Huawei India CEO: Spectrum auction is a major opportunity for vendors

In an interview with Computerworld India, Huawei India CEO Jay Chen talks about the upcoming Indian spectrum auctions and the company’s contribution to government initiatives like Make in India and Smart Cities.

In the next few weeks, the Indian telecom sector will be gearing up for its biggest spectrum auctions. Telecom operators like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio will be aggressively bidding for these auctions. Huawei India, similarly, is aiming to leverage these auctions by providing new technologies for the Indian telecom infrastructure.

Huawei India CEO, Jay Chen is optimistic about the spectrum auction and expects that this will bring a lot of business for vendors. Chen was appointed to lead the India arm of the Chinese telecom giant last year.

“We believe that this year’s auction will boost 4G businesses, in turn bringing a lot of opportunities for vendors. Huawei India is expecting many business opportunities and is looking forward to contribute more because of its strong base in 4G technology,” he said.

Compared to other countries, India has a shortage of spectrum. With the biggest spectrum auction, the 'valuable' 700 MHz spectrum will also be under the hammer. The 700 MHz spectrum, because of its low frequency, has good coverage and can pass through buildings and walls, thus making it useful in the 4G space. However, the equipment ecosystem for the 700 MHz spectrum is not mature and is still in its nascent stage.

Chen acknowledges that this is a problem. He said that this is more of a time-bound issue and hopes for the speedy development of the equipment ecosystem.

Another problem that the 1.2-billion strong nation faces when it comes to telecom is the large disparity between rural and urban teledensity. In a recent report, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says that the urban teledensity is 153.93, while the rural teledensity is 50.76.

According to Chen, Huawei India is very serious about looking at this as an opportunity. “Currently, we understand there is a huge potential for development when it comes to India’s issue with fibre and coverage. We consider this to be a big opportunity to develop the telecom infrastructure,” he said.

Investing in India through the Make in India vision

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives such as Make in India and Smart Cities have given a boost to foreign companies setting up shop in India. Chen said that because of all the positive initiatives and changes in FDI policy regimes undertaken by the government, India is seen as a 'very hot' destination for investments.

To realize the country’s Make in India vision, Chen said that Huawei India is proactive by setting up global centers in India, the recent being its Global Service Centre, which was inaugurated last week in Bengaluru.

This center, which is currently the fourth and the largest, will support combined services in four domains—global network operations centre, network integration services, network planning and optimization, and IT integration. It will provide end-to-end solutions to telecom providers and will support 50 projects in more than 30 countries, servicing more than 350 million subscribers in Asia, Africa and Middle East.

“The new GSC supports the Make in India vision by harnessing local talent, coupled with the infusion of hi-tech R&D expertise and knowledge into the country, to play a pivotal role in creating a collaborative framework that will help our customers reach the next level of business performance,” he said.

Huawei’s R&D center in Bengaluru which was set up in 1999, and has around 3,000 employees, is betting heavily on innovation and has already deployed big data, IoT and cloud technologies.

“We consider ourselves a technology company and a solution provider in the industry. Our strength lies in innovation and product solution. We consider Huawei’s R&D center and its global services center in India as contributions to the Make in India vision,” he concluded.