Finnish firm Jolla to launch handsets in India

JollaSource: The Hindu Business Line, Jul 21, 2014

Mumbai: Finland-based smartphone company, Jolla, has signed an agreement with Snapdeal.com, India’s largest e-commerce marketplace, to launch its handsets in the country. Jolla runs on independent operating system Sailfish.

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India’s fixed broadband market to reach $2.12 billion by 2017: IDC

Source: The Economic Time, Jun 23, 2014

New Delhi: Revenue from fixed broadband services in India is likely to grow at 7.8% annually for the next five years, helped by demand for bandwidth driven by cloud and video, but the growth is far slower than an expected yearly subscriber growth of 13.9%, research firm IDC said Friday.

IDC expects India’s fixed broadband market to reach $2.12 billion by 2017, from $1.46 billion in 2017.

“The difference between broadband subscriber number and revenue growth shows continuous average revenue per user (ARPU) decline in India. One reason is the high price pressure and fierce competition in India telecom market,” IDC said in its semi-annual Telecom Services Tracker report.

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DoT working on policy to treat broadband as basic need

National Broadband Policy Source: Business Standard, Jun 19, 2014

New Delhi: The Department of Telecom is expected to finalise a National Broadband Policy within 100 days that would treat high-speed Internet access a basic right like education and health.”A new broadband policy is being prepared and will be finalised within 100 days,” an official source said.

Under the new policy the government has plans to include broadband among basic necessities like education and health and work towards new legislation of ‘Right to Broadband’, sources said.

They said it is expected to look at ways of increasing broadband penetration as well as convergence of various technologies and platforms like cable TV, optical fibre, wireless connection through spectrum, VSAT and satellite .

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At&T to Buy Out Mahindra in Telephony Venture

Source: Financial Express, Jun 06, 2014

New Delhi: US telecom company AT&T will acquire the 26 per cent stake held by the Mahindra Group in their joint venture in two tranches.

aAT&T, which currently owns a 74 per cent stake in AT&T Global Networks Services India, will increase its holding to 98.67 per cent by the first transaction and then to 100 per cent. The value of the deal is not known yet.

Long-distance telephony
AT&T Global Networks provides long-distance telephony services to large enterprises in India, including bandwidth for carrying data traffic across multiple locations using a global network of terrestrial and under-sea cables. The company competes with the likes of BT, Verizon and Tata Communications for the enterprise communications market. AT&T also had investments in Tech Mahindra and Idea Cellular, but exited these two companies.

The move to increase stake in the long-distance telephony arm comes after the Government allowed 100 per cent FDI in the telecom sector. A number of other foreign telecom companies, including UK-based Vodafone and Russia’s Sistema, have taken advantage of the new norm. Read the rest of this entry »

Indian handset companies import most of their devices

 Source: Business Standard, Apr 28, 2014

New Delhi: Components manufactured in India are low-value products like casing and box packaging that constitute 5% of the bill for materials required in phone manufacturingThey started from scratch a few years ago and leveraged the mobile services boom to become key market players. Home-grown handset makers Micromax, Karbonn, Intex, Lava and Maxx, which controlled 35 per cent of the mobile handset market last year, hope to increase their value share in the Rs 45,000-crore market to 50 per cent in 2014.

Their rise is believed to showcase the success story of India’s manufacturing sector. But, dig a little deeper and the story looks less impressive. For, these home-grown mobile phone companies have built their sales through massive imports – the bulk of that from China. Thanks to huge economies of scale, Chinese manufacturers hawk mobile devices at rock-bottom prices to these Indian firms. The prowess of Chinese manufacturing can be gauged from the fact that last year 850 million devices – more than 50 per cent of global production – were made in that country alone, according to ABI Research.

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DoT for increasing foreign staff security clearance to five years

Source: Business Standard, Apr 23, 2014

To cut cumbersome security clearance for expats in telecom companies, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to ask the home ministry to raise the validity of work permits to 5 years from 1 year now. “In a recent meeting it was pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs is taking an abnormal period to grant security clearance in respect of foreign personnel. It was decided that we may request the ministry to increase the security clearance period from 1 year to 5 years,” an official source said. Vodafone Managing Director and Chief Executive Marten Pieters, Uninor’s Nominated Chief Executive Officer Morten Karlsen Sorby, Sistema Shyam Teleservices CEO Dmitry Shukov are some of the prominent foreign faces working in India.

