ADC, CPP regimes here
to stay says TRAI chief
At TRAI's open house session
in the New Delhi, the Chairman Mr. Pradip Baijal made it clear that both
Access Deficit Charge (ADC) and Calling Party Pays regimes (CPP) challenged
by private telecom operators, would stay. GSM operators opposed ADC and
Basic operators opposed CPP. The issue of reviewing IUC was also discussed.
The authority would give its final recommendations by the end of July and
indications are that the telecom tariffs may come down further.
IDEA Cellular announced
new post-paid tariff plans
To make the post-paid sim
cards as attractive as the pre-paid IDEA Cellular has announced a new tariff
plan in where monthly rentals have gone down below the Rs. 200 mark for
post-paid connections for the first time in India. The new plan BUZZ 169
comes at a rental of just Rs.169 per month and airtime charge at a flat
rate of Rs.1.69 per minute.
Essar transfers Aircell
Digilink licences to Hutch
Essar owned Aircell Digilink
licences of UP-East, Haryana and Rajasthan have been transferred to one
of Hutchison Telecom's corporate vehicles through an all stock deal where
the Ruias of Essar will receive shares in the merged company according
to the equity valuation of Aircell Digilink. Statutory clearances from
DoT and FIPB are due shortly. Aircell Digilink has 1.93 lakh subscribers
across these three circles.
TRAI plans uniform
TRAI is considering a uniform
termination charge for all telecom service providers whether fixedline,
cellular or WLL in its final order on interconnect usage charge (IUC),
which will be effective from 1st August. The key issue is assessing the
degree of equilibrium in existing traffic patterns of landline, cellular
and WLL services before taking a final decision. Under the present IUC
norms operators pay different termination charges for calls ending on cellular,
WLL and landline networks which has made inter-operator reconciliation
of termination charges chaotic.
may ask Government for unified licence
is expected to ask the Government for converting all licences into a unified
one to enable any telecom operator in a designated territory to venture
into any kind of telecom services. This is supposed to be due to
the mounting pressure of Banks and Financial Institutions for some rescue
package to defer the collapse as staggering losses are being suffered by
major segments of telecom industry despite tremendous growth in volumes.
The proposed policy may offer only two kinds of services, fixed and mobile.
to invest Rs. 550 cr in Gujarat
Cellular operators like
Idea Cellular, Hutch, AirTel & BSNL plan to invest around Rs. 550 crore
next year in Gujarat operations where the market is expected to grow by
85 -100%. Also expected is that wireless telephony may overtake fixed line
telephony at some places in Gujarat in the coming year. Low penetration
level also provides immense opportunity for growth. Free incoming calls
have inspired people to prefer mobile telephony as long-distance mobile
telephony today is cheaper than fixed line. All these factors together
motivated the cellular operators to expand their infrastructure facilities
and doubling the capacity in the state.
base in the country reached 1.41 cr
of GSM Cellular Subscribers in the country reached 1,41,75,910 by May end.
8.4 lakh new subscribers were added last month. BSNL has not been able
to sustain its growth rate which declined by 50%. AirTel consolidated its
leading position and claimed 25% of the market share.
TEC asked to submit
a 3G roadmap to DoT
Telecom Engineering Centre
(TEC) has been asked to submit a 3G roadmap to DoT after consultations
with key ministries like defence and aviation. Key issues involve spectrum
availability, freezing specific bands, propose distribution of spectrum
and procedure for existing telecom service providers to migrate to the
3G platform. Although the whole exercise is in its infancy and country's
3G market potential needs to be studied before coming out with the licence
guidelines. 3G services operate at 1900-2200 MHz. The transition for CDMA-based
limited mobility to 3G is expected to be seamless while the GSM to 3G would
involve GPRS, Edge and wideband-CDMA (W-CDMA) stages. Globally 3G licences
were auctioned in the UK and Germany for $34bn and $45bn respectively.
But here in India it is believed that the existing telecom players will
get these licences automatically.
Airtel offers free
talk time each time you recharge
Pre-paid users of Airtel
may get some free talk time each time they recharge their card. This will
be part of the company's new customer loyalty programme to be launched
across the country for the pre-paid customers called Recharge Reward.
Insurance cover for
BPL Mobile has tied up with
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance to provide insurance cover for handsets
bundled with health insurance for its Club Mobile members. The scheme has
been launched in the Maharashtra circle including Goa and will be extended
to the rest of BPL Mobile's circles of Mumbai, Kerala and TN in the next
couple of months.
