Cellular News
Date: 31/12/2002
Telecom sector attracted Rs 50.48 billion FDI in last 2 yrs
The domestic telecom sector has attracted foreign direct investment worth Rs 50.48 billion ($1.05 billion) in the past two years according to a government release. 
 
Date: 31/12/2002
BSNL to start mobile telephony in J&K from Apr 2003
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will launch mobile phone service in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) from 13 April 2003 with the cities of Jammu, Srinagar and Vaishno Devi shrine to be covered in the first phase. The other 12 district headquarters of the State would be covered in due course. 
 
Date: 29/12/2002
Reliance Infocomm launches its CDMA based mobile services at a grand scale
Reliance Infocomm launched its CDMA based mobile services yesterday on the occasion of Dhirubhai Ambani's birthday. The project is Reliance's most ambitious till date with a proposed investment of over Rs 25,000 crore. Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee inaugurated Reliance Infocomm's services by speaking to the Union communications minister Pramod Mahajan in a video conference call. Vajpayee was the first to send a text message, one of his poems, using Reliance's proprietary technology. Reliance plans to connect all 6.4 lakh villages and 2,000 towns in India in an year's time and offer connectivity to consumers at 40 paise a minute, with a whole gamut of voice and data services thrown into the package. Reliance Infocomm expects to post profits in the very first year. Reliance Infocomm is now set to start commercial operations from March 2003. 
 
Date: 25/12/2002
MTNL's Trump cards finished
MTNL has stopped sales of its pre-paid card `Trump'. According to officials, the company does not have enough capacity to handle more than one lakh subscribers it already has. MTNL is expanding its network to add another 4 lakh lines each in Delhi and Mumbai. 
 
Date: 25/12/2002
Aircel will pay its subscribers for talking
Aircel, one of the cellular service providers in Tamil Nadu promises to pay for talking. The company announced 'talk and take' tariff plan for its customers, under which the subscriber would be rewarded Re 1, for every minute of the outgoing airtime used. A ceiling of Rs 20,400 has been fixed for repayment. 
 
Date: 25/12/2002
PM launches rural mobile phone service
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today inaugurated the Grameen Sanchar Sewak (GSS) aimed at providing mobile phones to the rural population at their doorsteps through the postmen. The scheme is being implemented through an alliance between the department of post and BSNL. In the initial phase, this project would cover about 8000 villages in 21 telecom circles covering all  the states except Andaman & Nicobar, Haryana and Punjab. 
 
Date: 23/12/2002
Christmas jingles from AirTel
AirTel Subscribers in Karnataka can hear Christmas jingles on their handsets. The subscribers can download the jingles after dialing 646 from their handsets and choose from a variety of jingles. They can also download pictures created specially for the Christmas season through SMS and can send them to friends and relatives. 
 
Date: 18/12/2002
Motorola bags Rs.170 crore BSNL order
Motorola got contract from BSNL for supplying and installing GSM network with 320,000 lines capacity in Chennai, Hyderabad and seven other cities of Andhra Pradesh. With this Motorola has total Rs.990 crores orders from BSNL for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. 
 
Date: 18/12/2002
COAI will seek stay on WiLL at TDSAT
COAI will file a stay plea with TDSAT aimed at both existing and new launches of limited mobility services by fixed service providers by proving it as an illegal service. Supreme Court has already asked TDSAT to reconsider the issues of level playing field, violation of TRAI Act,  cost of technology, contractual obligations, policy and permissibility issues and public interest. 
 
Date: 18/12/2002
BSNL seeks waiver on bank guarantees
BSNL is seeking waiver of its bank and performance guarantee as it is under direct control of DoT. BSNL which has cellular licence for 22 circles would have to pay financial bank guarantee of Rs.585 crore and a performance guarantee of Rs.234 crore as per the current guidelines. Its licence fee and spectrum charges are already waived off. 
 
Date: 18/12/2002
Exchange offer by Reliance
Reliance Infocomm plans to buy cellular handsets from the existing users depending upon their assessed value and give them new CDMA phones along with their limited mobility service. These handsets will be locked to the issuing network. 
 
Date: 17/12/2002
Supreme Court ordered TDSAT to reconsider limited mobility issue
Supreme Court ordered Telecom Dispute Settlememt and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to reconsider limited mobility issue with special emphasis on the question of level playing field advocated by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Earlier TDSAT had upheld the government's decision allowing basic telephone operators to provide limited mobility using Wireless in Local  Loop (WiLL). Although SC refused to stay fixed service providers from providing WiLL services which will be subject to the final decision of TDSAT. 
 
