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Sterlite Tech net profit jumps 65% to Rs 87 crore in December quarter

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NEW DELHI: Broadband solutions provider Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) on Wednesday reported a 65 per cent jump in consolidated net profit to around Rs 87 crore for the quarter ended December 2020.

The company had posted a net profit of around Rs 53 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.

The company has announced the financial results for the third quarter ended December 31, 2020.

STL recorded revenues of Rs 1314 crores, demonstrating growth compared to last year and the preceding quarter. The outlook for 2021 looks promising as STL maintained its order book above Rs. 10,000 crores, and commercially launched new products for optical and wireless networks, setting the stage for disruptive growth in the 5G era.

2020 was a landmark year for Digital Networks

As the pandemic brought normal life to a standstill, 2020 established the power of digital networks beyond any doubt. With digital becoming the primary mode of human interaction, user penetration accelerated and network builders committed disproportionate investments.

This has triggered an unprecedented decade of network creation. As the new network drives connectivity to billions of unconnected users, 5G and FTTH became mainstream. A new architecture emerged, based on 4 key technology confluences of- i) wired and wireless, ii) hardware and software, iii) compute and connectivity, iv) at the edge. Recognizing these major shifts, STL focused on strengthening its core capabilities in optical solutions, network software, and system integration, while establishing new solutions in next-gen wireless access.

STL achieved strong results and established new solutions with marquee customers for future growth

In Q3, STL demonstrated continued growth and financial performance in its core business areas and invested in capability building, capacity enhancement, new product development, and the strengthening of its leadership team.

Some key highlights:

· Continued profitable growth. STL recorded consistent revenue growth in comparison with both the past quarter and the same period last year. This revenue growth has been driven by All-time high volumes of optical fibre and cables through deep customer engagement and Improved pace of network deployment, through process automation and robotics

· Investment in capabilities. After the successful investment in ASOCS to help drive virtual RAN solutions in early 2020, STL enhanced its Opticonn solutions with the acquisition of Optotec – a Europe based leader of Optical Interconnect Products. This strengthens STL’s end-to-end Optical Connectivity portfolio, and increased the STL’s addressable market by $8-10 Bn

· Enhancement of capacity. As the upcoming decade of digital network creation will keep driving demand for optical fibre, STL has committed Rs. 300 crores to expand its Optical Fibre Cable capacity from 18 to 33 million fibre kilometers. This expansion is on track for completion by June 2021

· Development of advanced technology products. STL’s R&D efforts have been pivotal in creating sustainable value for its customers. Telcos globally have entrusted their core network build outs to STL, given these advanced solutions. In this quarter, STL launched many disruptive products: 

o Celesta – industry’s most advanced high fibre count ribbon cable with STL’s indigenously developed Stellar fibre, that is fast and easy to deploy. This slim cable that holds nearly 7,000 optical fibres has helped STL win large scale deals with two leading European telcos for nationwide deployment of optical networks

o 5G Portfolio – across Multi-Band New Radio, Wi-Fi-6, and Indoor Small Cell – STL has developed comprehensive hardware plus software solutions for unique use cases such as indoor Garuda 5G Small cells, Outdoor multi-band radio and Wi-Fi6 offerings. These have been developed in compliance with O-RAN standards, and with an ecosystem of radio, software, and virtual infrastructure technology companies

· Strengthening of the core leadership team to drive growth – STL welcomed to its team, Sandeep Girotra as the Global Sales Head, and a range of leaders with deep expertise in the digital networks industry, core technologies, and key account management, across India, UK, and USA. STL also enhanced its Board of Directors with the appointment of industry leaders Mr BJ Arun, Mr S. Madhavan and Mr Ankit Agarwal

· Recognized by BCG amongst top 100 Tech Challengers for the next generation of innovation in emerging countries, on the back of STL’s continued growth and new unparalleled technology innovations

Q3’ FY 21 Financial Highlights

Revenue: Rs. 1,314 crores up 13% Q-o-Q

EBITDA: Rs. 238 crores up 12% Q-o-Q

PAT: Rs. 87 crores up 48% Q-o-Q

Order Book: Rs. 10,737 crores

Commenting on STL’s performance and outlook, Dr. Anand Agarwal, Group CEO, STL said “Our strong evolving suite of end-to-end converged network solutions is fundamental to our continued growth. Post 2020, we are looking at a decade of extensive network creation. Mindful of this, we have invested in strong global talent and built solutions that can deliver best-in-class digital networks across the globe. Our philosophy of deep customer engagement, coupled with sustained investments will help drive profitable growth for our key accounts, as they deliver the best digital experience to their customers.”

Appointments

Airtel appoints former Cabinet Secretary as independent director

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, today announced the appointment of PK Sinha and Shyamal Mukherjee as Independent Directors on its Board of Directors. The appointments are subject to approval by shareholders at Airtel’s upcoming Annual General Meeting.

PK Sinha, IAS (Retd.), served as the Cabinet Secretary for more than 4 years before moving to the Prime Minister’s Office. He retired from there in March 2021 after 44 years of continuous service to the nation. He has been a Government nominee Director in numerous major Public Sector Undertakings and is well versed with the principles of healthy corporate governance.

