Batata merger creates history in Indian corporate world
the largest ever merger in the Indian corporate history, BPL Communications
has merged with Birla AT&T-Tata (Batata). The combined entity is valued
between US $ 2 to 2.2 billion or close to Rs 10,000 crore. Batata will
hold 50.7 per cent in the joint venture and BPL consortium the balance
49.3 per cent. BPL group has emerged as the single largest share holder
with nearly 25 per cent stake in the new entity. AT&T is second with
around 24 per cent, while Tata and Birla group will hold nearly 17 per
cent each in the company.BPL's Maharashtra operation is not included in
the merger. The mergers announced that they would move to a common brand
name and a new corporate identity in a phased manner. The consolidation
have pushed Hutchison to number two slot with close to 8 lakh subscribers.
The combined entity will provide cellular services in Maharashtra, Madhya
Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
for 4th cellular licences
a tremendous rush to win the fourth cellular licence. With two days still
to go, several companies including Reliance, Bharti, Birla AT&T, Escotel,
HFCL and BPL have already bought a total of 24 tender documents from DoT
to bid for the fourth cellular licence. The bidders, on their part, are
acquiring several form to ensure they get into this race at any cost. Bid
is to open on June 29.
slashes cellular tariff
today drastically reduced its tariff for its Dolphin services. Announcing
two new tariff plans, MTNL said the new rates will be applicable from Tuesday
midnight. Under Plan A users will have to pay Rs 250 as monthly rental
down from Rs 400 earlier. The airtime charge is Rs 1.50 per minute for
incoming calls and Rs 2 per minute for outgoing calls. Under Plan B, the
rental will be Rs 375 per month and the airtime charge will be Rs 1.40
per minute both for incoming and outgoing calls. Dolphin will provide its
subscribers free roaming between Delhi and Mumbai with no extra charges.
Above all the company will provide free airtime of Rs 500. In effect, the
new rental makes it equivalent to the rental for fixed line phones.
BPL, Batata to mark
one of the largest consolidation moves
Birla AT&T-Tata Cellular combine is close to finalising a deal that
could mark one of the largest consolidation moves in the Indian cellular
phone industry. It is said that BPL is in advanced negotiations with Batata.
Talks between the two players have been on for quite some time now. Sources
added that an announcement on the proposed consolidation could be made
soon. BPL chief R. Chandrashekhar said that mergers and acquisitions will
help the company in shareholder value and scale up operational size in
minimum possible time.
to announce cellular tariff cut
state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited is going to announce a new
tariff package for its Dolphin mobile service in the next day or two. The
company has prepared five to seven tariff packages, but intends to announce
them once it puts inplace the requisite infrastructure. This is in the
wake of slowing growth rate of cellular subscribers and tariff cuts by
competitors in Mumbai and Delhi. MTNL intends to go for massive marketing
campaign for Dolphin by August 15 this year.
Bharti, MTNL, VSNL, and BPL Communications are among the 24 companies who
have evinced interest in becoming the fourth cellular player as the sale
of tender document closes on Friday. These companies have to participate
in three-stage bidding process for acquiring licences for the fourth cellular
Mobile Ltd, the cellular operator in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, has
announced its launch of roaming facilities on its pre-paid card Magic.
It is for the first time that a cellular service provider is offering roaming
facilities on its pre -paid cellular card. This facilities is offered to
Magic subscribers without any deposit charges, but with air-time rate of
Rs 11.50 per minute both incoming and outgoing.
to pitch Rs 3,500 crore for fourth cellular licence bids
Telecom, the largest private cellular operator in India is learnt to have
lined up close to $700 million to successfully pitch for six of the hottest
fourth cellular licences. The six cellular licences that the Hutchison
is to gun up are the metro circles of Chennai along with Maharashtra, Punjab,
UP (West), Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The deadline for submission of
bids is June 29.
launches new services
based cellular service provider AirTel has introduced two new customer
services for its customers - balance on demand and balance on screen -
for the pre-paid ready cellular card users. They will now get calls after
every call and can also retrive the balance amount easily by dialing *123#.
The two features will be at no additional cost to the company.
