Cellular News
 
Date:29/12/2000 
The department of telecom (DoT) will announce major policy decisions to further open up the basic and cellular services sector on January 5. The full-telecom commission today finalized the modalities for the entry of fourth cellular operator and for opening up of the basic telecom service sector. Sources said the DoT would go for a multi-phase bidding process for the award of fourth cellular licence. 
 
Date:28/12/2000 
The corporate holding structure of B K Modi group’s offshore cellular joint venture in Nepal has been formalized. ModiCorp., the management holding company of the BK Modi group, will pick up 60 per cent stake, while the balance 40 per cent will be held by partner Khaitan group. 
 
Date:28/12/2000 
Hyperfast Third-Generation mobile phones are coming to Japan in mid-2001, atleast 18 months ahead of the rest of the world, but their landmark debut will be eclipsed by innovations in existing technology, analysts say. 
 
Date:26/12/2000 
Bharti Group’s Cellular service brand Airtel is going to launch its WAP-based mobile Internet services in Delhi. The Airtel service-Tango-will be launched on Thursday. Subsequently, the service will be launched in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh- where it also runs its cellular service- within a month. 
 
Date:24/12/2000 
A company has introduced a device that it says would shield the human body from the ‘biological effects’ caused by cellphones. EMX Corporation recently unveiled a microchip that, when inserted in mobile phone’s battery claims to protect the caller’s body cells from electromagnetic fields emitted by the phone.  
 
Date:22/12/2000 
The world’s largest mobile phone company, Vodafone Group Plc, looks set to extend its shopping spree into Australia with a report that it was bidding about US$10 billion for Cable & Wireless Optus Ltd. 
 
Date:21/12/2000 
The total spectrum fee for cellular mobile operators is set to be reduced by more than 50 per cent. This decision was taken by the PM’s strategic management group recently approved by DoT. It now awaits the formal endorsement of the full telecom commission. 
 
Date:21/12/2000 
Ahead of launching its cellular services in Delhi and Mumbai MTNL has been given a berth in the private lobby of cellular operators. “ MTNL has become our member recently. We have also asked BSNL to join the association for improving the services,” T V Ramchandran, director general of COAI said today. 
 
Date:21/12/2000 
In a last ditch attempt aimed at blocking wireless in local loop (WLL) based limited mobility, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) plans to file a petition in the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in Friday. 
 
Date:20/12/2000 
In a bid to garner support of senior government officials as well as investors on unresolved issues inhibiting the rapid growth of the cellular industry, several promoters of Cellphone companies have decided to congregate in Delhi on Thursday and knock on the doors of the media. The operators who will meet under the agies of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), are expected to list about half-a-dozen issues they say are preventing them from offering affordable cellular services to the people. 
 
Date:20/12/2000 
Sony Corporation of Japan will re-enter the cellular handset market in India next fiscal with a range of WAP-enabled phones priced upwards of Rs 18,000. The product is likely to hit the stands in the 2001-02 fiscal. 
 
Date:20/12/2000 
Philips has decided to make a fresh entry into the mobile handset business. To start with, Philips has decided to bring a top official from its Singapore operations to oversee the launch of a range of attractively priced handsets priced in the range of Rs 5,000-6,000 range. The official is expected to take over as GM of Philips India’s Consumer communications business shortly. 
 
Date:20/12/2000 
Alcatel plans to pump in $20 million into the India cellular phone market. Alcatel is bringing in three new Cellphone models, Series 300, Series 500 and Series 700 to the country in 2001. Alcatel globally has around 6 per cent market share in the handset market. 
 
Date:20/12/2000 
Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc today said it bought a 15 per cent stake in Japan Telecom for $2.22 billion. Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone service provider, said it paid 2.6 million yen per share, or a 14 per cent premium to Japan Telecom’s shares closing price of 2.28 million yen. 
 
Date:16/12/2000 
Hutchison-controlled Command and Reliance Mobile are poised to announce a special auto-roaming tariff plan for the eastern states, well below the prevailing Rs 10 per minute national roaming air-time rate between metro circles. 
 
Date:15/12/2000 
Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is in talks to hand control of its mobile handset activities to Japanese cell phone maker Matsushita Communications. Ericsson, the world’s third largest mobile phone maker has a market share of around 10 per cent. 
 
Date:14/12/2000 
Financial instutions led by Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd (IDFC) have jumped onto limited mobility bandwagon and have supported wireless-in-local-loop-based telecom services.  
 
Date:13/12/2000 
Hutchison, for the first time in India, is poised to kick-off a ‘roaming rewarding programme’, in the three metro networks it controls, in a bid to galvanize the roaming market. Under the proposal proposed ‘rewards programme for in-roamers’, customer roaming into any Hutch metro network-will collect points on their airlines, credit-cards and hotel membership depending on roaming usage. 
 
