The acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent has increased the addressable market for Nokia, which is talking to not just Indian telecom customers about mobile broadband, but also about fixed-line evolution and IP transformation.
The company is looking to increase its non-telco business, and is aggressively targeting the country’s smart city projects, Alain Biston, head of sales (mobile network & E2E) at Nokia, tells Danish Khan. Edited excerpts:
Q. What brings you to India?
I take care of seven regions and am here to explore opportunities in projects like Digital India and smart cities, besides meeting our existing telecom customers to talk about our solutions for network transition.
Q. What are your views on the
market in India?
India is an extremely important market, not only by size but also by the set of opportunities that we see today and tomorrow. India is really moving into newer technology with 4G.
They are also moving fast into the smart city concept that will drive
(Internet of Things). The big difference is now that that there is a real plan to look forward. Now, there is a big initiative to really put more spectrum available to the market, which is very important.
Q. How much of a difference has the acquisition of AlcaLu made to the Nokia portfolio?
The overall addressable market has increased for us. Luckily in India, between the former
and Nokia, we have had completely complementing portfolios. We’ve been very strong with some of the operators with the mobile network perspective. Now with the IP coming in and getting integrated into our end-to-end portfolio, we are now reaching out to existing customers for IP transformation and fixed-line networks.
Indian telcos are looking at transforming their legacy networks into IP networks to fatten pipes to support rapid growth. Additionally, Indian telcos are moving to enterprise and that helps because the same set of equipment from the IP perspective can then expand into dealing with the enterprise business, cloud and data centres.
Q. How soon can
expect contracts coming in from non- telecom players?
A huge percentage will continue to come from telecom operators over a period of time. But the key thing is how we expand the non-telco space. We already have more than 500 customers in that space globally. In India, we’ve just started. We are using global examples and started approaching customers in the smart city segment.
We are now interacting a lot with the cable companies in India. They are looking at the transformation of their existing legacy cable networks into robust future proof network and are also evaluating if their cable networks can also provide home broadband or have multi-play kind of solutions.
Q. How is Nokia tapping opportunities in India’s smart city segment?
From the engagement perspective, we are following a three-pronged approach. One is that we have directly started interaction with all the state governments, and have already had secretary-level discussions with many state governments on upcoming smart city RFPs (requests for proposals).
We are also engaging with ecosystem local partners. There are global partners, some of them need to be developed and integrated and tested in the Indian environment with respect to solutions required.
Thirdly, we are trying to engage with associations, agencies, government bodies and the central government and try to make more awareness on where and how we play. We have shortlisted smart parking, smart lighting, smart traffic management, fleet management and city