With the cellular technology market poised for a great growth trajectory over the next decade, Bengaluru based Mymo Wireless is gearing up to build 5G silicon chipsets and 5G base stations (gNodeB) with its own 5G IP, which would also make it India’s first “Made in India” 5G end-to-end solution.
Cellular technology has revolutionised connectivity, and Mymo Wireless is meeting the next-gen cellular wireless technology needs with a unique focus on developing indigenous IP (Intellectual Property). This 4G and 5G LTE technology provider has licensed technology to global silicon vendors in the US and India for various market segments, from high speed Cat-4 UE modem to ultra-low power Cat-NB and CAT-M reference modem. It now aspires to make silicon chips and gNodeBs.
What drives Mymo is the determination to build an Indian IP. In an interview with Sandhya Mendonca, Sondur Madhan Babu, CEO, who co-founded the company with his father Dr. Sondur Lakshmipathi, says, “One hundred percent of every telecom equipment and cellular silicon chips are imported into India. Realising this, we started building technology from the ground-up.” Mymo has grown from a 4-member team in the incubation space of SID (Society for Innovation and Design in the Indian Institute of Science campus – IISC) to a 70-strong team in a large, independent office.
Mymo Wireless has made a mark by offering complete solutions on air-interface and protocol-stack for LTE User Equipment with customisation support for IoT, M2M and high-speed dongle markets. Its main focus has been to deliver state-of-the-art solutions including the LTE based Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and modems to customers in different segments of LTE telecom industry. Flexibility in adapting the core technology for LTE eNodeB in civil and defence avionics market segments is one of its key strengths.
The company’s two key differentiators are its unique development cycle and proprietary receiver algorithms. Its most important development, and one that sets it apart from other vendors in the world, is the novel approach in providing end-to-end, over the air, all the 4G, 5G IPs which are very close to actual end product for commercialization. This has attracted attention as the IPs are proven and are ready for customer-use. “This method of proving IPs is far better than compared to Matlab or C simulation based proving IPs. Any customer who is looking to license IP from us for their target platform is fully assured that our technology would work, because the proof is visible”, says Babu.
In an irony of sorts, while the Sondurs chose to work in India out of patriotic fervor, they have just one client (Tata) in this country while 99 percent of their clients are abroad. “That’s because India is a consumer business market. Ten years ago, when Mymo talked about getting into 4G, most people in India were bewildered. In the US, the industry was already gearing up for 4G.” The Sondurs attended several industry conferences like the Mobile World Congress and got a lot of attention and customers because they had the IP. Even recently in India, the company’s IP orders have come from the defense sector, while none are from the commercial market.
As part of the planned strategy, having developed and licensed IPs for last 9 years, Mymo is pivoting to making its own chipsets and hopes to become a desi Qualcomm, the American semiconductor & telecom giant. This, however, isn’t proving to be easy with lack of capital being a very big hindrance. Currently, the company is focused on cellular IoT technology and has developed an IP for Narrow Band IoT that is low cost, offers long battery life and an increased range of access to cellular towers. “We can build silicon chips if we get investments”, says Babu.
He rues that the investment ecosystem in India is solely focused on e-commerce, failing to grasp the importance of helping companies like his that operate in the semiconductor market like Mymo. “Can we advance in technology without semiconductors?”, demands Babu, pointing out the security problems that India could face if it continues to depend on foreign technology for cellular chipsets and telecom products from other countries, especially for its defense requirements. He hopes that the Indian Government takes necessary steps to prevent risks to national security posed by such imports. His passionate appeal to investors and VCs is, “Diversify your portfolio, take risks, invest in products”. While hoping for support from the investor ecosystem, Babu is “confident that we will leave a mark in history – from IP to establishing ourselves as a global player in IP, chipsets and products.”