introduces Paisa Wasool Card in U.P.(West)
Cellular has introduced “Paisa Wasool Card”, a Pre-paid card which provides
the customer with true value for money. Paisa Wasool Card priced at Rs.
399 is specially designed for the UP West region and comes with a talktime
of Rs. 200 with 30 days validity. more...
Hutch handset offer
reduces entry barriers to going mobile
Hutch today announced a
special handset-bundled offer, which gives users a Motorola C115 mobile
handset and a Hutch connection for Rs 1698/- only. This offer is available
for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers in Delhi. The effective price
of this offer is Rs. 999 only. For prepaid users it includes a free SIM
worth Rs 99 and free talktime of Rs. 600 over a period of 12 months. For
postpaid users it offers free talktime worth Rs 700 over a period of 14
months. The Hutch offer makes cellular service more affordable and lowers
the cost of going mobile. more...
Get Sania & Sharapova
on your IDEA Mobile
Wimbledon is already into
its second day and fans in India are enjoying exciting Wimbledon coverage
on their mobile phones too this year. The services include highlights,
news, views, moments of glory, interviews and classic moment from the Wimbledon
archive. In India, Wimbledon Championships 2005 is available exclusively
on Idea Cellular. more...
in Anil's lap
With the formal announcement
of amicable division of business between the Ambani brothers, Anil Ambani
would be taking over Reliance Infocomm from his elder brother Mukesh Ambani.
The speculation was that the change in leadership would manifest many changes
in top management of Reliance Infocomm as Mr. Anil Ambani was having several
meetings with top employees of Infocomm last month. But according to sources,
it is learnt that the employees who had joined Infocomm directly are likely
to stay on with the company while only those who had come from Reliance
Industries (RIL) or who are close to Mukesh, will be going back to the
parent company.Therefore the professionals like Prakash Bajpai(president,
enterprise business), Atul Jhamb(CEO, Mumbai and Maharashtra circles),
Inder Bajaj(head, post paid business), Arun Sur(group head, wireless network),
Ajay Baijal(group head, channel business-wireless), Mahesh Prasad(president
- applications and solutions group) and SP Shukla( president, wireless
products and services) will continue at Reliance Infocomm. Mr. Shukla is
also in charge of Reliance Telecom, the group's GSM mobile business in
the North East and other Eastern states of the country. The GSM business
that had been started by Anil is back with him now. Mukesh Ambani has also
agreed to a 10-year non-competition clause with brother Anil which implies
Mukesh would not get into any telecom venture for the next 10 years.
30% stake in Aircel
being picked by US funds
According to industry sources,
many US based private equity investors like Pequot Ventures, Henderson,
Blackstone, AMP and IL&FS are picking up 30% stake in Aircel for $350m.
The company is planning an IPO by March 2006. Currently Aircel has operations
in Chennai and Tamil Nadu only. It is expected to use the funds for expanding
its operations in Uttar Pradesh (East & West), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh,
West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, North-East and Andaman & Nicobar islands.
The company has planned to spend around Rs.2,000 crore for expanding its
operations in the north.
MTNL crosses 5 lakh
subscribers in Delhi
MTNL crossed the five lakh
subscriber base for GSM services in Delhi. It has applied for additional
spectrum to cater to growing demand. MTNL has been adding highest number
of subscribers in Delhi for last few months. The company had relaunched
its GSM services in Delhi and Mumbai six months back.
Relince Info launches
its services in Andaman & Nicobar islands
Reliance Infocomm launched
its services in the Andaman and Nicobar islands using a sophisticated satellite
link. A 31 km optical fibre cable network has been laid in Port Blair to
connect seven sites at Abardeen Bazaar, Shadipur, Lambaline, Garacharna,
Delanipur, Huddo and Mini Bay. Also the places like Diglipur, Ranghat and
Car Nicobar of Nicobar Island have been connected via satellite. This is
part of the company's pan-India network expansion to connect over 5,700
towns and 400,000 villages by December 2005.
Single unified rate
for telecom services
National Telecom Policy
2005 which is being finalised by the telecom department suggests a single
unified rate for telecom services all across the country. This implies
that there would be no difference between STD and local calls. According
to Union minister for telecommunications and information technology Dayanidhi
Maran uniform rates and a 'OneIndia' approach is being advocated while
framing the policy.The new telecom policy would also provide for wireless
technologies like WiMax and more liberal voice over IP.
Treating the entire country
as a single market for telecom services would mean reworking the present
licensing regime, in which long distance licence holders have exclusive
rights to carry calls across state boundaries. Also there would be pressure
to revise local call rates in rural areas upwards, as long distance calls
would no longer be able to cross-subsidise local calls.
AV Birla group may
not exit IDEA
According to industry sources
Aditya Birla Group may reconsider exiting IDEA after the STT-TM bid was
called off. Telekom Malaysia which is being advised by Lazard India may
offer to pick up the stake independently. Another suitor for Cingular's
stake can be the Essar group. Other players interested in Cingular's stake
are Orascom Telecom Holding of Egypt, Systema Telcom of Russia, Maxis of
Malaysia and Telenor of Norway.
