Juniper Networks banking on India rebound

Company exec cites steep competition and policy confusion as reasons for dip in India service provider revenues, but believes industry will pick up after 2012 when companies look for new equipment.

India's telecommunications industry has been through tough times with steep competition and regulatory complications and uncertainty, but it will emerge from these challenges to recover and companies such as Juniper Networks is poised to benefit from the upturn.

Douglas Murray, senior vice president for Asia-Pacific at Juniper Networks, told ZDNet Asia in a recent interview that 2012 has been a particularly difficult year for India-based telcos because of steep industry competition and policy complications from the revoking of existing 2G spectrum licenses earlier in February.

These were key reasons why there was a drop in the networking equipment maker's Asia-Pacific revenue in the second quarter, which slid 12 percent year-on-year. This dragged the wider group revenue down by 4 percent to US$1.07 billion for the three months ended June, Murray stated.

"The enterprise segment was fine, but for service providers, demand slowed down in 2012. However, over the next few quarters it should pick up," he said.

The senior vice president noted that competition among operators mean more of them need to start upgrading their networks to stay in the game. "As a result of all the competition, the service providers will seek to become more efficient in running their businesses, [and] that's where spending on new networks will come in," he said.

Murray was more bullish on the Chinese market, despite a wider slowdown in the economy expected for the rest of the year. Mobility and cloud computing are two areas that would still see strong growth despite the decelerating economy, he said.

As for the industry shift toward software defined networks , the executive said the company was well-positioned for it and played down the threat posed by VMware's acquisition of network virtualization company Nicira in July. This comes amid speculation that the merger would eventually erode business for equipment makers like Juniper Networks.

He noted the move was complementary to what his company has been pushing for and has been investing in with its own network operating system, Junos.

Mobile security lacking
Murray added that in terms of mobile security, companies are still not spending enough on creating and implementing mobile security policies that address the rapid growth in mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

He cited examples of how employees of companies he has consulted raising serious security breaches due to the difficulty of following protocols or not understanding them as a result.

The executive reiterated what IDC analyst Tim Dillon said in May, when he pointed out many companies are not allocating enough resources to secure employees' mobile devices.

It will be difficult to change people's mindsets regarding mobile security, and it would take enterprises willing to face the challenge head on or mobile operators taking the lead to ensure traffic running through their networks are clean to improve the situation, Murray said.

Otherwise, it might take a "bad" security breach to an enterprise to shake the industry up and jolt others into paying more attention to mobile security, he added.


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