Orange puts all fresh
investments on hold
Orange SA has decided to
put all fresh investments in India on hold. It will, however, continue
to invest in BPL Mobile in Mumbai but has decided not to bid for fourth
operator licence. It has also put on hold plans to take equity stakes in
BPL's cellular and internet business. Orange has admitted that even though
it owns a 26 per cent stake in BPL Mobile, the rights to its Orange brand
in Mumbai are exclusively with Hutchison Max, which is BPL Mobile's rival
in Mumbai. Orange SA has no immediate plans to launch Orange brand in other
parts of the country.
buys out BT
British Telecom and Bharti
Group have agreed on terms for sale of British Telcom's stake in Bharti
Cellular Ltd. Bharti has brought back the 44 per cent stake British Telecom
held in Bharti Cellular Ltd, pursuant to BT's decision to exit all domestic
telecom services operations in India.The buy out amount is reported to
be around 100 million pounds.
Spice Cell to upgrade
Spice Cell will invest an
additional Rs 20 crore in the next six months in the Kolkata circle as
part of its plan to enhance network capacity and increasing subscriber
base to two lakh.
Bharti may not bid
for fourth cell slot
Bharti group is planning
to bid for atleast nine new circles including Mumbai, Maharashtra, Kerala
and Uttar Pradesh (West) although it has taken a decision not to go in
for "aggressive bidding" in the forthcoming fourth cellular slot. Bharti
has already applied for basic services licence in almost same circles,
the group chairman Mittal said, adding that both type of services in a
circle was a long-term strategy of the company.
base swells by 4.5% in May
The country's cellular subscriber
base jumped 4.5 per cent to touch 38.71 lakh users in May, up from 37.02
lakh users in April, with the Delhi circle alone claiming a base of 5.98
lakh users. According to the figures released by COAI, Delhi maintained
its lead over other metros, ending up with 5.98 lakh subscribers followed
by Mumbai with 5.63 lakh users in May. AirTel subscriber base numbered
3.45 lakh in May while Essar base rose to 2.43 lakh. In Mumbai circle BPL
Mobile and Hutchison Max ended up with 2.79 lakh users and 2.74 lakh users
respectively in May.
HC stays TRAI order
on refund by Bharti
The Delhi High Court today
stayed Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) order directing Bharti
Cellular to refund the excess of tariff charged from the subscribers on
the basis of the new tariff under revenue sharing scheme. The company was
directed to deposit Rs 1.16 crore with TDSAT. The TRAI has 'wrongly' calculated
the refund amount at Rs. 21.22 crore while as per company's calculation
it was only Rs 15.05 crore, Bharti's counsel said.
No more time for 4th
cell licence bids
The Department of Telecommunications
(DoT) has turned down industry demand to extend the deadline for submitting
bids for fourth cellular licences. June 29 is the last date for submitting
the bids. Tamil Nadu based Aircel and BPL among other have been demanding
postponement of the bidding process. DoT says that any delay in the bidding
process would send wrong signals to the investors.
Cellular Phone industry
adopts Net norms
The world's leading mobile
phone makers and operators announced on Wednesday an industry-wide initiative
they hope will bring true Internet functionalitiy to next-generation cellphones
and lay the ghost of past failures. The Mobile Services Initiative (M-Services)
aims to introduce an open software and hardware standard within mobile
internet in a bid to avoid the fiasco which surrounded the first attempt
at mobile Internet, WAP.
and mobile operators chary of CPP
party pays (CPP) issue have raised concerns for both the cellular and basic
telecom operators. In their letters to the telecom regulatory authority
of India both the Cellular Operators Association of India and the
Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) have voiced their concerns
in response to the TRAI's consultation process on the introduction of CPP.
