Latest Press Releases:           
SonyEricsson - 27/12/04              
BPLmobile - 27/12/04              
Alcatel&TCL - 20/12/04              
BPLmobile - 20/12/04                
Samsung - 18/12/04              
Philips - 22/09/04
 
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Date: 31/12/2004                    
Biswajit Pandey to head Aircel marketing, North                    
Tamil Nadu based cellular service provider Aircel, promoted by C Sivasankaran's Sterling Group, has appointed Biswajit Pandey as head, marketing and business development, North. Pandey has come from Dentsu Marcom. Pandey would be operating from Delhi office, as Aircel now plans to launch its services in 10 regions of North India.                   
 
Date: 27/12/2004                     
BPL Mobile’s “Idayathilirundu” initiative offers assistance for the Tsunami affected                     
In the wake of the devastation caused by the "Tsunami" in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala, BPL Mobile, India's leading Mobile Service Provider today announced a series of initiatives under the aegis of "Idayathilirundu" (which in Tamil means 'from the heart'). In an effort to reach out to the victims affected by the terror waves, BPL Mobile is offering monetary assistance through its employees and subscribers besides offering its network to ensure connectivity and communication support in the affected areas. In fact the BPL Mobile network was the only telecom network which ensured communication links in Karaikal immediately and since the disaster. more...                      
 
Date: 27/12/2004                    
Sony Ericsson Launches J200i                   
Sony Ericsson today announced a stunning addition to its entry-level colour phone line-up – the new J200i with all powerful ringtone sound. This is Sony Ericsson’s unique and latest offering to the dynamic youth mobile segment, and marks the company’s strategy of strengthening its position in the entry-level colour mobile market.                    

The trendy J200i comes armed with a unique snowflake design ringtone speaker for loud and clear sound. It is a colour phone for the fun-loving youth segment which is looking for variety and excitement in their mobile phones. Besides the basic function of voice connectivity, these consumers are looking to make a style statement with the mobile they carry. The J200i will be available in India from December at a price of Rs. 5,995. more...                    
 

Date: 27/12/2004                     
Reliance Info signed pact for $750m loan                     
Reliance Infocomm has signed a pact with The Export Import Bank of USA and Export Development Canada (EDC) for financing facilities of $750 million. This marks the closure of Infocomm's total debt financing, amounting to $2.2 billion. It has a total repayment tenor of 10 years after a one-and-a-half-year build-out period of the telecom network. The Exim facility has been extended at prices based on India sovereign risk for the tenor. The deal was arranged by Citigroup.                       
 
Date: 25/12/2004                     
BPL Mobile to expand its TN network                      
BPL Mobile plans to expand its network and enhance capacity in Tamil Nadu circle. It will install 100 new cell sites across the state to cover most of the highways and areas having large population. BPL Mobile has registered 100% growth in its subscriber base in the Tamil Nadu circle over last one year owing to its customer friendly services.                      
 
Date: 23/12/2004                     
TRAI re-examins ADC charge on fixed wireless operators                     
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is re-examining whether CDMA operators should pay ADC on long distance calls. Currently ADC regulation allows CDMA operators who come under fixed line regulations pass on ISD calls without paying any ADC on calls originating from fixed wireless phones. ADC is applicable only on long-distance calls terminating and originating from mobile phones. Consequently, ISD calls on fixed wireless cost about 60% lower than that on GSM and CDMA mobile phones. With the result an ISD call to the US originating from a GSM phone is priced at Rs.16 per minute while fixed wireless subscribers have to pay only Rs.9 per minute for calls to the US. Operators including Reliance and Tata advertise fixed wireless services as mobile telephony. Tata Teleservices has branded its FWT services as “Walky”. There are close to 25 lakh subscribers of fixed wireless terminals.                      
 
Date: 21/12/2004                      
Alcatel joined TCL to sell mobile phones                      
Alcatel, French telecom major has joined hands with China's TCL to sell mobile phones. The joint venture expects to raise its market share in India three times to 6% by next year. The joint venture is created with an initial net asset value of euro 100m with Hong Kong based TCL communication holding 55%. The company would be investing $2m in marketing and advertising.  The joint venture company plans to increase its product portfolio with competitive pricing. It has initially launched four new handsets in the Indian market. Another five models are expected in the first quarter of '05 and will be followed by the launch of about 15 new handsets.                      
 
