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Tatas VSAT business to increase to Rs 125 crores in two years

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New Delhi, Feb 26: With a current turnover of Rs 45 crores, Tata Indicom VSAT services is poised to take a leap into the booming VSAT market and increase its business to Rs 125 crores over the next two years with its forays into the SME and BPO segment, a top Company official has said.

In an interview with UNI, VSAT Executive Director Zal Engineer said the Very Small Aperture Terminals or VSATs are crucial for SMEs in doing their business apart from its several other applications that are used in stock exchanges, news transmission, rural telephony and broadcast applications.

''Enterprises continue to be the biggest chunk of our clientele,'' Mr Engineer said.

Serving clients ranging from Hyundai motors to Kotak Mahindra, Tata's VSAT business is today eyeing the non-blue chip companies too and that is where the revenues are, Mr Engineer said.

He said the company sets up the entire network of VSAT services on a turnkey basis including its Supply Chain Management systems.

''We are awaiting the verdict of the National Telecom Policy (NTP), which is expected soon, where the VSAT industry is also expecting an increase in uplinking from 2MBPS from the current half Mbps,'' General Manager Sanjay Tari of Tata Indicom-VSAT said.

Currently Hughes, HECL are the market leaders in VSAT business in the country with more than 20 per cent market share.

VSAT services was started in India in 1995 with the only limitation being the space on the roof top and availability of transponder satellite. Today it costs Rs 1,500 approximately a month in the country and the cost is expected to go down, Mr Engineer said.
In the US a similar service is available for 30 dollars a month. ''The open sky has still to happen'' Mr Engineer said adding that the VSAT industry is still at a fledging stage but with a huge untapped potential. VSAT space is provided by Antrix, the marketing arm of the state owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Mr Engineer said that this year ''we see the market drivers as the extended enterprise solutions which mean connectivity for enterprises to its dealers, distributor and vendors''.

He said the company is is also seeing the need for disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. With the increase in PC penetration the need of connectivity is increasing.

VSATs with their high uptime and ubiquitous reach provide a quick roll out.

Thought the mobile wireless infrastructure has 3g and EDGE on the cards, fundamentally satellite with its intrinsic capability of broadcast comes out ''as a winner in a point to multipoint requirement,'' Mr Engineer said.

The TRAI recommendations for increasing the uplink speed to two MBPs is a must to complement the mobile wireless initiatives and so is the open availability of speace s egment, he said.

''Technology marches ahead with the possibility of spot beaming packing more megabits in every mega hertz,'' Mr Engineer said.

The industry is pinning high hopes from the NTP 2006, which operates on the KU band frequency.

"However, considering that technology is rapidly moving towards the KA band, which would reduce the cost of hardware and services, we are waiting for some decision in this regard," he said.

UNI

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