Cellular News
Date: 30/12/2001 
Bharti matches BSNL's STD tariffs from January 26th 
After triggering the tariff war Bharti group, the first private telecom operator to offer national long distance communications in the country announced its STD tariff plan that matches the one offered by BSNL with effect from 26th January 2002. These price cuts will erode Rs. 3000 crore revenue for BSNL but the loss will be made up in one year through the expected growth in volumes. BSNL was offering subsidies to local-call subscribers by charging higher tariffs on NLD calls.Current STD market size is Rs.7000 crore which may grow by 60% with the reduced tariffs in next six months. 
Date: 28/12/2001 
BSNL slases STD rates upto 62.5% 
The state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited ( BSNL) announced STD rates cut upto 62.5% from January 14th. This will be applicable for both fixed line and cellular subscribers. More than 4 crore users of the telecom services will be benefited. BSNL has reduced time slabs to two, from 9am to 8pm and from 8pm to 9am. The distance slabs will be between 50 to 200 kms, 200 to 500 kms and greater than 500 kms.  
Date: 27/12/2001 
MTNL to launch WLL services in Mumbai on  1st  Jan. 
MTNL will be launching its limited mobility services Garuda, based on WLL technology in Mumbai fron 1st Jan. 2002. Service offers low airtime rates but it does not have roaming and text messaging facility. The company already operates these services in Delhi. 
Date: 20/12/2001 
Bharti ties up with VSNL for ISD 
Bharti Telesonic and Videsh Sanchar Nigam LImited ( VSNL) signed an agreement that will enable cellular operators that have tied up with Bharti's IndiaOne to route their international calls directly through VSNL. According to Bharti's Chairman & MD Sunil Mittal this move will not only benefit cellular operators but will eventually lead to affordable rates for international telephony.The agreement was signed by VSNL Director finance R.S.P Sinha and Bharti Director Viresh Dayal. 
Date: 19/12/2001 
GSM equipment suppliers lower their bids for BSNL 
Three multinational telecom equipment suppliers Lucent, Motorola and Ericsson have lowered their bid prices that will save BSNL Rs. 230 crore from the original bid price in a tender of Rs. 2,044 crore for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.'s nationwide mobile phone foray. 
Date: 19/12/2001 
Reliance to launch NLD, WLL and basic telephony 
Reliance is all set to storm the Indian telecom sector by April next year. The company is launching its national long distance, wire-less in local loop and basic services in 14-15 cities by April, by June it will cover around 200 cities and is expected to cover 600 cities by December end next year. 
Date: 19/12/2001 
Bharti triggers rate cuts in domestic long distance 
Triggered by Bharti's IndiaOne hooking up cellular operators on to its network with the lure of deep discounts, BSNL master of the long distance telecom till yesterday is planning a fitting response. Reliance Infocom which is installing an extensive optic fibre network across 18 states is all set to revolutionise India's telecom sector by April next year. VSNL and Tatas are other parties to entre the foray. 
Date: 19/12/2001 
AirTel to set up call centres for customer support  
AirTel has tied up with Nortel Networks to implement total solutions for its call centres to provide customer support services for each of its 15 cellular circles.The estimated cost is approximately $5 million. As it is growing the company recognizes the need of superior customer support as a key differentiator to gain competetive advantage. 
Date: 19/12/2001 
Indigenous telecom industry seeks deemed export status 
According to Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association the local telecom industry should be granted deemed export status to compete with MNCs in zero duty regime from 2003 under WTO agreement. This will enable indeginous manufacturers to import components at zero duty which will ensure level playing field between manufacturers and operators.  
Date: 18/12/2001 
Mobile to Mobile STD calls to be cheaper than even fixed line 
Around eighty percent of the private cellular operators of the country namely BATATA, Hutchison-Essar, Escotel, Spice, Koshika and AirTel together announced a 50% cut in STD rates on mobile to mobile calls from January 26th. This is the result of the launch 
of Bharti's national long distance services on less than half the existing rates which all these operators have tied up with. For the tariffs, the country is divided into three zones and two time slots.Home zone ( 50-200 km), Reagional ( East,West,North,South), 
National ie. inter-regional. The rates for long distance mobile to mobile calls will be as follows: 
Time Slot 50 - 200 km Regional National
9 am to 9 pm ( peak) 2.40 Rs. per min. 6 Rs. per min. 12 Rs. per min.
9 pm to 9 am 2.40 Rs. per min. 3 Rs. per min. 6 Rs. per min.