Mobile! Tata Indicom and Kinetic Motor Company in a strategic nationwide
mobile has never been easier. A special strategic alliance between Tata
Indicom, India’s premier telecom service provider and Kinetic Motor Company,
leading manufacturer of scooters now will enable you to be on the move
and maintain contact at the same time! Recognizing the dual needs
of consumers today, the two companies have come together to offer a series
of joint promotions.
launches the SCH N 380 (BOSS), the new Power-packed CDMA handset
technology leader, Samsung today announced the launch of its new, advanced
CDMA handset, SCH N 380 in the Indian market. Positioned as the ‘BOSS’
and promoted by ace Indian cricketer, Virendar Sehwag, this stylish and
solidly slim phone comes with unique features like LMS (Long Message Service)
in both English and Hindi as well as a large 2000 Phone Book Memory. more...
Nokia to provide low
Nokia Asia has finalised
plans to provide low cost networks to telecom operators in India to help
them cover smaller towns and cities, which would keep the strong cellular
growth going and help the country reach its 200 million mobile subscriber
target for 2008. Similar moves in countries like Russia and Indonesia have
shown good results for the company. Nokia estimates the global mobile subscriber
base, which hit 1.7 billion at the end of 2004, to reach three billion
by 2010. Of these, nearly half are expected to come from Asia pacific region.
Seamless roaming in
Asia for Airtel subscribers
To facilitate tourists and
business travellers in the Asia pacific region, eight leading cellular
operators from the region including Airtel came together to launch an alliance
that would extend a wide range of benefits to their customers travelling
in eight countries.
Under this for example,
an Airtel pre-paid customer in India who's travelling to any of these seven
countries - Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines
and Taiwan can go to a SingTel counter and re-fill its account. Also, in
case a user loses his phone or encounters difficulties with the connection,
can get the SIM card and handset replaced by the other allaince service
STT-TM decide to exit
Telemedia) and TM(Telekom Malaysia) combine has decided not to extend the
MoU undertaken in December 2004 to purchase a 47% stake in IDEA Cellular.
This included the 33% stake of Cingular Wireless (earlier held by AT&T)
and the balance from Tatas and Birlas. The reason is said to be its failure
to obtain the approval of the FIPB(Foreign Investment Promotion Board),
following objections by DoT. DoT had objected to the STT-TM combine buying
a stake in IDEA Cellular on the basis that STT proposal violates competition
laws. The competition clause was introduced in the cellular licences to
avoid a monopoly situation by a single company.
As per government regulations,
the same entity cannot own more than 10% in two operating companies in
the same telecom circle. In the case of STT, it is a 100% subsidiary of
Temasek, an equity fund that manages the Singapore government's investments.
Temasek also owns 65% in Singapore Telecom, which in turn owns a 28% stake
in Bharti Tele-Ventures, which operates cellular services in the same circles
along with IDEA. Thus, Temasek is the ultimate beneficiary of its stake
in both Bharti and IDEA.
IDEA introduces 'Pay
Easy' for its post paid subscribers
IDEA Cellular introduced
'Pay Easy' which is an easier system to pay bills for its post-paid subscribers.
The service was launched simultaneously in all eleven IDEA circles. The
introduction of this service will double the number of locations where
post paid subscribers can pay their bills. Besides using the existing retail
channel, the subscribers can either use the bank's ATM where the bank will
accept the mobile number and payment amount or pay via an SMS. To use this
facility, the subscriber will have to be registered with a bank where they
can then SMS with the key word and payment amount. With this the company
will be able to offer post paid services even where there are no banks.
All India GSM cellular
subscribers base reaches 4.3 crore
All India GSM cellular
subscribers base rose by 12.2 lakh reaching 4.3 crore by May 31st 2005,
representing a growth of 2.91% last month. The growth was more in state
circles like North East (9.08%), Assam (8.89%), J&K (6.84%), West Bengal
and Andaman & Nicobar (6.11%), Himachal Pradesh (5.82) and UP-West(5.19%).
Metros constitute 26.37% of the total market. Around 5 lakh CDMA subscribers
were added to the mobile community taking the total mobile phone subscriber
of the country to 5.5 crore while fixed lines reached 4.7 cr. India's teledensity
has increased to 9.46%.
Essar Spacetel to
roll out independently
Essar Spacetel, 100% controlled
by the Ruias of Essar, has decided to roll out mobile networks in the seven
circles namely Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Assam,
North-East and Jammu & Kashmir on its own. The company is expected
to receive letters of intent (LoIs) from DoT soon for these circles. According
to industry sources, Essar group wants to have a true pan-India mobile
footprint but for now, Hutchison is not interested in venturing into these
circles. The Essar group's independent mobile rollout will be headed by
Mr. Pramod Saxena (ex-Motorola ) as Essar group corporate director (new
business development, Telecom and BPOs). Mr. Ajay Madan has been appointed
Essar Spacetel's CEO. The company plans to invest $1.5 billion in telecom.
advocates its technologies
According to Qualcomm BREW
( Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless ) is more powerful than Java
for downloading on mobile phones. BREW based handsets were
launched in India last year by both Tata Teleservices and Reliance Infocomm.