The CPP regime will ensure that for calls from the fixed telephone lines
to the cellular mobile, the 'calling party' will pay the cost. As a result,
the cellular subscribers will stand to benefit, as the incoming calls will
TRAI directs cellular
cos to refund excess ISD charges
The Telecom Regulatory Authority
of India today directed all the cellular service provider of the country
to refund their subscribers excess charges, if any, levied for international
calls made on Sunday and national holidays. The regulators direction come
in the wake of a complaint received from a cellular subscriber that the
service providers were charging tariff at peak rates on international calls
(ISD) made on Sundays and other national holidays. The operators are to
implement the directive by June 30,2001.
sees no improvement in profit margin on mobile phones
AG does not expect any improvement in profit margins on mobile handset
sales until its business year starting October 31, 2001, the Financial
Times Deutschland reported. Siemens predicted in February that its mobile
handsets sales growth would outpace that of the overall market, which it
predicted to be 25 per cent in 2001.
in talks with Hutchison to roll out GPRS services.
is in discussion with Reliance, Bharti and Tatas for setting up the infrastructure
for their CDMA networks. Motorola's new big-push, GPRS which is set to
bring applications into mobile earlier than 3G, is also set for a roll
out with BPL planning to launch it in Mumbai in the next two months. Motorola
is also in talks with Hutchison for rolling out GPRS services in Mumbai
Essar to tie-up to bid for fourth cell licences
largest cellular operator Hutchison and the Essar group are forming a new
strategic tie-up to bid for the fourth cellular licences. The two are forming
a new joint venture comapny in which the Kotak Mahindra group is also learnt
to be a minority stake holder. Essar and Kotak Mahindra group will together
own the domestic equity portion of 51 per cent while Hutchison will hold
the remaining 49 per cent.
in the interest of public, says COAI
Operators Association of India, today said introduction of calling party
pays (CPP) regime would be in overall public interest as the total cost
of the call would be significantly low as compared to current price. This
is in contrast to the views of private basic operators who are against
CPP regime. " With the introduction of CPP the Indian Cellular mobile industry
will be in line with global practices as over 90 per cent of the world's
telecom regime are on CPP", said T V Ramchandran, director general of COAI.
High Court declines
to grant stay on TRAI order
The Delhi High Court today
declined to grant a stay on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's
(TRAI) to cellular operators to refund the overcharged tariff to subscribers,
but issued notice to the regulator and the Centre on a petition by Bharti
AirTel floats new
AirTel, the cellular service
provider in Delhi today announced a new tariff package - Dream Plan - that
offer subscribers lower monthly rentals and airtime charges. Under Dream
Plan a user will have to pay Rs 295 as monthly rental and airtime charges
of Rs 1.15 for both incoming and outgoing calls at a pulse rate of 30 seconds.
The company also reduced the onetime security deposit by Rs 500 to Rs 1,500
from the existing Rs 2,000.
keen on mega cellular entity
BPL Group will merge to create the biggest cellular company in the country
before end of this year. Among the probable merger partners for BPL's cellular
businesses are Bharti and the Birla-AT&T-Tata alliance. The BPL group
has, however, made it clear that the company is not exiting the business
by selling out but will instead strike a merger with one of the top cellular
groups of the country to become a part of a larger company. BPL is the
second largest cellular operator in the country with close to 700,000 subscribers.
New tariff packages
In Delhi Hutchison-Essar
has introduced three new tariff packages - Talk Easy, Talk 295 and Talk
795 which offers customers airtime rates ranging from Rs 1.98 to Rs 1.48
per minute. In Talk Easy a user will be entitled to a special rate of Rs
1.98 for both incoming and outgoing calls. In Talk 295 plan, the rate will
be Rs 1.78 per minute flat on a monthly commitment value of Rs 295
every month. The Talk 795 plan entails a commitment value of Rs 795 for
Rs 1.48 per minute incoming and outbound call rates. All three plans will
also charge users a monthly rental of Rs 395.
Jam in the airwaves
cellular operators across the country are facing interference in their
mobile signals from radio frequencies emanting out of an adjacent frequency
band from where MTNL and BSNL are undertaking trials for the CDMA-based
wireless-in-local-loop service. Operators which have been badly hit include
Orange in Mumbai, Fascel in Gujarat, Tata Cellular in AP and BPL Mobile
Subscriber growth down in April
growth in cellular service subscribers has decelerated to 3.5 per cent
in April 2001, as against 4.6 per cent posted in the previous month. According
to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the total subscriber
base in April was 3,702,834 up from 3,577,095 in the previous month. Usage
in the four metros has grown by 3.7 per cent, while non metros circles
have shown a slightly slower rate of 3.3 per cent.
a bid to popularise the use of Short Messaging Services and thereby increase
its revenues, Bharti Mobile which operates the cellular service in APand
Karnataka under the brandname Airtel is wooing the musically minded. The
company on saturday announced an SMS based quiz for its subscribers in
Pulse rate increased
by Orange and BPL Mobile
Both Hutchison Max's Orange
and BPL Mobile have quitely increased the pulse rate per call to 60 seconds
from the current 30 seconds. A 30 second pulse would mean billing of Rs
74.5 paise which was found to be too low led to the increase of the pulse
rate besides operators want people to talk more.