According to the proposed MoU Bharti Telesonic's IndiaOne long distance network and its users will share the revenue. The network starting the call will be called Originator(O), the long distance company will be called the Carrier (C) and the network where call ends will be the Terminator (T). The revenues sharing between O,C & T will be in the ratio 40:40:20.The package is yet to be approved by TRAI. The incumbent BSNL is also expected to slash its STD rates for mobile operators. Reliance is also expected to be in the market by April next year possibly offering more competetive rates. 
Date: 13/12/2001 
BPL Mobile launchs Electronic Topup 
BPL Mobile, has launched Electronic Topup a facility of electronically recharging pre-paid cards (MOTS) in Tamil Nadu for its customers. Coimbatore becomes the first city in the country to have this facility. This would gradually be extended to other States where BPL Mobile is the service provider. BPL Mobile is the first cellular service provider in the country to provide this facility. The  concept was very popular in Europe. 
Date: 11/12/2001 
Cellular Industry's Growth 
India's cellular industry kept up its strong growth rate in November with subscriber base rising 78% over year-ago levels according to the data released by COAI. A total of 210,518 new mobile phone subscribers were added in November. 
Date: 8/12/2001 
Ericsson's plans 
Ericsson, the world leader in telephone equipment, proposes to fully exploit the market in India over the next few years, especially the mobile phone market where it has a 40 per cent market share. The company is also looking at business opportunities in CDMA standard wireless in local loop equipment from fixed-line companies and those planning domestic long distance and international long distance telephone operations. Ericsson forecasts the number of mobile subscribers in India rising to 10 million by the end of 2002. 
Date: 6/12/2001 
Gartner's forecast 
Technology research firm Gartner has forecast India's mobile market to grow to 30.9 million customers by 2005. It expects the country to be among the top three markets in Asia after Japan and China. India which has at present less than four telephones  per 100 people  may invest up to $10 billion  by 2004/05 to raise phone penetration.  
Date: 3/12/2001 
BPL may form a seperate company for Maharashtra circle 
It is believed that BPL may form a seperate company to operate cellular services in Maharashtra to facilitate Batata-BPL deal announced five months back resulting in the formation of India's largest cellular combine. Although this demerger of BPL communications requires DoT approval which is likely to be acceptable. 
Date: 3/12/2001 
ICICI Bank-BPL Mobile card co-branded credit card 
BPL Mobile Cellular Ltd and ICICI Bank have announced the launch of the ICICI Bank-BPL Mobile co-branded credit card in Maharashtra and Goa, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and Kerala circles. The co-branded credit card will offer BPL Mobile's existing customer base a whole lot of benefits such as flexible and convenient payment facility, national roaming facility without additional deposit and mobile phone insurance. Through this launch, the subscribers of BPL Mobile and customers of ICICI Bank will get benefits like easy pay facility via standing instruction, revolving credit facility, no additional deposit for roaming facility etc.  
Date: 30/11/2001 
RPG Cellular VP joins Tatas 
RPG Cellular's Vice-President, Marketing, Mr M. Padmanabhan, has quit the company to join Tata Teleservices as its VP, Marketing, TN Circle. He will be in charge of basic telephony operations and will be based in Chennai.  
Date: 29/11/2001 
BSNL to reopen price talks with GSM cell vendors 
The Government has decided to renegotiate prices with equipment vendors Motorola, HFCL, Ericsson and Lucent, alleging ``cartelisation'' in their bids for the rollout of 4.5 million GSM cellular lines in 1,300 towns and cities across the country by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). According to highly-placed sources, the move follows the unilateral increase of over Rs 600 crore in the estimates of the project cost placed by the equipment vendors. In the vendors' original bids for the GSM lines, the price estimates for rolling out the services totalled Rs 2,000 crore. However, in their revised estimates to BSNL, the vendors have scaled up the bids by 30 per cent to Rs 2,600 crore. 
AirTel launches new tariff plan targetting youths 
AirTel, the private cellular operator in Delhi anounced a new tariff plan targeted at youth. The new tariff plan is open to all and includes a monthly rental of Rs 249 and Rs 1.40 for every 30 seconds for both incoming and outgoing calls during daytime (between 8 AM and 10 PM). AirTel is also slashing its night tariff to 25 paise per 30 seconds for incoming as well as outgoing calls. This reduces its night tariff to about a sixth of the lowest charges being offered on outgoing calls till now and half of the existing lowest tariff on incoming calls. 
