The World Telecom Day is celebrated all over the world on May 17 every year. At Pune too this is a big event and a platform where several professionals from the field of Telecom air their views. A specific theme is selected every year. Last year the theme was “Better Cities Better Life with ICT”, and this year the theme is “Better Life in Rural Communities with ICT”.
India has a huge population living in the rural areas and connectivity and communication are the major hurdles in their development process. Thus there is huge scope for the younger generation particularly for graduates, to participate in this growth process by entering the field of telecommunication and more particularly by the use of ICT.Hence the relevance of this theme at this point of time.
It is seen that after graduation students are faced with a variety of career options which often puts them in a difficult position. The impact of the decision taken at this point is lifelong and hence it has been seen that those taking a correct decision are more successful than others.
Students who fail to clear a number of entrance exams often end up choosing any job that comes their way and regret this decision later often too late. Hence right guidance at this stage is very important for them.
Today’s young generation does not believe in treading traditional career paths. They do considerable research to find out which career would suit them as individuals and at the same time will be lucrative in the long run. Telecom technologies are one very important means to help in this decision. Its usage has shown an upward trend ever since its inception not just in the urban areas but in the rural areas as well.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TELECOM SECTOR
The wide usage of the mobile phone has been seen since the year 2000.People became familiar with terms such as GSM, CDMA and MMS.In addition the 3-G technology also started being used for supporting multi-media activity. This sector is moving at a fast pace and researchers around the world are already talking about 4-G and higher generations. In the next 10-15 years this sector is expected to gain further importance. The three traditional necessities of ‘Food, Shelter and Clothing’ will now become ‘Food, Shelter, Clothing and a Mobile’!!It must be understood that the mobile is not only for making calls or sending messages. It has actually helped in reducing the gaping ‘urban-rural digital divide’. In spite of the bottlenecks in India’s infrastructure and poor literacy levels, the mobile has picked up in popularity even in the rural areas. Several employment opportunities are also available in this sector and this number is estimated to be approximately 5.2 lakhs.Some of the well known names in the telecom sector such as Wipro, Infisys, Cybage and Persistent have set up their units in different parts of the country and are in need of qualified and able professionals to manage these units. The Central Government through the Ministry of Finance has also prepared a framework for “Delivering Financial Services through the Mobile Phone.”
THE TELECOM REVOLUTION
The Telecom sector has witnessed revolutionary changes since its inception. This is defined in the form of ‘Generations’ or ‘G’.
The first generation or 1 G –Telephones connected by wires whereby people could communicate with each other.
The second Generation-2 G-Mobile phones having facilities to speak and send written messages (SMS).
The Third Generation-3G-Mobile phones having the option to send photos and videos in addition to the facilities available in 2 G.It can be used like a computer with better internet speed and access to the share market prices, railway reservations medical advice, agricultural advice and the current wholesale market prices, in addition to astrology, sports, mobile gaming, election results, future gadgets and many more sites.E – learning courses are also available at the click of a button. Another attraction is the access to social networking sites as video and photo uploads and downloads has become faster than before. The 3-G services introduced in India would help the consumers in a big way to gain knowledge in all fields as discussed above.
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE TELECOM SECTOR
It has been seen that 17 % of the population in cities and 83 % in the villages are dependent on mobiles.129 crore technical and non-technical personnel will get job opportunities in the telecom sector. The first level of employment includes opportunities in research and development and product design. The second level includes actual production. The third is quality control and the fourth is sales. The fifth is after-sales service. The next level employs people for customer service and maintenance.
There are around fifteen subdivisions in the telecom sector. Some of the companies which provide employment opportunities are listed below:
Value-added services on mobile: M-Chek, Talktalk, AirtoWeb, Speak Wireless, Telesoft, Celebrum, Ambil, Sasken, One87, Mobiletowin etc.
Network Security: Avaya, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Ncircle, Siemens etc.
Network Operator Companies include Reliance Communications, Docomo, Idea Cellular, Videocon, Uninor, BSNL, MTS etc.
