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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
A.Sandeep Editor’s Desk
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Erwann Thomassain, Director-Marketing, Asia Pacific, Amdocs knows the deal too well. With close to $3 billion (and growing) turnover for the last fiscal, itís still no surprise that not many have heard about his corporation. They mine their gold handling critical behind-the-scenes strategic and technical processes for large scale telecom corporations. 4Ps B&M gets answers, and more
Though it might be relatively new to India, the company has been serving over 750 service providers in about 60 countries for almost 30 years now. Offering an array of business & operational support systems and service delivery solutions, Amdocs (with revenues of $2.86 billion in fiscal 2009) is certainly one of the leading providers of back office systems to telecommunications carriers and Internet services providers across the globe. Thanks to the sudden rush to build out new telecom technologies and networks, especially 3G systems, among Indian telecom service providers, Amdocs (which began its India operations in 2004) has seen some fast paced growth here too in the past few years. In fact, it has already potted some top players in its kitty. In an exclusive conversation with 4Ps B&M, Erwann Thomassain, Director Ė Marketing, Asia Pacific, Amdocs, reveals his India strategies:

For starters, how important is India to Amdocs?
India is an important market for us with huge potential. Firstly, while it has a big population, the mobile penetration is only about 20-25%. Further, the Indian government has just auctioned 3G licenses which is set to initiate a data explosion in the country. The move will certainly drive exponential traffic on the networks of service providers, which means a lot of business is on its way for us.

So how do you plan to leverage these†opportunities?
Though our plan for the Indian market is very simple, itís really challenging. Considering that the service providers will now not be able to cope up with the forthcoming data explosion we are planning to offer an array of services that will help them meet their subscribersí demands. In fact, Amdocs has already launched a series of products which include unique offerings like CES8 (Customer Experience System), OSS (Operational Support Systems) and BSS (Business Support Systems) to ensure that the end customer gets the best experience and stays with the service provider. So, our strategy for India is to enable the service providers to offer new services to their consumers.

It is expected that the entry of new players would further bring down prices of voice & data services. Considering telecom is a capital intensive business, how would the companies be able to maintain their bottomlines?
You are right in saying that for a telecom company, it is necessarily a capital intensive business and the new players that have just entered the market are going to further bring down the voice & data charges. But this is not a good strategy as itís not sustainable in the long-term. For instance, the price war among service providers in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, et al, has proved detrimental to their growth. What they need to do here is to go back and look at the services they are providing, and check for some differentiation and loyalty. They further need to find out that how they can improve their services and in turn customer satisfaction. Therefore, we are looking at building the brand Amdocs with a view of a long-term growth rather than a short one. We have the triangle (CES8, OSS and BSS) influence which makes us unique in the market. In fact, we hope our India journey to be more exciting and beneficial than the excursions we have done across the globe in the past.

How will the scenario change in the Indian telecom space with the introduction of 3G?
With 3G making its way in, there is a need for greater sophistication as service providers will now be looking at offering services targeted at a specific verticals like banking, transportation, et al. Service providers will now have to move from their traditional business models to new business models otherwise they will not be able to survive the competition.

But what about the VAS market in India which is currently dominated by CRBT (Caller Ringback Tone)? Will one see new trends in VAS consumption in India once 3G becomes operational?
I cannot predict the future but more likely itís going to change as there are functions where you can send money to someone through your phone. Even teachers can access online libraries and refer to books. Whatís more? You can also check your blood pressure without going to a hospital. You can do all these things through your mobile phone. Thus after the launch of 3G, itís the service providers who are going to play a very big role. Changes are certainly going to come across once 3G becomes operational.

What about competition? How do you plan to get through it?
We donít see any competition in the market because of the services we are providing like OSS and BSS. We have some unique service offerings and an experience of 30 years in the industry that has always helped us stay above the competition.

Five years down the line, what are your plans for the Indian market?
The industry is moving so fast that it has become really tough for anyone to predict. We can only tell that we are totally committed to the Indian market. We have been in this region for a number of years and as such we are hoping for the best.
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