An estimated 7 to 8 lakh handsets based on this standard are already
there in Indian market. The number is expected grow fast.
Also Mobile multimedia is
said to be the ‘next big thing’. Cellular Industry world over is working
towards providing real time TV and Video content to cellular phone user
anytime anywhere at competitive prices. The increase in cellular phone
memory and faster networks are facilitating its advancement. Present quality
of video clips delivered is very poor as the frame rates are just 10-15
frames per second. Qualcomm is developing a technology called MediaFlo
that allows 30 frames per second video quarter graphics display. Texas
Instruments is developing a chip, Hollywood, that promises to improve mobile
video resolution that is comparable to digital video broadcasts.
Qualcomm would invest $800m
over the next four years to develop a network that will utilise low-power
TV towers to transmit content. MeidaFLO USA, which will be spun off by
Qualcomm and will set up the network, will bypass the current cellular
network to deliver content, thus overcoming capacity constraints. Delivering
content over MediaFLO cuts down on battery consumption. The cost is also
low as the company only needs to invest in 2-3 transmitters per city.
The content will be delivered at six Mbps and includes 15-20 live streaming
channels and 65-70 local non-live channels. Services on MediaFLO will start
in 2006 and is expected to come to India simultaneously.
Companies may opt
for CDMA over GSM while launching 3G
If CEO elect Dr. Paul Jacobs
of San Diego based wireless giant, Qualcomm is to be believed, many Indian
cellular operators will dump GSM technology and adopt CDMA standard as
they start rolling out 3G mobile services. According to him, many operators
in Europe are discovering that CDMA is more efficient and cost-effective
for providing 3G services. Bharti and BSNL are both believed to have chosen
CDMA for their proposed 3G services. As per Qualcomm, Bharti, will use
WCDMA (W - wideband) technology, for its $1bn 3G services roll-out. Worldwide,
Vodafone, Verizon and Sprint are also making similar moves.
COAI is against auction,
may consider 3G entry fee
COAI is against auction
or bidding for the 3G spectrum as it believes that auctions are a losing
proposition for all stakeholders namely consumers, operators and the government
because auctions invariably lead to pressures of business viability, higher
consumer tariffs and risks on timely payments to governments.
As per Mr. Ramachandran,
existing contracts of licences permit operators to offer all types of mobile
services, which would automatically include 3G services. Hence, any question
of getting new licence(s) and therefore having to pay an entry fee is simply
legally untenable. However the association may consider one-time spectrum
charge for 3G services, although not as high as Rs.1,500 crore, in the
interest of going forward, for the benefit of consumers and all stakeholders,
including the government. COAI might endeavour to build an industry consensus
for a maximum of one time spectrum charge of Rs.300 crore per operator
on all India basis.
facility in Chennai
Nokia is setting up a high-end
base station controller manufacturing unit in Chennai. With this Nokia
becomes the only telecom vendor to manufacture both network infrastructure
and terminals in India. In April, Nokia had announced an investment of
Rs.650 crore to set up a mobile handset production facility in Chennai.
The production of base station controller is expected to begin at the same
time with that of terminal production, during the first half of 2006. Nokia
Networks is a leading GSM infrastructure equipment supplier a in the country.
According to Nokia, India
is already among the top five telecom markets in the world and is set to
reach the third position in the next few years. In order to sustain this
growth, rapid expansion of mobile networks will be essential. Nokia’s investment
in local base station controller manufacturing aims to meet this requirement
and reiterates its long standing commitment to India.
BSNL's expansion plans
BSNL has sought additional
spectrum from DoT for introducing 3G services which it is planning to start
by the end of this year. It already has started the process of procurement
of equipment for the service. The company is expecting to have a mobile
subscriber base of over a crore from the current 98 lakh, within the next
month. BSNL rolled out a 4 million GSM line expansion for North region
and would soon launch the remaining capacity in East and South zone. BSNL
has planned to raise the expected capacity of 23 million by year-end to
about 90 million by 2007 on wireless.
BPL Mobile to invest
BPL Mobile has proposed
to invest Rs.700 crore in current financial year for enhancing capacity
and expanding its network. Around Rs.200 crore will be invested in Tamil
Nadu alone to include 100 more towns and villages. Simply BPL Mobile offer
is launched where 50 minutes of talktime and 100 local SMS every month
for six months are offered along with a Motorola handset. The company is
planning to have a strategic tie-up with a foreign partner next year.
DoT suggested to take
auction route for 3G spectrum
Ministry of Finance has
asked DoT to allocate 3G spectrum to mobile operators through the auction
route.The finance ministry has also taken the position that pricing of
radio spectrum is not a regulatory issue, and hence, should not have been
referred to TRAI.