Date: 21/12/2004                      
Samsung India released a mobile phone etiquette                       
Samsung India has released a mobile phone etiquette and responsibility guideline for camera phone users. The voluntary guidelines includes, privacy of persons around the user of the camera phone should be respected. Camera phones should not be used to take photographs of individuals without their knowledge and consent. Camera phones should not be used to take photographs in public places deemed 'private' like swimming pools, changing rooms and gyms. Users must respect individual office, educational or industrial environment where confidentiality of design and information is a matter of great importance. Camera features on the phone should not be used in these areas, without the prior approval of concerned authorities. Camera features on phones should not be used in areas, where cameras are not encouraged or prohibited, like airport, high security zones, museums, cinema theatres and live performances. Users should refrain from using them while driving as it is dangerous. Camera phones should not be used to shoot and circulate objectionable content. It is illegal and punishable by law.                       
 
Date: 20/12/2004             
TCL & Alcatel Mobile Phones  Officially inaugurates its global launch & announces the India plans             
On the finalization of various operational agreements necessary for the formation of TCL & Alcatel Mobile Phones , the new J.V. that sees two huge conglomerates join hands to become a leading player in the cellular industry today officially announced its global launch & plans for the Indian cellular Market. more...             
 
Date: 20/12/2004                      
BPL Mobile subscribers can now access MSN Hotmail and Messenger over SMS                      
BPL Mobile, one of India’s most trusted mobile phone service provider and MSN India, having more than 360 million users worldwide along with Mobile 365 (newly merged Mobileway-InphoMatch) made a mobile alliance for Asian market. With this over 2.4 million BPL Mobile subscribers across Mumbai, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry will be able to access their Hotmail e-mails and chat with their MSN buddies on SMS anywhere, anytime. more...                      
 
Date: 18/12/2004                      
Hyundai plans manufacturing unit and R&D hub in India                       
Hyundai is willing to set up a manufacturing unit and R&D hub with an investment of $50m over the next five years. The manufacturing unit will produce 12 lakh phones in the first year scaleable up to 3.6m handsets. Hyundai India Telecom has received the licence from Hyundai Korea Corporation for these plans. The unit will manufacture both GSM and CDMA handsets. Half of the production will be sold in the domestic market, while the remaining will be sold in overseas markets like Asia and the Saarc nations. In addition to the global R&D support and transfer of technology, Hyundai Indian Telecom plans to continuously invest 3-5% of its turnover in research and development of products for GSM and CDMA based handsets, specially for the Asian markets. Hyundai Telecom has marketing tie-up with State Trading Corporation to sell its handsets in India.                       
 
Date: 17/12/2004                      
Airtel starts operations in Orissa                      
Airtel has launched its cellular service in Orissa and has invested around Rs.150 crore in the project. The service covers around 100 towns & 1200 kms of rail routes & highways. Another 50 towns will be covered by June. With the launch of the service in the state, Airtel now has presence in 20 of the 23 telecom circles. Airtel is expected to cover Bihar, Jharkhand,  Assam and North East by early next year covering the entire country.                       
 
Date: 15/12/2004                      
Airtel introduces Collect SMS service in Capital                      
Airtel is introducing Collect SMS service which allows an Airtel customer send toll-free SMS to another Airtel customer with the option to the receiver to pay for reading the SMS. The Airtel's Collect SMS service is offered for SMS to Airtel customer of the Delhi circle for local Airtel-to-Airtel SMS. Bharti is aiming the service primarily at high-end users wishing to receive SMS for a low-spending family member or friend, and can pay for receiving SMS from them. Airtel customers interested in the service have to prefix 2 to the mobile number of the Airtel customer they want to send the collect SMS to.                       
 
Date: 15/12/2004                       
MTNL to set up first 3G network in Delhi & Mumbai                       
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is setting up India's first 3G network in Delhi and Mumbai. The network will have a capacity of 4m lines and will be operational next year. Investment in the total project is likely to be around Rs.4,000 crore.                       