Nokia unveils three new mobile handsets 
Nokia launched three new handsets in the international market. While two of them will be available in the Asia-Pacific market only by the first quarter of 2002, the 7650 model has been released in Apac. Nokia 7650 comes with the features like integrated digital camera, picture taking and sending, MMS, photo album for storing pictures, GPRS, joystick navigation and a colour display. 
Merrill Lynch has valued Bharti TeleVentures at $3.6 billion 
Bharti TeleVentures has been valued at $3.6 billion by Merrill Lynch. The company is going for a public issue of 18.5 crore equity shares of Rs.10 each through book building process. This valuation implies that the company could raise a capital of Rs.1,728 crore through the IPO. 
Hutchison to launch new brand by March 
Hutchison Telecommunication's high profile brand launch in India is on the cards very soon. This could coincide with the company's Rs.700 crore cellular rollouts for the circles of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Chennai by March 2002. 
Telecom equipment manufacturers looking at Asia-Pacific for growth 
According to Gartner all telecom equipment manufacturers are looking at Asia-Pacific, China and India for continued growth. China is currently considered as the only large market with significant momentum. Indian market is also very dynamic with a small base currently but is moving fast. 
Bharti to launch AirTel in Kolkata 
Bharti Enterprises which recently acquired SpiceCell, the Kolkata based cellular service provider would launch its own brand AirTel in the city in early December. 
BSNL launches cellular services in Kolkata 
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) formally launched its GSM cellular services in Kolkata on Friday. 
BPL Mobile, Jet Airways tieup 
BPL Mobile has entered into a marketing tie-up with Jet Airways, the country's largest private domestic airline, which gives its roaming customers an opportunity to win free tickets on Jet Airways domestic flights as well as on overseas flights through the airline's strategic tie-ups with international airline companies. Under the new scheme, for every Rs 100 worth of airtime used on the BPL Mobile network, Jet Privilege menbers will earn four Jet Miles, which can be redeemed under the Jet Privilege Programme for free tickets within India on Jet Airways or to 400 cities worldwide. 
New mobile entry terms 
The government will come out with new terms in December to woo private firms into the cellular sector in three states ignored by bidders at a recent mobile licence auction. The government, which auctioned the licences for the slot of fourth cellular operator across India's 21 telecom zones in July, received bids for only 17 zones. 
DoT to hold interconnectivity meet 
The Department of Telecommunication is convening a meeting between the basic and cellular telecom operators in the country for a discussion on the issues involving interconnectivity, said the Minister for IT and Communication. DoT secretary said the interconnectivity meet would discuss the issue of sharing revenues between the originator, carrier and terminator. 
Nokia launches new phones 
Nokia launched three new phones including a colour screen model with a built-in camera as the world's top handset maker seeks to regain momentum in a slowing market. 
Videocon pans to manufacture 3G video cellphones 
Videocon International on Friday announced plans to manufacture third generation (3G) video cellular phones at their manufacturing facility in Kolkata. The technology will come from Toshiba. The investment for setting up the manufacturing utility in Kolkata would be around Rs 30 crore. These 3G video cellphones will cost around Rs 19,000 and people using these phones will be able to see each other on the screen. 
Bharti TeleVentures in losses, depend heavily on proposed IPO for investments 
Bharti Group's flagship company Bharti TeleVentures has accumulated losses of Rs.204 crore. It does not intend to pay divident in foreseeable future. The company has stated that the losses are primarily due to the capital expenditure on new projects. It is planning an ambitious IPO early next year. Bharti is the country's largest private sector telecom player with 9.83 lakh cellular subscribers, 1.28 lakh fixed line subscribers and 1.64 lakh internet users.Bharti group has a massive expansion plan in wireline, cellular, NLD and  broadband services. 
Operators shy of launching GPRS 
BPL could not keep its date for the roll out of GPRS network in Mumbai. Orange indefinately postponed its plans of starting General Packet Radio Service. The reasons are supposed to be  technical problems to the high cost of compatible handsets.GPRS is the wireless technology to connect a mobile phone to the internet where a person is connected all the time. This is supposed to be faster and better than WAP which could not achieve expected level of success. The lower demand for internet can have an impact on the viability of GPRS as business model at this point of time. 
All India incoming roaming services on Magic 
AirTel announced the availability of All India incoming roaming services on Magic, the pre-paid card. This will allow the Magic customers to receive voice calls and SMS throughout the country without changing the card or the number. Although, the outgoing calls and SMS will be barred while in roaming mode. 
