Latest Press Releases: 
IDEA - 30/6/05 
Hutch - 28/6/05     
IDEA - 21/6/05 
TATA - 14/6/05 
Samsung 14/6/2005 
Motorola - 26/4/05
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Date:30/6/2005 
IDEA introduces Paisa Wasool Card in U.P.(West) 
IDEA 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... 
 
Date:28/6/2005   
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...   
 
Date:21/6/2005 
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... 
 
Date:20/6/2005   
Reliance Infocomm 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. 
 
Date:18/6/2005   
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.   
 
Date:16/6/2005    
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.     
 
Date:16/6/2005    
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.     
 
Date:15/6/2005     
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.     
 

Date:15/6/2005     
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.     
 
Date:14/6/2005 
Go Mobile! Tata Indicom and Kinetic Motor Company in a strategic nationwide alliance 
Going 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. 
more... 
 
Date:14/6/2005      
Samsung launches the SCH N 380 (BOSS), the new Power-packed CDMA handset      
Global 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...   
 
Date:14/6/2005      
Nokia to provide low cost networks      
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.      
 
Date:14/6/2005      
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 provider.       
 
Date:13/6/2005      
STT-TM decide to exit IDEA deal      
STT(Singapore Technologies 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.      
 

Date:12/6/2005      
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.      
 
Date: 8/6/2005    
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%.       
 
Date: 7/6/2005         
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.         
 
Date: 6/6/2005         
Ambitious Qualcomm 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.         
 

Date: 4/6/2005           
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.          
 
Date: 3/6/2005            
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.            
 

Date: 1/6/2005          
Nokia's manufacturing 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.             
 
Date: 1/6/2005             
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.            
 
Date: 29/5/2005              
BPL Mobile to invest Rs.700 crore              
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.             
 
Date: 25/5/2005             
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 optimising.              
 
Date: 24/5/2005             
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.              
 

Date: 22/5/2005             
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 public interest.               
 

Date: 21/5/2005             
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.             
 

Date: 21/5/2005             
Singapore Telecom 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.              
 
Date: 20/5/2005               
Delhi talks the most - highest ARPU at Rs.514.5               
Accordind 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.               
Bharti 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.               
 
Date: 20/5/2005               
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.               
 

Date: 20/5/2005               
BK Modi group seeks expansion               
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.               
 
Date: 19/5/2005               
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 IPO also.                
 

Date: 18/5/2005               
Reliance introduces 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.               
 
Date: 18/5/2005               
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.               
 
Date: 14/5/2005                 
No entry fee for 3G spectrum                  
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.                 
 
Date: 13/5/2005                 
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).                  
 

Date: 12/5/2005                 
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.                  
 
Date: 10/5/2005                  
Reliance Infocomm 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.                 
   
Date: 10/5/2005                  
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.                  
   
Date: 10/5/2005                  
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.                  
 
Date: 4/5/2005                  
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.                   
 

Date: 3/5/2005                  
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.                   
 

Date: 28/4/2005                   
132% increase in Bharti's net profits                   
Bharti 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%.                   
 
Date: 28/4/2005                   
Reliance Infocomm 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.                   
 
Date: 27/4/2005                   
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.                    
 
Date: 27/4/2005                   
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.                    
 

Date: 26/4/2005                   
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.                    
 

Date: 26/4/2005 
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...  
 
Date: 23/4/2005                   
CDMA players set ambitious targets                   
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.                   
 
Date: 22/4/2005                    
Investor interest 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.                    
 
Date: 14/4/2005                   
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.                    
 
Date: 9/4/2005                   
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.                    
 

Date: 9/4/2005                   
IDEA udates on commodity markets                   
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.                   
 

Date: 7/4/2005                     
BSNL to invest Rs.75,000 cr for expansion                     
BSNL 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.                     
 
Date: 7/4/2005                     
Motorola increasing its R&D investment in India                     
Motorola 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.                     
 
Date: 7/4/2005                     
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.                      
 
Date: 6/4/2005                    
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 agreements.                     

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.                     
 

Date: 6/4/2005                     
Reliance Infocomm 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.                     
 
Date: 6/4/2005                    
Bharti TeleVentures 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.                     
 
 
 
Cellular News: Oct. - Dec. 2004
Cellular News:July - Sept. 2004
Cellular News: Apr.- Jun. 2004
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