Friday, September 28, 2007

UTStarcom Making Strides in India

I recently had an interview with UTStarcom about its recent announcement that Bharti Airtel has selected it for its IPTV service. I have a lot to learn about the Indian market, so they patiently gave me a lot of background information. I will repeat the major points here on the assumption that I am not the only one who needs to learn the basics.

There are two state run companies BSNL and MTNL that are the incumbent operators in India. MTNL is the smaller of the two companies and serves the two largest metro areas centered on Delhi and Mumbai. BSNL is much larger than MTNL and serves the rest of India, including the rural areas. India is densely populated even in rural areas, especially when compared to the U.S.

There are also three large privately held c0mpetitive telcos in India:
  • Bharti is the largest of these competitors and is headquartered in Delhi, but serves the entire country.
  • Reliance is headquartered in Mumbai and serves the entire country.
  • Tata is headquartered in Mumbai and serves the southern part of India.
Bharti Airtel selected UTStarcom's RollingStream system for the IPTV service that it is developing. UTStarcom has been in trial with Bharti for the last 2 1/2 years. Bharti plans to start its IPTV service in 8 cities in the Delhi area. It has committed to 120 thousand IPTV subscribers to start and than expects to grow to 450 thousand subscribers. Its IPTV service will have more than 100 broadcast channels along with on demand content.

Bharti expects to offer IPTV in other regions after it is established in the Delhi region. It would like to have the service widely deployed across its in network in time for the Commonwealth games in 2010.

MTNL has also selected UTStarcom for its IPTV service. MTNL also expects to launch its IPTV service in the Delhi area.

These deployments in India should keep UTStarcom in the leading position in the IPTV market in Asia and to be one of the leaders globally. In fact, UTStarcom is now competiting with Motorola, Microsoft, and Alcatel for global leadership in IPTV market.

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