Bharti cuts project
cost by Rs 100 cr
Bharti Mobile Ltd., a 74:26
joint venture between Bharti Televentures and Telia AB of Sweden, has reduced
its project size by more than Rs 100 crore to around Rs 1,150 crore. The
total project cost to finance the rollout of BML cellular network from
startup till March 31,2002 has been originally estimated at Rs 1,266.8
Cellular tariff slashed
The two leading cellular
companies of Mumbai - BPL Mobile and Hutchison Max's Orange have decided
to effect another major cut in its cellular tariffs from June 1 - a flat
Rs 1.49 per minute for both outgoing and incoming calls for those who commit
a minimum Rs 295-299 per month of airtime and for those not commiting the
call rates would be Rs 1.80 per minute flat. Monthly rentals remains unchanged
at Rs. 395. For pre-paid cellular card the tariff is lowered to Rs 2.25
per minute flat from the existing Rs 3.
Nokia seeks government
permission for wholsale marketing venture
Nokia has approached the
government for permission to undertake wholesale marketing of a range of
its latest third generation mobile telephones in the country through its
existing subsidiary in India.Nokia, which had set up a wholly-owned sibsidiary
in 1998, has been doing test marketing for its range of mobile handsets
and other accessories in India.
referred to TRAI
The Department of Telecommunications
(DoT) has referred the dispute between Escotel and Bharti over providing
cellular services in Gurgaon, Haryana to the Telecom Regulatory Authority
of India (TRAI). Both the companies claim Gurgaon in their domain. Bharti
was already operating service in Gurgaon when DoT awarded the licence to
Escotel to operate services in Haryana. Escotel claims that the DoT has
issued a letter to it in February 2000 which resolved all the disputes
allowing it to offer services in Gurgaon.
Bharti Cellular has introduced
SMS chat facility integrated with WAP or web-based Internet to enable its
Airtel users to stay in touch with many people simultaneously over a diverse
geographical area. This is claimed to be the first such integrated offering
first cellular cos to get ISO certification
Cellular claims to be the first cellular operator in the world to be ISO
9001:2000 certified. It is also the first telecom company in India to get
this certification. This certification comes from British Standards Institute
(BSI) company on the parameters of customer satisfaction, management commitment,
leadership, human resources and continous improvement.
to offer free voice-mail access in Kolkata
Telecommunications Associate Command will offer its pre-paid subscribers
free voice-mail access for the first time in Kolkata. Hutchison will introduce
the same value added service to pre-paid customer at its Delhi, Mumbai
and Gujarat mobile operations shortly.
seeks views on CPP regime
Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today sought views from the industry
and subscribers on the issue of introduction of calling party pays (CPP)
regime for cellular mobile phones.TRAI is preparing a consultation paper
on CPP regime. Some of the important policy issues that have been thrown
open for public consultation by TRAI include the likely benefits of CPP
to various stakeholders, whether should be made optional for both operator
and subscriber and whether CPP be made applicable to all calls terminated
in the mobile network.
Bidding for fourth
cell licence generate good response
Reliance, Bharti, BPL, BK
Modi group, Escorts and Birla AT&T are among the 10 companies which
have purchased 13 application forms from DoT to bid for the fourth cellular
licence. The last date for buying application forms is May 31. VSNL and
MTNL, two public sector companies under the department of telecommunications
have also bought application forms. The guidelines for the fourth cellular
licences envisages that the existing licence holders can not bid for those
areas where they are already operating services.
