Nokia Siemens in talks with Airtel, RCOM for rural network

Communication services provider Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) is in talks with major Indian telecom operators including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCOM) for implementation of its new solution —Village Connection— which will help build rural connectivity village by village.

“We have had lots of discussions with operators as well as regulators in India. The product will be made available in the second half of 2008 and the trials will start in the beginning of next year,” Michael Murphy, head of technology (Asia Pacific), told ET at the sidelines of Communic Asia 2007, an annual communications event. There may be some potential regulatory hurdles which would be needed to be sorted out, he added.

The new low-cost wireless communication solution that could enable operators to provide mobile services for as low as $3 a month, offers to build rural connectivity based on a franchise-based business model between an operator and local village entrepreneurs. The solution is likely to comprise GSM access points located in villages and regional access centres. A village would typically host one access point module comprising GSM radio, power and IT hardware and software components.

The access point only requires simple installation and powering could be done, for instance, by solar energy. At the event, NSN announced the launch of access solutions for the transmission of data-hungry triple play applications combining high speed internet, voice over internet protocol and video services.

Addressing reporters here, Rajeev Suri, head of APAC, NSN, said: “As device evolution brings the mobile internet experience to the consumer mass market, total data traffic in mobile networks will rise remarkably. To offer these services efficiently, a continuous development of cellular networks, cost saving and enhanced user experience by simplified network architecture, such as I-HSPA and LTE (long term evolution) are required.” NSN’s HSPA (high speed packet access) solution was demonstrated at the event.

Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens, has operations across 150 countries. The company provides a mix of mobile and fixed network infrastructure solutions.