Companies which make handsets are Nokia, Siemens, Blackberry, Samsung, Videocon, Motorola, Spice, Beyond etc.
Billing companies include Amdocs, Oracle, TSS, Atos Origin, Max Bill and Frost and Sullivan etc.
Telecom infrastructure companies are Motorola, Siemens, GTL, Ericson, etc.
Service Marketing companies are Technology Marketing Corp, Madison Word, and Onmobile.
Companies into Telecom software are Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Surya, Global, Cybage, Verisante, Persistent, Alkatech, Lucent etc.
Companies making telecom equipment are Cisco, Motorola, Ericson, Starlite etc
Other employment opportunities can be sought into telecommunication and broadband services, Telecom services and control systems, telecom services complaint redressal, telecom services and health and educating people about the same can be chosen as a career.
People using mobiles have very little knowledge about the microprocessor chip .But its user friendly nature helps in talking, listening to music, clicking photographs, and surfing the net.All this is possible due to the development of science and technology.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam dreamt of India as a Super Power by the year 2020.To achieve this he said we need to provide urban amenities to rural areas. It means dealing with five major issues namely, agriculture, education and health, information and communications techniques, technology and industrialization and urbanization of rural areas.
INSTITUTIONS PROVIDING TELECOM MANAGEMENT EDUCATION
The institutes providing courses in Telecom Management which are in the top 500 institutes in the world are Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and IIT Kharagpur. (Both share position Number 305 in the list)These institutions provide courses in Electronics and Telecommunications.
In Pune city, reputed B Schools offers courses in Telecom Business Management and are well known names in today’s corporate circles. In addition many institutes have set up Telecom Development centers with tie-ups from the government. Some of the important institutes involved in this process are:
IIT Kanpur in partnership with BSNL
IIT Delhi with Bharti Airtel
IIT Kharagpur with Vodafone
IIT Chennai with Reliance
IIT Mumbai with Tata Teleservices
IISc Bangalore with Aircel
IIM Ahmadabad with Idea
Time demands – Telecom Management
Pursuing a program in Telecom Management is a wise option as students pursuing general business management often find it difficult to find a suitable employment. Today’s market demands Specialized programmes of study particularly technology based courses which can be used for the upliftment of the rural people. The 3-G technology in particular will help in fulfilling the dreams of our former President Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam.Cheap mobile equipment and services will help in the empowerment of the weaker sections of our country. The youth of today needs to identify the right stream and curriculum to weave their path to success. If we talk about the specialization options available in Business Management the subjects commonly chosen are Marketing, Finance, HR, Productions and Operations Management and Logistics. Students hardly know about any other available options.
The MBA and PGDM Courses offer specialization in Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, Network Management, Forest Management, Agri-Business Management and Telecom Management.
The sad plight of today’s youth is like that of a small child shown in the cartoon series. The child asks his father: “Papa why do we need five fingers on our hands when there are only two buttons on the mouse”? People’s knowledge is restricted to the computer and the two buttons on the mouse while there is a revolution happening in Internet Technology.
The Telecommunications equipment and services will not take a long time to change the present situation in villages by using 3-G technology. This is why companies engaged in Telecom equipment and services have already started approaching rural areas in order to build a strong consumer base there. The practice of appointing a Telecom Officer in every village has also started. The major players in the rural sector are Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone, Tata, Idea BSNL, Aircel and Videocon. The Telecom sector is booming and in great demand.
THE WAY FORWARD
Youngsters will have to choose their careers in keeping with the need of the times. Telecom Business Management with around 5.2 lakh job opportunities at present will definitely be a wise choice. With the right curriculum it can provide a value-addition to the students and help in the development of the society as a whole. This will be a contribution towards fulfilling the dream of Honorable Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – Former President of India, of providing urban amenities such as tele-education, telehealthcare, teleagriculture and telemedicine services to rural areas through telecommunication which in turn will make India a developed nation.