MTNL added more cellular subscribers 
For the first time MTNL added more (12,929) cellular subscribers in Mumbai in October than the leading private operators BPL which added 12,300 and Orange which added 10,386. Although the total no. of Orange's subscribers in Mumbai are 3.6 lakh while that of BPL are 3.53 lakh. MTNL which started its operations early this year has a subscriber base of 33,000. 
BSNL's entry into cellular delayed 
The entry of BSNL, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, the state owned telecom giant into the cellular operations is said to be delayed by the communications ministry. The communications minister Mr. Promod Mahajan has written a note asking for the cancellation of equipment and maintenance tenders that were given for its national cellular operations. 
Millions of text messages sent on Diwali 
Cellular phone users across the country chose the faster and economical way of sending Dipawali greetings using SMS ( Short Message Service ). Different forms of text messages including graphics kept the cellular networks busy. Two million text messages were sent in Mumbai alone. Delhi also witnessed heaviest SMS traffic on the networks on Diwali. 
Bharti Tele-Ventures to enter capital market 
Bharti Tele-Ventures filed an IPO offer document with SEBI for 10% of its equity. The current paid up capital of the company is around Rs. 1,675 crore. The company will issue 18.5 crore equity shares of Rs.10 each through book building process. The premium is yet to be decided. The company aims to raise over Rs.1000 crore through this issue.The issue may come up around January 2002. Bharti group has a massive expansion plan in wireline and cellular business.It also intends to provide national long distance and broadband services. 
TRAI recommends Rs. 25 crore entry fee for long-distance licence 
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommended a one time entry fee of Rs.25 crore for issuing an international telephony licence to private companies. It also recommended that the new players need to set up only four Points of Presence. According to the industry sources these conditions are favourable and will substantially reduce the project costs for the new companies to enter Rs. 7,500 crore market. TRAI has recommended a revenue sharing of 15%. 
Text messaging ( SMS ) is no longer just teenagers' passtime 
A survey carried out by AT Kearney and Cambridge University's B-school shows that text messaging has grown at an average of  10% overall since January 2001, but it has grown at double the rate, that is 20% amongst the 35 - 54 year olds. This is being attributed to some interesting SMS applications which companies have statarted deploying like mobile banking, ticket bookings, contest entries etc. 
Batata restructures its debt 
Birla AT&T and Tata combine Batata is negociating with financial institutions and Banks to restructure its debt in order to make substantial saving on interest cost. The interest rate can be brought down by an average of 3% on its combined debt of Rs. 2,000 crore. The debt streams are associated with Birla AT&T, Tata Cellular and acquired RPG's MP circle.  
Hutchison group reshuffles key personnel to head its cellular ops 
The Hutchison group today announced reshuffling of key personnel from the exisitng circles to newly acquired circles in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Chennai or involved fresh appointments. Sanjay Mukherjee, MD, Navinmail, a provider of unified Messaging Services (UMS), is joining the Hutchison Group as the COO of the Calcutta circle. Rajiv Sawhney, CEO of Usha Martin, Calcutta circle, will be moved to Bangalore as CEO of the Karnataka and Chennai circles. Neelkamal Dutta will head the network operations in Chennai. Sandip Das, CEO of the Mumbai and Gujarat circle will take the additional responsibilities of heading the Andhra Pradesh circle. Samuel Selvakumar will be the COO for Andhra Pradesh. Sameer Dave is being moved from Mumbai to Hyderabad to head the network operations for Andhra Pradesh while Sunil Ranka, Vice President, finance will oversee the same function now for Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Sanjeev Vohra, Vice President, sales and marketing will oversee the group's corporate marketing activities. 
BPL Mobile cuts pre-paid rates, monthly rentals 
Cellular service provider in Mumbai circle, BPL  Mobile, has announced cuts in both monthly rentals and pre-paid air-time rate. BPL cut monthly rentals to Rs 295 from Rs 395, while reducing pre-paid airtime rate to Rs 1.99 per minute from Rs 2.25 per minute. Recently, Orange slashed monthly rentals to Rs 295. BPL Mobile said it was introducing value-added services such as call-holding, call-waiting, call-forwarding, and call-conferencing on the pre-paid card. It claimed that it was the first time in India that these services were being offered on a pre-paid card. 
Escotel crosses 4 lakh subscriber base mark 
Cellular service provider Escotel today announced that its customer base has crossed 400,000 mark."This acheivement of four lakh customer mark is an important milestone for us," Manoj Kohli, executive director and chief executive officer of Escotel said in a statement. Stating that the company now had a synergistic presence in Northern India, Kohli said that Escotel was ready to take off and acheive an exponential growth that would get it a customer base of 600,000 by 2003. 