Finance Ministry tells
RBI to help BPL Mobile raise funds
BPMCL a 51:49 joint venture
between BPL and AT&T Wireless which operates cellular services in Maharashtra,
Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala may finally achieve financial closure. The Finance
ministry has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to "make an objective
assessment of the BPMCL project appraisal as a test-case and pinpoint any
avoidable delays on part of the financial institutions". The ICICI Bank
led lenders' consortium that includes IDBI, IDFC and LIC had undertaken
the BPMCL project appraisal. The ministry has specifically asked "RBI to
advise the government on any avoidable delays by the FIs and how these
could be best redressed". In a meeting last week BPL Mobile chairman Rajeev
Chandrasekhar is believed to have appealed Finance Minister Mr. Jaswant
Singh that inordinate delays by various financial institutions in funding
the BPMCL venture had triggered a Rs. 580 crore increase in project cost
from Rs. 2,660 crore to Rs. 3,240 crore which is threatening project viability.
may provide CDMA handsets to Reliance Info
According to industry sources
Nokia is in talks with Reliance Info for providung CDMA based handsets.
Initially Nokia has offered its 2280 model which was launched by Nokia
earlier this year and is an entry-level handset. The other phones in this
series include Nokia 2270 and 2285. These phones have black-and-white screens,
built-in GPS chips and lets users send data at speeds of up to 2 mbps.
The Nokia 2280, using CDMA 2000 1X technology, is priced below $100 internationally.
Analysts say this would help Reliance bring down the subsidy for CDMA phones
it offers to attract customers in India. The WLL mobile user base has reached
16.71 lakh where Reliance Infocomm has 12.78 lakh subscribers.
Arun Shourie advises
BSNL, MTNL on equipment procurement
In a meeting with the equipment
suppliers, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA), BSNL and
MTNL, Union Communications Minister Arun Shourie asked MTNL and BSNL to
make public their requirement of procuring equipment well in advance by
at least six months which will enable the equipment suppliers to prepare
well for the tenders and would make the procurement process smooth.
He also advised to somplify procedures related to the procurement of equipment
to avoid delay in the tenders. Mr Shourie also insisted on the timely delivery
of the equipment.
Vodafone's stake in RPG Cellular
C Sivasankaran's Mauritius-based
IQ Investments has bought Vodafone's 20.76% equity stake in RPG Cellular
which is the second largest cellular service provider in Chennai. Vodafone
had a 20.76% holding in RPG Cellular through Mauritius-based Airtouch.
IQ Investments has acquired a 100% stake in Airtouch. According to industry
sources Mr. Sivasankaran is planning to buyout remaining 79.24% equity
also although the details of valuation are not known. Aircel Ltd., a Sivasankaran
group company is cellular services provider in the Tamil Nadu circle except
Chennai. It has a subscriber base of 2,30,563. Acquisition of RPG Cellular
would give Aircel Ltd. a seamless coverage in the state.
Bharti plans $185m
US listing next fiscal
Bharti is planning more
than $185m listing in the United States during the next financial year.
The company has recently touched 1million subscribers mark in Delhi and
is aiming for 6 million customers countrywide by March 2004. The company
is also looking at acquisitions to expand its network and customer base.
Idea Cellular plans
Rs.800 cr capital expenditure
Idea Cellular plans an investment
of Rs.800 crore for the financial year 2003-04 across all five circles
to increase capacity and improve the quality of service. The company has
invested a total of Rs.4,800 crore in various circles so far. Idea Cellular
which operates in five circles is India's fourth largest operator with
a subscriber base of 12,68,602. Its coverage includes 600 towns and cities
in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and has covered
over 6,000 km of highway.
Logica to supply messaging
solution to Spice
Logica is supplying a complete
Intelligent Network Pre-Paid messaging solution to Spice Telecom in Karnataka.
The company has supplied messaging systems to 140 mobile operators worldwide
which serve over 150 million active subscribers.Logica’s payments portfolio
includes its PrePaid System and PrePaid Service Agent (PSA) that offers
voice and data rating flexibility and roaming capability enabling a variety
of prepaid call packages to be offered to subscribers. The solution includes
customer care and recharge management systems ensuring that customer service
representatives have up to date information regarding usage, and can effectively
deal with subscriber enquiries.
Airtel offers SMS
for 60 paise excluding Delhi & Mumbai
AirTel announced reduced
SMS rates to 60 paise per message in all its circles except Delhi and Mumbai
for both its post-paid and pre-paid subscribers. To avail these rates a
pre-paid subscriber has to pay an additional Rs.25 per month whereas a
post-paid subscriber will pay Rs.49 per month for which they get 80 free
SMS messages. All messages beyond this will be charged at 60 paise.
offers handset + airtime at Rs.3,315
announced an offer where a subscriber can buy a Nokia 3315 handset along
with an AirTel connection for just Rs 3,315 whereas the actual cost of
the handset is Rs 5,399. The subscriber makes a payment of Rs 5,715 initially
which covers the handset cost and the plan enrolment fee of Rs 316 and
free talktime/month of Rs 100 for two years. Airtel claims that the effective
cost to the customer works out to Rs. 3,315.
between Delhi & Mumbai
mobile and IDEA Cellular who were the pioneers in launching MMS ( Multimedia
Messaging Service ) in their respective networks have tied up to provide
an interconnection for MMS thus their subscribers in Delhi and Mumbai will
be able to send picture messages to each other. The recipient must have
MMS compatible handset otherwise he can receive MMS on their e-mail and
an SMS message will be displayed on the mobile.