Bidding for fourth
cell licence deferred
Bidding process for the
fourth cellular licence has been deferred by three weeks to June 29. The
process could be delayed even further because cellphone companies are not
very comfortable with just 11 days of time they would have to prepare for
bids after getting the draft licence agreement on June 18. According to
the new schedule the goverment wants to complete all three stages of financial
bids by July 19 and sign licence agreement by August 31.
to set up cellular unit in India
$ 27 billion Samsung Electronics is planning to set up a manufacturing
facility for cellular handsets in India. The company is in the process
of accessing the feasibility for a greenfield venture to produce both CDMA
and GSM cellular handsets in the country. Currently, MTNL is the only player
in India offering CDMA handsets, sourced from Hyundai and Samsung.
WLL rentals to be
in between Rs 450 - 550
Subscribers of WLL services
will have to pay a monthly rental of Rs 450 and Rs 550 per month. This
is slightly more than the rentals for cellular subscribers who have to
pay Rs 422 per month to the service provider. However the TRAI has fixed
an upper ceiling of Rs 1.20 per minute for outgoing call while incoming
is free, as against Rs 4.75 per minute ceiling fixed for cellular services.
The call charges of WLL services are less than one tenth than that of cellular
services. The tariff order will be effective from the date of operation
account for 45.37% of FDI in telecom
Foreign Direct Investment
in Indian telecom industry touched Rs 4,882.7 crore in the telecom sector
from, August 91' to January 2001 where cellular services attracted 45.37
per cent. Out of Rs 4882.7 crore attracted by telecom service sector Rs
2215.4 crore went to the cellular mobile service segment.
MTNL's roaming facility
MTNL, the cellular service
provider in Delhi and Mumbai is introducing roaming facility for its cellular
brand Dolphin by May-end. MTNL is currently in the process of finalising
agreements with various telecom operators to offer roaming facility for
Dolphin cellular services.
Escorts to rope in
another partner in Escotel
Escorts Ltd is planning
to rope in a second strategic partner in its cellular phone operations
Escotel where it already partners First Pacific Company of Hong Kong in
a 51:49 joint venture. The company hopes to leverage its new partner to
get into four new category B cellular circles by the end of this year.
Escorts plans to transfer its 51 per cent stake in joint venture to a special
purpose vehicle and the offload 49 per cent equity in the SPV to the strategic
partner and a combination of financial partners based on the outcome of
negotiations.Escotel is looking at a minimum of five and a maximum of seven
circles by this year end up from three circles it operates in right now.
COAI wants TRAI to
take up WLL issue suo moto
The Cellular Operators Association
of India (COAI) has written to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
chairman MS Verma requesting the regulator to exercise its powers under
the amended TRAI act and undertake a suo moto review of the limited
mobility issue. COAI has also requested the DoT to refer the matter of
limited mobility back to the TRAI for a transparent and comprehensive review
of the entire matter.
FSP's rejects GoT-IT's
interconnect revenue terms
The fixed line telecom service
providers have rejected the group on telecom and IT's interconnect revenue
terms. They have also rejected the government's first come first serve
procedures to allocate wireless bandwidth to FSPs offering limited mobility.
Association of Basic Telecom Operators wants large chunks of spectrum to
be given away free to FSPs without any roll out obligations attached. ABTO
says that Got-IT's recommendations would adversely affect the existing
as well as the prospective basic service operators.
Orange ties up for
UK mobile market
Britain's largest cable
operator, NTL and France Telecom unit Orange, are set to announce a far
reaching alliance in British mobile phone market. The two firms had signed
MoU to cooperate on several initiatives. Among the plans would be one to
allow Orange to route calls through NTL's extensive cable network at low
China mobile market
to overtake US this year
China's Ministry of Information
Industry said the country's mobile phone subscribers totalled 100.3 million
in March, a 100 per cent growth over last year. China is expected to overtake
the US as the world's largest mobile phone market this year.
Hughes Tele.net files
petition with TDSAT
The basic telecom services
provider in Maharashtra, Hughes Tele.net today filed a petition with the
Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). This petition reportedly
raises the issue of level playing field for the six existing telecom companies.
TDSAT is already hearing a petition filed by COAI opposing the introduction
of limited mobility.
Telecom Disputes Settlement
Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has fixed the next date of hearing for July
17. The petition against limited mobility has been filed by the Cellular
operators association of India.