TRAI relaxes license conditions for 4th cell bidder 
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today recommended relaxation in license condition for fourth telecom circles of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. Department of telecommunications (DoT) did not receive any bids for these fourth circles and failed to attract to bidders. Among the recommendations made by TRAI are a reduction in the entry fee, permission to appoint franchisees, and halving of roll-out obligations for the first three years. TRAI has also suggested the clubbing of Andaman and Nicobar circle with the Tamil Nadu circle. 
Bharti recruits key personnel to head its cellular ops 
The Delhi based Bharti group has firmed up the name of key personnel to head its cellular operations in the western region. This follows the allotment of new licenses last month along with the acquisition of Kolkata and existing operation in Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chennai and the eventual settlement of Punjab will take Bharti's mobile spread to cover 15 states.The western region will be headed by Sanjay Kapoor, who currently heads Bharti's  operation in Delhi. He will be responsible for the group's cellular operations in Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. Atul Jhamb has joined Bharti to head the Mumbai circle. Prabhat Roy has joined Bharti to head the Gujarat circle. 
MTNL to launch prepaid cellular cards soon 
State owned MTNL is planning to launch a prepaid card services with a new brand for its cellular service. MTNL's cellular service under the brand name Dolphin has already gained market share in Mumbai and has got more than 24,000 subscribers. 
AirTel launches magic prepiad cards in Chennai 
Bharti Mobinet limited (formerly Skycell Ltd.), a Bharti Group company providing cellular services under the brand name AirTel in the city on Friday, announced the launch of Magic, the company's largest selling pre-paid cellular cards. 
September adds 2.5 lakh new cellular subscribers 
There is a marginal increase in cellular subscribers in September as compared to sharp increase witnessed in August. The 2.56 lakh new subscribers added during September are just little higher than August addition of 2.53 lakh subscribers. The total number of cellular subscribers in India now stands at 4.8 lakh, according to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Delhi is still in the lead with 7.62 lakh subscribers as compared to Mumbai's 7.1 lakh subscribers. The metros have shown an increase of 1,24,992 subscribers with the figures now standing at 1,857,781 subscribers. 
AirTel launches voice-based railway enquiry system 
AirTel announced launch of its exclusive voice-based railway enquiry system for its customers on their cellular phones. Both, post-paid and pre-paid customers of AirTel will be able to access all information pertaining to railways by dialing 131/1335/1330 from their handsets. AirTel will be using dedicated lines for 1330/1335 made available by the railways for providing easy access to information. The service will be available at Rs 2 per 30 sec for post-paid customers and at Rs 2.50 per 30 sec for Magic customers. 
AirTel in AP launches new messaging services 
AirTel, the cellular service provider in   Andhra Pradesh, has announced the launch of two new services from mobile to Internet messaging services, which are Hear Mail service and YRD service. YRD is a service which provides AirTel and Magic subscribers the facility to connect and exchange information with Internet based instant messaging services. The Hear-Mail service will enable the AirTel subscribers to listen to their emails on their mobile phones in English, Hindi and Telegu. 
France Telecom seeking higher stake in Batata-BPL combine 
France Telecom is seeking a higher stake than the 9.3 per cent being offered to it post BPL's merger with Birla AT&T and Tata. France Telecom currently owns a 26 per cent stake in BPL Mobile. France Telecom is also looking for some shareholders rights and wants to be a part of the agreement entered into between the BPL group and the Birla-Tata-AT&T combine. The French telecom giant is looking at a stake of about 12 per cent in the merged entity. More than 10 per cent stake would give France Telcom a minority shareholder rights under the Companies Act. 
COAI asks TRAI to allow direct link between cellular operators & ILDOs 
The Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI) has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to allow direct connectivity between cellular operators and International Long distance Operators (ILDOs). TRAI is considering three different kinds of connectivity for the ILDOs. Apart from direct connectivity, the other two kinds involve connecting the fixed line and the cellular service provider to ILDOs through the NLDO or a VSNL form of connectivity where the ILDO connects to the NLDO through BSNL. 
Ericsson bags $70m order from Bharti 
Ericsson Telecommunications has bagged a $70 million order for supplying GSM mobile infrastructure to the Bharti Group. The company will provide complete end-to-end infrastructure of GSM nodes to Bharti for five new circles of Punjab, Haryana, UP (W), Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Ericsson has also bagged the contract for setting up GPRS network for Bharti in Delhi and Bangalore. 
