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Uttam Kumar, Head, IT, Innovations and New Technology, Aircel
Uttam Kumar brings to the table close to two decades of experience in the telecom and IT space, having worked with India’s leading companies in these domains. He has worked with Birla AT&T (which later became Idea Cellular) and was involved in new circle roll-outs for Idea. He has also worked at Bharti Airtel’s corporate office as a part of its network and IT teams. He joined Aircel in 2009 and has been with the company since.
As head of Aircel’s IT, innovations and new technology areas, Kumar is responsible for launching new products and adopting IT innovations across different business verticals of the operator including its mobile division, enterprise division and mobile banking division. He is also responsible for Aircel’s initiatives in internet of things (IoT) applications and smart cities.
“With wider availability of the internet, there will be a higher demand for content-based services. Operators will also have a larger role to play in the IoT space, and special purpose mobile virtual network operators may bring specialised segmented service offerings in the future,” he says. However, he feels that the hypercompetition prevailing in the telecom business today is a challenge.
“On the one hand, there is an increasing cost pressure on the industry and on the other, there is pressure from over-the-top (OTT) players as they are able to offer new services by making lower investments as compared to telecom operators. Today, operators are facing competition not only from other operators but also face challenges from start-ups and OTT players,” he adds.
He further states that data is going to play a major role in the industry in the future. However, voice would continue to lead the earnings of operators for some time.
Kumar likes to lead from the front and take charge of the team. He, however, confesses that maintaining a work-life balance can sometimes become an issue. A graduate in computer systems from the University of British Columbia, Kumar also has a postgraduate diploma in information technology and management from the All India Management Association, and a Ph.D in telecom management.
In his spare time, he likes to write technical research papers and magazine articles, and speak at various technical events. His family comprises his wife, who works with a public sector bank, and their three-year-old son.
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