Guest Lecture On ‘The Telecom Industry In India And The Global Overtones’ By Mr. Sunil Sayal, CFO – India, Nokia Solutions And Networks
Strong corporate connections and industrial immersions have been an integral aspect of the Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur, ever since its inception. Furthering this tradition, the Institute was delighted to host yet another eminent leader from the corporate arena – Mr. Sunil Sayal, CFO – India, Nokia Solutions and Networks as a part of its flagship guest lecture series – ‘Vaarta’ for the year 2018 on 17th March.
Mr. Sayal, a telecom industry veteran, has been in the corporate sector for more than 3 decades now and currently leads Nokia Solutions and Networks in the capacity of the Chief Financial Officer of the company’s India operations. A Chartered Accountant by qualification, he has formerly been associated with reputed companies of the likes of Ericsson and Montari Industries. Having spent a substantial amount of time in leadership roles in the highly challenging telecom sector, he promised to be the best way to plug the gap between the classroom and the industry as far as knowledge about various intricacies of this sector were concerned. True to this line of thought, his session titled ‘The Telecom Industry in India and the Global Overtones’ provided the next generation of managers of VGSoM, a clear picture of the various forces and dynamics existing in this industry.
Mr. Sunil Sayal commenced his lecture by highlighting the meteoric evolution of the telecom sector over the years. From the days of 1G of telecom technology, back in the 1980s to the 5G of the present times, the sector has witnessed transformations of enormous magnitudes. Mr.Sayal highlighted that the biggest driver of this sector in the current times was social media. He spoke about how telecom acts as a critical enabler of the digital revolution that the world is excited about today. Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Block Chain, Cognitive Cloud and a host of others which serve as essential platforms to pilot the next phase of human growth, can only function to their potentials if their underlying layer of telecommunications is good enough, providing low latency and high bandwidth connectivity.
On the topic of the Telecom Sector in India, he underscored the remarkable contributions of this sector to India’s growth story. Starting from establishing a reliable communication network crisscrossing the face of the country, touching every nook and corner, to providing employment opportunities to millions of Indians, this sector has been an indispensable part of the country’s modernization. He summed up India’s rapid adoption of telecommunication technologies by mentioning the fact that India had achieved the commendable feat of being the world’s largest mobile data consumer, with an average daily consumption exceeding 75 PB! India was closely followed by China in this regard, which boasts of 10X more base stations than that in India. This, in his opinion, showcased the much greater level of optimization and efficiency that Indians had achieved in building their telecom infrastructure.
Mr. Sayal also made it a point to share with the students, the current situation in the Indian telecommunications market with respect to large-scale consolidations. He said that the current climate in the Indian telecom sector is that of major players joining hands to emerge as one strong entity, better equipped to deal with competition and serve customers more fruitfully. This scenario according to him was unleashed after Reliance Jio, made its way into the market and disrupted it with its highly innovative business plan that manifested in the form of low tariffs, voice bundling with data packs, and device bundling with new subscriptions. The result of this was a mass adoption of Jio’s offerings making the telecom sector of the country ripe for a fresh round of intense competition between operators. Mr. Sunil Sayal, at this juncture of the lecture, also introduced the gamut of products and services that Network Equipment Providers such as Nokia Solutions and Networks and others of the same league offer to the industry, and the role that they essay in its progress. In a bid to expose the students to the global scenario as far as the telecom sector went, Mr. Sayal benchmarked the health of the Indian players with that of the foreign players and drew comparisons between various elements for providing an all-around understanding to the students.
The penultimate section of the lecture was devoted by Mr. Sayal to discussing the strategic moves of a few major players in India’s telecom scene with the students. This was one of the hallmarks of the guest lecture and was a thoroughly interactive segment. It stirred up the students to critically analyze the strategic decisions of some of the biggest brands of the country and chip in with their recommendations and ideas. Ultimately, the session closed with a question and answer round that saw the students asking a number of questions related to the current state of the telecom industry, its course for the future, and other relevant subjects. The session concluded on a very enthusiastic note, with students taking back myriad points of learnings and insights that are sure to be of much benefit to them in their corporate careers up ahead. As a closing note, the Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur expresses its sincere gratitude to Mr. Sunil Sayal for his invaluable efforts towards helping the budding managers of VGSoM transition into the corporate arena in a seamless manner and hopes to retain lasting bonds with him in the years to come.