Nokia India Wins Over 108 Telecom Deals In 2020 As Network Rollout Intensity Increases


Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia has secured over 100 deals in India this calendar year aided by new telecom deals from Indian telecom operators and internet service providers that kept doing network expansion and modernisation throughout the year, a top executive told ET. He added that India is losing the momentum in terms of its preparation for 5G technology.

“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,” said the India market head for Nokia, Sanjay Malik.

India’s telecom sector, in the efforts of enabling policies including more quantum of the spectrum, is set to establish new benchmarks in the next-generation network deployments and service delivery.

Nepal and Bhutan also contributed towards Nokia’s business but deals from India stood over 100 this year.

Indian telcos’ capital expenditure was reduced this year due to covid restrictions and financial and statutory challenges. Malik said that the network roll out has now come back to pre-COVID days and its telco partners are rolling out similar numbers of sites that they were doing before the lockdown.

“Despite all challenges, we have been able to keep our deal momentum. Going forward. I’m confident that the intensity of roll out now will help recover the loss in Q2,” Malik said.

A 15-20 per cent 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.

“…once the spectrum auction happens, then naturally either through the hardware expansions or software expansions or refarming of the spectrum that will be done,” he added.

Malik also urged India to quickly auction 5G spectrum at affordable rates, suggesting that the country has already missed the bus.

“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 non need for any kind of 5G trial.

“Let’s straight away go for commercial deployment. We never did trial for 4G, right?. So, why are two trials for 5G now?,” he asked.

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.

The Airtel radio deal worth US$1 billion was largest in size among 100 deals that the gear maker won in India.

The top executive said that government and private entities have also ramped up their network spends, helping Nokia win new business.

“It is just the tip of the iceberg which we are touching at the moment with things like private LTE, factory automation. We have been able to establish ourselves winning some deals in that but this is going to grow exponentially,” he said.

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