Date:12/12/2000 
The number of mobile phone subscribers in the country would exceed 50 million by 2005 and cross 300 million by 2010, according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). 
 
Date:12/12/2000 
In a race for acquiring 49 per cent in the RPG group’s cellular licence for Chennai the BPL group is learnt to have put in a bid, pegging the enterprise value of the circle close to $200 million. Hutchison lags behind with a bid which puts little over $150 million. The other contenders, Birla AT&T and Tata Cellular combine has pegged the enterprise value of the circle at $140 million. Enterprise value refers to the value of the circle including liabilities. 
 
Date:12/12/2000 
Uncertainty in the cellular industry has led to Hong Kong-based telecom major First Pacific Company Ltd putting its investments in India on hold. Matters such as mobility to fixed service providers, uncertainty over WPC frequency royalty charges, proposed licence fee of 17 per cent and CPP issue have been strong deterrents to the growth of cellular industry in India and they needed to be sorted out as soon as possible, said senior advisor to First Pacific. 
First Pacific has a joint venture with Escorts Ltd for cellular services in UP West, Haryana and Kerala circles under the brand name Escotel. 
 
Date:10/12/2000 
At the end of October 2000, India’s cellular subscriber base has crossed 27.8 lakh according to the figures collated by COAI. That represents an increase of close to 3.27 lakh over the end-August figure of 24.5 lakh. These numbers are however, minuscule compared to China where the base is expected to grow to 30m in 2000 from 43 to 73 million. 
 
Date:10/12/2000 
The International Finance Corporation, the private financing arm of World Bank, is joining the Mittals-promoted Bharti Telecom Ltd as an equity partner. While the exact percentage of stake the World Bank arm is acquiring could not be ascertained immediately, sources said IFC will be investing $20 million. 
 
Date:8/12/2000 
The combined cellular business of Tata and Birla AT&T, usually referred to as BATATA, is close to deciding on an official name. It will be either called Birla-AT&T-Tata Limited (BATL) or BATCL. The C in the second option could stand for either cellular or communications. The combined entity will restructure their massive debt of Rs 850 crore after the merger is completed. This cellular entity have already won a bidding race for the Madhya Pradesh circle from RPG Cellular and are in the race for its Chennai licence as well. 
 
Date:8/12/2000 
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering a proposal to go for a multi-phase bidding process for the award of fourth cellular licence. The modalities for the entry of fourth cellular operator is likely to be finalized by the end of this month. 
 
Date:7/12/2000 
HDFC bank has tied up with AirTel to provide mobile banking services to all cellular phone users in Karnataka. With this launch, subscribers of both AirTel and Spice Telecom in Karnataka can now access their HDFC bank accounts. The mobile banking services from HDFC Bank have been made possible by SMS-enabled banking technology. 
 
Date:6/12/2000 
Hong Kong’s Hutchison Telecommunications, the largest cellular operator in India, is in the process of evolving a single unified brand for the gamut of its wireless mobile services in the country. The decision was taken in late November at Hutchison’s head quarters, and the colossus has engaged one of the world’s top brand consultants in the UK to create an entirely new identity for the company. 
 
Date:6/12/2000 
Spice Telecom, cellphone service provider in Punjab, Karnataka and Calcutta circles, has joined hands with NCIC, US, to launch India’s first collect call facility through mobile phones. The Spice Collect call is totally free of cost. The subscribers will not be charged any airtime or monthly rental for getting connected to US and the person based in the foreign country will be charged for the call. Spice has configured the service in Hindi and Punjabi besides English. 
 
Date:5/12/2000 
Finland's Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, said that it would launch a $500 million fund to invest in mobile Internet startup companies to keep track of new technologies in its main field. 
 
Date:5/12/2000 
Hong Kong based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, which runs cellular services under the Orange brand in Mumbai, is planning to consolidate its cellular telephone assets in India and list them within a year to 18 months. The company has invested close to $500 million in its India operations since 1995. 
 
Date:5/12/2000 
There is a proposal to increase number of private cellular telephone companies providing mobile telephone services in the country, the Lok Sabha was informed today. The fourth operator for cellular mobile telephone service is proposed to be induced in all the service area in terms of the new telecom policy and migration package offered to existing licensees, Minister of State for Communications Tapan Sikdar said. 
 
Date:4/12/2000 
From now on, pre-paid 'Ace' customers of Orange in Mumbai and regular subscriber of Hutchison Max can avail of features like short messaging service (SMS) and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) by paying less money. In a similar move, BPL mobile has also slashed rates for its prepaid customers. The new peak hour rates have been slashed to Rs 4 a minute from the current Rs 6 level. 
 
Date:2/12/2000 
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is planning to launch its much talked about cellular mobile phone service by January next year in Delhi and Mumbai. 
 
