Mr. Hire has been involved with the TD-SCDMA/TD-LTE mobile phone standards championed by China for more than ten years.He was also responsible for developing Aeroflex’s TD-LTE product strategy and market launches.
Tell us about Aeroflex and your plans for the India Market?
Stephen Hire : Aeroflex Incorporated is a multi-faceted high technology company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets a diverse range of microelectronic and test and measurement products. Aeroflex products are in worldwide use, supporting communication systems, networks and automatic test systems.
Aeroflex’s highly respected achievements in enabling broadband and wireless communications are based on a broad range of patented and proprietary technologies. Aeroflex balances the quest for new and exciting innovation against the need to offer products that can be supported by high-rate manufacturing and are of the highest quality and reliability. Aeroflex aggressively pursues technologies that not only provide superior product performance, but also have reached a level of maturity that ensures efficient manufacturability and good value for its customers.
Aeroflex Incorporated is a global provider of high technology solutions to the aerospace, defense cellular and broadband communications markets. The company’s diverse technologies allow it to design, develop, manufacture and market a broad range of test, measurement and microelectronic products.
Important new opportunities in India have been created by the awarding of the TD-LTE broadband wireless access licenses, the increasing presence of major R&D facilities, and the warming of defense ties between the United States and India. Aeroflex is a very strong player in these markets, making it the perfect time to increase its footprint in India.
Recognizing the tremendous potential of the Indian market, Aeroflex has opened its new office in Bangalore. This office will be the country’s nucleus for Aeroflex’s sales, service, and application support for Aeroflex’s T&M products and systems. The Bangalore office will help the company to achieve a strategic regional goal of strengthening its presence and response time in India. With an initial strength of 10 people, Aeroflex is looking to rapidly expand its footprint and sales across all sectors of the India market.
How have your experience been in India so far?
Stephen Hire : We could not have chosen a better time to move to India. The mobile communications industry is going through a very exciting period of change and although there are will always be ups and downs, the general trend is looking very positive. The optimism of everyone in the industry makes for a very motivating work environment. We have been very fortunate to recruit some talented individuals to help drive the initial growth of the business and they will play an important role in the growth of Aeroflex in India.
Do you think T&M has become an essential part of the service delivery mechanism in India?
Stephen Hire : Each evolution of cellular technology brings ever increasing complexity to the network; looking forward to LTE, the explosion in data consumption and the ever-increasing demands on quality of service (QoS) from subscribers increases the pressure on operators.
T&M can play a crucial role in helping manage the complexities and demands of new services such as LTE throughout the lifecycle. Aeroflex works closely with network equipment vendors, chipset developers and handset suppliers to help them bring products to market fast and with designs that are optimized to meet the needs of operators. Later in the cycle, our products are also used for benchmarking and pre-deployment trials of new services and functionality to ensure that when commercial service starts, operators can be confident in the quality of their new networks and services.
What are the growth opportunities for the industry?
Stephen Hire : Mobile broadband has a very promising future in India. Whilst fixed broadband is easily available in most cities, rural areas are less well served and people increasing expect data service whilst on the move. 3G and LTE mobile broadband are already changing the communications landscape in many countries around the world and with the low penetration rates at present, operators and vendors in India are set for a solid period of growth.
The Indian market has many unique aspects, not least of which are the preponderance of pre-paid subscribers and very low ARPUs. These can be viewed as both a challenge and an opportunity for operators, vendors and new market entrants. Taking Kenya as an example, entrepreneurs there combined the widespread availability of mobile SMS and the lack of bank accounts for many people to create new markets in mobile banking and money transfer – services that we are now starting to see in India. We expect many Indian entrepreneurs to be looking for opportunities in the Indian market to create new services to meet the individual needs of many different sectors of Indian society. In time, we would expect many of these services to be exported overseas.
What are the key technical challenges you are facing?
Stephen Hire : Aeroflex is known for being first to market with new technology. In many cases, we need to deliver test capability in parallel with when the major equipment vendors and chipset developers are delivering theirs. Being first with new technology is always a challenge as we are often the first people in our industry that are grappling with understanding the standards and then correctly implementing them. Fortunately, we have some very talented engineers in both our Indian and UK development centers who have very deep understanding of the 3G and LTE standards.