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.

March - 2008 - issue > Cover Story

Starent Networks: A shining star in the telecom firmament

Jaya Smitha Menon
Friday, February 29, 2008
Jaya Smitha Menon
The year 2007 was a strong year for technology stocks from an IPO standpoint, with investors beginning to look beyond the big-name headline grabbers such as Google and Apple. It was a resurgence created by many factors; but one which needs special mention is the investors’ belief that the global demand for all things tech will continue to grow. Hence, when Starent Networks, with a solid and high-growth technology in the telecom sector and a strong customer base which included the likes of Verizon, Nortel, Virgin Mobiles and U.S. Cellular went public in June 2007, it was a welcome arrival for the IPO enthusiastic investors looking at exciting opportunities. CNBC rated it as one of the high-growth, high-momentum stocks of the coming year, while Goldman Sachs, the investment banker added Starent to its ‘Technology Framework’ list of growth stocks.

Not only did the company do well in the IPO, exceeding investor expectations, but had a soaring balance sheet at the last quarter of 2007 with no debts to speak of and a significant amount to spin off further expansions without cutting corners. It reported fourth quarter revenues of $50.6 million, a near 40 percent leap sequentially and more than double the sales from a year earlier. Analysts had, on an average, expected revenues of $43.1 million.

Though Starent Networks seems to be on the right track, it also faces the challenging task of keeping pace with the fast growing wireless and telecom industry. But, for Vijay Kathuria, Vice President and General Manager, Starent India, the challenges are nothing but exciting opportunities. He is confident of attracting more tier-one customers. “The IPO changes the perspective and gives confidence to the customers” he explains. An energetic team of 300 engineers in India that develops applications for the products rolled out of the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, is under the leadership of Kathuria.

Keeping pace with Technology
Ever since the reality shows made it to the top in the world of entertainment, the telecom industry is in an upward swing. Whether it be the Big Brother show in the U.K., American Idol in the U.S., or the Kaun Banega Crorepati show in India, these game shows are quite popular with the masses - thanks to the opportunity it gives the audience whether it be to even enter the contest through SMS, calls, and other mobile services or be it to help your favorite stars win. But the challenges the telecom industry had to face initially with this new trend in the entertainment industry were manifold.

Managing the huge traffic of SMS in the network on these occasions without choking the network and channelizing the data efficiently and effectively are big challenges. But these challenges are modest in comparison to managing the data traffic of mobile subscribers accessing high bandwidth applications such as YouTube, or services that require low latency such as push-to-talk over the mobile. To offer highly scalable, reliable, and intelligent mobile networks that provide a high quality subscriber experience operators require infrastructure solutions that can intelligently identify and manage the data and route them accordingly. This challenge is fast growing as mobile operators are deploying an increased number of multimedia services, such as high-speed Internet access, mobile television, and video telephony. All of this will only accelerate as voice increasingly becomes a commodity, and multimedia services become market differentiators.

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