AK Sharma, Sr. Vice President (Operations), Savitri Telecom
The Indian telecom market has become extremely price sensitive. Recent developments in the telecom sector and cut throat competition among telecom operators have resulted in very unreasonable expectations of the customer of getting services at a negligible price and is playing spoil sport. Operators are now vying to put affordable handsets in the hands of the mobile users to retain or increase their customer base. This trend is very dangerous and may result in few operators going off the scene. Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest has set in and telecom market players are struggling to innovate to survive. It is quite natural that input cost reduction has become very important for all market players.
Test and measuring (T&M) instruments play an important role in maintenance of the telecom network. Manufacturers are sensitive to requirements of Indian telecom operators as also the Indian telecom market where the demand for cost-effective products is increasing to cut the operation cost. They have been striving to reduce the cost without compromising on test capabilities. As the length of the network increases maintenance of the network becomes very important. At the same time replacement of the aging network will also take place. The growing demand for bandwidth, multiple devices, and increasingly complex network architecture will continue fuelling growth in the T&M market. This will result in
an ever-increasing demand for T&M instruments. This is where manufacturers of T&M instruments see the silver lining as they are expecting an increase in volume of sales.
At the same time T&M instruments have to technologically evolve to take care of high bandwidth measurements, multiple-input, multiple-output testing, and special tests on LTE-advanced technology. There is also protocol testing and wide area network (WAN) optimization testing. In addition, quality tests that are required by the operator before accepting systems supplied by the manufacturer are being developed. Challenges for T&M instruments involve evolving technologically to provide all features and at the same time keep the price in check. Another challenge for the manufacturers, which keeps them on their toes is to avoid obsolescence of their product due to fast evolving technologies. This is the reason manufacturers are increasingly adopting a software-defined approach toward instrumentation, which allows expeditious upgradation of solutions as per changing network and technology requirements. Simplification of the product is also required with rapid change in technology as it is difficult to update the technical skill of the user as this also becomes a cost driving facture for the operator.
Growth opportunities for T&M instruments are visible due to the rapid evolution toward higher frequencies and wider modulation bandwidth, coupled with the advent of technologies such as 5G. 5G has the potential to revolutionize many industries such as telecommunications, automotive, energy, healthcare, and more. The technology is expected to be several times faster than 4G and would provide a backdrop for the billions of devices to be connected to the Internet as it would boost M2M communication and the Internet of Things (IoT) market eventually leading to growth of the T&M market.
There is no concrete trend prevalent in the fiber-optic-communication technology though the focus seems to be on the main area network (MAN) technologies covering wavelengths of up to 1650 nm. The underlying data traffic continues to grow at an overwhelming pace despite the unavailability of a homogenous traffic distribution model. This results in geographically converging dense traffic patterns. This phenomenon is further intensifying as the wireless LAN and public hotspot platforms increase in numbers. Due to the current economical climate, applications are still convergent on 10 Gbps nodes.
Uses of communication network have covered almost all aspects of life be it business, education, medical, homecare, arts, entertainment, domestic and retail markets, government, machine to machine communication, and scientific research. This necessitates convergence of multiple independent networks with resilience, reliability, and ease of use. All above factors are pointers to the rapid growth in the communication network resulting in the growth of the T&M market as well.