Cellular News
 
Date: 30/9/2003
Cellcos may move SC again over WLL
COAI is planning to appeal to the Supreme Court again challenging the earlier majority judgement by the TDSAT on August 8, 2003 that upheld the legality of the limited mobility service but restricted the service to the short distance charging area (SDCA), besides asking WLL players to pay additional entry and spectrum charges to ensure a level playing field which was never enforced. COAI can appeal before November 7, that is, within 90 days of the TDSAT verdict. The cellular operators were awaiting the TDSAT decision on the mobile switching centre (MSC) case which was released last Saturday. A Group of Ministers (GoM) that was set up to look into the outstanding telecom issues is also examining the issue. 
 
Date: 29/9/2003
25 MHz of frequency spectrum to be released for mobile operators
The Defence Ministry on Sunday agreed to release 25 MHz of frequency of spectrum in the next two years for each operator. TRAI had recommended that fresh cellular licences can be issued provided the needed spectrum is made available. The Finance Ministry would pay the Defence Ministry Rs.900 crore to meet the cost of shifting to modern equipment that economises the use of bandwidth enabling defence to release some for civilian use. This was decided on Sunday in a meeting of GoM under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Jaswant Singh. Defence Minister George Fernandes and I&B Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also attended the meeting. With this there is a possibility of ending the WLL-Cellular conflict by offering WLL licensees fresh cellular licences. This would provide an immediate solution without waiting for the modalities of unified licensing to be worked out. 
 
Date: 29/9/2003
Drastic decline in tariffs resulted in five fold increase in user base
According to a recent TRAI study, drastic decline in cellular tariffs resulted in five fold increase in user base between 2000 to 2003.
Tariff decline has been greater on an average of 100 minutes usage a month than in case of 400 minutes of usage the two segments studied by TRAI. Effective tariffs for post-paid cellular subscribers have fallen by 59% to about Rs.1.12 a minute for 400 minutes of usage per month while for usage of 100 minutes a month it has dropped by 62% to Rs.2.41 a minute from Rs.6.32. But this tariff decline covers only post-paid subscribers who form just about 25% of the total base. Around 75% of pre-paid users still pay around Rs.2.40-3.00 a minute. Recently, even SMS charges have gone up from Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.
 
Date: 26/9/2003
AirTel to invest Rs.100 cr in Kerala
AirTel will invest Rs.100 crore more over its previous investment of Rs.220 cr for the expansion of its network in Kerala. The company's subscriber base has increased to 1 lakh in the state spanning 120 towns. The company will also launch special SMS enabled phones in the state for the speech impaired. The rentals would be Rs.99 per month and there would be unlimited SMS in the this new scheme.
 
Date: 26/9/2003
GoM recommended FDI upto 74%
Group of Ministers (GoM) has recommended that foreign investment ceiling in telecom be hiked from 49% to 74% with the condition that the management control should remain in the hands of Indians. FIIs are allowed to invest in unlisted companies as well. According to estimates the telecom services sector requires an investment of Rs.50,000 crore over the next three years to meet the growing demand. As the domestic markets does not have this kind of money operators wanted the FDI limit raised to 74%. Also raising money from domestic market is much costlier. 

GoM has also agreed in principle to unified licensing regime and has asked TRAI to make a detailed presentation on the subject in its next meeting to be held on October 4. HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh has also been asked to make a presentation on the modalities of implementing the unified licence regime.

Cellular operators Bharti, BPL, IDEA and Spice oppose unified licence regime. The fear is that once Tata and Reliance get unified licences they will grab substantial cellular market. Tata and Reliance on the other hand want unified licensing as limited mobility services provided by them will then become fully legitimate including roaming. 

The recommendation for intra-circle mergers comes with two conditions, one the number of service providers will not fall below three in any circle and second that rural telephony obligations will get transferred to the new entity. Also, the new owner will get spectrum only as per the user base. The recommendations of the GoM will go to the Union cabinet for a final decision.
 

Date: 26/9/2003
The sales tax issue
An interim order by the Supreme Court restrained all states from using coercive methods such as attachment of assets to recover sales tax on the services provided by telecom companies. Also the GoM on telecom headed by finance minister Jaswant Singh said that there should be no sales tax on telecom since it has been brought under the purview of service tax already. 