STD at 50p
and Hutch have announced cell-to-cell STD calls at 50p per min for the
first 100 min. This facility can be availed at Rs.50 monthly charge and
is offered on 599 and higher plans.
talk the most
subscribers in India are now talking for 650 - 700 min per month on their
cellular phones which is the highest in the world. The
highest talktime in the world was around 600 - 650 min per month in some
developed markets. Both STD and ISD traffic has increased by 25-30% due
to the fall in tariffs.
are preferring legal market for mobile handsets
to ICA ( Indian Cellular Association ) 45% of cellular subscribers
bought handsets from legal market in 2003 as compared to 25% in 2002. Around
3 - 3.75 lakh mobile phones are sold per month through legal channels.
Chandigargh has the maximum no. of mobile buyers prefering legal channel
at 75%. In Delhi it is 60%. Around 50% buy through legal markets in West
Bengal, TN, AP, UP, Gujarat & Maharashtra. For Kerala & Mumbai
this figure is only 10%, the reason is attributed to octroi.
service in Delhi
launched its location based convenience service 'Hutch4help' in Delhi which
renders a help at hand for Hutch users anywhere anytime. What one needs
to do is just dial 4 followed by the service it requires for example 'police',
if you look at the key pad letter 'p' is on key numbered 7, similarly letter
'o' is on key numbered 6 and so on ... this way if one dials 4765423 he
will be connected to the nearest police station. In the same way one can
dial for nearest hospital, taxi etc.
to pay licence & spectrum fee
government will be collecting its full licence and spectrum fee from BSNL.
The support for rural telecom will be routed through the USO fund paid
for by telecom users. This will put BSNL at par with private cellular operators
in the industry although it will hit BSNL's bottomline by Rs.2,500 crore.
Cellular acquires Escotel Mobile
Cellular is acquiring 75% stake in Escotel Mobile Communications Ltd. The
combined entity will become the third largest cellular operator after AirTel
and BSNL. IDEA Cellular has operations in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat,
MP, Goa and Andhra Pradesh while Escotel is number one in Haryana, UP(west)
and Kerala. Hong Kong based First Pacific which had 49% stake in Escotel
had announced its decision to exit India two years ago and has been looking
for an exit option since then.
will not use 'Magic' brand anymore
its master brand strategy Bharti will discontinue the usage of its 'Magic'
brand name. Its pre-paid cards will also be sold under AirTel brand. The
new brand strategy will also realign the associated advertising agencies
where Rediff will be handling AirTel brand and Bharti's other infotel brands
like TouchTel, IndiaOne and Mantra will be handled by Percept Advertising.
bags order for Escotel's network upgrade
has bagged a three year contract worth Euro 30 million for the expansion
and upgradation of Escotel's GSM networks in Haryana, UP(West) and Kerala.
This will include installation of new Mobile Switching Centres with advance
capabilities for increasing coverage and capacity.
launches 'cell broadcast'
is the first one to launch 'cell broadcast' in Delhi & Mumbai, the
service gives a Hutch user their approximate nearest geographical location
on the handset screen which gets automatically updated as one moves across
the city. The 'cell info display' facility should be 'on' on your handset,
both post-paid & pre-paid users are getting this information.No change
of SIM is required. The service will include more useful information
and offers in future. A similar location based service 'Around Me' was
launched by AirTel for its Delhi & Mumbai users on 32K SIM cards only
which gives information about nearest medicine shop, hotel, ATM etc.
announced global roaming on pre-paid cards
has announced the launch of pre-activated international roaming on its
'Magic' pre-paid cards for its all subscribers across the country.The facility
which is one way will be available at the cost of Rs.50/min (all inclusive)
for incoming voice calls and free incoming SMS while roaming. Users cannot
make outgoing calls or send messages. The pulse rate for incoming calls
will be 60 secs.
and MTNL reduced cellular tariffs
has reduced tariffs including STD rates for its post-paid service 'Dolphin'
and pre-paid 'Trump' card subscribers. For postpaid users calls to other
mobiles will be Rs.1.60/min, while calls to fixed/WLL phones will be Rs.1.90/min.
