An increasingly competitive landscape is making geospatial technologies indispensable for the Indian telecom industry
With a subscriber base touching 1.2 billion, India is home to the second-largest telecom industry in the world. By 2025, the country is forecast to generate almost a quarter of the world’s new mobile subscribers with an installed base of almost 1 billion mobile devices. The Government of India has also been proactive in fast-tracking reforms in the sector, with a new National Digital Communications Policy aiming to attract $100 billion worth of telecom investments by 2022.
Further, the government has begun preparations to adopt the next-generation cellular technology, 5G, which is expected to open the doors to innovations and change our day-to-day lives dramatically. However, the successful deployment of 5G services is dependent on robust fiber infrastructure. And according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), only 22 percent of mobile towers in India are connected on fiber presently. China, meanwhile, has fiberized 80% of its mobile towers. Therefore, there is an urgent need for both private and public sector players to ramp up investments in fiber infrastructure.
The competition in the Indian telecom industry has also heightened considerably in the past few years. And while all the subsectors of the industry – telecom equipment, telecom services, and wireless communication – are raring to explore new growth opportunities and target enterprises for 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, they must also realize they need to do so in a sustainable manner, without allowing the operations and maintenance costs to skyrocket.
This is what makes ‘now’ the right time for the Indian telecom sector to adopt the efficiencies of modern technological advancements in the form of Geographic Information Systems or GIS.
Here are 5 ways the Indian telecom sector can achieve sustainability by leveraging GIS:
Capacity Planning: Strategic network rollout decisions help telecom companies to increase their market share and remain competitive. GIS solutions combine a variety of spatial and non-spatial data sources – such as inventory, geo-marketing sources, and network architecture – and provide a single-window platform for visualization and analysis. This empowers network planners to make data-backed decisions about the most cost-effective areas for new technology rollouts, allowing them to maximize the return on investment.
Network Design: The manual network design process is slow and lacks standardization. Moreover, support and capabilities are required for all kinds of network technologies, such as long-distance fiber, FTTx, and 4G/5G wireless. Moreover, there has never been a greater need to design fiber networks precisely and quickly in order to meet the latency requirements of 5G services. In such a scenario, robust GIS software can help operators to achieve design automation with artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. This kind of technology module uses the results of high-level design to generate a detailed low-level network construction design in only 10 to 20% of the time it would have taken to create a manual design. Speeding up the design process not only cuts down the time to revenue generation but also reduces the overall time for service availability.
Network Build: The efficient management of the entire network necessitates that the inventory reflects the final as-built network, not the as-designed network. With a handheld GIS solution, field crews can capture as-built changes in real-time and integrate them back to physical inventory. Automation of this as-built update can allow operators to gain as much as 15 % in productivity savings. By integrating hundreds of different tasks being executed by multiple build teams, GIS can also help to ensure that construction costs do not end up like a loose cannon.
Network Operations: Many telecom companies are unable to realize the return on network investments because manual workflows and siloed data end up hampering their operational and service fulfilment processes. But since a GIS software solution works with a single consolidated inventory, it can drastically reduce the time from ‘inquiry to order’ by automating physical path assignment and scheduling the work in a centralized management system. Something as simple as leveraging improved data quality to reduce truck rolls can result in significant annual cost savings for operators.
Network Maintenance: For telecom operators to meet business expectations and deliver value, the efficient maintenance of next-generation networks becomes necessary throughout their entire lifecycle. Seamless day-to-day operations and effective service assurance workflows are also crucial to maintain customer satisfaction as well as to increase the market share. By getting both field engineers and operation center personnel on the same page, GIS applications can pinpoint fault location quickly and accurately, and also accelerate the repair process. As a result, operators have been known to achieve a 25 % reduction in network downtime.
To sum up, GIS integrates data from various sources to provides telecom operators with a consolidated, cross-technology, end-to-end view of their entire network. By giving each department transparency in asset visibility, GIS-based network inventory solutions play a critical role in the planning, engineering, service fulfilment, and service assurance processes. Using a GIS software also helps to introduce automation and standardization into the organization, thereby paving the way for digital transformation and reduced cost of ownership. This means not only do telecom operators generate significant business value in many areas of the plan, design, build, operate, and maintain lifecycle, but they are also able to do so in much shorter timelines.
To know more about how GIS can help your telecom organization to remain competitive and deliver the highest quality of service possible, click on the link below.