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Telecom enhances globalization in every possible way!

May 8, 2009

Is it any other way, apart from this? I was quite surprised on being asked whether telecom growth somehow blocked globalization! Quite the opposite!!

Take the Indian telecom industry for instance! Those who have followed the Indian telecom closely — right from the days of C-DoT developing 256-switch RAX, down to the introduction of mobile phones — after massive overbidding by folks such as HFCL in 1994, to the introduction of the Internet in India — on the eve of India’s independence day in 1994 — the growth of satellite communications in the country in the mid and late nineties — remember DAMA? — to the introduction of CDMA in the early 2000s, to the great proliferation of mobile phones that we now see around us!

Does any of this indicate anywhere that India has not been able to globalize, thanks to telecom?

When C-DoT had introduced RAX in the late 1980s, it really brought about a telecom revolution. Today, we don’t talk of C-DoT in the glowing terms that it really deserves. Who would have ever imagined that mobile phones would take off the way they have done now! And well, we just can’t survive without the email and the Internet!

Let’s trace the global telecom history from the late 1980s a bit more. When AMPS gave way to GSM, you had the feature called roaming! People wondered what they would do with this feature? Today, we complain, if we can’t roam!

ARIB, Japan, had visited India in early 1994, to try and sell PHS. In those days, PHS and DECT were the hot WiLL technologies. Later, Japan, thanks to Takeshi Natsuno and NTT DoCoMo, saw the advent of i-mode, and well, it indicated the first signs of what mobile Internet would really do!

Pages and pages were written, screaming, “WAP is CRAP”! Now, all phones are WAP enabled and no one says a word! We love to surf on the mobile phone now, isn’t it? What about all those MMS messages, including the sleazy ones? You can do mobile blogging now, can’t you? Also, update your Twitter!

In optical networking, in the early nineties, PDH gave way to SDH! We later saw the advent of DWDM and also VCSELs. With the advent of 3G in the late nineties, we discovered W-CDMA. China came up with TD-SCDMA, another 3G technology. For some time, LAS-CDMA tried to make its mark, then I don’t know what happened to it!

How many of you know that a simple SMS led to the famous second people power revolution in the Phillipines in early 2001, a peaceful revolution that overthrew Philippine President Joseph (Erap) Estrada!

Why, I still remember, during a spot survey at a Frost & Sullivan’s telecom conference in Singapore in 2001, I was one among the three who used the mobile phone to check my Yahoo mails. I received such stares! Today, we can’t stop talking about Blackberry and iPhone! In Hong Kong, in the early 2000s, I used my Siemens WAP phone to locate Indian restaurants! When Nokia added GPS via HS-CSD in Hong Kong’s Citybus in 2000, it was sensational! Today, we talk about LBS and GPS, and all that!

I can go on and on with such anecdotes! If there was no telecom, the world would not have progressed in the manner it has done now. Still having doubts?

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