All the companies had challenged the recovery of sales tax and the coercive methods adopted by the state governments on the ground that they were already paying a substantial service tax to the central government and that telecom services do not amount to sales. The Supreme Court had earlier upheld the states' right to levy sales tax on telephone services. The impact of the sales tax on the cellular industry is estimated at around Rs.600 crore per annum. This would be much higher for BSNL as it would have to make payments to various state governments with retrospective effect from '96.
 

Date: 26/9/2003
Handset companies' focus on Indian market
As India is adding around a million cellular subscribers every month in recent past the handset companies feel that the market has reached a 'critical mass'. Also the number of handsets sold legally has increased significantly thus the country has become the second most attractive market in Asia after China. The handset companies are focussing on two things ie. pricing and features to target the entry-level consumer and those upgrading their phones.

Apart from market leaders like Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, other companies like LG, which has had a successful partnership with Reliance in the CDMA space, now plans to launch GSM phones next month. Siemens has introduced seven models and is planning a retail boom through 5,500 franchisees in India. Philips is launching mobile phones targeted at the youth.
Samsung has just opened its first dedicated showroom, Samsung Mobile Plaza, in the country and the fifth across the world. It plans to set up around 50-75 retail outlets called Samsung Mobile Privilege Partners over the next quarter in the country. According to telecom analysts these companies are gearing up to do brisk business during the festival season.
 

Date: 24/9/2003
Cellular operators to analyse subscriber usage patterns
Leading Cellular operators in India including Bharti and Orange are in talks with Teradata, a division of the $5.5bn global IT giant NCR, for data warehousing solutions. This may translate into a new service for Indian subscribers who may receive calls from their service providers on tariff plans best suited to their usage pattern. The companies will benefit by identification and consolidation of high revenue generating subscribers, customer acquisition & retention, checking leakages suffered due to operational inefficiencies. 

Teradata is one of the world's largest data warehouses managing customer and sales data and providing company specific solutions for customer retention and revenue per customer maximisation to sector leaders such as Wal-Mart, ICICI, British Airways, Lufthansa, SingTel backed Optus in Australia, JCPenney and America's largest telecom company Southwestern Bell Company.
 

Date: 24/9/2003
Sales Tax on telephone services
A Supreme Court ruling has upheld states' right to levy sales tax on telephone service. Generally, sales tax is charged on the sale of goods and not on services. Telecom companies say rent is a generic term used for minimum usage charge and therefore there is no question of imposing sales tax on it. 

The Uttar Pradesh government had proposed the tax in 1986 and had to move court to have it enforced, as the telecom department questioned the reasoning behind the tax. The state government lost the case at all levels till it reached the Supreme Court. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the UP government's right to levy sales tax on telephone services, other states may also follow.

For cellular services, sales tax will be imposed on the total amount of the bill. The sales tax collection from cellular industry will be around Rs.600 crore. If above ruling is implemented, phone users will have to shell out 5% to 13% more. 
 

Date: 18/9/2003
Open house by TRAI on WLL entry fee issue
An open house organised by TRAI discussed the issue of levying entry fee for WLL mobile services as recommended by TDSAT. Basic telecom service providers opposed any move to levy additional entry fee by saying that WLL mobile was nothing but the value added service and it was very much part of their basic license. They also argued that Cellular operators were never asked for any additional fee even as the SMS facility on cell phones finished the paging industry completeley. According to them all the six licensees who acquired licences before the national telecom policy NTP 99 was implemented should be exempted from such fee in case the TRAI recommends any additional fee. 

On the other hand COAI said that WLL mobile service is a value addition to basic services. The basic services operators should not only pay additional entry fee but also average of three cellular license fee (except MTNL and BSNL) should be taken as a benchmark for consdering additional fee to be levied on them for WLL services. COAI also advocated their demand for compensation to cellular operators as GSM operators will take much longer time to break even if WLL continues. According to COAI the entry fee must be applicable with retrospective effect.
 

Date: 14/9/2003
SMS may get costlier
A major cellular network in India generates over 1 million SMS every day. The SMS termination charge is expected to level out SMS traffic flows between cellular networks as operators will be discouraged from offering freebies on the SMS platform since a higher volume of outbound SMS traffic will result in a higher termination bill payable to the destination mobile network. As the telecom operators enjoy the right to mutually levy or waive charges on all SMS rates so they will not require Trai approval to slap SMS termination charges. 
 
