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Being in India is more important than ever: Myrtello by Ericsson

New Delhi Being in India is more important than ever for Ericsson, said Nunzio Mertello, Head of Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, in an interview. The South Asian market, among the top five regions globally for the company, is expected to not only consolidate its position but also move at a faster pace, at least three to four times, in 5G adoption than other global markets such as the United States and Japan.

Mertello said Ericsson will increase its investment to manufacture network equipment in India to meet local demand, ramp up supply chains, increase staffing and research and development. Private networks restricted to 5G will generate additional revenue, he said, and the company will set up a separate unit to explore deals in India. Edited excerpts:

What does the Indian market look like now as operators accelerate the rollout of 5G networks, perhaps at a faster pace than their global counterparts?

The Indian population has proven to be very tech-ready and very willing to innovate, which is an ideal environment for 4G or 5G. For example, in India, consumers are more willing to move from 4G to 5G than in other countries where 5G has been launched, two or three times more. With this kind of environment and realities, operators will accelerate 5G more because they know that people value quality.

At Ericsson, we’ve always viewed India as a big market. Earlier, it was a large scale market where you needed to be cost competitive with reliable products and then have access to large volumes from India. This was the case until a few years ago with GSM and 3G. But for the time being, this is not good enough.

What has changed?

Now, you too need the best possible technology because the demand in India is second to none. So, you can’t go halfway. India is among the best markets, not only in terms of revenue but in terms of importance, which will require Ericsson to continue to outperform in technology and cost.

So, with success in India, we’ll obviously get revenue from India, we’ll get volumes in India. It will also make us successful as a company outside India. Which is exactly why it matters to us more than ever.

What are the differentiating factors that make India an attractive 5G market?

At Ericsson, we have always considered India as a big market. For 5G, I don’t think it’s too late. It’s perfect and just in time because the technology is now mature, it’s improved, and it’s a great cost per quality. We have 22,000 people working for Ericsson in India, a few thousand working in India, and the others working in India for the rest of the world. So, it is probably the largest community for 5G efficiency in India, and it is already working for 5G networks. Secondly, it is a successful country. It is set to innovate. The government is driving an agenda that is music to our ears, as we say internally. It’s the right place to be.

So, are you going to expand investments here?

absolutely yes. We will continue to expand with our partners. One area is supply chain and manufacturing, and we’re doing that with our partner ‘Jabil’, and we’ll continue to expand to ensure that we can meet the demand coming out of India. We will continue to invest in local capabilities at the global center for research and development.

What is the impact of the lack of components for gear brands like you?

It didn’t affect us because I think we were planning well. The task of ensuring that the supply chain is ready in the past few years has never been an easy one, and it will remain the same in the future as well.

How big is the 5G captive private network market in India for Ericsson?

There will be a huge growth market for private networks because 5G is now a reliable and secure technology with impressive capacity and latency that is better than good enough to replace all the physical problems.

So, we see a huge opportunity for many companies in the industry to roam rather than maintain their own static infrastructure. We’ve created a new unit, called Business Area Enterprise Wireless Solutions, that looks after B2B and B2B2C businesses when it comes to private networking solutions based on our acquisition of Cradlepoint, which provides cloud-based B2B and Plug and Play solutions to provide mobile access to small and medium businesses or Big companies like RedHat or others. It extends to all (markets), and we’re also exploring India.

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