the COVID situation,” Vered said. “I think that at this point, the outbreak in India is more severe and something that we didn’t [have] had the experience in the past.”