Date: 14/9/2003
TRAI says mobiles may overtake basic phones by 2005
According to TRAI, number of mobile phone users in India will overtake basic phone users by 2005. Worldwide it is already true. 
TRAI says that  the telecom sector is all set to add over 20 million subscribers by end of this fiscal year. Last month cellular operators added 1.09 million subscribers, while WiLL connections went up by around 0.68 million against 1.2 million in July.
The growth in the wireline subscriber base during August was at 38,000. 
 
Date: 13/9/2003
Airtel to grow in Gujarat
Airtel which entered Gujarat circle as a fourth cellular operator after Hutch, IDEA and BSNL is far behind in terms of number of subscribers in the state. The company's reasoning  is problems in getting Central clearances for frequency along  with a change in management at Airtel Gujarat. Airtel has already pumped in Rs.300 crore for its network in Gujarat and has over one lakh subscribers. It hopes to reach the subscriber base of 2.5 lakh cellular users by March next. The company is expected to invest Rs.100 crore more in this circle.
 
Date: 13/9/2003
Value-added services may get costlier
The value-added services for cellular phone subscribers across the country are set to increase in the near future. It is believed that since the cost of voice is lowest at the moment, the customers will spend more on VAS. The cellular tariffs are bound to rise in the wake of termination charges being introduced for SMS. The cellular industry has made investments to the tune of Rs.11,000 crore, 
where only a 15-20% return is being expected. According to Bharti group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, the telecom industry requires upto Rs.60,000 crore and most of it would come only from abroad as none of the Indian players and FIs can pump in such huge sums. He also said that there was a need to bring about regulatory stability and relax ECB norms for telecom industry for foreign investment to come in. According to Mr. Mittal, trillions of dollars are available, we just need to provide the right atmosphere.
 
Date: 11/9/2003
Cellular companies wrote to Advani
Four cellular companies wrote to the deputy prime minister Mr. L K Advani asking him to implement the TDSAT order seeking a ban on inter SDCA mobility provided by the basic telecom service providers to their WLL subscribers. Basic telecom operators are providing roaming services through the mechanism of multiple registration and call forwarding schemes. TRAI has also asked the DoT to make amendments in the licence conditions in order to ban the misuse of call forwarding and multiple registration services provided by basic telecom operators. The letter is signed by Ravi Ruia of Hutch Essar, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, Rejeev Chandrasekhar of BPL Mobile, Dilip Modi of Spice Corp, Rajan Swaroop of Escotel and Vinay Agarwal of RPG Cellular.
 
Date: 10/9/2003
The revenues game
Hutch in Mumbai has the maximum ARPU (average revenues per user) in metros. Bharti has the highest quarterly revenu  at Rs.500.7 crore for its 15 circle operations. Airtel in Mumbai has an ARPU of Rs.389 which is almost half that of the leader in Mumbai, Hutch. While Hutch Karnataka has an ARPU of Rs. 531, that is 88% of the leader Airtel's ARPU of Rs. 603. In Kolkata, Airtel ARPU of Rs. 491 is 89% of the leader, Hutch (ARPU Rs. 554).
 
Date: 8/9/2003
Hutch bundles PDAs with its connection
Hutchison is offering pocket PC phones ( ie. pocket PC with connectivity) in Mumbai at a price-tag of Rs. 45,000 targeted at the hi-end users. It has a portal developed by Microsoft to enable pocket PC and phones to download information in suitable formats. Similar bundling at the top-end has boosted revenues by 15% to 20 % in mature markets like Europe and Korea. Globally, about a fourth of the pocket PCs are sold through phone operators and in countries like Korea, mobile operators sell almost three-fourth of the PDAs. 
 
Date: 5/9/2003
Sandip Basu new president & CEO BPL Mobile
BPL Mobile has appointed Sandip Basu, joint president and group CFO as its president and CEO from September 1, replacing Faustio Cardoso. Mr. Basu, who joined BPL as general manager (corporate finance) has been with the company for the past seven years, and will oversee the complete business. Mr Basu played a big role in tying up the long-term debt of Rs.1,759 crore - the largest rupee denominated non-recourse financing in the Indian telecom sector. 
 