BSNL's cell service 
The much awaited cellular service of BSNL will be rolled out with an investment of Rs 250 crore in Maharashtra telecom circle by the end of this fiscal. The order for equipment have already been placed and services are expected to start in Pune in February-March 2002. 
MTNL re-launches WILL services 
Union Minister for Information Technology and Communications Mr. Pramod Mahajan re-launched MTNL's wireless in local loop ( WILL) services in Delhi today. TRAI has been told to do away with the minimum monthly rental of Rs.450 and just fix an upper limit to make the service more affordable. The tariffs for this service will be announced shortly. MTNL's GSM service, Dolphin which may be threatened has been advised to develop "killer instinct" to compete with private operators like, AirTel, Essar and BPL. 
Hutchison's cellular operations to have common brand 
Mr. Sudarshan Banerjee, CEO, Hutchison Essar said that Hutchison Telecom, a joint venture with Essar Cellphone in Delhi, Usha Martin in Kolkata, Max India in Mumbai and Hinduja's Fascel in Gujarat will be launching a common brand for all its cellular services throughout the country. At present it is Essar Cellphone in Delhi, Orange in Mumbai, Command in Kolkata and Fascel in Gujarat. 
Bharti ties up with Motorola 
Bharti Enterprises tied up with Motorola to install its GSM cellular networks in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Gujarat which will include GPRS for high speed mobile data services.It will support two million subscribers. The contract valued at $70 m is for three years. 
BATATA signs cellular licence for Delhi 
Birla AT&T and Tata combine BATATA signed the licence agreement with DoT to provide cellular services in Delhi. The company had won this licence in the recent bidding for fourth cellular licence, for Rs. 170.70 crores. 
Mr. Sanjeev Aga, CEO of Birla AT&T and Tata combine BATATA has quit. It came as a surprise since he was recently appointed as the chairman of COAI and was the frontrunner for the CEO position after the proposed merger. 
Cellular Manufacturers ask for duty cuts 
Indian Cellular Association which includes global mobile phone giants like Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, Siemens etc. said that Indian Government will loose Rs.1,850 crores by 2005 in terms of revenue if appropriate measures are not taken to rationalise duty structures applicable on imports of mobile handsets. India has one of the world's highest duty structures which adds upto 42% on this product which include duties like statewise sales tax, central excise, countervailing and special additional duty inspite of the fact that there is no domestic mobile phone manufacturer in the country. Duty cuts will put an end to the flourishing grey market in the metros and ensure quality and proper after sales service to the customers. 
Govt. approves Bharti's buy out of British Telecom's stake 
Bharti group's buy out of British Telecom's 44% equity stake in its Bharti Cellular Ltd. has been approved by the Government. This will convert Bharti Cellular into a wholly owened subsidiary of Bharti Televentures. Bharti group is also planning to merge all its cellular operating companies namely Bharti Mobile, Bharti Telenet and SkyCell into Bharti Cellular. 
AirTel cellular services launched in Chennai 
Bharti Enterprises Ltd. launched its AirTel brand in Chennai. It is going to pump in Rs.100 crore in Chennai to build its brand and upgrade the service operations in the city. Chennai's cellular service provider Skycell Communications Ltd. which was recently acquired by Bharti Enterprises Ltd. has been rechristened as Bharti Mobinet Ltd. 
World's first third-generation ( 3G) mobiles launched today 
Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. launched today the world's first 3G mobile phones. These mobile phones were launched under the brand name FOMA ( Freedom Of Mobile Multimedia Access). Users of these phones can talk face-to-face via video and surf internet at speeds upto 40 times faster than the current i-mode. The company is hoping to attract six million domestic subscribers as well as success in European and American markets. 
New 'Sony Ericsson' brand for Cellphones 
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, the mobile phone joint venture between Japan's Sony Corp. and Sweden's Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson's handset division started operations from today under its new brand ' Sony Ericsson' which is hoped to be the world's leading brand in five years. 
Bharti crosses 10 lakh figure in cellular subscribers 
Bharti group has crossed 10 lakh customer mark in its cellular phone operations including all of its circles in the country.  
Mr. Sunil Mittal, the company's chairman and managing director said It is a milestone and our ultimate goal is to provide the best customer care in the country. 

Cellular News: July - Sept. 2001
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Cellular News: Jan. - Mar. 2001
Cellular News: Oct. - Dec. 2000 
Cellular News: July - Sept. 2000 
Cellular News: April - June 2000