The 3G technology allows high speed mobile broadband access estimated around 400 kbps. This will enable mobile user to stream or download audio and video content or applications including sports highlights, music videos and multi-user games.These phones will have high resolution colour displays, polyphonic sound,  built-in video cameras.                          

3G services have already become popular in Asia,Europe, Australia.Internationally, revenues from 3G services are higher than that                      
of ordinary cellular services.                       
 

Date: 12/12/2004                        
IDEA, STT-TM deal finalised                         
IDEA Cellular deal with Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) and TM International, the international investment arm of Telekom Malaysia, was finally consummated today. The consortium of two foreign shareholders have agreed to pick a 47.7% stake in IDEA for a total consideration of approximately $390 m. About $200 m is the purchase price for acquiring the 32.9% stake of Cingular Wireless (formerly held by AT&T). The balance funds are being used to acquire an additional stake in the company by way of fresh equity.                        

The two foreign partners STT and TM are structured as a 60:40 joint venture respectively. With this, the consortium of STT-TMI will become the single largest shareholder of IDEA with a 47.7% stake while the Indian shareholders continue to collectively own a majority 51% stake. The Aditya Birla Group will hold 26.3% and Tata Industries 24.7%. AIG will hold the balance 1.3%. The deal is subject to government approvals. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2005. The consortium were advised by DSP-Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan while Deutsche Bank advised Cingular Wireless.                         
 

Date: 10/12/2004                        
Russian firms in talks with Indian Telcos                        
Two leading Russian telecom companies, VimpelCom and Systema are talking to promoters of domestic cellular service providers  for acquiring equity stakes. BPL mobile is one of the companies who have been approached. VimpelCom is the second largest mobile operator in Russia, with over 22m customers. The company was set up in the early ’90s by a small group of scientists and engineers who had spent their careers developing advanced technology for radio electronics and defence equipment. It was also the first Russian company to list its securities on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in November 1996. VimpelCom provides telecom services in Russia and Kazakhistan. Systema, however, is lesser known outside Russia. The cash-rich Russian majors are believed to have been quite impressed by the pace of growth in the Indian telecom sector.                         
 
Date: 10/12/2004                        
AT&T to finalise IDEA stake sale                        
Sale of AT&T’s 33% stake in IDEA Cellular to Singapore Technologies Telemedia and Telekom Malaysia International is expected to be concluded by the end of this week, after about seven months of negotiations. The memorandum of understanding expires on December 16, ’04. The two sides had first entered into an MoU on May 31, ’04 after a round of bidding which started some time in March end this year.  The delay is being attributed to complex documentation process. The STT-TM duo is bringing in $400m, of which, roughly half will be used to buy out AT&T’s 33% stake. The balance $200m will be by way of fresh equity that will result in diluting the stake of the Birlas and Tatas to 26-25% respectively. The additional funds will be used to meet the capex requirements, as also to fund acquisitions. It could also be used to retire a part of the Rs. 4,000 crore debt.                         
 
Date: 2/12/2004                         
Nokia to set up manufacturing facility in India                         
Nokia has decided to set up a large manufacturing facility in India. The company will be investing $100-150 million along with its partners over next four years. The facility will have upto 2000 employees and the handsets will roll out by end of 2005 or early 2006. A broad range of products will be unveiled in India lowering the prices of handsets further.                         
 
Date: 2/12/2004                         
ADC likely to be reduced                         
TRAI is likely to recommend lower Access Deficit Charge, a levy paid by private operators to BSNL for rural telephony. The decision would be taken within a week. TRAI will make recommendations and DoT has to follow it. Currently ADC payment stands at Rs.5,000 crore a year. Bulk of it goes to BSNL. Private operators have been opposing this levy saying they are facing competition through this. According to industry sources, as and when ADC charges are reduced, ILD rates may come down by up to 35%. Generally, the service providers pass on such benefits to the customers, so the subscribers can expect lowering of tariff.                         
 
Date: 25/11/2004                           
BPL Telecom launched cellular phones in Kolkata                          
BPL Telecom launched 5 cellphone models - Slim 0288, Elegant 0378, Aristo FD 8820P, Aristo-RC 8352 and Aristo-FC 0657 - outsourced from Ezze, to be sold under the BPL brandname. The prices vary from Rs.5,000 to Rs.13,495. BPL Telecom has signed up a two-year handset outsourcing deal with Ezze, a South Korean OEM.                           