MTNL's cell-to-cell STD charges have been reduced to Rs.1.90/min while
SMS will cost 80 paise. IDEA Cellular also has reduced rates in Delhi where
its offer for pre-paid users includes rate of 99 paise for outgoing to
fixed/mobile from 9 pm to 9 am. Rs.150 worth talk time is also free on
purchase of Rs.299 worth pre-paid card. Pre-paid SMS rate will be 99 paise.
to focus on Indian mobile phone market
sales of legally sold handsets is picking up, the German electronic giant
Siemens is strengthening its distripution network by signing up with Tech
Pacific which has 2000 shops across the country. The models company is
offering are A55, SL55, S55, CL50, M55 and SX1 smartphone. The company
is targeting 8.5% market share. Siemens also announced the upgrading of
its Bangalore based R&D facility which will become company's global
development hub for GSM and 3G/UMTS mobile network software.
has indefinately defered the issuing of its verdict on the controversial
government policy allowing the fixed line operators to offer cheaper limited
to spend Rs.1200 cr in next 8 months
TeleVentures will spend Rs.1200 cr in its mobile business over the next
8 months. It is planning to increase its reach to 300 more towns and add
more than 1500 sites. Its target by March 2004 is to cover 1100 towns install
28 MSCs and have more than 5000 radio cell sites. It is also planning to
increase its retail outlets to 1,50,000.
accounts for 23% of worldwide handset market
to MIC, a Taiwan's research & consulting firm a total of 107 million
handsets were sold in China during 2002 which represents 23% of the total
handsets sold worldwide during the same period while the figure was only
5 million in India during the same period. Chinese handset manufacturers'
contribution was 32.2% of the total shipments in the first quarter of this
year while local manufacturers are virtually unknown in India. Chinese
manufacturers source knocked-down kits from Korea & Taiwan or redesign
full system casings. They pool their resources for brand management and
marketing. High distributor and retailer margins are key to their success.
investments in telecom being raised to 74% via FIIs
union communications and IT minister Mr. Arun Shourie has proposed to raise
foreign investment in telecom sector to 74% from the existing 49% by allowing
additional investments to be routed through Foreign Institutional Investors
(FIIs) as they do not seek management control thus would not pose any threat
to the security issue. The FIIs are allowed to invest in listed as well
as unlisted companies. FII investment in a telecom company would be permitted
to an extent where FDI would be capped at 49% and combined FDI and FII
can go upto 74%.
Airtel offers cheapest
Airtel has recently introduced
a plan AirTel 012 where outgoing local calls to any GSM mobile would cost
only Re1/minute. Mobile-to-mobile STD calls would cost Re 1.99/min. The
monthly rental is Rs 299. At less than Rs 2, making an STD call is cheaper
than using a landline the company says. No entry deposit is required for
making mobile-to-mobile STD calls. Bharti offers mobile services in fifteen
out of 22 circles in India. Approximately 91% of India's total number of
mobile subscribers resided in Bharti's existing and proposed mobile circles.
The company's revenue and EBITDA are Rs 3,083 crore and Rs 771 crore, respectively.
The company has made a gross investment of over Rs 9,700 crore in building
telecom in India.
Cellular service providers
working on alternative models to boost revenues
The concept of Average Revenue
Per User (ARPU) which has decreased by 30-50% in last one year may get
replaced by alternative models being explored by cellular companies. The
analysts are discovering that ARPU may not be a realistic indicator of
customer viability. They are discussing some new concepts such as
Average Margins Per User (AMPU), and Average Profit Per User (APPU) and
Average Margins Per Minute (AMPM) etc. for the evaluation of cost of service
TRAI plans a major
review of telecom tariffs
TRAI plans a major review
of telecom tariffs by recommending distribution of the Access Deficit Charge
(ADC) evenly among all operators including cellular and WLL operators.
Currently it is shouldered by BSNL and MTNL alone. This way the regulator
is trying to reimburse basic service providers for uncovered costs of their
operations in unremunerative areas. This will bring down basic service
tariffs and the cost of calling a basic phone from other networks. For
long distance calls over 500 km between circles, Trai had proposed ADC
of Rs 5.10 per minute for fixed-to-fixed calls, Rs 3.60 per minute for
calls from WLL to fixed lines and Rs 3.50 per minute for calls from cellular
to fixed lines. This move will also encourage basic operators to adopt
new cost-efficient technologies which may reduce capital cost by one third.
Servicing cost will also come down benefiting operators as well as consumers.
cellular pricing from BSNL
announced massive rate cuts on its CellOne mobile services with a local
cell-to-cell rate of 40 paise/min and cell-to-fixed/WiLL rate of Rs.1.20
per min. SMS rates are cut to 60 paise per message across all post-paid
and pre-paid tariff plans.