Date: 17/12/2002
IDEA Cellular is making a quasi equity issue
IDEA Cellular is making a quasi equity issue of Rs.480 crore through ten year preference shares with a put and call option at the end of three years. Standard Chartered Bank of Mauritius is subscribing to the entire issue and may pass some shares to other investors at a later stage. IDEA Cellular will pay Standard Chartered a premium upon redemption. 
 
Date: 16/12/2002
Same Fee for unlimited mobility on WiLL
At a telecom seminar organized by Indian Merchants Chamber Telecommunications Minister Promod Mahajan said that Wireless in Local Loop operators willing to offer 'unlimited mobility' will have to pay fee equal to that paid by cellular operators as government is not biased towards CDMA or GSM technology. 
 
Date: 15/12/2002
Sunil Mittal awarded the Business Man of the year
Bharti Group chairman and MD Sunil Bharti Mittal has been awarded the Business Man of the year 2002 instituted by news magazine Business India. The award was presented by Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani. 
 
Date: 13/12/2002
Airtel targets 3 million subscribers by 31st March 2003
Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd. plans to increase its subscribers base to more than 3 million by March 2003 which will will bring its market share to 30%. The company has a subscriber base of 2.65 million in 16 states. 
 
Date: 12/12/2002
Cellular subscribers figure nearing 10 million mark
The total number of GSM cellular sevices subscribers in India has reached 97.3 lakh as per COAI figures. 7.5 lakh new subscribers were added last month out of which BSNL added 3 lakh subscribers while the fourth cellular operator IDEA added 75,384 subscribers in Delhi in November. 
 
Date: 12/12/2002
BSNL & MTNL will not be privatised
The Rajya Sabha was told by the government that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar  Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) will not be privatised in near future. 
 
Date: 12/12/2002
Tata's WiLL got 3000 subscribers in Delhi
Tata Teleservices quitely launched its limited mobility services in Delhi on Dec.1st and has already enrolled around 3000 subscribers so far. The formal launch is scheduled for Dec.19th when it will start aggressive advertising. The current capacity is of 1.25 lakh lines. 
 
Date: 11/12/2002
Reliance Infocomm will utilise groups' distribution network to sell telecom products
Reliance Infocomm plans to utilise Reliance groups' distribution network of RIL and IPCL to sell its telecom products. 
 
Date: 11/12/2002
Tata Teleservices' WiLL tariffs approved
Tata Teleservices has obtained TRAI approval for its WiLL tariffs that could reduce subscriber's mobile bill by 70%. The company is planning to roll out its fixed as well as limited mobility services in Delhi next week. 
 
Date: 10/12/2002
HUTCH launched Direct Connect services
Hutch launched its Direct Connect services which will benefit cellular and fixed line callers in Delhi while calling national and international roamers on Hutch. Only local airtime for cellular and local call charges on fixed line will be applicable to such calls. 
 
Date: 10/12/2002
Ericsson systems has good news for cellular operators
Ericsson systems has developed a software solution called Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR) that would allow cellular operators to enhance their network capacity up to 100% without installing any additional hardware. Around 50% of GSM networks in the country are based on Ericsson technology. 
 
Date: 10/12/2002
All Hutchison operations under single 'Hutch' brand
Hutchison Telecommunications which is offering cellular services in India as Orange in Mumbai, Command in Kolkata, Celforce in Gujarat and Hutch in Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Cennai is all set to garb a single identity 'Hutch'. The 'Hutch' cellular brand will be launched in Kolkata and Gujarat by 20th December 2002. 
 
Date: 6/12/2002
WILL now available to GSM Cellular Operators too
Wireless In Local Loop (WILL) which was part of CDMA technology is now available to GSM Cellular Service Providers also. Nokia Networks India is offering this technology on 800 MHz spectrum allocated for WILL. GSM networks can be upgraded to support this frequency band resulting in the most cost-efficient WILL services. 
 
Date: 5/12/2002
Cellular services in J&K by April 2003
Union Communications Minister Pramod Mahajan has assured J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed that cellular phone services will be launched in the state by April 2003. Initially the services will start in Srinagar and Jammu. Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the mobile services for the state earlier this year. 
 