Bharti Mobile to raise
Rs 250 cr debt
Bharti Mobile, the cellular
services provider of the Bharti Group, is set to raise Rs 200-250 crore
through an innovatively structured debt instrument - structured partial
credit guarantee for local currency bonds - to be launched on May 11. The
debt issue comes days after Bharti Enterprises received equity investment
of $460 million from various global partners, taking its total FDI to $1.05
account for 48.6% of FDI in telecom
Foreign Direct Investment
in Indian telecom industry touched Rs 4,497 crore with cellular mobile
services bringing Rs 2,187.1 crore into the sector, thus accounting for
48.6 per cent of actual FDI inflow between August 1991 and November 2000.
TRAI orders upset
The latest Telecom Regulatory
Association of India (TRAI) demand for a Rs 300 pre-paid card with 30 days
validity is expected to upset all tariff calculations of cellular operators.
In Kolkata, the B K Modi controlled SpiceCell is likely to unveil multiple
tariff plans for Spice Cash Card holders. Structurally, the exercise will
signal a radical departure in the tariff-making in the pre paid realm.
defaults payments to its vendors
B K Modi group promoted Spice Communications – the mobile operator
in Karnataka and Punjab circles and whose proposal for over Rs 1,000 crore
long term funding is still pending with FIs – has defaulted on its payment
to its vendors – Siemens and Motorola. The vendors have served the Modi
group cellular venture with default and enforcement notice. The payments
of about $110 million were payable by March 31,2001.
Spice Cell in Nepal
Spice Cell limited
aims to begin operations in Nepal by September this year as it plans
to more than double its subscriber base here to two lakh by this fiscal.
The firm hopes to roll out in Nepal and start providing connections in
at least one of the six zones for which it had made the bids.
Nokia leads among
Asian WAP handset buyers
More than one third of the
current mobile phone users in Asia who intend to buy an Internet enabled
phone said they prefer Nokia to other brands, according to a survey on
WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) technology. Nokia Corporation won the
hearts of 36 percent of mobile phone users in eight Asian countries in
term of purchase intent for brandname WAP phones. Nokia beat second place
Motorola. Panasonic and Sony follow the list.
Prepaid-Card for Rs
Telecom Regulatory Authority
of India (TRAI) has asked the cellular operators to offer prepaid cards
of denominations less than Rs 300 and to carry forward unused amount of
all category of cards if the subscription is renewed within a specific
period of cards validity. The regulator today issued the guidelines for
the cellular pre-paid cards. Cellular operators have criticised TRAI’s
order saying that how can an operator offer pre-paid cards at a fee less
than the monthly rental.
Reliance to make cellular
Reliance is planning to
assemble CDMA mobile phones. The cellular phone project is on a large scale
with plans to market two million mobile phones per annum. In its initial
stages, the cellular phone project may be an assembly operation with the
components being imported from China and Korea, according to sources. Reliance
Infocom plans to offer cellular phones priced in the Rs 2,500-3,000 range.
The cellular phone project is a key part to offer limited mobility throughout
the country using CDMA technology.
Usha group offloads
49% stake in Koshika
A US-based NRI Chiranjiv
Kathuria and his associates have signed a deal to buy 49 per cent stake
in Vinay Rai promoted Koshika Telecom for $120 million along with management
participation. The deal has come at a crucial time for Koshika, which has
licensing dues of about Rs 350 crore against it. The company has licence
for running cellular phone services in four circles of Uttar Pradesh (east),
Uttar Pradesh (west), Bihar and Orissa. The services are operational only
in Uttar Pradesh (east) as the licence for the other circles were cancelled
due to non-payment of dues.
GoT-IT submits report
The Group of telecom and
IT today finally submitted its report to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The 25-page report allows “limited mobility” to basic service providers,
ensuring a level playing field between the basic and cellular operators
by bringing down the revenue share of basic telecom operators from the
proposed 60 per cent to five per cent – the same as cellular operators.
The report also restricts the mobility in WiLL services to a radius of
25 kms. The tariff for WiLL services would continue to be Rs 1.20
for a three minute with free incoming calls.
Ericsson, Sony in
Cellphone Joint Venture
Swedish telecom equipment
maker Ericsson today entered into a 50-50 joint venture in mobile phones
with Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. This JV throws a lifeline
to Ericsson, the world’s third biggest mobile phone supplier, which has
been losing money on its handsets since the second quarter of 2000, prompting
a series of massive job cuts and industry alliances.