BPL also has its own in-house manufactured cellphone, the monochrome DMT 211, which comes in two versions. BPL Telecom already has a licensing arrangement with Texas Instruments to source mobile chipsets to make entry-level cellular phones at its Palakkad unit in Kerala. The company will unveil five more colour phones next February which are being developed at the Kerala facility. BPL Telecom has invested Rs.20 crore in the GSM manufacturing business till date and plan to invest another Rs.50 crore by September '05. BPL's Kerala unit has a capacity to roll out 10,000 mobile phones a month. They plan to ramp up capacity to 1.5 lakh units per month by next October. Thereafter, the Rs.135 crore BPL Telecom plans to be a prime handset supplier to group companies, BPL Mobile and BPL Cellular. It is also in talks with BSNL-CellOne to become a bulk handset supplier.                           

BPL Telecom is in talks with US chipmaker Intel to float a new joint-venture company to manufacture dual purpose GSM mobile cum WiFi phones in India. These cellular handsets, however, will be developed by the proposed BPL-Intel JV for the US market only. The BPL group and Intel are yet to finalise the ownership structure of the proposed joint venture. There are no decisions yet.                            
 

Date: 19/11/2004                           
Hutch top management reshuffled                           
Hutchison-Essar's top management has been reshuffled. Mr. Asim Ghosh is MD, Hutchison Essar group, India. Mr. Sandip Das has been appointed deputy MD. Following the revamp, senior Hutch officials have been appointed as operations directors and given responsibility for the operations of particular regions. The chief marketing officer, Harit Nagpal, has been given additional charge of the Mumbai circle as the operations director. Sanjoy Mukherji, has been appointed as operations director for Punjab, Haryana and Delhi circles and will be based in Delhi.                            

Sunil Sood, has been appointed as operations director for Gujarat and Rajasthan. Sam Selvakumar has been appointed as operations director for the South circles of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Chennai. Kumar Ramanathan has been appointed as CEO for West Bengal and Kolkata. Gurdip Singh has been appointed as CEO for UP East and West circles. Hamir Bakshi, has been appointed as COO of AP.                            

Mr. Naveen Chopra from Britannia Industries has joined Hutch as the corporate VP marketing and will be reporting to Mr. Nagpal.                            
Delhi-based executive director Rajiv Sawhney is moving abroad to one of the locations where Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL) operates. According to sources, he is likely to move to Thailand.                            
 

Date: 18/11/2004                           
Philips to launch phones appropriate to Indian conditions                            
Philips, one of the world's biggest electronics company and Europe's largest electronics vendor, plans to launch mobile phones that are more appropriate to the Indian conditions. Philips is investing considerable amount of money and time to gain customer insights. The company is planning to offer personalised solutions to specific target segments. Rural customers for instance would prefer a no frills mobile phone, but one that is sturdy and offers enhanced talk time, while urban market looks at mobiles with high end functionalities. The decision on market segments that Philips wants to address and the type of mobile phones it will introduce are being worked out. By 2005, a select range of mobile phones ideal for India, will be introduced.                             
 
Date: 16/11/2004                           
Samsung's SCH-A790 world phone combines GSM and CDMA                           
SCH-A790 world mobile phone, developed by Samsung's R&D centre at Bangalore, India,  combines GSM and CDMA. It roams anywhere in the world. Launched in the US this year, the SCH-A790 world phone is yet to be launched in India. But it has already spelt good news for country's R&D. Samsung's R&D team at Bangalore has a strength of 700 and is supporting their R&D centres in Korea, Dallas and London. The company plans to double the strength of researchers in the next three years.                            
 
Date: 15/11/2004                           
Fresh look at India by world Telecom majors                           
World telecom majors, including companies who were earlier present here, are back in the country looking for acquisitions in India. According to industry sources, players like Vodafone, Telekom Italia, Maxis Communication and Telstra are scouting for acquisitions or strategic investments in some Indian telecom companies. However, the problem for these players is the dearth of cellular operators with a pan-Indian presence which need a strategic partner.                            