Date: 4/12/2002
Sony Ericsson launched another MMS compatible handset
Sony Ericsson launched T300, a new MMS compatible mobile phone which enables users to create, send and receive photo messages, recorded sound clips and formatted text. It has song like ring signals that can be shared, downloaded and composed. It has stand-by time of 300-350 hrs and a snap-on camera with digital zoom. 
 
Date: 4/12/2002
Cellular operators can match WILL tariffs
GSM Cellular operators offered to match the rates at which basic telephony operators provide limited mobility services, provided the government ensures a level-playing field. The Cellular operators had to pay huge entry fees whereas Basic operators do not pay any fees to offer limited mobility. According to Cellular operators a level-playing field means a refund of the entry fees paid by them, secondly the same interconnect as offered to basic operators. Cellular operators currently get a point of interconnect of only one per long distance charging area which is one revenue district while the Fixed line operators get one point of interconnect per short distance charging area. Thus any call outside the SDCA becomes a long distance call for the cellular operators which is an anomaly to be removed. 
 
Date: 3/12/2002
Reliance Tariff may get TRAI clearance
TRAI is likely to approve Reliance Infocomm's tariff plans for WILL services as it is not perceived to be  'discriminatory' or 'predatory'. Reliance is offering the same rates to both its subscribers as well as to other access providers, basic service providers and cellular operators. TRAI had objected to BSNL's Plan 325 since it discriminated between its own landline subscribers and those of other telecom operators. 'Predatory' pricing means the company is recovering less than the cost. This is not the case here since Reliance's costs are low since its equipment costs were low at the time they were purchased and due to its economy of scale. 
 
Date: 2/12/2002
Reliance Mobile to change the telecom scene
'Reliance Mobile' is the finally decided brand name that will be launched on December 28th by Reliance Infocom for its CDMA based mobile services. The company will be introducing the revolutionary 'No airtime charge' plan subject to TRAI clearance. The subscriber will be paying upfront Rs.14,400 for three years which includes an entry level handset also. The service will include calls between 600 cities at local rates, 20 paise per minute at 15 sec pulse, incoming calls, Caller ID, 200 games free, video streaming on hi-end phone. Reliance Infocomm's hitech National Network Operations Centre at Vashi is buzzing with activity. The company will be spending Rs.100 crore on advertising. Supreme Court verdict on limited mobility is also expected soon. 
 
Date: 28/11/2002
Handset with built-in digital camera is latest telecom trend in Japan
After mobile internet, it is the handset with built-in digital camera which is the latest telecom trend in Japan. These handsets facilitate users to take pictures and send them via e-mail. NTTDoCoMo which has over 42 million subscribers, hooked over three million users for its camera phones in last six months. This is a very positive development for handset manufacturers specially in saturated markets like Japan. 
 
Date: 28/11/2002
RPG Cellular rated the best
An independent survey conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) rated Chennai's cellular service provider RPG Cellular as No.1 on the factors of network quality and consumer satisfaction. 
 
Date: 27/11/2002
Supreme Court verdict reserved
Supreme court reserved its verdict after a four-day hearing on petitions by COAI challenging the controvertial order of TDSAT which upheld the decision of Centre to allow basic operators to offer limited mobility through WLL. 
 
Date: 26/11/2002
TRAI rejected BSNL's proposal to continue with its introductory tariff plans
TRAI rejected BSNL's proposal to continue with its introductory tariff plans for its cellular services which are the lowest in the country. TRAI feels that BSNL is able to offer such low tariffs because of cross-subsidy from its NLD and basic services. TRAI has asked BSNL to file fresh tariff structure. 
 
Date: 26/11/2002
Reliance telecom tariffs to trigger price war
Subject to TRAI clearance, the proposed telecom tariffs by Reliance may trigger a price war. The offer is - on upfront payment of Rs.14,400 for three years ie. Rs.400 per month, a subscriber will get several services like limited mobility (WLL-CDMA), local and some categories of long distance calls also, including SMS, CLIP, call divert etc. at the rate of 20 paisa per minute with 15 secs pulse. All incoming calls would be free. Although the proposal regarding roaming is not very clear. 
 