Bharti to upgrade
Airtel coverage in Gujarat
Bharti plans to upgrade
Airtel coverage in Gujarat and make Airtel the biggest cellular network
in the state with 550 cell sites.
The company has targeted
three lakh customers by the end of this year. The company will be spending
Rs 120 crore in the next two months for network expansion and putting up
additional cell sites for better coverage. Bharti is also planning to spend
an additional Rs 120 crore across the country to upgrade its IT division,
billing mechanism and the call centres. Airtel currently has a subscriber
base of 75,000 in Gujarat.
rollback by MTNL & BSNL
& BSNL has announced a partial rollback of the telecom tariffs that
came into effect from May 1st. The fixed-to-mobile call rates have been
slashed from Rs.3.60 per min to Re.1.20 per min. Also the number of free
calls have been raised from 30 to 50 in urban areas and from 50 to 75 in
rural areas. This will have a retrospective effect from May 1st. The operators
will lose around Rs.3,470 crore which will push them into loss of Rs. 970
cr instead of a projected profit of Rs.2,500 crore. The decision has been
forced by the ruling party in view of the upcoming elections but has come
as a big relief for the customers.
India GSM subscriber base reaches 13.33 million
on April 30th the all India GSM subscriber base has reached 13.33 million.
Bharti is on top with 3.19 million subscribers with BSNL at second position
at 2.64 million figures. Next is Hutch at 2.26 million followed by IDEA
Cellular at 1.26 million. Four metros together have subscriber base of
45.84 lakh. WiLL technology has also grabbed 2 million subscribers. While
mobility is increasing, there is a decline in fixed line subscriptions.
Revenue Per User falls by 30%
some leading cellular operators Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has declined
by 30%. This is being attributed to free incoming calls and lower
tariffs. The interconnect usage charges are not enough to compensate. Although
analysts say that increasing market and increasing traffic will cover up
to go beyond Delhi & Mumbai
is planning to allow MTNL to expand its operations beyond Delhi & Mumbai.
A proposal under considerations envisages the acquisition of smaller private
cellular operations and also Maharashtra circle of BSNL. This will remove
stagnation in MTNL's growth prospects. MTNL has over Rs.2000 crores in
to allow more than one licence in a cellular circle
plans to allow a cellular operator to acquire more than one licence in
a cellular circle. This will facilitate mergers and acquisitions thus paving
the way for consolidation in the cellular industry. The move will help
smaller players who will get the exit route and secondly it will benefit
telecom investors who would be able to cut their losses and will have more
options to redeploy their funds.
to review Interconnect Usage Charges
Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) would review the whole Interconnect
Usage Charge system in three to six months. The final consultation paper
on IUC would be issued by May15th. During the review period present tariffs
tariffs from IDEA Cellular
Cellular offers new tariffs which will be same for cell-to-cell, cell-to-landline
and cell-to-WiLL calls. The rates will be Rs.1.99/min for post-paid users
and Rs.2.49/min for pre-paid users during daytime and less during night.
Monthly rental will be Rs.269 and SMS will cost 99 paise in Delhi.
refuse to sell Fascel stake
post merger ownership structure of the 11 circle Hutchison-Essar merged
entity is still unclear as Hindujas have not yet offloaded 30% holding
in Fascel. This will affect Essar Tele's plan to hold 30% in merged entity.
Hutchison Telecom will have 49% stake post merger while Essar Tele, Kotak
Mahindra & Hindujas may together hold 51%.
asked to justify WiLL tariffs
has asked BSNL to justify its tariffs for WiLL services on cost basis.
TRAI has not yet approved the tariff plans proposed by MTNL, Reliance and
may serve do's and don'ts for operators
which is loaded with number of tariff plans submitted for its approval
by cellular, fixed line and NLD operators has also received notes that
highlight inconsistencies between long distance tariffs and IUC regime
that started from 1st May. One of the discripency was that tariff for a
fixed-to-fixed long distance call in a particular distance slab was lower
than the sum of originating, carriage and terminating charges including
the access deficit charge, the issue is how to adjust that with offered
tariff. Some NLDs have raised the issue that to match long distance tariffs
offered they have to offer originating and terminating charges which makes
their operations financially unviable. Many more such issues have come
forward. The fundamental principal of IUC regime is that all tariff should
be non-discriminatory and should protect user interest, network expansion
and industry viability. It is believed that TRAI may come out with a list
of do's and don'ts for operators regarding tariffs.
to invest in Escorts Telecom Ltd.