It has also argued that
receipts from radio spectrum should accrue to the government as non tax
revenue. According to the ministry, DoT should price spectrum as per international
practices refering to Europe and US where governments fetched billions
of dollars in revenue by auctioning spectrum. Finance ministry has suggested
that DoT should design an auction process that is transparent, fair and
Debate over entry
fee for 3G
TRAI submitted its recommendations
to DoT for the policy on spectrum where it has recommended no entry fee
for 3G services.
Tata chief Ratan Tata offered
to pay Rs.1,500 crore for 3G spectrum, besides annual revenue share, for
Tata Teleservices stating that spectrum is a scarce national resource and
if it is given free of cost to the operators, it will not be used efficiently
and some operators may engage in its hoarding. Also stating that it is
only a one-time fee which will get amortised over 15-20 years as the mobile
market grows apace. The government could earn a revenue of up to Rs.9,000
crore, if other five big operators pay the same licence fee for spectrum.
On the other hand Mr. Sunil
Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, has opposed Mr.Tata's proposal
arguing that it would increase the cost of mobile services for the consumer.
Also India is short of high-quality infrastructure. Any fee by the government
discourages infrastructure build-out adding that Rs.1,500 crore can build
5,000 base stations and cover 3,000 small towns and villages.
According to union communications
minister, Dayanidhi Maran, the government is considering both the arguments
and will take a decision which is in the best interest of the telecom sector.
DoT is also planning to invite views of all the operators on this issue.
Calls to & from
state Capital and rest of state will be local calls in Maharashtra, TN,
WB and UP
Department of Telecom (DoT)
has permitted inter service-area connectivity in the states of Maharashtra,
Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. This means, all calls within
these four states will be treated as local calls. Around 17.69 million
subscribers in the GSM segment alone would be benefited along with a large
base of CDMA subscribers in these states.
So far, there was an artificial
separation, by telecom authorities, between some state capitals from rest
of the state e.g in the case of Mumbai and Maharashtra, Chennai and Tamil
Nadu, Kolkata and West Bengal and it was the same with UP(East) & UP(West).
Incidentally, this was not the case with the subscribers in other states,
who were free to call anyone, anywhere within the state at local call charges.
The difference got created because initially the licences were given to
companies to operate GSM services in four metros followed by the licences
for state circles. Thus e.g. Mumbai and Maharashtra became two different
telecom circles. The government has decided to remove this difference in
India will launch
3G services by year end
According to communications
minister Dayanidhi Maran, India will launch 3G services by the end of this
year and the spectrum policy will be finalised within three months. TRAI
has already submitted its recommendations to DoT for the policy on spectrum
( a range of radio frequency waves that carry voice and data to and from
the mobiles). The discussions are on between the operators and the WPC
(Wireless Planning Commission) of the government. The policy will be crucial
for the future growth of cellular telephony. 3G services enable high speed
download of data and video clips on mobiles. 3G is already operational
in over 50 countries.
While TRAI has recommended
no entry fee for 3G services. Tata chief Ratan Tata has offered to pay
Rs.1,500 crore for 3G spectrum for his CDMA-based Tata Teleservices which
has triggered a heated debate within the industry.
increased its stake in Bharti Telecom
Singapore Telecom has invested
USD 252 m in Bharti Telecom Ltd. to increase its stake to 32.81% from 26.96%.
With this SingTel's beneficial stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures has gone up
to 30.84%. Also BTVL has decided not to proceed with the proposed sponsored
ADR due to lack of sponsorship interest by most of its principal shareholders.
talks the most - highest ARPU at Rs.514.5
to a COAI release, Delhi leads in Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) at Rs.514.5
followed by Mumbai at Rs.483.2. The national average ARPU is currently
Rs.400. Among the companies Hutch recorded highest ARPU of Rs.469.93. The
private GSM operators collectively posted revenues of Rs.12,309 crore in
the financial year 2004-05 which is 48.2% increase over previous year.
had highest revenue of Rs.1,335.67 cr followed by Hutch and IDEA at Rs.1,055.75
cr and Rs. 558.38 cr respectively.
Essar signed agreements
with BPL Mobile shareholders
Essar and its associate
companies have signed agreements with almost all the shareholders of BPL
Mobile to acquire their equity at an enterprise value of $1bn. As part
of the agreement, all the shareholders will have to withdraw their court
cases. Most of the shareholders are currently engaged in a litigation over
the control of the company's assets. With a debt of $600m in BPL's books,
the net value of the deal is $400m.
According to the licence
conditions, a company cannot hold more than 10% equity in more than one
operating company in a circle. Essar has about 33% equity in Hutch Essar.
Therefore, Essar cannot directly acquire 100% equity in BPL as both the
companies have operations in Mumbai. This is the reason why the associate
companies are buying the equity. ICICI Bank, which leads the consortium
of bankers who have given debt to BPL is also involved in the deal as the
shareholders have pledged shares with the bankers.
BK Modi group seeks
BK Modi group has applied
to DoT for providing mobile phone services in Rajasthan, Haryana, UP (East
& West), Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to become a strong
regional player in north India. It will expand its services through MCorp,
which is the Indian promoter in Spice Telecom. Currently, Spice Telecom's
operations are limited to Punjab and Haryana.