Date: 2/9/2003
SMS to US will cost more in Delhi
Hutch has increased the rates for international SMS service from Rs.1.50 per message to Rs.5 in Delhi from September 2. IDEA Cellular is also charging Rs.5 per SMS message sent to international destinations. Other operators like Airtel, BPL Mobile and Spice is likely to follow suit soon in various circles. According to cellular operators the steep hike in international call termination charges have necessitated the rise in rates. Mumbai already has these rates for international SMS. International SMS comprise around 2% of the total SMS traffic in a month. 
 
Date: 29/8/2003
BIRD of China in Indian handsets market
BIRD, China’s largest mobile phone manufacturer has launched four state-of-the-art handset models in India. BIRD has recently expanded its wings into Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and other South-East Asian markets. BIRD a ten-year-old company in China has annual revenues of $845 million. BIRD is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This year BIRD earned the Innovator Award for excellence in research and development. BIRD has marketing, distribution and servicing alliance with Agrani Convergence Limited in India. The company aspires to gain a significant market share by the end of this financial year.
 
Date: 28/8/2003
BSNL to invest Rs 24,000 cr in two years
BSNL is set to invest Rs.24,000 crore in capital investments in two years in fixed, WLL and cellular operations. Around Rs.4,500 crore will be earmarked next year for expanding its cellular network across the country. BSNL has around 3.6m cellular subscribers in the country. It is expecting 10m cellular subscriber base by next year. BSNL will soon enable landline subscribers too the facility of sending SMS (short message service). The service will be made available for the entire four crore landline subscribers. The Union minister of state for communications and IT, Su Thirunavukarasar said that BSNL will be able to cover the entire country for its cellular network within the next 3-4 months. 
 
Date: 23/8/2003
WLL roaming issue
Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani met Union communications minister Arun Shourie over the issue of TRAI letter recommending that DoT should issue amendments to the basic service licences banning call forwarding and multiple registration services through which basic telecom service providers are able to provide roaming at par with GSM operators. Reliance Infocomm is offering roaming through these two services to its 30 lakh subscribers. Reliance investment  is more than Rs.15,000 crore in its telecom projects. 
 
Date: 22/8/2003
Cellular operators face high churn rate as competetion increases
According to research firm Gartner, India's churn rate is 3.5-6% which is one of the highest in Asia Pacific region. This is due to increasing competetion in cellular market. Hong Kong has churn rate of 4-6% but other Asia Pacific markets like Indonesia (1-2%), Malaysia (2-2.5%), Singapore (1.7-2.1%) and Thailand (1.9-2.6%) have much lower churn rates. India is a growing market with a cellular penetration of around 1.6% which should be showing very low churn rates. Usually, high churn rates are a feature of mature markets where operators attract customers from their competitors since the market as a whole is not growing. In India higher churn is being attributed to numerous tariff options available in the market and also sometimes due to billing disputes with the operator. According to industry advisors better billing solutions and customer care services targeted towards customer retention is the key to reduce churn and increase profitability. 
 
Date: 21/8/2003
IDEA Cellular launches Music Messaging Service in Gujarat
IDEA Cellular launched Music Messaging Service in Gujarat where subscribers would be able to send musical messages in various languages including Gujarati along with a personalised message in their own voice. Options on the cellphones will provide access to a wide repository of old and new songs through an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system or SMS. A user-friendly menu thereafter allows the user to add a personalised message of 10 seconds in his/her own voice along with the dedicated song.The music messages can be sent to any GSM user in the country who will receive it as an incoming call. The charges applicable for Music Messaging service will be Rs 4.99 per minute and there will be no charge on the usage of SMS while accessing this service. IDEA Cellular plans to launch multimedia messaging services (MMS) across the country in next couple of weeks.
 
Date: 21/8/2003
Hutch IPO likely in first half of 2004
Hutchison-Essar combine is likely to float the initial public offering (IPO) in the first half of next year. The company is currently engaged in finalising the merger plan to make its 11 circle operations in the country a combined entity. The valuation of the entity could be around $1.5bn and a 10% divestment would mean an IPO size of $150m or around Rs.700 crore. The company has several complex holdings and cross-holdings which need to be simplified before the company could launch an IPO. 
 
Date: 21/8/2003
DoT may not accept TRAI recommendation
DoT members see no merit in TRAI's recent recommendation that basic service licence conditions should be altered to prohibit multiple registrations and call forwarding currently employed by WLL mobile operators to provide roaming at par with cellular players. According to DoT members they can intervene only if there is a violation of licence conditions otherwise they may face litigations from the operators. 