Finance Corporation (IFC) is acquiring 10-12% equity stake in Escorts Telecom
Ltd. which will provide cellular services in newly acquired circles of
Rajasthan, U.P.(East) and Himachal Pradesh. IFC plans a total investment
of Rs.400 cr in the company where it will take a sizeable debt exposure
subscribers to pay Rs.100 more
new tariffs overburden subscribers with just Rs 100 over their current
bill if their usage is same. Subscribers whose bills range between 260
to 500 will benefit from the 'economy package'. There is a 'special package'
for those who make calls between 1,000 and 2,800 in two months and those
who make 2,800 calls and above should choose the 'super package'. The default
tariff plan for those who make calls 500 and 1,000 in two months also applies
to the subscribers who have not specified a rate package. STD
charges within the state and beyond 200 km have been halved to Rs 2.40
per minute. Inter-state STD calls from fixed to mobile telephones (beyond
200 km) are cheaper too. The call rate is down from the earlier Rs 4.80
per minute to Rs 3.60 per minute.
rejects MTNL's WiLL tariff
has rejected MTNL's WiLL tariff since it had proposed 12 sec pulse rate
saying that it is too short a duration. According to MTNL shorter pulse
rates are in favour of subscribers. If the pulse rate is 12 seconds and
a consumer makes a 12-second call, he would pay only one-fifth of the charge
due for a minute. If, on the other hand, the pulse rate were one minute,
he would end up paying the charge for a full minute even for the same 12-second
sticks to free SMS
Reliance Infocomm has decided
not to pass on inter-connect charges for SMS to its subscribers. The company
will keep its promise of 'free SMS' made in its pre-launch campaigns.
Reliance Info to rework
Reliance Infocomm is likely
to link its tariff proposal to a reworked revenue model to convince Trai
that its limited mobility tariffs are not predatory. Reliance Infocomm
is working hard on this after TRAI threatened to block the company's 40
paise/minute WLL-mobile STD tariff plan. The reworked revenue model will
include a substantial termination earnings component in the new interconnect
Landline to mobile
12% reduction in calls from
landline to mobile was observed in last five days after BSNL introduced
the new tariff packages. According to BSNL the new tariff packages which
went into effect from May 1, will not decrease local call duration, and
incoming calls will continue to be free. But the number of free calls has
questioned Reliance 40p/min offer
has objected to Reliance's 40p/min tariff for an STD call from its network
to any WiLL network for first 400 min usage. It has asked the compny to
justify that how these tariffs are IUC compliant abd cost based.
offers free talktime
is offering Rs.50 worth free talktime for new Magic(pre-paid) subscribers.
50% customers can also win extra talktime from Rs.25 to Rs.1 Lakh. Everyday
a top prize of Rs.1 Lakh worth of talktime will be announced. The total
value on offer is Rs.10 crore.
operators told to levy single tariff
the new IUC regime, TRAI has asked all cellular operators to fix single
tariff rates inclusive of the relevant termination charge that is 'IUC
component' for each service plan - Cellular-to-cellular, cellular -to-fixed
and cellular-to-WiLL. The customers should not be charged separately for
calls on cellular phones free from today
tariffs to change as TRAI's Interconnection Usage Charge (IUC) system gets
implemented from today. All incoming calls to a mobile phone will be free.
Calls from mobile to fixed line will get cheaper. Fixed-to-cellular STD
charges will also be cheaper by 25%. So there will be an overall reduction
in cellular bills.Cellular operators to get access charges on fixed and
WiLL calls. Calls from fixed to cellular will become six times more expensive
than fixed-to-fixed call. Not much change in fixed-to-fixed call charges
but WiLL-to-fixed charges will go up. Reliance has already increased WiLL-to-fixed
line charge to Re 1 per min from earlier stipulated 40p per min. MTNL &
BSNL will be the biggest losers as they will be paying more as access charges
to cellular and WiLL operators while they will get less as access charges.
The IUC regime treats WiLL-M services as equal to cellular services.
Interconnection Usage Charge system from May 1st
Interconnection Usage Charge system to be implemented from May 1st will
usher in the calling party pay (CPP) regime. It is expected that both airtime
usage and subscriber base will increase. But according to analysts this
is not enough to compensate the money companies are losing per subscriber
because of reduced rates in last one & half year. The revenue per subscriber
has reduced by 50% while the capital expenditure on network and spectrum
has increased considerably to cater to the demand. Spectrum costs in India
is two times more than in any other part of the world while the tariffs
are lowest in the world.
Infocomm's connectivity with BSNL not yet cleared
Infocomm's commercial launch of WiLL mobile services in 588 cities scheduled
for May1st, may get delayed or it can be only partial launch since points
of interconnection ( PoIs) in only 68 cities has been approved by BSNL
so far. The Ambanis have sought intervention of Union Communications minister
Arun Shourie and TRAI chairman Pradeep Baijal to sort out the matter.