Hutch may join Essar
to bid for BPL Mobile and Spice
According to industry sources
Hutch may join Essar to bid for BPL Mobile and Spice Telecom. BPL Mobile
is looking for a strategic partner. Major bidders are Essar, Singapore
Technologies Telemedia (STT), Russian telecom major, Sistema and a European
telecom major. The BPL Mobile Group consists of two companies, BPL Mobile
Communications, which operates cellular services in Mumbai and BPL Mobile
Cellular, which operates services in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala.
BPL Mobile deal is important
for Essar, as the acquisition will help it to raise its stake from the
26.4% that it currently holds in the JV Hutchison Essar, which runs cellular
services in 13 circles. Hutchison also stands to benefit since it is not
present in the three state circles where BPL Mobile operates, namely, Maharashtra,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Also BPL Mobile's Mumbai circle is too attractive
for Hutchison. The deal is likely to be finalised by the end of June.
The acquisition of the Mumbai
circle by Hutchison-Essar would, if it goes through, be the first intra-circle
merger in the country. The combined subscriber base of BPL Mobile (12.3
lakhs) and Hutch (15.2 lakh) is about 53% of the total mobile subscriber
base of 52 lakhs in the Mumbai circle. The merged entity should not have
more than 67% marketshare according to DoT guidelines. The acquisition
of BPL Mobile, if it happens, would improve valuations for Hutchison-Essar's
zero rental plans
Reliance Infocomm has introduced
two zero rental plans - New joy 299 ZR and New Joy 649 ZR. The company
also announced that all new subscribers will automatically get STD
facility immediately on address verification. With the new plans, subscribers
would be provided free intra-circle calls worth the entire monthly rental
making them virtually zero-rental. Intra-circle calls to all Reliance phones
would cost 50 paise per minute while those to non-Reliance phones would
cost Rs.1.50 per minute under the New Joy 299 ZR and Re.1.00 per minute
under New Joy 649 ZR.
ISD charges to Gulf,
SAARC nations, Africa, Australia & Nz cheaper
BSNL announced lowering
of ISD charges to Gulf, SAARC nations, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Australia
and New Zealand. The calls to these countries will cost Rs.12 per
minute. ISD call rates to US and Europe are already lower than this and
will remain unchanged. The new rates will be applicable to all subscribers
of BSNL whether landline, cellular or WLL.
No entry fee for 3G
TRAI has submitted its recommendations
to DoT indicating no entry fee for 3G spectrum. The regulator has recommended
lowering of annual revenue share to 4% from 6%, spectrum for 3G services
in the 2 Ghz band, additional spectrum to CDMA operators in the 800 Mhz
band, and spectrum for fourth GSM operators in the 800 Mhz band. Spectrum
in the 1900 band would not be allocated to anyone as it is being used by
defence. CDMA operators have opposed recommendations stating that there
is no equipment available that is compatible with 2 Ghz band while GSM
operators can enter straightway into 3G services by getting spectrum allocation
in the IMT 200 band. TRAI has also recommended immediate constitution of
a high level group of ministers to deal with the issues in order to achieve
the target of 200m mobile subscribers by '07. The GoM, assisted by professionals
from defence, DoT and TRAI, will draw a detailed and time-bound step-by-step
programme and monitor its implementation.
BPL Mobile's mega
deal in two stages
BPL Mobile Group is expectpected
to finalise a mega two stage telecom deal. Firstly, it is likely to buy
out 37.43% equity collectively held by foreign shareholders - Actis, AIG,
Nomura-TVG and ADB in BPL Communications. BPL Communications is the holding
company of BPL's twin cellular ventures - BPL Mobile and BPL Cellular.
Subsequently, the group is likely to sell off the entire 37.43% block in
BPL Communications to a long-term strategic partner. At present, the BPL
Mobile group holds 62.57% in BPL Communications, while the balance 37.43%
held by foreign private equity investors is split between AIG (16.46%),
Actis (6.87%), ADB (4.2%) and Nomura-TVG (9.9%).
According to industry sources,
a transaction between the BPL Mobile group and its foreign shareholders
in BPL Communications had gained momentum with the BPL Mobile group close
to an out-of-court settlement with its foreign equity partners in the ongoing
arbitration proceedings in London. The international arbitration proceedings
against BPL Communications are being spearheaded by AIG-controlled Emerging
Markets Partnership (EMP) and Actis (formerly, CDC Advisors). BPL Communications
is the holding company and its valuation will be linked to the combined
equity valuation of the two operating companies, BPL Mobile (Mumbai licencee)
and BPL Cellular (holder of licences in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra).