Date: 25/11/2002
Hutchison CEO (Delhi) quits
Mr. Sudershan Banerjee, CEO (Delhi), is quitting Hutchison to join an Indian group's new consumer durable company with special emphasis on blue collar retail. Mr. Banerjee has earlier worked with companies like Crompton UK, Keltron Bailey France and Amway Corp USA. 
 
Date: 25/11/2002
Bharti group companies merging into Bharti Cellular
Bharti is bringing all its cellular operations under one roof of Bharti Cellular Ltd. Bharti Mobitel that holds the Kolkata cellular licence, Bharti Mobile the cellular service provider in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab and Bharti Telenet Ltd. which runs cellular services in Himachal Pradesh are all being merged into Bharti Cellular Ltd.
 
Date: 25/11/2002
Anytime recharge facility by RPG in Chennai
RPG Cellular Services Ltd, Chennai has tied up with ICICI Bank to provide 'Anytime recharge' facility for the subscribers of the RPG's pre-paid card called 'Wings'. 
 
Date: 18/11/2002
Reliance Infocomm to offer cheapest telecom services
Reliance Infocomm is planning to offer the 'cheapest' telecom services in the world when it will launch its services on December 28th all across the country. According to the company this would be possible due to the group's focus on the concept of capital productivity. Reliance Infocomm will be offering CDMA based limited mobility and internet services apart from other telecom services it is already offering in different parts of the country. 
 
Date: 18/11/2002
Asian telecom markets to grow 9.5%
Asian telecom markets are expected to grow 9.5% till 2006. Pace of growth in Asia Pacific will be more than in Europe and Northern America. According to the survey, worldwide market for telecom equipment and services is expected to grow from $1.38 trillion in 2001 to $2.15 trillion at a CAGR of 9.2%. Outpacing the equipment, the services will capture 77.3% of the market. 
 
Date: 16/11/2002
AirTel offers 'Desi SMS' in Karnataka
AirTel's latest offering in Karnataka is "Desi SMS" which gives subscribers access to the SMS service in eight languages. The subscribers of AirTel can send messages to their friends and relatives in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarathi, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. The company will also provide the latest bill details, payment confirmation and other related services like activation or cancellation of roaming through the SMS. 
 
Date: 15/11/2002
ESCOTEL Mobile introduces usage based tariffs in Kerala
ESCOTEL Mobile has introduced usage based tariffs on its existing Right Plan along with a substantial reduction in airtime rates. The airtime tariff on Right Plan has been slashed from Rs 2 per minute to Rs 1.20 per minute for the first 250 minutes and it is 60 paise per minute above 250 minutes. A new postpaid tariff plan called Star Plan is introduced which offers 100 minutes of free airtime for both incoming and outgoing calls. Beyond 100 minutes, the rate charged is Rs 2 per minute. Right Plan is available for a monthly rental of Rs 349 and Star Plan comes with a monthly rental of Rs 375. Mobile-to-mobile incoming calls from over 2.5 lakh Escotel customers in Kerala are absolutely free. 
 
Date: 14/11/2002
4.45 lakh cellular subscribers added in October
Cellular phone industry in India added 4.45 lakh new  cellular subscribers in October which is 5.21% more as compared to last month. Total number of GSM services subscribers in India is now close to 90 lakh. Many circles experienced the entry of fourth cellular service provider in last few months.
 
Date: 13/11/2002
Videocon to enter mobile phone manufacturing
Videocon, a consumer electronics major which is a Rs.4000 crore group is entering into manufacturing of GSM mobile phones. The handsets will be manufactured at its facility at Bhuj in Gujarat. The technology support is in-house. The handsets will be launched in India in second quarter next year. In first phase, the company plans to produce 3 lakh handsets per annum which will be priced between Rs.4000 to Rs.12,000 will be marketed through Videocon's 7000 dealer-distributor network. Export of these handsets will be taken up at a later stage, mainly to Middle-East countries and Africa.
 
Date: 13/11/2002
Bharti completes its roll out with the launch of cellular services in Goa
Bharti launched its cellular services in Goa with which it completed its roll out. Its Airtel brand is present in 16 states across the country. Bharti's bouquet of free services is helping it to woo the customers in new circles. In Goa Bharti is offering free SMS and voice service for two months, free airtime package at night, free airtime on one international, one national and one local number without any monthly charges. No roaming charges and free Incoming calls between Airtel networks across the country. It is also offering free local direct dialling. 
 
