India’s ‘leapfrogging’ mobile development, an opportunity for Israeli companies
Tel Aviv-based Ceragon to upgrade India’s third-largest mobile provider Idea Celluar in multi-million dollar deal.
Advanced mobile technology in India is helping spread Internet connectivity,
which can spur economic development, creating opportunities for Israeli
“One of the interesting things in India with regards to 4G is
the fact that they are not using it necessarily for mobile handsets,” said Yoel
Knoll, VP of corporate marketing and IR for Tel Aviv-based company
“It’s used for broadband access with dongles and for pure voice,
to increase frequencies. They’re running out of frequencies for almost a
billion people,” he said.
On Monday, Ceragon closed a multimillion deal
to upgrade parts of Idea Cellular’s network, the third-largest mobile operator
Though the deal’s value was not published, sources close to the
transaction estimated it at $7 million.
“The mobile market needs in India
are constantly changing, with an ever growing need for higher bandwidth
connectivity,” said Anil Tandan, Chief Technology Officer of Idea Cellular.
“With the explosive growth in data demand over the past few years, it is
critical to have partners that understand the unique challenges of our market
and offer flexible solutions that can grow over time.”
India is the
world’s second largest mobile market with approximately 900 million mobile
connections, according to Anne Bouverot, the director general of the GSMA, an
association of mobile operators.
Mobile broadband adoption in India is
set to rocket over the next five years, from about 35 million mobile broadband
connections to a potential 400 million mobile broadband connections by the end
That connectivity may be key to helping the country hit its
“We have to leapfrog the industrial revolution and go
to the 21st-century revolution,” India’s Communications and Information
Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told The Jerusalem Post on a visit to Israel in
“We can’t wait for services being provided on the
infrastructure. So we need to build the digital infrastructure, the
broadband infrastructure to reach people. A lot of the development gap will be
filled up by providing information technology,” he said.
Though India is
forging ahead with plans to connect a quarter of a million villages to
fiber-optics, the 4G solution may prove easier to carry out.
adoption of wireless high-speed Internet in places where land infrastructure is
not available recalls the broad adoption of mobile phones in parts of Africa
where landlines had never been built. The socalled “leapfrog” technology opened
both an enormous market of consumers and a platform for business, communication
and even banking.
“We see in many cases the use of the cellular phones
replaces the Internet. It is the first encounter many people in the third world
have with the Internet,” said Lior Yekoutieli, Nokia’s Developers Experience
Manager in Israel.
According to a report by AT Kearney Africa and Asia
Pacific are the two regions exhibiting the fastest growth in the mobile market,
representing an addition of $240 billion in revenue between 2012 and
High-speed connections, both through mobile handsets and Internet
dongles, also pave the way for an applications market.
“On the level of
applications, it really creates a new world of people who haven’t used the
Internet before, or had very sporadic internet,” Yekoutieli said.
addition to games, which Yekoutieli said make up a surprising part of the market
in developing countries, many applications are available to help pull people out
One of Nokia’s applications helps teachers with lesson
In Indonesia there is an application that helps women start their
own businesses, telling them how to make business plans and take out
Orange offered an application to African cashew farmers that
helped them determine the right price for selling their crops, ensuring they did
not get shortchanged.
“On the level of applications, it really creates a
new world of people who haven’t used the Internet before, or had very sporadic
internet,” Yekoutieli said.
That could mean good news both for the
consumers and the businesses positioned to provide the infrastructure and
Israel is one of the top countries India looks to for importing
IT technology, Knoll said. “They see us as strategic partners.”
November a development group called the IsraelDev Network will sponsor Cleanweb,
the first Hackathon in Israel focusing on solutions for developing world
challenges at Google’s Tel Aviv Campus.