IDEA Cellular was the only pan-Indian player that till recently was looking for a strategic investor. However, IDEA has signed an MoU with the STT-Telekom Malaysia combine. The foreign players are buying out AT&T's 33% stake and are likely to invest further in the company. Among the regional players, there are only BPL Mobile (four circles) and Spice Telecom (two circles), which could be potential acquisition targets.                            

The renewed interest in India is result of over 100% growth rate witnessed in recent months in the mobile sector. While the Indian market may have a dearth of targets for acquisition, those looking at participating in Indian telecom growth may have to be content by investing in the forthcoming public issues of companies like Hutchison-Essar, Reliance Infocomm, possibly Idea Cellular and the sponsored American Depository Receipts (ADRs) of Bharti Tele-Ventures.                            
 

Date: 13/11/2004                           
Top level changes expected in Hutch                           
According to industry sources Hutchison-Essar's Delhi based executive director Rajiv Sawhney is moving abroad to Thailand may be to head the operations there. Hutch's vice-president, corporate marketing, Harit Nagpal and the head of Gujarat circle, Sanjoy Mukherji, are in the race for  the Delhi post. Changes are yet to be finalised.                           

Currently, the Hutchison management structure has Asim Ghosh, managing director, at the top followed by Sandip Das, executive director (in charge of the west, east and southern markets) and Sawhney (northern markets). Sunil Sood, who was heading Hutch's Kolkata operations, had taken over as CEO of Hutch's Chennai and Tamil Nadu circles. The Mumbai-based executive director Das will continue to remain in charge of the Gujarat, Kolkata and the southern circles of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.                            
 

Date: 12/11/2004                            
Left says proposed telecom FDI hike aimed at helping Bharti and Hutch                            
In a reply to the finance minister's letter, the Left charged that the proposal for telecom FDI hike is aimed at legalising violation of the 49% cap committed by Bharti and Hutch. "The key question here is whether the breaching of FDI limits by Bharti and Hutch illegal or not? If it is legal, then there does not seem to be any argument for lifting of the caps. If it not, should violators be rewarded by legalising their illegal acts?," the letter asked.                             

The Left has asked the government to delink the issue of lifting FDI limits in telecom from that of "violations" of the existing cap. After plugging the loopholes, the concerned companies should be asked to dilute their foreign holdings and bring it in line with the 49% cap. Policy should not be changed because there have been violations.                            

"We have information that the IB and the ministry of home affairs had insisted that as a security doctrine, communications is a vital national service and is critical to the security of the nation. If the security agencies consider communications as vital for national security, we see no reason for overruling their concerns. Of the reasons for not lifting FDI caps were valid a year back, we should suggest that they still continue to be valid," it said. Letter also states that the sector is of importance to national security and should not be left to the vagaries of the market. The State must play an important role for this sector to develop.                            
 

Date: 10/11/2004                           
Nokia launches "Saral Mobile Sandesh" (SMS in Hindi)                           
Nokia announced the launch of "Saral Mobile Sandesh" (SMS in Hindi). The company displayed predictive text input in Hindi on three of its latest mobile handsets Nokia1100, Nokia 1108, and Nokia 2300. This will make it easier for consumers to communicate in Hindi. Many Nokia phones already support Hindi language User Interface (Hindi Menu). Several models also support Hindi text input but without the predictive text input facility.                              

Nokia also announced the launch of its Hindi portal - "Mera Nokia" which will deliever content in Hindi like Samachar (News), Suvichar (Thought for the Day), Chutkale (Jokes), Jyotshi (Astrology), Wall papers and Ringtones. Nokia is partnering with leading service providers to make the content available through SMS and through GPRS.                             
 

Date: 4/11/2004                              
GSM service providers' revenues rise by 11.6%                               
According to a release issued by COAI (Cellular Operators Assocation of India), total revenue of private GSM service providers rose by 11.6% to Rs.2,930 crore during the quarter ended September ’04. All India average monthly Revenue Per User (ARPU) comes out to be Rs.402.                               

