In less than a quarter, the company expects to commercially supply its made-in-India 4G and 5G Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) radios
For securing 5G equipment deals, US-based telecom gear maker Mavenir is in discussions with Indian telecom operators, including cash-strapped Vodafone Idea. In less than a quarter, the company expects to commercially supply its made-in-India 4G and 5G Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) radios, according to a top executive of the company.
“These engagements are long drawn and the gestation period is usually around 9-12 months. We are pretty much in engagement with everyone. We are not that far away from the standpoint of working with them [telcos] in 5G,” Sanjay Bakaya, Country Head-India & Regional Vice President-India & South Asia, Mavenir.
Multi-year 5G equipment deals have been awarded to Swedish Ericsson and Finnish Nokia by India’s top two telecom operators – Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. The telcos are also said to be working with South Korean Samsung. To procure equipment for its fifth-generation network, Vodafone Idea is yet to secure fresh funding.
Jio has launched its beta 5G service in four cities, in contrast, Airtel’s 5G services are live in eight cities. Both telcos are targeting to cover the entire country with 5G networks in up to 2 years.
“We are working with all the telcos in India for sure,” Bakaya commented on discussions with Vodafone Idea for 5G equipment deals.
Mavenir had deployed its Open RAN solution for the third-ranked telco’s 4G network in 2020 and conducted an Open RAN 5G NSA validation test with Airtel in April this year.
But despite the initial deals going to the European vendors, the executive sees Open RAN as having a future in India, with the country taking lead in brownfield Open RAN deployments.
“We are working towards deploying brownfield. India would be certainly taking the center stage or really the lead in building a large-scale Open RAN network from a brownfield standpoint,” he said.
Mavenir is also eyeing to become an end-to-end 5G systems integrator for brownfield deployment, he shared.
“Mavenir now is not just bringing the software piece, we are also bringing now the remote radio units to make a complete integrated solution. If the operator is looking at a complete, end-to-end solution, we are ready to offer them this end-to-end solution. The operator can choose to pick the pieces from different suppliers and we integrate them and give a fully complete built solution or they can take the whole solution from us,” he said.
Mavenir, in September, started the manufacturing of 4G and 5G Open RAN radios for its OpenBeam portfolio in Pune, Maharashtra.
Notably, through contract manufacturing partner, Jabil, Ericsson also manufactures its 4G and 5G gear in Pune for domestic and international requirements. The latter is an approved entity under the Centre’s Rs 12,195-crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom equipment manufacturing.
“Globally, all the top tier-1 operators are interested to work with us, and India for sure, we are in talks with almost all the operators,” Bakaya said when asked if telcos are taking interest to procure made-in-India equipment.
Mavenir has raised around $250 million this year and the Richardson, Texas-based company is investing heavily in India, he added.
“We do see double-digit growth in all areas, be it the manufacturing side. But on the overall hiring side of it. We have about 4000 employees and if you look back a year and a half we were almost 2500 to 2600 employees in India, which is close to you know 25-30% of what we have added here, and then that will continue,” Bakaya said.
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