Date:2/12/2000 
Motorola India Ltd is negotiating with a few local cellular operators to use a new global technology that allows faster and permanent Internet access via mobile phones. Motorola’s market research indicates that the demand for mobile data services in India will initially be limited to large metros. Motorola is in talks with Orange for the Mumbai, New Delhi and Calcutta circles and Spice Telecom for Punjab and Karnataka to install GPRS on their existing cellular networks.  
 
Date:30/11/2000 
The Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI) has decided to go to the court if the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allows the basic telecom service providers to offer wireless in local loop (WLL) -based mobile services. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to submit its recommendations on this issue by mid-December.  
 
Date:30/11/2000 
Hutchison, the Hong kong based conglomerate which has introduced the Orange brand in Mumbai, is now considering its strategy of launching the brand elsewhere in the country."We would have to take a decision whether we wish to introduce a brand where the ultimate ownership is with somebody else", a senior Hutchison officer told. 
 
Date:29/11/2000 
Hong Kong based cellphone operator Hutchison Whampoa which owns the popular Orange brand in Mumbai may soon have to give it up in favor of the city's second operator BPL-France Telecom. The French Telecom major, which recently acquired worldwide rights for the Orange brand from Vodafone Airtouch, intends to enforce its ownership in a bid to cash in on the popularity of the brand. 
 
Date:28/11/2000 
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) today took a strong exception to basic operators demand of limited mobility and warned that several bankers and foreign investors in cellular projects has already expressed concern on the regulatory and policy uncertanity that has emerged as a result of the proposal. 
 
Date:28/11/2000 
The 23-billion-euro France Telecom, which has presence in 75 countries, has kicked off talks with its Indian partners, the BPL group, for picking up stakes in existing and future cellular and Internet projects. Currently, France Telecom has 26 per cent stake in BPL's Mumbai cellular operator BPL Mobile.  
 
Date:27/11/2000 
All mobile phones in Britain will come with health warnings under new government guidelines to be rushed out ahead of Christmas. The Department of Health is finalising the wording on a leaflet which will be distributed to shops selling mobile phones. The leaflets were expected to specifically warn that children should not spend too long on their mobile phones, despite continuing debate among medical experts over existence of any possible health risks to users. 
 
Date:26/11/2000 
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering a proposal for the fourth cellular licences bidding. The tendering conditions are expected to be finalized by mid-December. This is a new tendering condition and no reserve price requirement existed in the first round of bidding. According to the proposals, the reserve price will be different in each circle and will be linked to the licence fee paid by the operators who got licences in the first  round of bidding. 
 
Date:26/11/2000 
The open house session on allowing the basic telecom service operators to provide mobility saw professional lawyers fighting for basic telecom service providers as well as the cellular operators. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last week held an open house session to seek the views of consumers and the public on allowing basic telecom service providers to offer mobile telephone services based on the Wireless in Local Loop technology. 
 
Date:24/11/2000 
The process of restructuring the Rs 850-crore combined debt exposure of Birla-AT&T and Tata Cellular has been started with Birla-AT&T and the Tatas making their first joint presentation to financial instutions. Banks and instutions have an exposure of between Rs 550 crore to Rs 600 crore to Birla-AT&T and another Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore to Tata Cellular. With the two entities merging, lenders will have to take a view on funding the new entity. 
 
Date:23/11/2000 
The Birla AT&T combine and Tatas last week filed for the merger in high courts and on Thursday the combine will make its first join presentation to about 20 lenders for both entities. The combine hopes to get all approvals and get started by March 31,2001. The merger which would give the three entities – Birlas, AT&T and Tatas- an equal 33.33 per cent stake in the new company – was announced in March this year.  
 
Date:22/11/2000 
NTT DoCoMo, the top telecom firm in the world by market value, will take its successful mobile Internet services to the US market by buying 20 per cent of AT&T Wireless Group Inc. An alliance worth up to $9 billion could be announced that would give DoCoMo, a subsidary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, its long-sought foothold in the world's biggest communications market, and give the newely established AT&T Wireless a chance to become a major mobile service provider. 
 
Date:21/11/2000 
Singapore Telecommunications said it would provide up to US$450 million in funding for its Asian mobile phone joint venture with British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. SingTel, majority owned by the Singapore government, said it would make the money available in the form of a secured convertible loan facility to finance the joint ventures expansions across Asia. 
 
Date:21/11/2000 
Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia said, it had won a deal with Singapore operator M1 to build both a GSM 1800 and third generation (3G) mobile phone network pending the operator's bid for a 3G licence in 2001. Nokia said the GSM 1800 network would replace Singapore's current CDMA network and would be ready by the next year. 
 
