Comsat Max To Link Remote UTI ATMs With VSAT

by Amit Tripathi    Oct 19, 2004

As banks in India reach out to expand their customer base, providing services to remote locations plagued by connectivity and downtime issues is a major challenge. A solution that could come to the rescue is VSAT connectivity, and UTI bank has opted for exactly that, under a new agreement with Comsat Max.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Joyjit Chatterji, vice president, Comsat Max, said, “There is a clear trend amongst large banks, especially private players, to opt for VSAT as primary connectivity in remote areas where the reach of terrestrial connectivity is still far from adequate. Apart from the present deal we already manage the connectivity of 60 branches of UTI bank, most of them on a primary basis.”

On the VSAT versus leased lines connectivity debate, Chatterji elaborated, “VSATs involve cost of two general types, namely, the one time cost incurred on the hardware configuration (Star VSAT-TDMA or Mess VSAT-DAMA) and the recurring cost as per bandwidth allocation per location. If the bandwidth usage is not high, then Star VSAT is the ultimate choice that would cost less than Rs.1 lakh per location. For ATMs this cost is even less, at Rs 20,000 to 30,000.” Moreover as compared to leased lines, the VSATs are easy to install, deploy, and centrally manage. In case of leased lines, just the modem and router cost can be more than the one time cost incurred in VSATs.

UTI has aggressive plans to expand its retail banking reach across the country and intends to double its installed ATM base. Comsat Max would connect UTI’s ATM network through VSATs and manage them on a 24/7 basis out of their network management center (NMC).

Says V K Ramani, president - IT, UTI Bank “We would like to extend our banking facilities to category ’B’ and ’C’ cities besides consolidating in the metros. We were quite pleased with the excellent service and customer support that they provided us and hence they were the preferred partner of choice, when we decided to expand.”

Comsat Max specializes in managing digital networks running mission-critical business applications. Says Chatterji, “Out of our 4,500 VSAT installed base, 2,500 are for banks, followed by manufacturing and distribution, pharmaceuticals and others.”