Growth dries up for Indian cellcos

Caroline Gabriel/Wireless Watch
Rethink
As feared, Indian government restrictions on importing telecoms equipment are adding to the woes of the country‘s carriers, as they grapple with fraud probes, rockbottom ARPUs and lack of spectrum capacity. Now, they are also finding it hard to raise financing to enhance their networks in order to improve often lamentable quality of service, or to upgrade to 3G (where they have the licences).
 
Rajan Mathews, director general of the cellcos‘ trade body COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), said the situation was worsened because members were not free to shop around freely for foreign equipment.
 
He told local reporters that orders for telecoms equipment have “come to a screeching halt” after the government made it mandatory for operators to go through a complex pre-approval process to buy any imported kit.
 
The Indian government wants to make the country more self-sufficient in key infrastructure by restricting imports, and also cites security concerns, but the homegrown industry is inadequate to meet operators‘ needs.
 
All these factors are limiting cellcos‘ ability to support new users and squeezing revenue growth. Mathews complained that foreign direct investment as well as local bank lending have almost dried up, making liquidity “a big issue” for operators.
 

Pages

Commentary

5G and data center-friendly network architectures

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Rémy Pascal / Analysys Mason

The launch of 5G by South Korean operators serves as a first benchmark for other operators around the world