Date: 10/11/2002
Escotel to invest Rs.100 crore in capital expenditure
Escotel would invest Rs.100 crore in capital expenditure in 2002-03. The funds would be utilised for expansion and roll-out activities. Escotel currently provides cellular services in Haryana, U.P.(West) and Kerala and has around 5,75,000 subscribers. It had acquired licences for the fourth cellular operator in Punjab, Rajasthan, U.P.(East) and Himachal Pradesh. The company would be rolling out services in the new circles in the first quarter of next year. 
 
Date: 7/11/2002
IDEA Cellular services launched in Delhi
IDEA Cellular launched its 3G compatible, GPRS ready, 1800 MHz network in Delhi today. IT & Communications minister Mr. Pramod Mahajan inaugurated the services. GPRS enables always-on high speed internet which facilitates you to access e-mails from any account, chat etc. on your cellphone. Also you can send MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services) ie. photographs, voice clips as well as text although your handset should also be GPRS compatible. The company is promising whisper-clear voice clarity and very high speed data transmission. 

IDEA Cellular is offering five value rich tariff plans includind a zero rental plan, first minute free plan, shopping discounts with 
M-coupons, SMS in 9 regional languages including Hindi and Gurmukhi and exciting games on network. Its Pre-Paid card called 'IDEA Chit-Chat' comes with automatic National Roaming for incoming. IDEA Cellular entering as the fourth cellular operator in the capital is a three way venture between AV Birla, Tatas and AT&T Wireless. The company has invested Rs.500 crore in Delhi circle and has 350 cell sites. 
 

Date: 5/11/2002
SMS traffic four times on Diwali
SMS (Short Message Service) traffic was four times more on Diwali as compared to the normal days as mobile users across the country opted to send Diwali greetings through this most economical, convenient and instant mode of communication. The increase in traffic spelt huge revenue for cellular operators at Rs 1.50 per message, it also resulted in network clogging. In Delhi Hutch and Airtel recorded over 4.6 million and 3.4 million messages respectively on Diwali day. It is generally 1.1 to 1.2 million SMS on a normal day. In Mumbai, BPL recorded 2 million outgoing messages . 
 
Date: 2/11/2002
IDEA Cellular to launch services in Delhi by 7th Nov.
IDEA Cellular is all set to launch its cellular services in Delhi by 7th Nov. The company plans to offer attractive tariff for Delhi cellular subscribers and promises superior network quality, extensive coverage footprint and very high customer service standards. The launch got delayed as the company was not allocated the frequency spectrum.IDEA Cellular, formerly Birla Tata AT&T Ltd. has a subscriber base of more than one million and was the first operator to reach this figure in non-metro circles. 
 
Date: 31/10/2002
Reliance Infocomm's big foray into telecom
Reliance Infocomm has started soft launch of its CDMA based limited mobility and Internet services in some parts of Mumbai. The formal launch is slated for December 28th, birthday of Dhirubhai Ambani as announced at the company's AGM. Reliance has so far invested Rs.4500 crore in the Infocomm project. Reliance Infocomm is already providing GSM based services in West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Noth East, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Now with CDMA based limited mobility Reliance plans to gain a significant position in Indian telecom industry. Beginning with villages of Gujrat it plans to sweep the country covering thousands of villages and hundreds of cities. 
 
Date: 30/10/2002
MTNL and BSNL waiving roaming charges
MTNL and BSNL are in the final stage of negociations on waiver of roaming charges. This will give them an edge over their private competitors. Currently Dolphin subscribers have to pay @ Rs.3 /min for roaming outside Delhi and Mumbai, similarly BSNL's cellular subscribers pay @ Rs.3 /min inside Delhi and Mumbai. MTNL already has roaming arrangements with all cellular operators in the country. 
 
Date: 29/10/2002
Bharti successfully completed all new launches
Bharti Televentures has successfully completed the launch of its cellular services in all the circles for which it had acquired licenses. It added net 6,86,496 subscribers in last quarter. BTVL clocked a loss of Rs.129 crore in quarter ended Sept. 2002 as it kicked off many new projects. Although the company showed improvement in total earnings in the quarter as well as in operating profit. 
 
