Speaking to ET, Sanjay Malik, the India market head for Nokia, though cautioned that India was losing momentum in terms of its preparation for 5G technology, and urged the government to move straight into deployments, instead of spending time on trials.
“The deal momentum has been quite good for all of our businesses, be it radio, core business, application business, fixed network or GPON. Indian telcos have been preparing for 5G which has driven the deal momentum. We have closed 108 deals in the 2020 calendar year so far,” said Sanjay Malik,the India market head for Nokia. Comparatively, Nokia had won under a 100 deals in 2019 and 75 in 2018.
Nepal and Bhutan also contributed towards Nokia’s business but deals from India stood over 100 this year, with the deal from Bharti Airtel worth $1 billion the largest in size.
Indian telcos’ reduced their capital expenditure due to Covid restrictions and financial and statutory challenges, but network roll outs have now come back to pre-Covid days, Malik said. “…Going forward. I’m confident that the intensity of roll out now will help recover the loss in Q2”.
A 15-20% increase in traffic is now forcing Indian telcos to expand network both in terms of coverage and capacity, the executive said, adding that the speed will further increase after the spectrum auction which might take place during January-March 2021 period.
Malik also urged India to quickly auction 5G spectrum at affordable rates.
“We are getting delayed in terms of 5G rollout. We wanted to get into early from the global perspective and now we are kind of losing that momentum,” he said, adding that there is no need for any kind of 5G trial. “Let’s straight away go for commercial deployment. We never did trials for 4G…”.
Nokia said that right pricing has to be done for the 5G spectrum, making it affordable for telcos so that they can get into the commercial deployment stage early.
“We are managing 5G deployment in the US from India through our GNOC and helping devise strategy. Our engineers are ready for deployment in India from a backend perspective readiness,” Malik said.