India’s largest telco to locally source set-top box

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India aims to achieving 'net zero imports of telecom equipment' by 2022

January 17, 2020

RREL is an Indian manufacturer with the ability to manufacture the latest 5G-enabled electronic products

RREL is set to increase its production capacity from 7 million to 20 million set-top boxes per annum

Several global companies are setting up manufacturing operations around India for next-gen technologies

India is increasingly being seen as a destination to develop advanced technologies for the future

In an official statement dated January 15, 2020, India-based Rashmi Rare Earth Limited announced that it would be manufacturing set-top-boxes for Reliance Jio at its Noida facility. RREL the ability to manufacture the latest 5G-enabled electronic products, the statement said.

“[…] It is heartening to see such prestigious business conglomerates put their faith in domestic companies to support their outsourcing needs and encourage a flow of liquidity across the demography,” Sunil Kumar Patwari, CEO of Rashmi Rare Earth Limited said. He added that the company had decided to increase its production capacity from 7 million to 20 million set-top boxes per annum to reinforce their strong belief in the Make in India movement. 

The development comes on the heels of several international companies setting up manufacturing units for next-gen technologies, including Nissan, Rubrik, and Intel. Multinationals are no longer looking at India as a cost-efficient hub. Instead, India is increasingly being seen as a destination to develop advanced technologies of the future, due to the availability of talent and a huge customer base.

The NITI Aayog, a policy think tank of the Government of India, also recently signed a statement of intent (SoI) with the Indian unit of ABB to augment artificial intelligence (AI), big data and connectivity solutions across sectors in India. The initiative will also cover the fast-growing segment of electric mobility. There have been several such agreements focusing on next-gen technology and covering a cross-section of industries.

These announcements come as no surprise, because the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on August 3, 2019, issued recommendations to promote local telecom equipment manufacturing in a bid to drive investment in the Indian telecom equipment manufacturing space, which caters primarily to the local market – one of the biggest and fastest-growing in the world. Among other things, TRAI’s recommendations included the monitoring of indigenous telecom equipment design, development, and manufacturing and an aim for India to achieve ‘net zero imports of telecom equipment’ by 2022. 

So far, the majority of India’s equipment requirements have been met through imports; internalisation of this capacity will open up vast opportunities. This market has registered strong growth in the past 15 years and was given a new lease of life by the Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.