Date: 29/10/2002
PHS, the micro-cellular technology
Apart from the GSM and CDMA, the two standards currently being used by cellular service providers and the fixed line operators respectively for providing wireless communications to the masses, another technology penetrating Indian market is PHS (Personal Handy-phone System) standard. It uses 1880-1920 MHz part of frequency spectrum and uses micro-cellular technology. MTNL is using this technology to offer 'extended cordless service' to around 6000 subscribers in Delhi's congested areas. Tata Teleservices is using PHS to meet its VPT commitments in rural and remote areas of Andhra Pradesh. 
 
Date: 26/10/2002
Ericsson to supply GPRS infrastructure to Hutch
Ericsson will supply GPRS infrastructure and integrated services to upgrade Hutchison's four existing GSM mobile networks in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Gujarat. Ericsson's GPRS system makes it possible for Hutchison to offer users an always-on connectivity and higher bandwidth for transfer of data and services like MMS. This will help its later evolution to 3G mobile network. 
 
Date: 26/10/2002
Airtel installs fifth mobile switching centre in Delhi
Airtel expanded its network by installing  fifth Mobile Switching Centre in Delhi circle. It deployed 1.8 MHz of additional bandwidth in the 900 MHz frequency band allocated to it in Delhi. AirTel network in Delhi currently manages more than 150 million call minutes every month and with the scaling up of the capacity, it can cater to the needs of more than 1.5 million customers. 
 
Date: 25/10/2002
GSM vs WLL dispute now in Supreme Court
The Supreme Court began its final hearing to decide on a petition filed by COAI seeking to scrap a government policy that allows fixed-line operators to offer a limited mobile service. The Supreme Court directed the government, COAI and the Association of Basic Telephone Operators to file their submissions. The hearing will continue on October 30 and 31. The controversial policy, which allows fixed-line phone firms to offer a cheaper mobile service in a limited radius is at the core of a dispute between the basic and mobile phone industry. The cellular services providers approached the Court after TRAI and the TDSAT dismissed their plea. 
 
Date: 25/10/2002
Bharti will not offer WLL services in its fixed line circles
Bharti Group will not offer WLL services in any of its circles where it is providing fixed line telecom services. The company is committed to provide high quality mobile services through GSM technology. There was this assumption as the company has applied for spectrum under its fixed licence. The company sources say they have applied since it is available free and the reason for securing spectrum is to offer WLL based fixed line services by using it for last mile access as the company has done in case of Madhya Pradesh fixed line operations in the past and not to offer mobile services. 
 
Date: 25/10/2002
Graham Burke to join IDEA Cellular
Graham Burke is joining IDEA Cellular as CEO. Prior to this appointment he was CEO Mobilink GSM, a joint venture between Motorola and Pakistan's Saif Telecom which showed 500% growth in two years under his leadership. Mr. Burke is a Canadian citizen and has worked in 50 countries over past 22 years. 
 
Date: 22/10/2002
Private cellular operators to counter BSNL
To counter BSNL's offerings through its mobile service CellOne, Private cellular service providers are working on new tariff plans where a customer may have to pay just Rs.1.20 per 90 secs for local calls, Rs.2.40 per min for calls upto 500 km and Rs.4.80 per min for anywhere else within India. This will be 50% less than present airtime charges and will hurt BSNL's NLD business. Private operators may use Bharti's NLD network. MTNL's Dolphin may also cut rates. 
 
Date: 22/10/2002
Free incoming only for 90 days
TRAI has clarified that BSNL's Pre-paid tariff options and Post-paid plan that offers free incoming from BSNL's fixed lines will only be available for 90 days as introductory offer. BSNL will have to introduce regular and duely approved tariffs before this period expires. 
 
Date: 22/10/2002
BSNL to have roaming tie-up with MTNL only
BSNL is present all over the India except Delhi and Mumbai while MTNL operates in these two metros only hence CellOne's roaming tie-up will only be with MTNL's Dolphin according to the communications minister. BSNL has set up its mobile service CellOne in every Indian state except J&K and North East covering all highways and district headquarters. The only problem here is sort of 'denial of service' to a private mobile service user from Delhi or Mumbai visiting a remote town who will not be able to use his mobile phone inspite of GSM service CellOne present there. 
 
Date: 22/10/2002
Tata's WLL services in Delhi by December
Tata Teleservices will launch its limited mobility WLL service in Delhi by December. 112 cell sites are already in place and a 100 seat call centre will take care of the customers. The company has invested Rs.300 crore in Delhi. The planned tariff is a standard Rs.200 monthly rental, Rs.1.20 for 3 min outgoing and free incoming call. Tata Teleservices may also offer SMS on its limited mobility phones subject to regulatory clearance. 
 