Nokia chairman would
be in India
Nokia chaiman Jorma Ollila
would be visiting India as the company's entire external board is meeting
in New Delhi to discuss its strategy. Nokia is world's largest mobile phone
manufacturer which churns out aroud 40 new models every year. Last year,
the company sold over 200 million handsets. Ollila is pushing handsets
as well as network equipment for 3G technology, which allows mobile subscribers
to access heavy data files and video at very high speed. India, China,
Russia and Brazil are supposed to be world's fastest growing mobile markets
that require entry and mid-level handsets in millions. Accordig to Nokia,
this year 740 million cellphones will be sold. There would be a large replacement
demand for colour screens, up from about 42% now. Apart from that, advanced
features will drive the growth like video sharing/video streaming, music
and e-mail will be the most important developments.
postpaid at Rs.149
Reliance Infocomm has introduced
a postpaid plan targeting the entry-level market where a customer can go
mobile for as little as Rs.149. The new plan NJ99, includes monthly rental
of Rs.99, CLIP (Caller Line Identification Presentation) and plan charges
of Rs.25 each as applicable on all postpaid plans of Reliance India Mobile
(RIM). The plan has low intra-circle tariff of Rs.1.50 for calls to all
Reliance phones and Rs.2.20 for calls to other networks. As most Reliance
handsets double up as modems, subscribers in this segment can also log
on to the Internet via the R Connect facility. They will also get access
to R World - RIM's data suite with over 150 applications including MMS,
railway reservations and m-commerce.
15 lakh new mobile
phone subscribers added last month
Around 15 lakh new subscribers
joined the mobile community last month. CDMA operators saw their subscriber
base grow by 3.78%. While CDMA operators added 3.96 lakh subscribers, GSM
service providers added close to 11 lakh subscribers.
The percentage growth in
CDMA has exceeded the growth in GSM last month.
High Court stay on
Essar bid for Spice Tele
Delhi High Court has granted
a stay on foreign partners selling their holdings in the BK Modi group
controlled telecom venture Spice Telecom to Essar. Essar group had made
an offer to all the foreign partners of Spice, namely Distacom, AIG, and
Darby for acquiring their shareholding in the company. The BK Modi group
had termed the Essar move as a hostile bid. The foreign shareholders control
over 75% equity in Spice, a cellular service provider in Punjab and Karnataka,
with a subscriber base of about 1.5m.
Operators must get
explicit consent of customers for chargeable value added service
TRAI (Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India) has directed cellular service providers to publish
details of the special tariffs for value added services. Also, it has barred
operators from providing customers with a chargeable value added service
without the explicit consent of customers.
TRAI directive has come as
mobile operators inform customers about value added premium rate services
through SMS, advertisements in newspapers or TV without the cost implication
of the service. Sometimes the messages are only followed by the wordings
'T&C apply'. At times, a mobile service provider provides a new value
added service free for a limited period, but at the end of this period,
the onus to discontinue the service falls on consumers. Worse still, the
service provider makes money even on the SMS that has to be sent asking
them to disconnect the service. Customers who fail to inform the operator
that they are not interested in the service end up being billed for the
service. In order to avoid such instances, TRAI has issued a directive
asking operators to publish the pulse rate/tariff in all communications
or advertisements relating to premium rate services.
Nokia commands GSM
segment with 74% market share
According to ORG GFK, Nokia's
market share in terms of units sold has grown to 74% in March '05 from
61.5% in October '04. In the colour segment, Nokia has increased its market
share to 55% in March '05 from 33.7% in October '04. In terms of value,
Nokia's overall market share is 70.5%.
Samsung has lost its market
share in terms of units from 17.2% in Oct.'04 to 7.8% in March '05. In
value terms the fall is 9.8%.
Sony Ericsson's market share
in terms of units has improved marginally from 7.1% in October '04 to 7.6%
in March '05, although in value terms it has increased to 10.2%. The overall
market shares of other players, in terms of units sold, is Motorola at
4.5%, LG 3.6% and BenQ 1.1%. Other players like Panasonic, Bird,
Siemens, Philips, Alcatel have a market share of less than 1%, according
to ORG GFK estimates of units sold in the top ten towns.
The total handsets sold in
the top 10 towns in the month of March is 5,05,493 units and total value
is Rs.245.6 crore.The ten towns include Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata,
Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.
increase in Bharti's net profits
TeleVentures Ltd. reported 132% increase in net profit at Rs.1439 cr for
fiscal 2004-05 on revenues of Rs.8035 cr. The company announced an investment
plan of Rs.4000 cr this financial year for decongesting traffic, improving
coverage and expansion into new towns and cities. The company's market
share is 26.8%.
turned into profits
From a net loss of Rs.390
crore during the fiscal year ended March 2004, Reliance Infocomm has earned
a net profit of Rs.51 crore during the year ended March 2005 inspite of
paying around Rs.700 cr in penalties etc. The telecom venture's total turnover
almost doubled to Rs.5,387 crore from Rs.2,707 crore the previous year.
Reliance Infocomm was the first company to have a subscriber base of 1
crore. During last fiscal, Reliance Infocomm was fined Rs.150 crore for
violating licence conditions and it paid the amount to the government.
In addition it also paid around Rs. 550 crore to BSNL and MTNL as access
deficit charge during last year.