NTP’99 permits WiLL
services by basic operators
The group on telecom and
IT (GoT-IT) is of the view that the existing telecom policy, NTP’99, permits
the basic operators to offer WiLL based limited mobile services. GoT-IT
has also decided that the tariff for WiLL services will continue to be
Rs 1.20 for a three minute outgoing call with free incoming calls. GoT-IT
is not in favour of imposing an additional fee on basic telecom operators
for providing limited mobility services and no plans are there to increase
long distance revenue share of mobile operators
Flat fee for limited
In a move to resolve the
vexed telecom controversy a fresh compromise formula has been floated allowing
basic operators to offer limited mobility provided they pay an additional
flat fee for the service. Equally, mobile operators using GSM services
would be allwed limited mobility if they desire to use their network to
provide basic services. For basic operators using WLL technology, the proposed
fee would be different for category A, B and C circles with the highest
fee on category A circles.
at reconciliation failed
With the basic and cellular
operators deciding to disagree on the issue of limited mobility, government’s
first attempt at reconciliation has failed. While the Cellular Operators
Association of India (COAI) is arguing that mobility is exclusively their
domain, the Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO) is sticking to
its position in favour of limited mobility. Both the associations have
not yet reached a consensus. GOI-IT had suggested that the two groups sit
together and arrive at an amicable solution.
Basic and cellular
operators to meet tomorrow
The basic and cellular operators
are separately meeting tomorrow to decide their strategy in view of the
group on telecom and IT's (GOT-IT) suggesting them to sit and arrive at
an agreement. Difference within the association of basic telecom operators
(ABTO) on this issue has resulted in a vertical split in the association.
The operators have to inform GOT-IT whether they have arrive at an agreement
by Monday 3PM.
proposes same STD revenue sharing as basic service operators
said that it is willing to grant parity between basic and mobile operators
on the retention of revenue share for long distance calls. At present basic
operators get to keep 60 per cent of the revenue generated from a long
distance call and cellular operator get to keep only 5 per cent. The protest
of cellular operators against this inequitable preposition has forced the
government to refer the WLL issue back to the GoT-IT.
Defaulters bid for
4th cell licence
The standing commitee on
information technology has pulled up the Department of Telecommunications
(DoT) for allowing defaulting companies like Koshika Telecom and JT Mobiles
to participate in the bidding for fourth cellular licence. These companies
have defaulted in paying their earlier dues by way of licence fees,
have not been disqualified but have been allowed to bid for the fourth
Sony may team up with
Sony Corp said it may partner
with Ericsson to make mobile phones, a move that would give the swedish
telecom equipment maker a badly needed partner to revive its loss-making
mobile phone division. Under the deal, the companies would spin off and
integrate their current mobile phone business. It is undecided if the venture
would sell phones under a single brandname.
Biggest merger in
Hong-Kong based, Hutchison
is believed to be in advanced negotiations with the telecom services company
BPL. BPL operates mobile phone services in four circles - Mumbai, Maharashtra,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala is learned to have been valued at Rs 4,700 crore.
Hutchison could end up paying between Rs. 2,500 crore and Rs. 3,000 crore
for a majority stake, depending on the structure of the deal. The deal,
if successful would create the largest mobile phone operator in the country
with over 1 million users or a 30 per cent share of the total market.
AirTel has signed an agreement
with Essar for direct network interconnection. This means that when a call
is made from the cell to landline the service provider will avoid a charge
of Rs. 1.20 per three minutes to MTNL. The proposed tariff plan will be
forwarded to TRAI for approval.
BSNL announces its
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
(BSNL) has fixed Rs 400 as monthly rental, Rs 3.50 per minute for outgoing
peak air-time and Rs 3.00 per minute for non-peak airtime for its nationwide
cellular mobile service that will start by the end of this year. These
rates will act as the standard tariff package for the circles. The pulse
rate will be 30 second, while the registration and activation charges will
be Rs 500 each.
dissatisfied by Paswan's view on WLL technology
The cellular operators association
of India (COAI) has stated that it is "best positioned" to meet the deaprtment
of telecommunications' objective of improved affordability and increased
teledensity if cellular operators are given the same cost structure and
subsidies as given to Fixed Service Providers (FSPs). The association said
Communication Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan's comment that WiLL technology
was the latest and cheaper which will help in giving affordable service
and increased rural teledensity was misplaced. COAI said the ministers
views were either "direct result of being incorrectly briefed by his officers
or a lack of understanding of the real issues driving this decision".