Shyamal Mukherjee is the former Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC lndia and was at the forefront of making PwC a future-ready firm. Shyamal began his professional journey with PwC in 1984 and became a partner in 1993. He held several leadership roles at PwC India, including Brand & Strategy leader and Leader of India Tax practice. Shyamal also serves as an Independent Director on the board of ITC Ltd and a member of its Audit Committee.

The Company added that Manish Kejriwal, Lead Independent Director, would be retiring on September 25, 2022 on completion of his second tenure. Shishir Priyadarshi would be leaving the board with effect from October 31, 2022 to devote time towards his other professior,21 commitments. D. K. Mittal IAS (Retd.), would be designated as Lead Independent Director with effect from September 26, 2022.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel takes pride in having one of the most distinguished Board of Directors that is committed to high standards of corporate governance. These appointments are made with a long term view – to make the board future-ready, address the long term requirements of the Company and ensure smooth transition in key board positions. On behalf of the Board, I welcome PK Sinha and Shyamal Mukherjee and their valuable experience will add immense value to Airtel’s growth journey. I also want to thank fv1ani:;h Kejriwal and Shishir Priyadarshi for their tremendous contribution to Airtel.”

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Narendra Modi inaugurates India’s first 5G testbed; says aims to roll out 6G end of decade

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NEW DELHI: India is targeting the rollout of 6G telecom network, which will provide ultra high speed internet connectivity, by the end of the decade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

India currently has 3G and 4G telecom networks and companies are gearing up to launch 5G over the next few months.

Speaking at the silver jubilee event of telecom sector regulator TRAI here, he said it is estimated that the 5G network rollout will add USD 450 billion to the Indian economy.

“This is not just increasing internet speed but also the pace of development and creating jobs,” he said, adding the 5G technology will bring positive change in governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business.

It will boost growth in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics, he said.

Connectivity, Modi said, will decide the progress of the country in the 21st century and so modern day infrastructure needs to be rolled out.

According to the prime minister, a task force has started work on rolling out 6G network by the end of the decade.

Taking potshots at the previous Congress-led UPA government, Modi said the 2G era was symbolic of policy paralysis and corruption.

The country, under his government, has moved transparently to 4G and is now going to 5G.

Teledensity and internet users are fast expanding, he said, adding that mobile manufacturing units in India have expanded from 2 to over 200 and the country is now the world’s biggest mobile manufacturing hub.

The prime minister also said that his government has encouraged healthy competition that has led to India having one of the cheapest telecom data charges in the world.

Indigenous 5G test bed in telecom sector is an important step in India’s self-reliance, he added.

PM Modi virtually inaugurates India’s first 5G testbed costing Rs 220 crore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first 5G testbed to enable startups and industry players to test and validate their products locally and reduce dependence on foreign facilities.

The testbed has been set up at a cost of around Rs 220 crore. Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the Prime Minister said the 5G testbed is an important step for self-reliance in the direction of critical and modern technologies.

“I invite youth friends, researchers and companies to utilise the testing facility for making 5G technology,” Modi said.

The 5G testbed has been developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by eight institutes led by IIT Madras.

In the absence of a 5G testbed, startups and other industry players were required to go abroad to test and validate their products for installation in a 5G network.

The other institutes that participated in the project are IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT).

The testbed facility will be available at 5 different locations.

Source: Press Trust of India

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5G now in 1947 cities across 72 countries

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NEW DELHI: Viavi Solutions said that it has released new industry data revealing that the number of cities with 5G networks now stands at 1,947 globally. Despite the pandemic, 5G cities came online at a rate of nearly two per day, with the addition of 635 new 5G cities in 2021, according to the new VIAVI report “The State of 5G,” now in its sixth year.

By the end of January 2022, 72 countries had 5G networks in place, with the newest crop of 5G countries comprising Argentina, Bhutan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Malta and Mauritius, which all came online in the second half of 2021. Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) has overtaken Asia Pacific including Greater China (APAC) to become the region with the most 5G cities at 839. APAC has 689 5G cities and the Americas has 419.

Not surprisingly, the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China are the countries with the most 5G cities. China now has 356 5G cities and the United States has 296. The Philippines remained in the third spot globally with a total of 98 5G cities.

Currently, most 5G networks deployed are Non-Standalone (NSA) networks, meaning that 5G equipment is added to existing 4G network infrastructure. There are currently 24 Standalone (SA) 5G networks globally, meaning that they have been built using a new 5G core network. It is widely considered that many of the next-generation use cases and monetization models associated with 5G, beyond enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will only be possible when Standalone 5G networks built on new 5G core networks are in place.

The State of 5G also highlights the growing Open RAN ecosystem, combining mobile operators as well as software and infrastructure vendors, seeking to develop an open, virtualized Radio Access Network (RAN) with embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI) control. As of March 2022, 64 operators have publicly announced their participation in the development of Open RAN networks. This breaks down to 23 live deployments of Open RAN networks, 34 in the trial phase with a further seven operators that have publicly announced they are in the pre-trial phase.

“5G continued to expand, despite the headwinds of a global pandemic,” said Sameh Yamany, CTO, VIAVI Solutions. “What comes next in 5G is the reinforcement of networks. This will take a couple of forms. Firstly, we expect to see more Standalone 5G networks, which will deliver on much of the promise of 5G, both for the operator and for the wider ecosystem of users. And secondly, we expect to see Open RAN continue its rapid development and start to become a de facto standard. VIAVI will continue to play a central role in testing those new networks as they are built and expanded.”

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