Date:19/11/2000 
BPL mobile, which was to be the first in the country to announce the launch of GPRS services-which promises faster access to the Internet-will now be able to do so only after six weeks. This is almost 4 months behind schedule. BPL mobile was the second in Asia and the fifth GSM operator in the world to offer GPRS. 
 
Date:19/11/2000 
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) has asked investment bankers to come up with proposals for strategic alliances and even for outright acquisitions fot its plans to enter the cellular business. It has also asked the government to give it a free entry into fourth cellular operator slot, as compensation for taking away its monopoly ahead of schedule.  
 
Date:16/11/2000 
All Reliance cellular circles are coming undre Auto-Roaming loop for the first time.Reliance Telecom is formalizing agreements with Hutchison controlled Usha Martin Telekom Ltd and BK Modi's SpiceCell.The cellular circles run by Reliance are West bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and entire North East including Assam. Once the auto-roaming deals become official and the networks are ready to talk nearly 1.5 lakh subscribers under the brands Spice and Command will be benefited. 

Date:16/11/2000 
The London based global mobile satellite communications giant INMARSAT is setting up 400 satelite phones in rural India by the end of this year. This is for the first time that GMPCS ( Global Mobile Personal Communications Systems) technology is being used for providing rural telephony. 270 VPTs(Village Public Phones) have already been installed. Following its success in the Indian market, Inmarsat will explore markets in China, Africa and South America. 
 
Date:16/11/2000 
According to a research conducted by Hyderabad based company Duke Arnics Electronics Pvt. Ltd. of Dr. D.N.Rao, WAP enabled electronic meter reading of consumers is bound to become a reality which will be very economical and efficient. 60% stake of this company has been aquired by Delhi based Havell's. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has evaluated the R&D facility and intellectual property at Rs. 10 Crore. 
 
Date:16/11/2000 
Bluetooth technology was the central attraction at the Comdex opened at Las Vegas.The admirers of Bluetooth include Nokia, Motorola, Toshiba, Microsoft etc.Bluetooth is a specification for a small-form factor, low-cost radio solution providing links between mobile phones, mobile computers and other portable handheld devices and connectivity to the internet.This is said to be a royalties-free very open collaboration where everyone can use and develop technology.This technology can revolutionise wireless communications where a portable phone can talk to a refrigerator, a printer responding to a mobile phone etc. 
 
Date:14/11/2000  
Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone-maker, said it would work with US computer and printer-maker Hewlett-Packard to give users access to printers via mobile phones. Nokia said in a statement the initial project would be an Internet-enabled printer which would be able to receive a Web address sent from a mobile phone, retrieve the data, and then print it. 
 
Date:14/11/2000  
MTNL will promote a separate brand for its cellular services, to be launched in January. It will be called 'dolphin' and have 'dolphin' as the service logo. MTNL's dolphin cellular services will be based on both CDMA as well as GSM standards. CDMA-based cellphone services will not have roaming facility.  
 
Date:14/11/2000  
Mobile phone leader Vodafone Group Plc announced first-half results that reassured the market it could continue to increase profits in the face of intense competition and expensive licence cost. Proportionate earnings before interest, tax, depriciation and amortisation (EBITDA)- the market's preferred yardstick for Vodafone-rose 24 per cent to £3.28 billion before exceptional items.  
 
Date:14/11/2000  
Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial plans to start selling mobile phones next month that can access the Internet and store up to 4,000 e-mail messages, it said today. Matsushita, the world's largest consumer electronics-maker with brands including Panasonic and Technics, said the phone will be capable of using 64MB Secure Digital (SD) memory cards.  
 
Date:13/11/2000   
Fascel Limited, the cellular operator in Gujarat, is in talks with IDBI and other FIs for financing its proramme for laying down a 1800Km optic fibre network in the state. "IDBI has been financing our project and has agreed to further extend debt for expansion. The proposal is with the IDBI board and it is expected to give its go-ahead, Fascel chief technical officer said.  
 
Date:13/11/2000   
Switzerland postponed its planned auction of four UMTS high-speed mobile telecommunications licences today when the field of bidders narrowed to only four, the Bakom federal telecom office said.  
 
Date:10/11/2000   
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is considering the option of allowing the cellular operators to offer fixed telecom services in case the basic service operators are allowed to offer wireless in local loop (WLL) based mobile services, as proposed by the department of telecom (DoT).  
 
Date:10/11//2000  
A day after British Telecom’s (BT) announcement in London that it was exiting its mobile phone venture in Asia, Bharti Enterprises has spelt out the conditions under which it would be willing to consider BT’s exit from its cellular operations in Delhi. According to Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, the company is either willing to buyout the stake of BT at a mutually agreed upon price or consider the induction of a JV partner who is acceptable to both the partners.  
 