Total revenue of Airtel (operations in 17 circles) increased by 17.1% to Rs.1064.4 crore while average ARPU across all its circles increased by 3.2% to Rs.433.4. Hutch (11 circles) has reported a 10.6% increase in total revenues at Rs.888.8 crore in Q2 while its average ARPU is marginally (0.6%) down at Rs.488. IDEA (8 circles) has reported a 6.8% increase in total revenues at Rs.460 crore and a 1.2% drop in ARPU at Rs.365 in Q2. BPL Mobile (4 circles) has reported a 9.4% growth in total revenues at Rs.200.5 crore and a 1.8% drop in ARPU at Rs. 297.6 in Q2.                               

Bharti’s Delhi circle clocked the highest revenue of Rs.248.2 crore in Q2 registering a 13.9% growth over the previous quarter followed by Hutch’s Mumbai circle which reported a 5.2% growth in revenue at Rs. 244.7 crore. However, Hutch’s Mumbai circle has reported the highest ARPU of Rs.654 in Q2, a 2.5% drop over Q1 while Bharti’s Delhi circle has reported a 7.6% increase in ARPU at Rs.557 in Q2 over the previous quarter.                               
 

Date: 4/11/2004                              
Joint Venture between seven Asian Cellular  Companies                              
Seven cellular phone companies of Asia with a combined subscriber base of 56 million announced a joint venture, Bridge Mobile Alliance, to develop technology on a common service platform across Asia with an initial investment of $40million. The companies are PT Telkomsel ( Indonesia), Singapore Telecommunications, Taiwan Cellular, Bharti TeleVentures, Optus (Australia), Globe Telecom (Philippines) and Maxis Telecommunications (Malaysia).                              
 
Date: 3/11/2004                               
Bharti to be a board-managed company                               
Bharti Tele-Ventures, promoted by Sunil Mittal will be a board managed company within two years. Mr. Mittal and other senior management will move away from the day to day operations in order to focus on new businesses. The presidents of the two divisions of Bharti, Mobility and Infotel, will be empowered to take decisions. Bharti is going to be the only company to have covered the entire country in the shortest period of time, apart from the state owned BSNL after launching its cellular services in Orissa, Bihar and North East shortly. Bharti has a subscriber base of 9.4m mobile users which is expected to grow to 50m in five years.                                 

Mr. Mittal has recently started diversifying into non-telecom areas. He has bid for the modernisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports along with Singapore’s Changi Airports. He is also making a foray into the agro processing industry where exports are expected to commence in the next 12-18 months. Mr. Mittal believes that if the execution is right, agro processing venture will be bigger than telecom.                                
 

Date: 1/11/2004                              
Boy wins Rs.10 lakh in mobile gaming championship                              
Sachin Sapra from Gurgaon won a cash prize of Rs.10 lakh in Nokia N-Gage QD Mobile Gaming Championship. Mohammad Abdul Rahim Akbar from Chennai got second prize of Rs.50,000 while Sachin's elder brother came third and took home Rs.30,000. Around 26,000 people from 47 cities participated in the competetion over six weeks out of whom 62 took part in the final round.                              
 
Date: 28/10/2004                               
Penetration of telephony in rural India grim                               
TRAI has issued a consultation paper on "Growth of Telecom Services in Rural India", which seeks to achieve higher quantitative and qualitative growth of telecom services in the country, especially rural India. The paper talks about the increasing gap between the penetration of telephony in rural (1.7%) and urban (19.7%) India, despite attempts over the past 10 years, such as insisting on roll-out obligations as part of licence conditions. There has been a phenomenal spurt in the growth of tele-density in the country with the evolution of new wireless technologies, but the gap between urban and the rural tele-density has been increasing. BSNL has been the main provider of village public telephones so far. As of March 31, '04, 5.2 lakh of the total 6.1 lakh villages had telephone access, and of them 5.1 lakh have been provided by BSNL. The reason for the slowdown is apparently the increased focus on cellular mobile infrastructure deployment after '02 and reduction in fixed line and rural investments also very little of cellular mobile investment went to serve rural areas.                               
 
Date: 21/10/2004                                 
Airtel launches operations in West Bengal, Sikkim & J&K                                
Bharti launched its mobile phone services in West Bengal, Sikkim and J&K. With this Airtel's national footprint now extends to 19 telecom circles. The company has plans to cover all the 23 telecom circles with its mobile services by the end of 2004. The Airtel brand would be available in Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Assam and North East circles by the end of the year. It has announced an investment of Rs.600 crore for the seven new circles.                                 

