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Loud rings

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DQW Bureau
New Update





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Is India on the verge of a telecom revolution? According to a recent study by

Research group Gartner, a 300 percent increase in telecom user base is expected

in the country by 2006. Gartner estimates that 128 million telephones of all

kinds - fixed, cellular and limited mobility, will be ringing loudly in the

country in another 4 years.

Currently there are some 43 million telephones of all kinds in India. The

plain landlines dominate the landscape with 36 million units followed by nearly

7 million cellular phones. Gartner estimates that the landlines would continue

to dominate the segment even in 2006 with an installed base of 75 million, a

market share of 60 percent. The market for cellular phones is expected by

Gartner to zoom by 650 percent to some 44.5 million. The hybrid phones using

wireless in local loop will account for another 8.35 million units.

If the predictions actually come true, Indian telecom market will grow into

one of the largest in the world, next only to China. It would offer tremendous

opportunities to the IT industry, both in hardware and software areas. To cater

to such a large subscriber base, the telecom service companies would have make

massive investments in computer hardware and software.

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The back end operations of a telecom service company is highly technology

intensive to handle tasks such as billing, customer service, fault detection,

monitoring etc.

Already telecom software is a major opportunity area for India's software

majors. India's top software company, TCS, senses the opportunity in telecom

software and has announced its intention to hire some 1,500 professionals to

fulfil the demand from this segment. TCS is also venturing to China to capture a

significant chunk of the demand for telecom software. Other software giants like

Wipro and Infosys too have significant presence in this segment.

But how is the big surge in demand for telecom services going to happen is

the big question. The telecom industry, barring the cellular operators, still

dominated by government-run companies, has to undertake intense marketing

efforts to convince people about the usefulness of a telephone connection. A

telephone is still considered a luxury even in thousands of middle class homes

in this country. And the industry has yet to reach out to the lower middle class

segments. The complicated process involved in getting a telephone connection and

the indifferent attitude of the telecom employees to attend to faults have not

made telephone connection a 'must buy' item in millions of potential homes.

With pre-paid cellular cards and wireless in local loop, technology is no

longer an issue in installing huge telecom networks.

The attitudinal change among the telecom companies is the biggest stumbling

block in realizing the big potential this industry has in India. Till this

change happens, estimates put up by agencies like Gartner will remain a mirage

only.

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