Says B D Khurana, group president, Reliance Infocomm: ''We got a favourable response when we checked out corDECT at places it has been installed. In addition, its pricing was attractive to our scheme of things.''
Reliance has already connected around 4,200 rural telephones. ''Wherever we have put up village public telephones, we are getting requests for individual lines,'' he adds. ''Further, with most of the private basic service providers focusing on the urban market, future growth has to happen in rural areas. And the prospects of BSNL going in for additional corDECT lines in the years to come are bright,'' says an upbeat Arun Khanna, director, Shyam Telecom, one of the corDECT manufacturers.
In addition, group company n-Logue Communications is expected to source more lines as many private basic services providers are talking with the company to connect rural areas as their franchisee (See 'n-Logue's digital edge to rural India').
Midas Communications, which has a staff of 220, will close this fiscal with a turnover of Rs 45 crore. ''One can see the hockey stick effect from this year onwards. Last year the turnover was Rs 12 crore. In seven-eight months, corDECT will be there in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,'' says Purohit.
An elated Rene Abraham, one of the directors, referring to the huge BSNL order, says: ''It is nice that BSNL has understood the importance of data in communication technology. When one gives data to the rural populace the change that it will bring in will be enormous.''
The BSNL order will be executed by the company's licensed manufacturers - Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), HFCL and Shyam Telecom. With the corDECT technology now eight years old, Midas Communications is working on a next generation chip set that can give faster data speeds.
''Within six months we will be coming out with a new chip that will do that and also reduce the overall cost,'' says Abraham. ''We would leapfrog to fourth generation wireless technology,'' adds Purohit.
The other focus is to increase corDECT's data capacity. Currently the per-unit capacity is 1,000 subscribers, and only a percentage of that can be on the Net at a particular time. The company plans to provide all the thousand subscribers with 'always on' facility.
However, the immediate plan is to leverage the optic-fibre cables laid by private telecom players with corDECT, using the company's new product, the optiMA Fibre Access Network System. Claimed to be more economical than competing products offered by UT Starcom, China, optiMA would enable basic services operators, who have laid optic-fibre cables, to use corDECT to offer broad and narrow band communication to end-users.
''In two months' time optiMA will be commercialised,'' says Prakash B Khawas, a director of the company.
With Midas Communications finally on the hyper-growth path, the four young founder directors have taken on board S S Motial as the executive chairman. The former chairman and managing director of ITI, the Indian telecom hardware giant, will lend his expertise in building Midas Communications to meet future challenges. During Motial's four-year tenure at ITI (1996-2000), the company doubled its revenues.
Agreeing that to fuel growth the company needs additional capital, than the current Rs 10 lakh equity base, Purohit says the company is talking to venture capitalists for the purpose.
According to Ray Stata, chairman of the US-based Analog Devices, the joint goal of Analog Devices and the TeNet group is to develop Midas Communications as a substantial communications equipment provider, similar to Chinese companies like Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation. The American chipset major is one of the investors in Midas Communications.
''In a nutshell, we are moving towards enhancing solutions at lower costs,'' sums up Sanjay Gupta, another director.
also see : n-Logues
digital edge to rural India
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