The company has planned to cover over 100 towns in West Bengal (excluding Kolkata) and Sikkim. The company also announced its 'Bengal one' advantage scheme under which Airtel-to-Airtel STD calls in Kolkata and Bengal circle would be Rs.1 per minute for both post paid and prepaid customers.                                 

In J&K, over 54,000 local consumers submitted their paid bookings for post-paid mobile phone connections over the past four days. About 70% of these are from Kashmir. So overwhelming has been the state's response to the service that the company had to suspend bookings temporarily to avoid clogging of the network, as BSNL has given limited interconnection. Bookings are expected to be resumed within a week. Its post-paid mobile service is available right now in 46 towns in J&K from Lakhanpur to Baramulla along NH-1A. The company has also announced a special offer for customers in J&K - Nation One - a unique friends and family service by which an Airtel customer can make calls to any one Airtel number of choice anywhere in India at Re.1. Airtel post-paid customers in the state are being provided roaming facility across 337 networks and 137 countries internationally. In addition, customers would also be able to roam nationally across all GSM networks.                                
 

Date: 12/10/2004                                 
Television on mobile, first time in the world !!                                 
Hutch has recently launched Hutch TV, the first multi-channel TV-on-Mobile service in India. The Hutch TV service offers television content from 13 different television channels, ranging from news and current affairs, business, sports, fashion to travel and entertainment. All Hutch and Orange users across Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, UP East, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana can access clips from CNBC-TV18, AXN, NDTV India, NDTV 24X7, Discovery, SET, Zee TV, MAX, Nick, ETV, Animax, Raj TV and Trendz through their EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) enabled mobile phones.                                 

Hutch is already offering multimedia mobile services such as cricket video clips, mobile gaming, polyphonic ringtones, Click and Print MMS, push2talk and corporate email through GPRS. Now, with higher speeds of an EDGE-enabled network, it will be able to deliver video clips of longer duration allowing the users to view clips of their favourite serials, news bulletins, sports and lifestyle events and travel programmes, while on the move.                                 

It's for the first time, anywhere in the world, that television clips can be accessed on the 2.5G network. Moreover, there is no extra charge for accessing Hutch TV. All that Orange and Hutch GPRS users have to do is to take a monthly subscription to the Orange and Hutch GPRS services at Rs.99.                                 

At present, Hutch TV can be accessed through the Nokia 6230 and Nokia 3220 EDGE-enabled handsets.                                  
 

Date: 12/10/2004                                 
Mobile phones in Gold!                                 
UK based Vertu, a subsidiary of Nokia producing world's costliest mobile handsets, has entered India with its two brands - the Vertu Signature and Ascent. The Signature range starts at Rs.3.71 lakh and goes up to Rs.17.21 lakh, the Ascent range starts at Rs.2.42 lakh upwards. The Indian distribution would be handled by Regent Watch & Jewellery Company. The luxury handsets will be available in New Delhi and Mumbai.  The handsets have more than 400 mechanical parts and is available in casing made of steel, 18 carat white and yellow gold. Each handset is made on demand and as per the liking of the customer.                                  
 
Date: 12/10/2004                                 
BPL to merge two telecom entities                                 
According to industry sources, Rajeev Chandrasekhar who is already in the thick of a legal battle with his father-in-law TPG Nambiar for control of the BPL group, has now decided to merge its two telecom companies, BPL Mobile Communications and BPL Mobile Cellular.  BPL Mobile, 26% owned by France Telecom, is the second largest cellular service provider in Mumbai with a subscriber base of 11.46 lakh. BPL Communications Ltd, the holding company of the group's telecom businesses, owns the remaining 74% stake in BPL Mobile. BPL Mobile Cellular, the other operating company which provides cellular services in Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry (3.57 lakh subscribers), Maharashtra and Goa (4.84 lakh), and Kerala (3.53 lakh) is fully owned by BPL Communications Ltd. Foreign investors, including Actis (formerly CDC Capital Partners) and AIG, own 38% of the holding company, while Rajeev Chandrasekhar owns 32% and TPG Nambiar 13%. The balance stake is held by domestic investors. Actis and Rajeev Chandrasekhar are engaged in a legal battle, with each moving the courts against the other. A core team of senior officials from both companies has been set up under Chandrasekhar. The merger, proposed by the lenders led by ICICI Ltd, is expected to reduce the overall costs of both companies. J M Morgan Stanley will advise on the merger.                                  
 
