Friday, January 08, 2016

Ten Key Trends to Follow in 2016 in Indian Telecommunications

The year of 2016 will bring some stuffs very much new to Indian telecom and will probably make right path to the fate of the industry. Definitely 4G LTE will be the biggest game changer in this year. Jio's commercial 4G LTE launch over multiple spectrum bands with lots of in house concepts as well as tons of stuffs to be consumed it'll be spectacular to see how Jio will manage RIL's most ambitious business venture that was started just from a scratch.

Let me tell you the key trends to see in 2016 in Indian telecom.

1. Consolidations among service providers:

Airtel - Augere merger is already happened. The future may see several consolidations which are:

Tata Tele-Telenor India

2. Jio's Commercial Launch - Consumers' Rejoice

What we can expect that Jio may bring 4G to aam-admi by March-April this year. Jio will bring some of the technological advancements to Indian soil apart from simple data services.

With Jio's entry which is expected to be disrupting, data price will go down and it's rejoice time for consumers.

3. 4G/LTE Goes Mainstream

2016 will be denoted as India's year of 4G as several players will kickstart 4G services. Airtel, Vodafone and Idea already have started services in selected markets (= cities). Jio 4G is due by March 2016. Even Telenor plans for low bandwidth 4G trials.

4. WiFi in 2016

This year we will see :

1. more public WiFi hotspots
2. more connected devices and vehicles
3. VoWiFi (voice over WiFi) may be introduced by Jio
4. new WiFi technologies like 802.11ad and 802.11ah standards.

Max speed MIMO Frequency Year
802.11 (legacy) 1.2Mbit/s No 2.4 GHz 1997
802.11a 54Mbit/s no 5.8 GHz 1999
802.11b 11Mbit/s No 2.4 GHz 1999
802.11g 54Mbit/s No 2.4 GHz 2003
802.11n 150Mbit/s Up to 4 2.4 and 5 GHz 2009
802.11ac 800 Mbit/s Up to 8 5GHz 2013

There are already three new WiFi standards which are being tested -

  • 802.11ad will work on 60GHz band and enables data speed upto 7Gbit/s. However it has some limitations too; it works in a small area and can’t penetrate walls & requires a direct line of sight to the router. It is not suitable for complete home or office solution but has promise in living room situation. 
  • 802.11ah or WiFi HaLow is another newer technology which works on 900MHz band and can offer coverage upto 1Km and data speed is between 150kbit/s to 18Mbit/s. Experts believe WiFi HaLow will work best with the devices which have low power and needs only short bursts of data. 
  • 802.11af or White-Fi or SuperWiFi will work over frequencies between 54MHz and 790MHz which is television spectrum frequencies. It may help for long distance IoT communications. However in some countries use of this spectrum is restricted. 

5. Stronger Fiber Backbone

As Indians will use more data, service providers will shift their backbone from microwave to fiber as later offers better connectivity and it's future proof. We can expect some regional companies to come up as fiber rent providers, just like independent tower companies.

6. Revival of BSNL

Everytime BJP comes in power, there is massive improvement of state owned telcos. Last time BSNL's broadband system got so much boost (remember 2Mbps plans introduced in 2007) that it was able to bring monopoly in wired broadband market. We can expect that try from central government once again can boost BSNL's telecom services.

7. New Technologies for personal and enterprise/SOHO users

There will some technologies which Indian will embrace like Cloud Computing, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence etc. M2M, Industrialized IoT (Internet of things), Big Data, Digitization across verticals will give a boost to enterprises.

8. Better Services from Service Providers

As TRAI becomes very serious about service quality we can expect lesser network drop over mobile networks. We can expect this move will spread to other telecom services.

9. Smartphones & Devices
The smartphone space will keep evolving, VoLTE, VoWiFi enabled smartphones will keep rocking this year.

On the devices other than smartphones I would rather prefer not to comment as this space always brings some surprises!

10. Net Neutrality

With facebook's massive campaign for FreeBasics (or new brand of Indians have got a new topic for debate. Most people bashed facebook's attempt.

As Jio will come with tons of contents of its own, we believe Jio may offer them free and which goes against net neutrality. There's a debate would come once Jio comes, till then cheers!

Happy New Year!!! 

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