Date: 9/11/2000  
With British Telecom today announcing a break-up of its operation to cut debt by £10 billion and flagging a sale of its Asian mobile phone ventures, there is huge question mark on Bharti’s joint venture with BT-Bharti Airtel-in which the British Telecom giant holds 44 per cent stake.  
 
Date: 9/11/2000  
British Telecommunications Plc, facing its biggest crisis since privatization, announced its breakup of the company today and scaled back its global ambitions in order to unload a third of its huge debt burden. BT said it would float a 25 per cent stake in its mobile phones division and spin off its UK network into a separate company that will also be listed on the stock market.  
 
Date: 9/11/2000  
India’s Spice Cell Ltd. said that it has become the country’s first mobile telephone service company to offer cellular phone access on board flights. Spice Cell has joined the Skyphone consortium which includes BT and Singapore Telecom. Spice Cell is one of the two private sector cellular service provider in Calcutta, and has more than 80,000 subscribers.  
 
Date: 8/11/2000  
British Telecommunications Plc, fighting its biggest crisis since privatization, is poised to announce a restructuring expected to include a flotation of its wireless division and a demerger of its UK network business. With the cost of 3G mobile licences and acquisitions staining its balance sheet, BT has been forced to expand a strategic review aimed at reviewing its withered share prices into a debtcutting plan.  
 
Date: 8/11/2000  
Hutchison-controlled Usha Martin Telekom Ltd (UMTL) gave its subscribers the Net edge by unleashing Commandworld, its home grown brand of mobile Internet services, Commandworld uses the wireless application protocol (WAP), which facilitates rapid delivery of customized information and services from the net to a WAP-enables Cellphone.  
 
Date: 8/11/2000  
Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony Corp will join rival Matsushita Electric Induatrial Co and mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo to distribute music through wireless phones. Such a service would leverage Japan’s leading position in wireless service, where it boasts the world’s biggest population of users-at 13 million-connected to internet on cellular phones.  
 
Date: 8/11/2000  
Bharti Telecom, Reliance Infocom, and Himachal Futuristic communications Ltd are engaged in a furious race to set up networks in the capital even as they await the finalization of the norms for grant of licence . The companies are waiting for the guidelines that are currently being discussed by TRAI.  
 
Date: 7/11/2000  
Vodafone Group Plc may take minority stake in Swiss telecom provider Swisscom AG’s mobile business, giving it a link to the Swiss market and boosting Swisscom’s efforts to be a major European player. It is said that Vodafone was poised to take a 25 per cent stake in Swisscom’s mobile unit.  
 
Date: 5/11/2000  
The buy-out of RPG group’s Madhya Pradesh cellular licence by the Birla-AT&T-Tata combine has hit an air-pocket. Air Touch Vodafone, which was to sell its 49 per cent holding in the company, is having some second thought on the pricing of the deal, following the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar.  
 
Date: 5/11/2000  
British Government claims that hands-free mobile phone kits are safe were thrown into doubt by research which showed they can increase radiation to the skull by than three times. The research from the Consumers’ Association (CA) concluded that hands-free kit users should not rely on them to reduce radiation.  
 
Date: 4/11/2000  
Spice Cell Ltd. Cellular service provider for Calcutta has bagged the licence for setting up private cellular service operation in Nepal. This is the first foray of the Spice brand of the BK Modi group outside India. Spice Cell will be setting up a JV with the Khaitan group of Nepal where Spice will have majority stake. The licence is for a period of 10 Years, renewable for another five years.  
 
Date: 3/11/2000  
The value added (VAS) cell of DoT has recommended to the full Telecom Commission that liquidated charges should be recovered from the metro cellular operators for delays in commissioning of service and for not providing coverage of the requisite quality. The VAS cell has pointed out that BPL mobile in Mumbai, Usha Martin and Modi Telestra in Calcutta would have to pay a liquidated charges of Rs 20 lakh, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 50 lakh respectively.  
 
Date: 3/11/2000  
Japan’s Toshiba Corporation and Siemens AG of Germany plan to join forces to develop, produce and market third-generation (3G) mobile phones. They are expected to reach a formal agreement on the deal by the end of this year in a bid to take a bigger slice the worlds market dominated by Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson. The deal would allow two companies to conduct joint researches to develop phones that can send and receive video images and transfer data much faster than the existing phones.  
 
Date: 2/11/2000  
The BK Modi-controlled SpiceCell Ltd has outgunned the Bhartis, BPL group and the VSNL-MTNL-TCIL combine to bag the sole licence for the maiden private cellular network in Nepal. The Nepal government is expected to shortly issue the letter of intent to SpiceCell. SpiceCell will execute the near Rs 100 crore overseas cellular ventures in strategic partnership with the Khetan group, one of the largest business houses in Nepal.  
 