Date: 21/10/2002
Bharti Cellular is raising funds
Bharti Cellular is in the process of raising Rs.604 crore through a six year external commercial borrowing (ECB) for the expansion of its operations in the country. The lead arranger is ABN Amro Bank, Singapore. 
 
Date: 19/10/2002
BSNL launches cellular service "CellOne"
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) launched its GSM mobile service under the brands 'CellOne' for Post-paid cards and 'Ex-Cel' for Pre-paid cards. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and deputy PM L.K. Advani made the first call. BSNL is promising state-of-art network, widespread reach, fantastic highway connectivity along with free incoming calls from its 38 million fixed line users, free CLIP, free SMS on pre-paid cards and no deposit for voice mail. 
 
Date: 14/10/2002
Bank of Punjab has launched `Mobile Wallet'
Bank of Punjab has launched a payment mechanism called `Mobile Wallet' where a customer having a debit or credit card can make a purchase by sending messages from the mobile phone for the payment. The bank in turn would send a message confirming the purchase both to the merchant and to the buyer. 
 
Date: 13/10/2002
`Mobile' postman for villages
The rural postmen would be provided with mobile phones connected under the Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) system as part of the pilot project to be launched in 2,000 post offices covering 10,000 villages in the country. The postman, apart from being in touch with his office, would also be able to help villagers use the phone, thereby fetching additional revenue to the department. A fourth of the revenue netted thus would be paid to the postman as commission, thereby enabling the lowest-paid employee in the department to earn more. 
 
Date: 13/10/2002
Move against BSNL number prefix ends
Private cellular service providers have withdrawn their objections for the `94' prefix being given to BSNL's CellOne service. The numbering was allotted to BSNL not to give it any undue advantage. It was given because the company has a plan to roll out the cellular services across all the circles in the country. If any private operator comes forward to offer services in a similar manner, DoT will issue a different number to that operator too. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will officially launch the Cell One service from Lucknow on October 19. 
 
Date: 12/10/2002
BSNL files cellular tariffs with TRAI
BSNL has filed its cellular tariff plan with TRAI and the services will be launched on 19 October 2002 under the brand name CellOne. The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal had on Thursday stayed a particular clause of Cellular Tariff Order of 2002, which required BSNL to report its cellular tariffs to TRAI. BSNL is negotiating with MTNL for a roaming agreement, in order to offer its CellOne cellular customers all-India roaming facility. 
 
Date: 12/10/2002
Reference interconnect order
In a reference interconnect order submitted to TRAI, COAI had proposed cost of terminating a long-distance call on a cellular network to be Rs 2.72 per minute and Rs 3.06 per minute for call origination. Presently cell operators receive about 5% of the long-distance call revenue, ie. 50 paise for STD and Rs 1.20 for ISD, for origination and nothing for terminating calls. TRAI had asked all the major telecommunication players to submit reference interconnect orders for negotiating revenue share agreements. 
 
Date: 11/10/2002
Cellular subscriptions drop by 25% in Sept.
September saw a decline of 25% in cellular subscribers addition. Only 3.6 lakh subscribers were added as against 4.8 lahk added in August. The reasons being, the disconnections of a large number of pre-paid users who failed to provide proof of identity by September 30th, Koshika losing its licence in UP(East) removing 56,000 subscribers. BSNL has not released its figures as yet. 
 
Date: 10/10/2002
Cheering up cellular industry
A new package is being prepared for the cellular operators where the advance licence fee is being abolished, bank guarantee is expected to be halfed to six months instead of one year along with some other relaxations. COAI has been lobbying for these relaxations for quite some time. 
 
Date: 10/10/2002
Pre-paids to dominate Indian cellular market
According to the research groups Gartner and Goldman Sachs pre-paid card users that account for 54-56% of the subscriber base today is expected to rise to 70-80% by 2006. This is attributed to cash-driven economy in the country althouth this is generally the trend in developing markets like Indonesia and Philippines too while on the other hand developed markets like Hong Kong and Singapore pre-paid card users account for 25-27% only. 
 
Date: 8/10/2002
DoT opens CCA offices in nine states
DoT has set up Controller Communications Accounts (CCA) offices in nine states namely Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, UP(East), Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan decentralising the licence fee collection of private operators. 
 