Service Providers to pamper heavy users
from free incoming calls next month onwards, the cellular service providers
are also restructuring their tariff packages for heavy users which constitutes
about a quarter of their subscriber base. It is expected that lots of free
STD calls and SMS messages will be packed in. With the IUC regime in place,
cellular usage is expected to go up by 20-50% in next few months. The cellular
subscriber base is also expected to go up by 30-40%.
Court stays TDSAT order regarding WiLL files
Court has stayed TDSAT order to make WiLL files public saying that the
issue required consideration to lay down a law for future cases. Although
the tribunal can go ahead with the hearing of petition against WiLL services
and can have DoT documents for its own perusal.
operators increased roaming charges
Hutch and IDEA Cellular have all increased their roaming charges to Rs.3
per min within their own networks for both incoming and outgoing calls.
This will be in addition to Rs.2.99 per min STD rate. The SMS sending charges
will be Rs.2 while roaming throughout the country.
says low tariffs not cost based
a written reply to TRAI, Hutchison has admitted that the low airtime tariffs
for cell-to-cell STD calls were not cost based. They were forced to match
the reduced tariffs offered by competitors.
holds STD, ISD airtime cuts
has asked AirTel, Hutch and IDEA Cellular to hold in abeyance the implementation
of their recently announced airtime cuts on STD, ISD calls and also justify
the cost reduction. These operators have slashed the airtime on mobile-to-mobile
STD calls to 50p and waived off additional airtime completely on ISD calls
made from the mobile. Although the other component of long distance call
charged by these operators is Rs.2.99 per min. which is the rate for long
distance carriage. These GSM service providers have slashed the rates to
make their services more competitive as BSNL and Reliance are charging
no airtime although STD rates per minute in case of BSNL is Rs.4.80 and
Rs.0.40 in case of Reliance within its network.
to launch first 'Web-based' tariff calculator
is launching the first 'Web-based' tariff calculator for its 600,000 users.
The 'My Hutch' service will allow a user to configure a tariff plan of
their choice by answering a few questions presented to them on the website
related to their usage pattern. The system will automatically work out
the best plan.
Cellular acquired 50.3% of Capital's new subscribers
Cellular has acquired 50.3% of Delhi's new subscriber base since it started
operations in Nov.2002, followed by AirTel 33.4% and Hutch 14.8%. This
is the first time that the fourth cellular operator has got such a huge
market share. The company attributes the achievement to its latest 3G compatible
network, innovative value added services and superior customer care. IDEA
Cellular has 33% market share in its other four circles namely Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra excluding Mumbai, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The company has
invested Rs.1,300 cr in building its networks during last three years.
Infocomm to sell through its own retail channel
a fundamental change in strategy, Reliance Infocomm is phasing out its
much publicised DAE ( Dhirubhai Ambani Entrepreneurs) scheme and will sell
through its own retail channel instead. According to the company the direct
marketing model is not working well and is hurting the company's image.
On the other hand the company claims its three crore minutes of usage in
8 weeks as the highest in the world telecom history. Reliance Infocomm
has launched a scheme where customers will not be tied down for three years
and can pay on monthly basis. Also they need not issue post-dated cheques
or show any documents like income proof.
and telecom operators agree on intrim solution
and telecom service providers agreed on an intrim solution for implementing
the interconnect usage charge policy from May 1st. This will drastically
increase fixed line phone bills while incoming on cellular phones will
be free. The intrim solution accepted by all has given all telecom operators
including BSNL time till 31st March next year to install a CDR ( Call Detail
Record ) based billing system. The intrim solution allows the reconciliation
of data by BSNL on off-line basis. TRAI has asked DoT to issue guidelines
that clearly demarcate WiLL and Fixed line calls.
Cellular reduces STD rates in Delhi
Airtel and Hutch, IDEA Cellular also slashed its rates to 50 p for
mobile-to-mobile STD calls and international long distance calls will have
no extra expense. The new rates would be applicable from 20th April and
both pre-paid and post-paid users will get the benefit.
is holding a meeting tomorrow with telecom service providers to sort out
the interconnect usage charges issue which will come into effect from 1st
May. It will be followed by presentations by telecom operators. Users can
expect incoming calls free on mobile but fixed line phones may become more
top heads reshuffled
top management of Hutch's India operations has been reshuffled. The 11
circle Hutch-Essar cellular merger exercise is being accelerated. MD Asim
Ghosh will be Hutchison India's executive head, under him will be two CEOs
Rajiv Sawhney and Sandeep Das who will be regional cluster heads. Below
them will be COOs of different circles. The northern cluster headed by
Mr. Sawhney will include Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP-East and Rajasthan
while the western cluster ( Mumbai, Gujarat ) and the southern cluster (
Chennai, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka) will be headed by Mr. Das. Company's
Kolkata operations is not a part of any cluster so far whose COO directly
reports to Mr. Ghosh.
