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India, the second largest emerging market in the world, is likely to turnout as a “Treasure Island for the global telecom equipment manufacturing giants. According to recent news in The Economic Times, the first phase of 3G networks deployment in India may provide a business opportunity of approximately $3 billion for these network gear makers. If this actually happens, then India will generate the largest global telecom contract in 2010.
In last May, Department of Telecommunications of India auctioned 71 3G spectrum licenses in the 2.1 gigahertz (GHz) band in the country’s 22 telecom service areas. Besides, the state run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. ( ) , other private players, who own spectrum are Vodafone Essar; a joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc. ( VOD - Analyst Report ) and Essar telecom, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, and Reliance Communications.
3G networks deployment is likely to start from December 2010. As a result, the above- mentioned 6 private wireless communications operators are expected to place orders for network equipment within the next one month The orders will be mainly for compatible base-stations, routers, switches, and overall network infrastructure solutions.
The two major beneficiaries of the first phase of 3G roll-outs will be L.M. Ericsson AB ( ERIC - Analyst Report ) and Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia Corp. ( NOK - Analyst Report ) and Siemens AG ( SI - Analyst Report ) . While Ericsson is the existing vendor for Vodafone Essar, BhartiAirtel, and Idea Cellular for 2G networks, Nokia Siemens Networks has already established a strong 2G foothold in Vodafone Essar, BhartiAirtel, Idea Cellular, and Tata Teleservices.
This big push for both Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks comes when they are finding it very hard to get large orders in the developed countries, which are still emerging from the aftereffects of the economic recession. We believe Nokia Siemens Networks, in particular, will strongly benefit since the company is looking for a private equity partnership in their joint venture for cash infusion.
The other two companies that are also likely to benefit are the two emerging Chinese giants, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. Just two months ago, these two companies were facing a crack down from the Government of India due to security concerns. However, they have managed to resolve these issues at least temporarily. The major advantage of Chinese vendors is that they are low-cost producers. As a result, both Huawei and ZTE are front runners for the 3G gear supply contract from Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, and Reliance Communications.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm Inc. ( QCOM - Analyst Report ) , the largest digital mobile chipset developer based-on CDMA technology, has decided to launch broadband services in India in 2011. In last June, the company won BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band, for four telecom circles. Qualcomm declared that it will team up with one or more local operators and plans to sell its full stake after creating a 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network to roll out super-fast broadband wireless access services.
Some of the giant wireless network infrastructure makers willing to make a pitch through Qualcomm are Alcatel-Lucent ( ALU - Analyst Report ) , Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, and Nokia Siemens Networks.
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