Essar tries to buy
out stake of foreign partners in Spice Telecom
Essar group made a predatory
move to buy out the stake of foreign partners in the BK Modi-controlled
Spice Telecom. It has approached Distacom, AIG and Darby, which directly
and indirectly control over 75% equity in Spice. Upset with the move, the
BK Modi group has termed it a “hostile bid.” Essar group has accepted
that it was in discussions with the constituents of Spice Telecom but nothing
has been finalised yet. However, it will not be easy for the Essar group
to buy out the holdings in Spice since the BK Modi group has the first
right of refusal. Spice is a cellular service provider in Punjab and Karnataka
and has a total subscriber base of about 1.5m. Currently, cellular companies
are being valued at about $400 per subscriber.
Enjoy vacations -
roaming airtime rates reduced to Rs.1.99/min
Hutch and Airtel announced
a drop in roaming airtime rates to Rs.1.99/min from Rs.3/min with effect
from May 1, '05. Hutch, Mumbai announced a new zero rental plan for
post-paid users under which the customer gets talktime equal to the full
value of the monthly charges. Also the calls and SMS within the Hutch network
can be made at a special charge of 50 paise per minute. Calls to other
mobile networks or fixed lines would cost between Rs.1.69 per minute to
75 paise per minute, depending on the plan.
The final rate payable by
roaming customers is likely to be higher due to the access deficit surcharge
of 30 paise and the interconnect usage charges that varies from 30 paise
upwards depending on the nature of the call. TRAI has announced that all
calls from national roaming subscribers would be treated as STD calls,
while those of global roaming users will be accounted as incoming international
calls for ADC calculation. Trai had imposed an access deficit charge of
30 paise only on intra-circle (local) calls originated by a national roaming
subscriber (while roaming outside his home network) and terminating in
a mobile phone in visited service area.
BPL Mobile looking
for strategic partner
BPL Mobile is in advanced
stages of discussions with possible partners. The company is looking for
a strategic partnership and not only financial partnerships. The company
had appointed JM Morgan Stanley to look for a strategic partner last year.
BPL Mobile has reported a 39% jump in revenues to Rs.1,012.2 crore in FY05
from the previous year's Rs 728.5 crore.
Operating profits grew by
42% to Rs.406.6 crore in FY05 from Rs.287 crore in the previous year. The
state circles of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala (BPL Mobile Cellular)
showed a jump of 51% in revenues to Rs. 461.1 crore in FY05 from Rs. 305.7
crore in the previous year. The Mumbai circle (BPL Mobile Communications)
showed a 30% growth to Rs.551.1 crore in FY05 from Rs.422.8 crore. BPL
Mobile plans to invest Rs.625 crore during the current fiscal.
Motorola A780- The
Next generation Power tool
Motorola, a global leader
in wireless communications launched the new Motorola A780 -- a truly converged
device offering the speed of EDGE technology coupled with the open, flexible
environment of Java + Linux to deliver the ultimate handset.
The classically chic A780 is
designed to offer a rich end-user mobile experience that includes intense
mobile office connectivity plus multi-media entertainment. It possesses
advance capabilities of a personal digital assistant (PDA) along with 1.3
megapixel digital camera, video player, and MP3 player packaged in one
compact device featuring a brilliant 2.45” 65,000 colors TFT touch screen
and quad-band technology. more...
CDMA players set ambitious
Reliance Infocomm has outlined
an ambitious target of a ten times increase in subscriber base to 100 million
by 2008 saying the Ambani family developments had no effect on professional
management of the company. Tatas' have aggressive expansion plans
for their telecom business including an additional investment of Rs.10,000
crore by August 2006. The telecom subscriber base in India is projected
to touch 400 million by 2008.
in Indian telecom, an all time high
Apart from the comanies
like Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, NTT Docomo and Russia's Sistema, several
other foreign telcos like Orascom (Egypt), Alpha Telecom (Russia) and China
Telecom have developed interest in India. According to industry sources,
officials of foreign telcos have been visiting India to get a better insight
on the telecom sector. Apart from telcos, foreign equity funds, especially
American funds that have not invested in India so far, are looking at investing
in India's telecom sector. According to industry sources, the interest
in Indian telcos has peaked in the last three to four months after the
announcement of the hike in FDI limits from 49% to 74% in January this
year. By '07, India is expected to have about 250m phone connections. This
kind of growth cannot be sustained by domestic resources alone and requires
huge foreign investments. Hence, the government had hiked the cap on foreign
equity from 49% to 74%, although it has not yet issued the final guidelines.
Bharti ready to invest
$1b for 3G rollout
Bharti Tele-Ventures, plans
to roll out 3G services on a national level over the next 18-20 months,
with an investment of around $1 billion to enable mobile users to access
broadband services on the move provided TRAI gives a go-ahead and the allocation
of suitable spectrum. TRAI is currently working on its recommendations
on spectrum allocation between GSM and CDMA services for use in 3G services.
Mobile users will be able to have faster downloads of data services at
a speed of at least 256 KBPs, including video clipping, games and rich
value added content.
