‘Confident of being industry leader by 2020’

S Ronendra Singh Barcelona | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 24, 2016

JAY CHEN, Chief Executive Officer, Huawei India

Huawei India CEO says spectrum auctions key to more investment in telecom sector

Huawei sees more business opportunities in India as the country progresses on projects like Smart Cities.

The company believes that its India business, which has seen good growth during the last one year – post the spectrum auctions last February – is expected to report more growth this year as well, following the soon-to-be-held spectrum auctions, said Jay Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Huawei India, in an interview with BusinessLine. Excerpts:

You took up the role of India head at a time the telecom industry was itself seeing a lot of developments. What are your thoughts?

Because of spectrum auctions last February, followed with the merger and acquisition policy, 2015 was a good year for the industry. These two developments had a positive impact on industry sentiments. Operators were ready to put more investments in as they regained confidence, and even vendors including us saw it as a very good year.

How do you expect 2016 to be, as another round of auctions will happen in a few months?

More spectrum is always good for the industry because compared to other countries, Indian operators are short of spectrum resources. So, even though they are expensive – it is better than having nothing. For example, with only 5MHz, you won’t be able to do anything more.

But, operators are finding it tough to bid because licences are expensive. What choice do they (operators) have?

In India, as compared to other countries, operators have no other choice because of the system. In other countries people (operators) know the value of spectrum.

For example, Bangkok put up spectrum for auctions last year, and they too were very expensive.

My personal view is that more spectrum is good. Under Narendra Modi a lot of things have been clarified. As I said earlier, with more spectrum and the M&A policy under process, operators who are strong right now will become stronger. They will have the capability to take more spectrum from auctions as well as M&A deals. And, weak operators will become weaker. This will lead to consolidation, which is good for the Indian telecom market.

Going forward what kind of deals do you expect?

The spectrum auction last year led to more investments, and Huawei is getting the opportunity to gain market share.

For example, during the last one year, we have deployed services for Vodafone like the Wireless business, and for Bharti Airtel by deploying 2G, 3G, and now 4G.

We have also extended our cooperation with Idea Cellular. There are other positive signs, with Reliance and Tata Teleservices too launching 4G services.

But, isn’t competition in your area also getting aggressive?

Competition is there everywhere. We always discuss the same internally in Huawei, and are confident about our products and solutions.

For example, we are confident about 4G and are ready with 5G technology too, as and when it is ready.

Currently, the market is led by some western companies (like Ericsson and Nokia), but we are equally competitive. We are confident that by 2020, we will be one of the leaders.

What are the opportunities coming your way from projects like ‘Smart Cities’?

With the Indian government active in such projects, we see ourselves joining that path. But, we still have a lot to understand about the smart cities project. Unlike other countries, India is looking at making existing cities into smart cities. What are the challenges in that?

I think different countries have different approaches and India is unique in that sense.

It needs to find the right approach – like how to work with infrastructure developers and locals together– and then take that a right approach.

The writer is in Barcelona at the invitation of Huawei India.

Published on February 24, 2016
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