Basic service licences says that WLL-mobile calls should follow the numbering pattern of the short distance calling area (SDCA) where it is registered and should not be handed over outside the SDCA. Reliance has been providing roaming through multiple registration and call forwarding. The same subscriber is registered in different SDCAs, the same handset is registered under different numbers for the same subscriber in different SDCAs and calls are forwarded from one number in one SDCA to another number in another SDCA. Thus, multiple registration and call forwarding together achieve roaming. According to TRAI call forwarding and multiple registration are both permissible and legal.
 

Date: 19/8/2003
Bharti scrip touched a record high
Bharti Tele Ventures scrip touched a record high of Rs.57.80 on Monday. Company's improved financial performance and  favourable judgement by the Telecom Disputes and Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) are supposed to be the reasons. The company has posted a net profit of Rs.31 crore during the first quarter ended June ’03 compared to loss of Rs. 68 crore for the corresponding period last year. 
 
Date: 18/8/2003
Hutch to invest $360m
Hutchison Essar plans to invest more than $360m for capital expenditure in all its 11 circles this year. With this, the total investment by the Hutch group in the country would be over $2bn including reinvestment of internal accruals. The money will be spent on  network addition, information technology (IT) applications and value-added services. Total number of cell sites would increase from 2,200 to 4,300 and backbone including optic fibre and microwave equipment covering more than 2,100 km would be installed. The number of mobile switching centres will go up from 14 to 23. The company plans to revamp billing services across its networks and enhance the customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities at the call centre. Also more value-added services such as location-based services, live video clips as part of nationwide GPRS network, picture messaging and voice-activated services and  prepaid and remote area prepaid top up would be added.
 
Date: 12/8/2003
Hutch applies for more spectrum 
Hutch crossed the eight lakh subscriber mark in Delhi and has applied for additional spectrum. Airtel, with over a million subscribers has been allotted 2 MHz spectrum recently. This should imply better connectivity for the subscribers. The additional spectrum is being given in 1800 MHz band, while existing customers of Airtel as well as Hutch are in 900 MHz band.
 
Date: 11/8/2003
Alcatel, Airtel and Videocon tip up for low cost mobile options
Alcatel, Videocon, and Airtel have entered into an tripartate agreement to provide consumers with a low cost GSM mobile option similar to Reliance's offer. The package to be announced on Monday will include a low cost Alcatel handset bundled with a new airtime tariff package from Airtel. Videocon will be marketing the handsets in India. 
 
Date: 2/8/2003
TRAI serious about unified telecom licence
TRAI will issue an addendum to its current proposal to merge cellular and basic licences including WLL on monday inviting suggestions from all telecom stakeholders to broaden the agenda for licence unification. This is supposed to bring all concerned parties on consultation table and help sort out disputes between them.
 
Date: 22/7/2003
Top appointments in AirTel
AirTel announced some top level appointments - Atul Bindal as chief marketing officer, mobility. Anurag Prashar will be the new Group chief service delivery officer and Atul Joshi has taken over as the new chief operating officer of AirTel Gujarat circle.
 
Date: 19/7/2003
COAI apprehensive about unified licencing
COAI expressed its apprehension over TRAI's consultation paper on unified licences specially at a time when TDSAT judgement, following the remand by the Supreme Court, which is to rule on the very legality of the matter at hand, with the potential outcome of making the results of the TDSAT judgement infructuous. COAI is also questioning the narrow definition of unified licensing in Trai's consultation paper. While the prevailing telecom policy in India, NTP 99, clearly prescribes service specific licences, consistent with international practice. Also a convergence legislation proposal, under which a dialogue on converged licences and regulator for all communication services, including mobile, basic, long distance, internet and broadcasting is already underway in the Parliament. 
 
Date: 19/7/2003
Hutch invested Rs.1500 cr in south
Hutch invested more than Rs.1500 cr last year in Chennai, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh telecom circles for infrastructure development and marketing. The company has subscriber base of 55,772 in Chennai; 54,169 in Andhra Pradesh and 82,813 in Karnataka as on June 30, 2003. Their infrastructure investments are the highest by any operator in these circles. 
 