Date: 2/11/2000  
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL), the government owned international telecom operator, is set to enter the cellular service sector in a big way. It has decided to bid for the fourth cellular licence in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai, in the next round of bidding. VSNL is also planning to buy out some of the existing cellular operator. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to formulate the guidelines for the next round of bidding for cellular licences within this month. The tender is expected to be floated two months from now.  
 
Date: 31/10/2000  
The telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) may recommend that an additional licence fee be levied on the basic telecom services operators providing limited mobility telephone services based on Wireless in Local Loop (WiLL) technology. At Re 1.40 per three minutes, they could offer rates 10 times cheaper than those offered by GSM-based mobile telephone services if they were allowed WiLL services. 
 
Date: 31/10/2000  
HDFC Bank, in a bid to take on Citibank, has launched ‘Freedom-The e-Age savings Account’ for cellular phone users. The offering from both the banks are similar, though HDFC Bank, with its late mover advantage offers superior services in terms of mobile banking.  
 
Date: 31/10/2000  
NTT DoCoMo Inc refused to comment on Tuesday whether it is in talks with US mobile phone companies about taking stakes in those firms, though companies said the US market is attractive. The NTT DoCoMo statement came after it was reported that DoDoMo was negotiating with AT&T Corp about taking a minority stake in its wireless arm.  
 
Date: 31/10/2000  
Vodafone and Telstra Saturn announced a strategic alliance, establishing what they said was the largest cross-network competition for Telecom Corp of New Zealand. The two companies said they would develop integrated products and services across Telstra Saturn’s fixed telecommunications network and Vodafone’s mobile network in New Zealand. The two will work together to provide Telstra Saturn fixed and Vodafone mobile solutions for customer.  
 
Date: 30/10/2000  
A few months back Indian Railways set up Railtel Corporation of India marking their entry in the Telecom sector in a big way with a vision of providing the country a parallel communications highway of millions of voice and data transmission channels.The Railways already have Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) network covering 4000 km which is expected to expand to 9000 kms route before 2001 end. One advantage that Railway has is that it enjoys "right of way" all along their 62,800 km route throuhout the country which is essencial for laying OFC. Many private cellular phone service providers have already approached Railways for linkages with its OFC.  
This may result in providing a cheap communication network for the country's vast rural and remote locations.  
 
Date: 30/10/2000  
The schemes like 'free night talk'  from 9 pm to 9 am at a monthly rental of Rs. 99/- and 'friends and relatives plan' in which calls to three numbers, chosen by the subscribers are free, by the cellular service providers BPL mobile and Hutchison ( brand-Orange) in Mumbai showed a significant rise in the average usage from 250 to 300  minutes per month per subscriber.  
 
Date: 27/10/2000  
The Bharti Group is restructuring to streamline the group wherein the foreign telecom partners will gradually move out of the operational companies into the holding company. This will ensure that the Bharti Group has clear management control in the operating companies and no differences between partners. In one such incident two overseas financial investors in JT mobile, Palmobile and Coment of Mauritius will after divesting their stake in JT Mobile, simultaneously acquire equity in the holding company of the Bharti Group.  
 
Date: 27/10/2000  
MTNL has constituted a four member internal committee to work out the tariff plan for its cellular phone services to be launched in January next year. General manager S.S.Sirohi has been appointed head of cellular operations.  
 
Date: 25/10/2000  
TRAI recommends the entry of the fourth cellular operator in all circles to enhance the competetion to benefit the consumers by improved and cheaper services.New operators would be allocated a separate frequency spectrum of 1800 mhz as against existing 900 mhz to ensure that the quality of services of the existing players is not affected.  
 
Date: 25/10/2000  
AT&T Corp would restructure into a family of four companies that would be seperately traded and pay reduced dividends in an effort to boost a stock price that has fallen 47% this year. The plan will allow its major units consumer, business, broadband and wireless to focus on particular market and compete more effectively.  
 
Date: 25/10/2000  
ALCATEL bagged $250 million contract for turnkey implementation of the first phase of Bharti-SingTel submarine cable project. The company will build the full submarine system supply including the network design and management.  
 
Date: 24/10/2000  
Mr. Tirlochan Singh and Dr. Kuldip Singh of Chandigargh have developed a microchip which when put on the antenna of a cell phone makes it safe from radiation. The product called "TalkSafe" marketed by the company Spectrum RAD Guard (P) Limited claim to block the radiation between 93.3 to 97.8%. The claim is based on labaratory tests conducted by UK based Radio Frequency Investigation laboratory and validated by a leading Indian telecommunication conglomerate. The thumbnail sized product is compatible with various handset models.  
 
Date: 24/10/2000  
Subex Systems, a Bangalore based telecom software company reported a 62% rise in net profits to Rs. 2.92 crore for the quarter ended 30th September.  
 
