What are your offerings in the telecom space?
Mavenir is a network software provider, building the future of networks with cloud-native software that runs on any cloud and transforms the way the world connects. We focus on accelerating software network transformation for telecom service providers. We are the only player in the world which brings an end-to-end open platform for hardware and virtualized software solutions for network infrastructure to the telecom sector.
Over the past 5 years we have also invested in new areas like open source-based web scale platform, Open vRAN and after many years of focused engineering efforts are able to offer a comprehensive end-to-end product portfolio across every layer of the network infrastructure stack in a platform agnostic fashion. From 5G application, service layers to packet core and RAN, OSS, BSS, Automation, AI, and Analytics, we lead the way in evolved, cloud-native networking solutions, enabling innovative and secure experiences for the end-users.
What are your portfolio strengths in the hyper-competitive telecom space dominated by Chinese and European players?
We are leveraging innovations in IMS (VoLTE, VoWiFi, advanced messaging), private networks as well as converged packet core and OpenRAN vRAN in transforming legacy networks to a digital platform of telecom service providers. Today we are part of more than 250 telco customers in over 120 countries, which serve over 50% of the world’s subscribers.
How are you looking at OpenRAN as a disrupter?
Open RAN (open radio access network) is an intelligent access network integrated on general-purpose platforms with an open interface between software-defined functions. One of the benefits of Open RAN is achieving a best-of-breed multi-vendor network that enables operators to bring innovative solutions specific to different industry verticals from RAN vendors, third parties and their own R&D teams and giving operators the flexibility and varied engagement models. Open RAN also brings disruption in the form of lower total cost of ownership, accomplished by the disaggregation of general-purpose hardware and software for base station deployment and lowering operating costs.
The performance benefits provided by Open RAN include the ability to add artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) based network optimizations with a standardized API so that the open community can contribute to applications to optimize the network without having to provide the entire solution. Thus, it automates the operation of the network functions, reducing Opex.
How Mavenir claims its advancements in the OpenRAN ecosystem will change the course?
Traditional RAN with closed and proprietary interfaces are difficult to scale, and less efficient to automate. This leads to a diminishing supplier ecosystem, reduced price competition and slow innovation. Software-centric Open RAN allows for scalable, agile, and best of the breed networks with improved network performance using AI/ML, accelerated time-to market and CAPEX and Opex efficiencies. Statistical multiplexing gain enables intelligent scaling of baseband resources reducing power consumption. Silicon innovation and dynamic compute leveraging big data analytics further optimizes power saving and performance.
Mavenir is leveraging its past strengths on virtualization and cloud-native software to lead the industry in the softwarization of RAN networks. We are enabling new players to enter the market traditionally controlled by three vendors and bring innovation and disruption by widening the supply chain. We will enable the merging of the telecom and IT industry, and this will completely change how telecom is viewed in the future.
We file patents regularly. On an average we register around ten to 15 patents every year. As of now Mavenir should have close to 500 patents. We have invested in OpenRAN development. 5G is still in its early days of deployment and being built for the newer markets and businesses. To fit to scale and bring a lot more applications at a low cost, virtualization on a cloud both public and private is the road ahead.
How do you plan to use the recent investment of $500 million?
Earlier this year we got an investment of $500 million from Koch for building products and services for building networks of the future. Our plan is to use the money to scale our operations in line with our customer footprints and portfolio expansion as well continue to invest in new areas through our R&D which has been our strength all along. Relating it to 5G adoption, this investment is enabling us to shape our products for different verticals with a focus on Automation, AI and various operational delivery models that’s going to benefit our global customers.
What are your views on 5G in India?
5G is critical to India’s digital transformation thrust as it will empower communication service providers (CSPs) to move beyond a subscriber-driven business model and re-invent themselves as digital service providers (DSPs) for driving innovation, safety and productivity across industries and enterprises to drive Industry 4.0 use cases. The Indian telecom industry has understood the benefits the 5G would bring about and we can expect some limited 5G rollouts to start towards early 2022.
What new spectrum bands according to you will be suitable for telecom carriers in India to launch 5G services?
India has the highest population density in the world and to serve 7 billion users worldwide, we need to use as much spectrum as available. The traditional bands are already crowded, and a new spectrum is needed.
5G services need a mix of spectrum across low (sub-1 GHz), mid (3.5GHz), and high (mmWave) bands. This is mainly because 5G is designed to go beyond serving mobile broadband but offers a much wider range of applications such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), massive machine-type communications (MMC), and fixed wireless access (FWA). While a high band will enable fast speed and capacity, if you are close to the cell site, a low band ensures excellent coverage. And, mmWave will play a crucial role in enabling the high-speed and low-latency required by 5G applications. It is known to facilitate eMBB and FWA use cases.
We also believe that 5G to reach industries and enterprises at a rapid pace is possible only if there is spectrum allocation for private networks like industries and Enterprises.
How do you see India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) initiative and how are you aligning your company’s goals with it?
The Indian telecom industry has come a long way in the last 25 years – from the GSM/2G era to now being at the brink of 5G. This growth has been enabled through a promising ecosystem of local and global telecom players, supported by the Government of India’s incentives and policies. Over the years, the Indian Government’s mission has evolved from ‘Make in India’ to an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ – a self-reliant India – both being two facets of the same underlying vision. The country houses talent and expertise that is worthy of global recognition, especially in the field of technology and we are driven to encourage such capabilities as we believe in India’s potential to be the next global manufacturing hub and maintain its leadership position in software.
We are in alignment with Prime Minister of India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat policy. We have a very robust research and development centre in Bangalore with products being built by India for India and the global market.
What is your roadmap and plans globally?
We are seeing a greater interest towards adoption of public clouds across the customer base and hence we recently stepped more aggressively into the space by working with all major players to integrate our software for operators. We continue to look at opportunities to grow inorganically where we see a fit in our portfolio and opportunity to provide value to our customers. Recent acquisitions of Telestax and IPAccess are examples of the same.
We also committed to build an ecosystem around O-RAN offerings with continuous partnerships and driving industry forum contributions. There are a lot of opportunities that 5G presents for innovation in the areas like cloud and application security, intelligent data routing and IIoT. We are carefully evaluating where it makes sense for us to invest in new areas complementing our existing products in short to mid-term, and we are confident of delivering value with our plans for the foreseeable future to our customers.