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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2012 - issue > View Point

Helping Mobile Networks Unchoke

Vikram Shanbag
Lead Strategic Business Unit-Comviva
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Vikram Shanbag
Vikram Shanbag drives and lead strategic business unit at Comviva focused on providing mobile messaging and data solutions to operators globally. With over 20 years of experience in Telecom and IT sectors his responsibilities span around R&D, sales & marketing, IT consulting, international business setup, growth and P&L management. He is a prominent speaker on topical issues and has been quoted as a thought leader in the media. In a candid chat, he talks about the new happenings at Comviva and how it is tapping the opportunities that the mobile industry is throwing up. The excerpt:

The messaging and the data space is one of the product units we have in Comviva. From our involvement perspective in this industry we have been very active in the data space. We started off in 2001 when the initial WAP gateway was introduced. We have been the pioneers in the mobile internet space since then. Subsequently our portfolio has gone from WAP gateway to mobile internet gateway which not only handles the WAP traffic but also the HTML traffic. This we now call it as the "mobile data platform" - MDP. This MDP helps the operators in terms of managing, optimizing and monetizing mobile data on any mobile device. This could include smartphones, feature phones, tablets and so on. In terms of trends in the industry, there is a data explosion happening. There are several things driving this explosion:

One is the devices which makes it simple for on-the-go internet. Secondly, the whole app revolution that is been happening in the ecosystem. And then there is social networking and YouTube, Netflix and so on that is driving it. So, it is applications and content, devices and the technology from an access perspective and these are the things that are driving the revolution. Essentially what used to be happening on the desktops and laptops is now moved on to the mobile devices primarily. If we look at the components of it, video is the most used, followed by P2P i.e. is the bit torrent traffic. There is VOIP which is Voice Over Internet protocol and then Social networking sites like facebook, twitter and so on. There are also projections like the personal video conferencing, Mobile health, Mobile education and so on in which these trends affect the explosion. Most of these can be translated to either video or content depending on what it is. For example, Bharti Airtel has launched its wireless broadband in Kolkata and is about to be launched in Bangalore in the next month through Huawei. The projection says that by 2015 the reach will be a 100 fold increase in the mobile data base. The subscribers would do about 600 hours of video streaming on this particular traffic. Hence, we can see that the growth is at an exponential level. From our customer segment perspective, we provide systems, products and solutions to the mobile operators.

A major challenge on everybody’s mind is that there is a traffic and very closely related expense curve. The revenue curve faces a difficulty to grow better than the expense curve. There is a gap between the expense and revenue curve. The business becomes unviable otherwise as they will put in more and more cost into the system. Hence, if we do flat rate data plans, which many in the developed world like the U.S. for example use. AT&T's network choked after the iPhones. So, it all depends on how we deal such situations in the phase of these data explosions. This is the crux of the issue that everybody is facing as of now. This is where we are focusing on as a vendor by providing solutions that can manage, optimize and monetize the data pipe.

Depending on which operator you are, you choose to be only a pipe and probably the best one in the world. And they could let everything else be with the people who work with the internet or content etc., there are some who are looking at end to end solutions where they can become indispensable and so on. In all of this, it is important to understand what is flowing through your pipe. What we focus on is about differentiating our product line so that operator can know what is going through the pipe which otherwise becomes difficult to manage and monetize it.

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