also dropped airtime charges on STD calls
has reduced airtime charges on all STD calls for its subscribers on both
post-paid and pre-paid to 50 paise per minute in Delhi. The company has
also enabled cell-to-cell STD for all users without paying any security
Cellular partners pump in Rs.120 cr
three equal partners in IDEA Cellular, Aditya Birla Group, Tatas and AT&T
have equally infused Rs.120 cr to further recapitalise the venture which
takes the equity capital of IDEA Cellular to Rs.2,260 cr.
petition in Supreme Court challenging TDSAT
centre has filed a petition in Supreme Court challenging the TDSAT order
directing DoT to give cellular operators copies of certain sensitive documents
related to WiLL issue stating that such disclousure would harm public interest.
slashes STD & ISD rates
has reduced airtime charges to 50 paise per minute in case of STD calls
and in case of ISD the airtime charges are completely waived off. This
means that an STD call between Mumbai - Delhi from one mobile to another
will cost Rs.2.99 plus airtime charges of 50 paise per minute. Call from
mobile to land-line will cost Rs.4.80(STD charges) plus 50 paise per minute.
In case of an ISD call only ISD charges of about Rs.24 per minute for a
call to US would be applicable.
subscriber base rose to 1.26 cr
subscribers base in India rose to 1.26 cr in March 2003 which is an increase
of 7.92% over previous month. 931,000 cellular subscribers were added last
month. AirTel which is operating in 15 circles has the largest subscribers
base of 30.71 lakh, BSNL is at second position with 22.56 lakh subscribers
followed by Hutch, IDEA Cellular and BPL mobile with 21.64, 12.80 and 11.31
lakh cellular subscribers respectively.
telecom operators asked to keep tariffs same across networks
has told all telecom operators - cellular, WiLL and fixed line that they
can not fix any exclusive set of tariffs for calls within their own networks
in each service provider category. Reliance and BSNL's cheap packages for
their own subscribers will be hit by this order.
Mobitel merged with Bharti Cellular
Mobitel Ltd. the service provider in Kolkata is merged with Bharti Cellular
Ltd. which is wholely owned subsidiary of Bharti TeleVentures and holds
licences for providing cellular services in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana, UP(West),
Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP,
Nadu and Kerala. Bharti has over 2 lakh subscribers in Kolkata.
introduced personal web interface for its subscribers
has introduced a personal web interface for its subscribers which allows
users to view and analyse their bills, send payment alerts and make group
messaging easier and cheaper. The itemised billing that was charged at
Rs.49 till now is free on the web.
action against cellular operators
has initiated action against cellular operators for defying its order on
selective blocking of calls originating in some basic service operators
networks and terminating in their networks. The companies are Bharti Cellular,
Bharti Mobile, Bharti Mobinet, Idea Cellular, Fascel, Sterling Cellular,
Spice Communications, Hutchison Essar South.
dismissed government's claim regarding WiLL files
( Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal ) dismissed government's
claim of privilege over internal documents and correspondence between DoT
and TRAI which led to the decision to allow fixed-line operators to offer
limited mobility services. Now the government can disclose files regarding
WiLL policy or appeal against the order in Supreme Court.
more free SMS on BSNL pre-paid card
subscribers of BSNL's pre-paid service 'Ex-cel' will now have to pay Re.1
per message. The free talk value given while Sim activation is reduced
to Rs.50 from Rs.100. Processing charges are also revised. There is increase
in the cost of re-charge coupons and a decrease in talk value.
a meeting called by TRAI in Delhi, COAI said in a statement that all cellular
operators have reiterated their ability and willingness to implement the
interconnect usage charge regime which mandates free incoming calls on
mobile phones from May 1st.
will charge 30p for SMS
billing starts from May 1st, subscribers of Reliance IndiaMobile will have
to pay 30p per text message they send to other GSM networks like Airtel,
Hutch, Idea etc. since Reliance Infocomm may pass all inter-connect charges
levied by other operators to its customers.
introduces Unified Messaging Service
introduced UMS ( Unified Messaging Service ) for its Delhi subscribers
which enables users to access and manage voice mails, e-mails and fax messages
on the move. The users can listen to the e-mail messages using text to
speech technology and respond too with a voice message. Starting from April
7th the service will cost Rs.149 per month though it is free till June
30th as an introductory offer.
Cellular to invest more in Delhi network
Cellular will invest Rs.110 crore for adding another switch and increasing
cellular sites in its Delhi cellular network during 2003-04.