MTNL to expand WLL
MTNL plans to provide 300,000
WiLL services in Delhi and Mumbai by the end of the financial year. Recently,
the government referred the issue of allowing basic telecom operators to
offer WiLL-based limited mobility to the Group on Telecom (GoT) headed
by the union finance minister Yashwant Sinha. MTNL is already operating
the WiLL service in Delhi. It has total capacity of 10,000 subscribers
in the city. In Mumbai too, the telecom company will soon launch the WiLL
ICRA projects five-fold
rise in cell users
The latest ICRA study on
the Indian telecommunications Industry has projected a five-fold increase
in the number of cellular mobile connections in the country to around 20
million by March 2005 against the estimated 3.6 million subscriptions by
the end of March 2001. The study also projects an increased consolidation
in the cellular services market as the existing operators, faced with the
emergence of BSNL and MTNL as low cost, well funded competitors, strive
for efficiency gains through cost and price reductions
BPL mobile to refund
Rs 2.8 cr to subscribers
BPL Mobile has decided to
refund Rs 2.8 crore to its subscribers in Mumbai on the standard tariff
plan. The refunds would be implemented from April 20 onwards and would
be completed by June 30, a month ahead of the Telecom Regulatory Authority
of India deadline of July 31.
issue referred to group on telecom(GoT)
Reliance Telecom, Tatas
and HFCL's plan to enter CDMA-based mobile operations have hit the roadblock.
Alarmed by the growing political and industry opposition to CDMA-based
'limited' mobility, prime minister A B Vajpayee has intervened to
stall licensing of new fixed service providers (FSPs). The first of these
new licences were due for issue tomorrow.The whole issue has now been referred
to the group on telecom (GoT) headed by finance minister Yashwant Sinha.
These licences would have allowed Fixed line service operators to begin
mobile services on better terms than offered to current GSM-based cellular
Telecom Policy (NTP) may be modified to make WiLL work
communications minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in Patna today that the government
will go ahead with its commitment to provide limited area mobile telephones
through Wireless in Local Loop system and if required new telecom policy
(NTP) 1999 would be modified for the purpose.
Paswan blamed C-DoT
for delay in BSNL's cellular rollout
Ram Vilas Paswan has squarely blamed the centre for Development Telematics
(C-DoT), the supplier of the malfunctioning mobile switching centres (MSCs),
for the delay in BSNL's cellular rollout. Mr Paswan have given a two-month
deadline to upgrade its line of mobile switching systems which are now
undergoing fields in Patna, Kolkata and Haldia ahead of their full-fledged
Bharti to enter cellular
Bharti Teletech is planning
to enter the cellular handsets market by the middle of this year by introducing
phones under its "Beetel" brand for which the company has started
negotiations for tie-up with a few foreign cell phone manufactures.
Batata to infuse fresh
The Birla TATA AT&T
Ltd, (Batata), is set to infuse a fresh investment of Rs 600 crore during
the current fiscal, group CEO Mr Sanjeev Aga said. "One of our priorities
is to dig deeper in our existing circles", he said stating the new investments
would go towards strenthening the network and product delivery.
has refinanced its Rs 525 crore domestic debt and has restructured
offshore loans of $75 million in order to reduce interest liability, exchange
risk and improve bottom line. According Escotel CEO Mr Manoj Kohli, with
the restructuring of offshore debt of $75 million from External Commercial
Agencies and commercial lenders, Escotel has got an extension to the moratorium
period by two years. Besides, it also provides a ballooning amortisation
for the repayment.
Spice Telecom launches
Telecom, a cellular service provider in Punjab has launched Zing
Mail, which would enable its subscribers to record a message in their own
voice and send it to any number of recipient through e-mail. It is claimed
to be the first such service being launched by a cellular provider.