Tata Group which quit consumer telecom after exiting Tata DoCoMo tie-up is set to make yet another major foray into telecom, but this time it's different. Instead of telecom services, the group is keener on equipment and software. Tata group is consolidating its telecom equipment and technology offerings under Tejas Networks to ramp up the telecom business, N Chandrasekaran, chairman of the group tells Fortune India.
"The group is committed to being a large player in the telecom technology space. We are consolidating all our telecom equipment and technology offerings under Tejas Networks which we acquired recently," he said in an interview with Fortune India.
Tata Group exited the consumer mobile business by selling assets to Bharti Airtel in 2019. Before that, the Tata firm settled its dispute with NTT Docomo and bought back the joint venture partner's stake in the business. "We were not a significant player in telecom. We were at fifth or sixth. The company was financially weak and we didn't have the right network. We were more in 2G and not in 4G. We were making huge cash losses. We had a debt of almost ₹38,000 crore. Over and above, there were spectrum debts and Docomo payments. We had to take the call to solve the problem," says Chandrasekaran.
Tata Sons acquired 56% stake in Tejas in 2021. The objective of the group is to build a global-scale telecom original equipment manufacturer (OEM), capitalising on the end-to-end group capabilities in software and system integration, design and manufacturing of electronic sub-systems and telecom equipment.
Tejas has recently entered into the wireless product segment in addition to the wireline segment which has been its core strength. The company has launched a 4G/LTE network for a telecom service provider in India and will soon be ready to deploy equipment for 5G as well, say officials. The company has acquired Saankhya Labs to strengthen its broadcast domain and be an active player in wireless, broadband and broadcast segments.
Tejas has an order book of ₹1,431 crore in optical as well as 4G. The company plans to increase its investments, especially in the 4G/5G products.