Date: 18/7/2003
India spends more on telecom
According to a recent Gartner study Indian average revenues per user (ARPU) may be the lowest in the world, but Indians spend far more than others in the world on telecom services. Considering the addressable market with income of Rs 3,500 per month spend 19-21% of their disposable income, one of the highest in the world on telecom. While other countries spend 2-4% of their per capita income in the developed markets. According to the research firm, India's cellular revenue is slated to touch Rs.36,600 crore by '07 from the current Rs.6,900 crore in '02.
 
Date: 18/7/2003
IDEA Cellular launches global SMS service
IDEA Cellular has launched global SMS services across 160 countries with 519 networks, including GSM, CDMA and TDMA. 
Till now, Indian GSM cellular subscribers could send and receive SMS only to other GSM networks. The company plans to invest around Rs.500 crore in its five circles during the current financial year. 
 
Date: 18/7/2003
Airtel to get additional spectrum
DoT has released 2 MHz of additional spectrum - radio waves that enable mobile users to talk - to Airtel, which will increase its traffic handling capacity by 40 per cent. Now Airtel Delhi will have 10 MHz of spectrum. The additional spectrum has been given in 1800 MHz band, while Airtel's existing customers are in 900 MHz band.
 
Date: 15/7/2003
Foreign telcos may be barred from investing via holding companies
Foreign promoters will be barred from making new equity investments in cellular and basic services companies through the holding company route known as the pyramid structure. The proposal has come from DoT at a time when the government is expected to allow direct FII infusion outside the 49% sectoral cap in telecom services subject to a total foreign ownership ceiling of 74%. The government will define a transition period for existing foreign promoters. DoT may also modify the existing cellular/basic licence conditions to ensure that managerial control remains with Indian promoters even after the FII investment limit is raised beyond the 49% sectoral cap.
 
Date: 11/7/2003
Cellular subscribers base crosses 15 million
Total GSM cellular subscriber base crossed 15.14 million in June. Delhi and Mumbai alone added 2.21 lakh new GSM subscribers. Delhi added maximum number of 1.41 lakh new customers, AirTel and Hutch added around 62,000 customers each while IDEA added over 23,000 customers. Mumbai added around 80,000 new customers where 40,957 were added by Hutch, Airtel 30,750, and BPL added only 8,423 new subscribers. MTNL lost subscribers in these metros.
 
Date: 10/7/2003
'Lakme India Fashion Week' on Hutch service
Hutch subscribers having MMS enabled GPRS handsets will be able to watch video clips or progressive stills of the 'Lakme India Fashion Week' to be held in Mumbai, starting July 18.
 
Date: 10/7/2003
Tata Indicom launches WLL services in Pune
Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd. (TTML) launched its Tata Indicom WLL mobile service in Pune. The company already has around 40,000 basic telephone subscribers. Pune is the third city in Maharashtra after Nagpur and Aurangabad where the WLL mobile service of the company has been rolled out.
 
Date: 10/7/2003
Airtel offers mobile business solutions for companies
Bharti Tele-Ventures announced its foray into integrated customised telecom business solutions where wireless, wireline and data services will be integrated to provide optimum telecom solutions to the corporates. The company's 'M-Business' suite of solutions will enable corporates to reduce telecommunication costs by 20-25%. The size of this market for the cellular segment alone is estimated at over Rs.1000 crore. The integrated offerings involving other Bharti group companies, TouchTel and Bharti Broadband would make market potential in several multiples. 
 
Date: 9/7/2003
GPS software to track vehicles
Airtel launched a 'Vehicle tracking solution', a Global Positioning System (GPS) that enables a company to monitor the location of their stock even in transit. Each vehicle is mounted with an Airtel mobile or a Global Positioning System box and a vehicle tracking enabled SIM card. The SIM card sends periodic updates of the location of vehicles to the Bharti application server, as per the frequency defined. The progress of the vehicle is displayed on a map on the tracking website.
 
Date: 8/7/2003
Mobility at just Rs. 20/-
BSNL's new 'Tarang' scheme offers four options to its customers to own a WLL handset. The subscribers can own a WLL Mobile handset by paying the premium for the comprehensive policy taken for the cost of the handset. This scheme would be offered only to those subscribers who are willing to subscribe for BSNL’s WLL service for at least one year. The customer might require to pay just Rs.20/- approximately per month. Secondly they can purchase the handset from BSNL by paying for the discounted cost of the handset in 25 equal and monthly installments of Rs.200. No down payment for the handset. Third, pay a security deposit of Rs. 5,000 and use BSNL’s WLL Mobile phone as long as you want. The subscribers get refund when they return the handset. Fourth,  the customers can bring their own handset. Tarang services are currently available at Hyderabad City, Warangal, Tirupati and Chittoor Towns and in the Rural areas of Rangareddy, Guntur, Karimnagar, Mehboobnagar, Nellore and Medak districts.
 
