Tech Mahindra plans to foray into telecom equipment manufacturing

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Published: June 20, 2020 3:20 AM

“They are saying that their equipment has been deployed at some places in Japan but apart from that, no details have been shared with us,” said a source in the DoT.

A message sent to Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani remained unanswered at the time of going to press.A message sent to Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani remained unanswered at the time of going to press.

Tech Mahindra is planning to foray into telecom equipment manufacturing and it has already entered into an agreement with state-run ITI Ltd to manufacture 4G equipment. According to sources, senior officials of Tech Mahindra have held several meetings with Department of Telecommunications (DoT) officers, including telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, recently, indicating their manufacturing ambitions.

“In fact, the company is expressing confidence that in next 12 months, it will be able to manufacture equipment like 4G radio, etc in India. The company wants to offer its products to BSNL to start with,” said a source privy to the details.

A message sent to Tech Mahindra CEO CP Gurnani remained unanswered at the time of going to press.

It must be mentioned that Tech Mahindra is already providing software solutions to telecom operators across the world. Comviva, a subsidiary of Tech Mahindra, offers various mobility solutions but so far, the company has not entered into equipment manufacturing. Comviva is serving communication providers in different markets including Japan, North America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, etc with its offerings including wireless support system, messaging and system integration.

“They are saying that their equipment has been deployed at some places in Japan but apart from that, no details have been shared with us,” said a source in the DoT.

The source further added Tech Mahindra has also informed BSNL that it can commence manufacturing of 4G equipment soon through its partnership with ITI and other local firms. Gurnani is believed to have met BSNL CMD PK Purwar a couple of weeks ago, to discuss the plans and participation of Tech Mahindra in 4G rollout.

During a recent meeting of Niti Aayog on deployment of BSNL’s 4G network using local equipment, Manoranjan Mohapatra, CEO of Comviva, is believed to have presented a proposal to build a consortium of partners to offer a futuristic, competitive, open standard based telecom solution, which can also be offered to telecom operators globally.

The solution proposed by Tech Mahindra will be open standard, which will allow several vendors to connect into it and give option to the state-run firm not to depend on a single vendor.

The company plans to partner with local firms to form a consortium and wants assured business from BSNL in the 4G project, so that they can take the risks. BSNL 4G network should be software-differentiated and upgradable to 5G in future. The security standards should be extended to all other operators in India and operation and maintenance responsibility should also be given to the consortium.

The sources said the company is also seeking reasonable terms or prior experience, deployment scale, etc and payment terms should be viable for all small and medium partners who will take risk and invest in this capital-intensive project.

“The consortium is willing to give performance guarantee, as a part of securing timely payments,” the company is believed to have offered.

It must be mentioned that BSNL will be floating a revised tender for its 4G roll-out after incorporating all the Make in India norms. The rules give price advantage of around 20% to local firms. Meanwhile, the Niti Aayog wants that only locally designed and manufactured 4G equipment should be deployed by BSNL.

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