Date: 6/10/2002
BPL mobile launches MMS
BPL mobile launched Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) in Mumbai being first in India to do so. This made India fourth country to launch MMS in Asia-Pacific. MMS allows users to send & receive pictures, video clips and animated content on mobile phones. MMS is considered to be an important application for GPRS networks worldwide. MMS technology integrates digital camera and sound recording equipment within a mobile phone. MMS is available to non-GPRS subscribers also but speed and quality will be low there. 
 
Date: 6/10/2002
Telecom FDI may stay at 49%
Cabinet has not approved the proposal recommended by N.K.Singh committee to raise the ceiling to 74%. Accoring to DoT raising the FDI limit beyond 49% may raise security issues as the control of telecom networks would go to the foreign partners. 
 
Date: 3/10/2002
AV Birla group not exiting IDEA
The Birla group has invested close to Rs.800 crore in the venture. Rs.40 crore is being pumped immediately by all the three AV Birla group, Tatas and AT&T wireless as the last investment tranche raising the paidup capital of IDEA Cellular to Rs.2,260 crore before financial closure. The firm's total debt stands at Rs.1,800 crore. According to analysts the company's estimated valuation is between Rs.2,700 crore to Rs.3,400 crore. 
 
Date: 3/10/2002
IDEA on firm footing
IDEA Cellular is moving steady after the end of merger talks with BPL Communications. Having the current footing across five circles - Maharashtra, Gujrat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, its network is ready for the grand launch in Delhi which has been delayed due to inexplicable and inordinate delay in the allocation of crucial radio spectrum and related clearances by the govt. 
 
Date: 3/10/2002
BSNL and MTNL merger
The telecommunications ministry is in the process of identifying a consultant who can advice DoT on the practicality and issues related to the merger of BSNL and MTNL. The leading consultants interested in the assignment are Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, Ernst & Young and DSP Merill Lynch. 
 
Date: 3/10/2002
Birla to sell IDEA stake
According to Industry sources the Aditya Birla group wants to sell its 33% stake in IDEA Cellular to its partners Tata group and AT&T at a price of Rs.15 per share while the buyers are offering Rs.12 per share. The talks are on to reduce the gap in valuation. Birla group wants to quit telecom which is not their core business and would be requiring big money to finance its bid for privatisation of Nalco. 
 
Date: 2/10/2002
DoT cancels Koshika's UP(East) licence
DoT terminated the cellular service licence of Koshika Telecom Ltd. in Uttar Pradesh (East) circle for non payment of dues amounting Rs. 450 crore. The licence to Koshika was granted in December 1995 for four circles. In 1999 its licences for Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh (West) were canceled for non payment of dues. To save its cellular licence, Koshika Telecom has offered to give 100% revenue earned from its Uttar Pradesh (East) cellular circle which is approximately Rs 4.5 - Rs. 5 crore to department of telecommunications (DoT) for adjustment of dues. More than 300 people may loose their job if the company closes operations. Aircel Digilink India Ltd. the only other cellular operator in the region may gain around 56,000 subscribers in the dispute.  BSNL and Escotel are yet to start their services in UP(East). 
 
Date: 2/10/2002
T-Mobile of USA launches all-in-one Web device
T-Mobile USA, formerly VoiceStream Wireless launched an all-in-one wireless device that lets customers surf the Web, send and receive email, swap snapshots, play games and make phone calls. Named as T-Mobile Sidekick, the device is made by Palo Alto, California based Danger Inc. The price of the device will be around $199. An introductory price plan of $39.99 a month gives customers unlimited data usage including Web surfing, e-mail, and instant messaging plus 200 daytime voice minutes and 1,000 weekend minutes. Sidekick operates on T-Mobile's high-speed wireless data network. 
 
Date: 1/10/2002
No cellular bids for three states again
DoT has postponed indefinitely the bidding for the fourth cellular operators' licence in Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal since none of the cellular operators expressed interest till the last date today. No bids were received in the first round of bidding also for these states. According to Cellular operators, the government should offer incentives like a lower revenue share arrangement to encourage private sector participation in these territories. 
 
 Cellular News: July - Sept. 2002 
Cellular News: Apr. - Jun. 2002 
Cellular News: Jan. - Mar. 2002
Cellular News: Oct. - Dec. 2001 
Cellular News: July - Sept. 2001 
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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