Date: 8/7/2003
Buy one get one free
BSNL offers one free 'CellOne' connection with every 'CellOne' connection along with free talk time worth Rs.200 on the first connection. First connection for BSNL's landline customers comes without any security deposit. Only Rs.200 is to be paid for the activation. They can choose the tariff plan.The second connection for the BSNL landline subscribers would be given without a security deposit and no activation fee but without free talk time.
 
Date: 6/7/2003
Telecos to pay trade tax
According to the orders of Supreme Court, telephone and mobile phone companies will have to pay trade tax. A notice in this regard has been issued by the trade tax department of Uttar Pradesh to recover Rs.100 crore from the telecom companies in the state.
 
Date: 5/7/2003
TRAI asks for clarification from Reliance & BSNL
TRAI has asked Reliance Infocomm and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to explain their latest schemes that bundle handsets with airtime. The regulator needs to examine that the scheme does not overlooks the regulatory principles besides ensuring free competition in handsets. Reliance Infocomm is offering handsets to subscribers on a down payment of Rs.501 and monthly charges of Rs.200 for a specified period. As for the tariff plans, the subscriber can choose from three schemes, the Dhirubhai Ambani Pioneer Offer (DAPO) and two other plans Budget 149 and Budget 249.
 
Date: 4/7/2003
BSNL plans an IPO
BSNL is exploring the IPO option to mobilise around Rs. 5,000 crore to part finance its mega expansion plans, especially in the cellular and limited mobility sector. The action has come just after the finance ministry's refusal to reimburse BSNL's licence and spectrum fees which has affected its cash flows. The 100% government owned BSNL is valued over Rs. 65,000 crore. It is the country's largest integrated telecom company with over 4.5 crore fixed line subscribers and second largest cellular operator in the country with 3.2m subscribers.
 
Date: 4/7/2003
Cellular market in Gujarat grew by 35% in 3 months
Number of mobile subscribers in Gujarat reached 13.54 lakh. The state crossed the million mark in mobile phone subscription in March this year. Over 3.5 lakh subscribers were added in the last three months alone. The market leader Hutch touched 6 lakh subscriber base adding over 1.40 lakh consumers between April and June this year. IDEA Cellular added 50,000 and BSNL roped in 32,000 subscribers while Airtel added  20,000 consumers. Rest of the mobile subscribers were added by Reliance and Tata's WLL services. The growth in moile subscription in the state is attributed to the the free incoming calls, drop in call rates, more value-added services and the slew of promotional schemes and freebies offered by various service providers.
 
Date: 4/7/2003
Reliance 'monsoon hungama offer'
Reliance Infocomm's latest 'monsoon hungama offer' received a grand success. 2.5 lakh subscribers joined in just two days, the number which other operators get in a full month. Interestingly LG and Samsung are hiring Boeings to ferry more low-priced phones. The scheme offers lowest entry barrier for going mobile that is Rs.501. Reliance expects to have 20 lakh subscribers by the end of the month when the scheme gets over. It is also targeting to add 40 to 50 lakh subscribers in the next 4-5 months. Reliance has a total subscriber base of 15 lakh. 
 
Date: 2/7/2003
Philips targets 3-5% share of Indian mobile market
PHILIPS India, subsidiary of Netherlands based Royal Philips Electronics targets 3-5% share in the Indian mobile handsets market by 2005. The company launched two new handsets Philips 330 and 630 in the Indian markets priced at Rs.9,995 and Rs.12,995 respectively. The company has also tied up with Citibank to offer zero interest loans to Citibank card holders. 
 
Date: 1/7/2003
SMS banned in Gujarat for Rath Yatra
Gujarat government banned the use of Short Messaging Service (SMS) on mobile phones across the state from 3 pm to 8 pm to prevent the spread of rumors during Rath Yatra.
 
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Cellular News: Apr. - June 2001 
Cellular News: Jan. - Mar. 2001
Cellular News: Oct. - Dec. 2000 
Cellular News: July - Sept. 2000 
Cellular News: April - June 2000

 
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