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Sterlite Technologies has over a decade of experience in the telecom and broadband industry. During his time as CEO, Dr. Anand Agarwal has seen the company draw its roadmap on delivering smarter networks to expand its capabilities. Telecom Review caught up with Dr. Agarwal, who spoke about his vision as CEO, the benefits of Sterlite Tech's acquisition of Elitecore, how he plans to capitalize on the broadband data network creation globally, fulfilling operator monetization needs and R&D projects.

What is your vision as Sterlite Technologies CEO?
With the Elitecore telecom software division as part of our integrated capabilities, Sterlite Tech - Elitecore can now offer the combined solution of optical fiber for high quality broadband backbone infrastructure and OSS/BSS software services and solutions for higher quality of service and network monetization, both critically essential in today's growth for telecom and overall social and digital transformation. We have witnessed a continuous surge in data demand. This has led us to position Sterlite Tech as an enabler of data services globally and capture the untapped geographies for broadband services. We have a clear vision to cater to market demand which has surged, and we have the capabilities to fulfill that demand. I am sure we will play a significant role in deploying smarter infrastructure and smarter networks empowered with high speed quality data that will help expand our global footprint with our telecom software solutions and services.

Having fulfilled the acquisition of Elitecore by Sterlite, what are the benefits of the acquisition that stand out to you?
Sterlite Tech and Elitecore integration is based on complimenting businesses. Existing as well as prospective customers will benefit from the merger. Instead of choosing different partners for cabling, infrastructure and core network solutions, now global operators can find one point solution from Sterlite Tech-Elitecore. The combined experience and expertise has elevated the positioning and deliverables across geographies, enhanced reach, end-to-end deliverables and integrated customer support for a comprehensive platform. Elitecore has a strong presence in India, APAC, Middle East, Africa and SEA for its OSS/BSS offerings. This will definitely become the added strength to create a larger footprint across the global market and will open up new opportunities.

How do you plan to capitalize on the broadband data network creation globally?
Users across the world seek quality and better speeds for data services. We believe smarter networks can deliver huge quantity of data at the desired speed. Telecom operators have so far been focused on providing access and voice to a billion people, but now is the time to offer quality data. From the announcements of operators in the recent past, it is clear that the focus is on creating data networks based on promise of quality.

Sterlite Tech envisions transformation every day by delivering smarter networks, and for that we have been working with government and private operators to build the best infrastructure. Over the past few years, Sterlite Tech has been closely involved with our nation's building efforts, working with governments and private operators to reinforce its broadband networks by supporting Digital India Vision. On the international front, the company is strengthening its existing global footprint in 75 countries and furthering customer engagements. Through its manufacturing facilities in India, China and Brazil, Sterlite Tech is already a major supplier to global telcos with a supply footprint across 20 countries.

With our unique capabilities of handling such data networks, we are evolving towards enabling seamless high speed data transmission delivery with highly efficient broadband networks. This will help us maximize revenue opportunities as well as deliver huge benefits to operators in the form of enabling them greater levels of fiber as well as telecom software driven sophistication.

How do you plan to fulfil operator monetization needs across access networks?
Evolving technologies and networks are driving telecom companies to constantly innovate and meet the rising data demands of customers. With Sterlite Tech we were creating the infrastructure, and with Elitecore we are enabling the infrastructure, so that applications and services run on it, so that there is revenue generation and monetization capabilities being delivered to operators. Moreover, Sterlite Tech-Elitecore offers digital transformation solutions to monetize all IP networks such as ADSL broadband, FTTH, cable, 3G, 4G/LTE with an end-to-end pre-integrated platform, which has modular flexibility, high scalability and seamless interoperability. From cabling networks to core network OSS/BSS solutions, operators have the choice to opt for one stop solution. With the subscriber base in ME, Africa, SEA, India and APAC, our solutions are developed to enable operators to optimize their investment and network infrastructure while catering maximum subscribers.

In what areas do you see the market evolving in the next few years?
Today, most of our customers - whether telcos, governments or defense - are saying they want an integrated solution provider, someone who is open to flexibility and open to a higher degree of customization. Our customers are telling us that right from the network to the services and applications that run on it, it must come as an integrated offering. This is reflected in our customer engagements as well. In some cases we are even running those networks and the services on them with the agreed SLAs. That is our USP, and that is what is differentiating us in the market: we offer an integrated solution to our customers. With Sterlite Tech, all those components can be built, integrated and managed by us based on clearly defined results. We clearly see that moving forward. The demand for data infrastructure is going to be so big that it will not be a question of us or them, because nobody alone will be able to fulfill that demand.

Moreover, with the increase in the utilization of smart devices and connectivity, on an applications and services front, we will witness a lot of buzz in global telcos transforming from communication service providers to digital service providers. Digitization has enabled governments, enterprises and customers to connect digital technologies and applications for faster accessibility and actionable information. The entire platform of digitization is driving the telecom industry to take critical and operational decisions to monetize infrastructure, enhance service offerings and support ever increasing data traffic.

With the digitization trend we see the market evolving towards digital commerce and personalization with enhanced customer experience. Along with digital transformation we see the demand in cable MSO, LTE/4G, real-time data analytics, cloud ready solutions, IoT/M2M, traction in MVNO Market, WiFi calling/voice over WiFi, voice over LTE, WiFi offload, WiFi monetization and smart cities industries growing rapidly.

What can you tell us about your R&D department?
Right now we are engaged in a lot of R&D and investments in three areas. Firstly, we see a lot of traction in digital commerce where billing and CRM is moving towards digitization. There is an omni-channel platform to interact and engage with the customers, a common interface where providers can offer innovative services. We are also focusing a lot on enriching our capabilities in analytics. Any information that is flowing across the network which involves patterns of customer behavior can be used to create analytics. Our vision is to create a single point dashboard for operators where they can get all the information in a single shot.

We are also focusing on smart cities and M2M/IoT segments. Sterlite Tech-Elitecore is focused on enabling visions of smart cities, with three projects already recognized. To expand its network globally, the company is working on innovating by delivering smart networks, complete infrastructure management and applications to support smart city use cases. Sterlite Tech-Elitecore is uniquely positioned to deliver end-to-end solutions for smart city needs with its WiFi platform. It has further strengthened the commitment to build capability by partnering with global OEMs and solution providers in this space.

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