Date: 11/10/2004                                 
Elcoteq to start mobile phone manufacturing in Bangalore                                 
Elcoteq, Euro 2.2 billion Finland based company which is the major manufacturer of Nokia mobile phones is setting up a factory for Made-in-India mobile phones, on 2500 sq metres space in Bangalore. The facility employing 1000 people will provide everything from design to after sales service.                                 
 
Date: 11/10/2004                                 
TRAI recommendations for Unified Telecom and Broadcast services license                                 
TRAI has recommended a full Unified Licensing/Authorisation Regime (ULAR) to the government where an operator can have a single licence for provision of all telecom and broadcast services. Operators will be able to choose from four kinds of licences.                                  

First of these licences is unified licence (UL), which is an all inclusive licence for providing all telecom and media services including basic, cellular and Internet telephony, STD/ISD services, radio broadcasting, cable TV and DTH among others. There is a one-time entry fee of Rs.107 crore in the first year, which will come down to Rs.30 lakh by the fifth year. It also carries a fee in the form of revenue share of 6%, Universal Service Obligation of 5% and 1% is administrative charge.                                  

The second category is 'Licensing through Authorisation', which has neither an entry nor a revenue fee, but only authorisation for spectrum access. The licence is for provision of passive infrastructure and bandwidth services, radio paging, Public Mobile Radio Trunked Services (PMRTS) and Internet services but not general Internet telephony.                                 

The Class Licence is for niche operators and all services other than those covered under 'Licensing through Authorisation', which do not have both way connectivity with public network. It has no entry fee, but the revenue share is same as UL, as they can provide all services provided by a UL holder.                                 
 

Date: 8/10/2004                                  
IDEA awaits top managemant reshuffle                                 
After the entry of the Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) - Telekom Malaysia (TM) combine, it is likely that there will be top level changes in the company's management structure. A formal announcement on the deal was expected in early October, but has been delayed as the details are yet to be finalised on issues related to future corporate governance and shareholder agreements that are currently being discussed between the three shareholders of IDEA - the Birlas, Tatas and STT-TM. The deadline for completion of all the formalities of the deal has been extended to December 16. With a 49% stake, the STT-TM duo will have a higher stake in IDEA than either of the Indian partners. Apart from AT&T's 33% stake, the STT-TM combine is bringing in further investment to hike its stake to 49% in IDEA through the fresh equity route, which will result in a dilution of the Tata and Birla stakes to about 25%.                                  
 
Date: 8/10/2004                                 
Itemised bills for long distance calls would not be charged                                 
TRAI has notified that post-paid subscribers should get free itemised bills for their long distance calls (STD/ISD). It has received complaints from consumers that cellular operators were charging extra for providing itemised bills for long distance calls. TRAI says that the subscribers have the right to know and verify the charges for long distance calls levied by the service providers and itemised bills are required for this purpose which should be provided free of charge.                                  
 
Date: 7/10/2004                                   
Kyocera outsources mobile handset manufacturing to India                                   
Japanese multinational Kyocera has been outsourcing the manufacture of mobile phones to a Hyderabad based company for past two years. The contract manufacturer XL Telecom is rolling out handsets at the rate of 10,000 a day. The company plans to export over five lakh handsets to Nigeria, Yemen and other emerging telecom markets notching export turnovers of over $70 million this year. XL Telecom employs over 500 people at its three assembly lines in Hyderabad.                                   
 
Date: 4/10/2004                                    
MTNL revised its tariffs                                    
MTNL revised tariffs for all its mobile and fixed line services. Local calls to own cellular network would be Rs.0.80 per min on post-paid Dolphin and Rs.0.90 per min on pre-paid Trump service while local calls to other cellular networks would be Rs.1.20 on Dolphin and Rs.1.50 on Trump.                                    
 
 
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