Date: 24/10/2000  
Italy's auction of new-generation high speed UMTS( Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) mobile phone licences flopped as one of the bidders, BT backed Blu quit the race, leaving the government with half the cash windfall it had hoped. The Italian government called a snap ministerial to see if the tender could be annulled.  
 
Date: 24/10/2000  
Bharti Aquanet a joint venture company between Bharti Enterprises and Singapore Telecommunications Limited announced a submarine cable project connecting Singapore with Mumbai and Chennai. This would be the world's largest private submarine cable. The total length of the network will be 11,800 kms. with a capacity of 8.4 terabits/sec which can carry 100 million conversations.The total cost of the project will be   
$650 million.  
 
Date: 23/10/2000  
It has been decided that the proposed Competition Commission of India (CCI) would have jurisprudence over rulings of industry specific regulatory authorities such as TRAI ( Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and IRDA ( Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) only to the extent that competition issues are involved.It would not give advance ruling on the cases reffered to it. Appeals against the ruling of CCI can be made only to the Supreme Court.  
 
Date: 23/10/2000  
The Bharti Group which is already one of the largest telecom operators in the country is targetting $1 billion turnover in the next few years. It has set itself a very ambitious target of acqiring new cellular circles of Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. It will also bid for the fourth cellular licence in Mumbai. For the basic services it is targetting two clusters, one in north comprising Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and another in south namely Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.  
 
Date: 23/10/2000  
Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc are competing to buy a 20-25 per cent stake in the mobile phone division of Swisscom, reported a German magazine. Stake in Swisscom Mobile would guarantee participation in Switzerland’s upcoming UMTS auction for third-generation mobile phone licences which begins on November 13.  
 
Date: 23/10/2000  
British Telecommunications Plc is considering a multi-billion-pound sale of overseas asset to cut its soaring debt levels. BT may be looking to unload some of its interest in Asia. Holdings in continental Europe such as 25 per cent stake in French telecom group Cegetel, a unit of Vivendi, could be on the block.  
 
Date: 21/10/2000  
Finnish telecom equipment-maker Nokia said on Friday it had taken full control of Brazilian joint venture NGI Industrial by buying the 49 per cent stake held by Gradiente Telecom SA for $415 million.  
 
Date: 21/10/2000  
Cellular industry keeps up the good pace. Subscribers at the end of September 2000 stood at 2.62 million, compared to 2.45 million at the end of August-a jump of 1.7 lakh, according to figures compiled by Cellular Operators Association of India.  
 
Date: 21/10/2000  
The private cellular operators today demanded a ‘floor price’ mechanism for tariff fixation. Presently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) decides the upper ceiling of the tariff. The operators want that it should also fix a minimum tariff. “In order to ensure level-playing field, floor prices are required to be fixed, particularly, in the case of incumbent dominant operators”, said the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). COAI also said that the licences be transferred to the lenders, bankers and financial institutions in case a company defaults in its commitment to the instutions. This will help raising funds for the expansion of the network.  
 
Date: 21/10/2000  
Once the Convergence Bill is approved the existing telecom regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will be expanded to become the ‘super regulator’. The Communications Commission of India will also be the licensing and spectrum management authority, communications secretary Shyamlal Ghosh said on Friday.  
 
Date: 21/10/2000  
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday recommended that cellular operators be allowed to set up mobile community centers and provide public call facility. If accepted by the DoT, mobile phone operators will be able to provide public call facility on cellular phones.  
 
Date: 20/10/2000  
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended a reduction of licence fee by up to 80 per cent for the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) operators. The recommendations were today submitted to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).  
 
Date: 20/10/2000  
The revenue share payable by cellular operators has been fixed at 17 per cent. The telecom commission has accepted the TRAI’s recommendation in this effect. Since both the telecom commission and the TRAI are agreed on the figure of 17 per cent, there are unlikely to be any further changes on the revenue sharing figure.  
 
Date: 19/10/2000  
Ram Vilas Paswan, on Wednesday said that the norms for cellular services would be announced by November and the government expects to open up bidding for the fourth operator by December. He clarified that the government would have opened the services to more players if there had been no spectrum shortage.  
 
Date: 19/10/2000  
To take on the expanding grey market, HCL Infosystems, a technology integration company, is opening a series of exclusive Nokia centers in India. To be set up in permier retail distribution centers, these aim to bring synergy between the retailer and the customer.  
 
Date: 17/10/2000  
Mobile phone firm Orange said today it had pulled out of the UK government’s auction of licences to provide wireless Internet services to desktop computers. Orange’s owner, France Telecom, is preparing to float the company early next year.  
 
Date: 15/10/2000  
In a bid to sell off its cellular circles-either partly or fully Usha Telecom Ltd, has decided to pay its entire dues of Rs 316 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The licences of three telecom circles, Western UP, Bihar and Orissa were disconnected in May 1999 for non payment of licence fees to the government.  
 