12.4 lakh GSM subscribers
added in March '05
GSM service providers added
12.4 lakh cellular subscribers
last month. The total subscriber base stood at over 4.1 crore, growing
by 56.86% since March '04 according to latest figures released by COAI.
Among GSM operators, Bharti
maintained its lead with a market share of over 26.77%, with over 1.09
crore subscribers. The largest CDMA operator, Reliance, saw its mobile
subscriber base dip by 5.34 lakh. It ended March with a total of 93.3 lakh
mobile subscribers. Next in line is BSNL with 22.93% market share and a
subscriber base of over 94 lakh. Hutch follows with 19.01% market share
and over 77.97 lakh subscribers, while IDEA has 12.36% market share and
over 50 lakh subscribers.
The fall in CDMA subscription
is being attributed to strict verification norms introduced by the government.
DoT had earlier asked all unified access service operators (GSM and CDMA)
to cross-check addresses of all subscribers.
IDEA udates on commodity
IDEA Cellular has introduced
SMS based information updates on commodity markets for its subscribers
in all IDEA Cellular circles in India. The subscribers will be able to
receive updates about the current prices in the major exchanges as well
as spot markets all over the country, 10-15 times a day, over SMS. International
markets of China, London and Tokyo, Vessel positions and port information
will also be covered. IDEA Bazaar Bhav on mobiles will initially cover
the commodity markets for oil, pulses, cotton and bullion. In the next
phase, grains & sugar markets would also be added to the service.
An Idea subscriber can register
by sending an SMS <HELP> to 1920 and start getting updates. IDEA Bazaar
Bhav subscription will be offered to postpaid at price of Rs.150 per month
and prepaid customers will be able to use SMS Pull feature to get the updates
as and when required. This will facilitate customers to participate more
actively in commodity trading.
to invest Rs.75,000 cr for expansion
plans to invest Rs.75,000 crore to expand its mobile phone, basic telephony
and broadband operations across India over next three years. The company
plans to increase its subscriber base to 125 million during this period.
BSNL is likely to register a net profit of Rs.7,000 crore for 2004-05 which
would have been better if recent cut in Access Deficit Charges to the tune
of Rs.1254 crore annually had not happened. BSNL and MTNL merger or some
kind of synergy is still being worked out.
increasing its R&D investment in India
Inc is increasing its R&D investment and staff in India. It has set
up a new laboratory in Bangalore which will focus on next generation
networking technology, embedded applications, microchips
and physical sciences. The company plans upto 20% head count growth every
year. Its Indian design centre has around 2000 people which is part of
4600 global technology team. Motorola has invested $85 million in India
in last two years.
Nortel to build BSNL's
GSM network picks up stake in Sasken
Canadian telecom major Nortel
Networks has bagged $500m contract from BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited)
to build country wide GSM network. Nortel will be working with Sasken for
customising some of its equipment for the local market. The company has
picked up a minority stake in the Bangalore based Sasken Communications
for $10 million. Sasken is a software services and product company focusing
exclusively on telecom. The company works as a partner for R&D outsourcing
with a number of telecom equipment and semi-conductor companies and has
recently started working in the domestic telecom market. A team of 400
engineers under Sasken e-Network engineering services will work on local
telecom network implementation.
Airtel launches Stock
& Portfolio Tracker on mobile
Airtel has launched India's
first Stock and Portfolio Tracker on mobile in association with BSE(Bombay
Stock Exchange). The service called Airtel Portfolio Manager will be available
to both Airtel postpaid and prepaid customers using GPRS/EDGE phones.
It will enable customers
to view live stock quotes of chosen stocks and analyze the status of their
portfolio through Airtel Live! The service can be accessed even while roaming
all over India and in 20 different countries where Airtel has GPRS roaming
An Airtel customer can download
his personalized portfolio manager application from the Airtel Live! portal.
The application then can be launched on the handset and the customer gets
connected to the live data feed from BSE. The user can also Add, Modify,
Delete & Search from more than 6,900 stocks listed on the BSE, keep
tab on number of stock sold, calculate total profit on the basis of his
stock holding at any point of time, check the performance of a scrip as
per its movement in the market & use E-Mail feature to send the performance
for the day in a excel sheet with profit graphs for better stock analysis
to any e-mail ID. Rs.150 would be monthly subscription charges.
may disconnect 9.3L defaulters
According to industry sources,
Reliance Infocomm has decided to disconnect 9.3 lakh post-paid defaulters
across the country. The company is planning to strictly enforce customer
credit-worthiness and subscriber data verification parameters. It will
now upgrade or downgrade the credit-worthiness of a customer based on payment
schedule. Company has appointed a battery of lawyers to fight its case
for retrieving handsets. Reliance Infocomm has also initiated very stringent
address verification norms before new connections are issued.
plans $900 m capital expenditure this year
Bharti TeleVentures (BTL)
is planning to spend $850-900m in the current year of which two third would
go for mobile services while the balance will be spent on other businesses
of the company. The company has no plans to raise fresh equity, it may
raise some debt and will try to finance growth plans through internal accruals.
BTL is making a sponsored ADR issue, details of which are yet to be finalised.