Date: 15/10/2000  
Even as the Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) to recommend an entry fee and revenue share percentage for allowing basic telephone service providers to offer wireless local loop technology, industry and users alike are engaged in a furious debate over this issue. At stake are crucial issues like bringing the benefits of technology to the users, faster roll out of telecom networks, increasing tele-density and financial prospects of service providers.  
 
Date: 14/10/2000  
Hongkong’s Pacific Century Cyber Works Ltd surrendered control of its mobile phone business to Australia’s Telstra Corp. in a long-awaited repricing that salvaged their pan-Asian telecoms alliance today. Australia biggest teleco said the revised deal gives it 60 per cent of a regional wireless joint venture with PCCW while reducing its cash commitment by $1 billion.  
 
Date: 14/10/2000  
Airtel Cellular Service has launched Airtel Message World in Karnataka, a new value added service introduced for the first time in the country.  
 
Date: 14/10/2000  
Motorola Inc. the world’s second largest mobile phone maker, said on Thursday, Merle Gilmore, executive vice-president and president of the Communications Enterprise unit, resigned effective immediately. The surprise came a day after the company cut its earning forecast and project a slower growth rate for its mobile phone unit.  
 
Date: 12/10/2000  
In Delhi the last two months have been very bad for cellular subscribers. Making phone calls from landline to Airtel’s cellular phone have proved to be a haranguing effort for subscriber due to a low call success rate. The roaming services have also been severely affected. Consequently, the call success rate from fixed line to cellular phones has gone down by 25 per cent in some of the areas.  
 
Date: 12/10/2000  
Companies dealing in cellular phone services have been allowed to set up temporary structures on rooftops in non-residential areas by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. They will be required to pay Rs 1 lakh per site as a one time fee.  
 
Date: 12/10/2000  
The government has asked the telecom regulator to recommend licence fees for enabling basic operators to venture into limited mobile phone services as a part of the efforts to give them level playing field vis-à-vis cellular operators.  
 
Date: 9/10/2000  
UK mobile giant Vodafone Group Plc is vying for a stake in the mobile phone unit of Irish telecommunications group Eircom. The sale of a stake in Eircell would help Eircom’s share price and give Vodafone a foothold in Ireland’s fast-growing mobile phone market.  
 
Date: 8/10/2000  
Even after the Supreme Court dismissed the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam’s (MTNL’s) appeal against a high court judgment that prevented disconnection of telephone lines of consumers other than the original defaulter, the company continues to do so. MTNL officers cite Rule 443 of the Indian telegraph rules, which empowers them to disconnect a subscriber phone on grounds of non-payment.  
 
Date: 6/10/2000  
The purchase of a  $2.5 billion stake in China Moblie (Hong kong) by Vodafone Group –the world’s largest mobile phone operator-is a sign of bigger deals to come, analysts said. “After years of frustration in China’s rapidly growing but highly protected telecom market, foreign firms were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” the analyst were quoted as saying”.  
 
Date: 6/10/2000  
Investors cheered China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd’s $32.84 billion deal to buy seven networks from its mainland parent, but the analysts questioned the quality of the assets and predicted that the current rally in the company’s shares would be short lived.  
 
Date: 5/10/2000  
At the end of August, the cellular subscriber base stood at 2.45 million compared to 2.33 million at the end of July, an increase of 1.3 lakh, according to figures compiled by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).  
 
Date: 5/10/2000  
SpiceCell, the Bhartis and the BPL group have been shortlisted last week after technical evaluation of their respective bids for the maiden private cellular venture in Nepal. Also in the fray is the VSNL-MTNL-TCIL public sector consortium that has no past experience in GSM-based cellular telephony.  
 
Date: 4/10/2000  
Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi on Tuesday launched its global brand of mobile handsets Trium in India with a price tag ranging from Rs. 9,810 to Rs. 26,300. All Trium phones are in dual band and will support roaming facility in most parts of the world, barring the US.  
 
Date: 3/10/2000  
Having announced a slew of telecom reforms recently, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is now preoccupied with the prospect of ushering in “limited mobility”. The decision to permit fixed service providers to use wireless technology in the local area will have major consequences for the rapidly changing telecommunications scenario.  
 
Date: 3/10/2000  
Ericsson stands by an earlier estimate that its mobile handset business will be burdened by losses of four to five million crowns this year, the head of its consumer products division said.  
 
Date: 2/10/2000  
Hutchison Telecom has dropped its plan to take a stake in the four cellular circles operated by AirCel Digilink, a company promoted by Ruias of the Essar group. Talks between the two sides have fallen through due to differences over pricing. AirCel Digilink holds cellular licences for the Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (East) circles.  
 
   
Cellular News: July - Sept. 2000 
Cellular News: April - June 2000
 

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