Reliance to open 2,000 exclusive outlets to sell telecom products

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 22, 2014

New Delhi: Reliance Industries plans to open 2,000 exclusive outlets, Digital Xpress Mini, in the current fiscal year to 1sell the company’s telecom services, smartphones, tablets and also accessories of other brands.

These stores will be about 250 square feet and sell the upcoming services of Reliance Jio Infocom. Reliance Jio plans to provide, later this year, all telecom services including mobile phone and fourth generation high speed internet services.

India’s largest telecom services provider Bharti Airtel operates 1,700 Airtel-branded stores with majority of them operated by franchisees. In the last 14 months, Airtel rolled-out 100 such company-owned company-operated or so-called COCO stores.

Reliance plans COCO format for all its upcoming stores to maintain a uniformity and customer services, an official said on condition of anonymity. Communication and mobility products category were growing at a faster pace within the technology retail segment of Reliance Digital, a company spokesperson said.

“Driven by rapid technology advancements, this category is witnessing faster replacement cycles. The new concept, Digital Xpress Mini, is aimed at providing a differentiated technology shopping experience to consumers and thereby reinforcing Reliance Digital’s position as a front runner in the emerging mobile retail segment,” the spokesman said.

Reliance is the latest in a string of companies planning micro-stores to reach the potential customers base in India. Apple, that had so far mostly shied away from going directly to the neighborhoods and restricted their stores to high street and malls, is now planning to aggressively push with smaller stores in large and tier II cities in a renewed India-specific strategy. Apple plans to mainly push its largest-selling and entry-level iPhone 4, iPad Mini and iPad 2 that are priced below Rs 30,000 through those stores, ET had reported last month.

Apple’s neighborhood stores would be mainly opened by the company’s two major India distributors, Redington BSE 2.09 % and Ingram Micro. Rival Samsung already runs more than 2,000 franchisee-run stores in India and about 1,100 of them are called Smartphone Cafe, which sells the company’s smartphones and tablets. The company also has plans to open up to 4,000 exclusive outlets in towns with less than 100,000 population soon.

Telcos to be allowed to use spectrum to raise funds

Source: Business Standard, Apr 8, 2014

New Delhi: The department of telecommunications and the department of economic affairs are considering the possibilities of adding spectrum in the harmonised list of infrastructure, to allow telecom companies to raise funds using spectrum as a tangible asset.

Spectrum qualifies for the infrastructure criteria, says a recent discussion note. “Therefore, it may be added in the harmonised master list of infrastructure.”

The development comes in the wake of repeated requests from telecom operators who have acquired spectrum from auctions in the past.

The government had earlier said that spectrum being government property, it cannot be used as an asset for raising funds. The Cabinet Committee had in May 2012 approved the harmonised master list of infrastructure in order to facilitate a coordinated approach among agencies providing support to infrastructure.

3g Growth in India Beats World Average

Source: Business Standard, Mar 27, 2014

Mumbai: Data traffic powered by third-generation (3G) services grew at 146 per cent in India last year, higher than 1the global average that saw use double, according to an MBit Index study by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).
Second-generation (2G) and 3G data combined grew 87 per cent, as 2G data growth stabilised, at 59 per cent. “The study also shows that 3G users continue to consume more data on average than 2G users,” NSN said.
The data consumed per subscriber for 3G is 532 megabytes (MB), against 146 MB for 2G. The use is much higher in major urban centers, at a gigabyte a month. “This indicates the rising popularity and uptake of 3G across India. In addition, premium tariff reductions in 3G services in early 2013 led to an increased migration of high-end 2G customers to 3G,” said NSN.
Half the growth in 3G comes from category A circles, which include large cities and metros. In these circles, 3G data traffic grew 185 per cent. These circles were also paid huge premia by operators to acquire licenses and spectrum in the auctions of 2010. Category B circles accounted to 31 per cent of the total traffic. The study says that both categories indicate a big demand of high-speed services.

Telecom sees sudden jump in FDI

Source: Business Standard, Mar 14, 2014

New Delhi: Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram was the first to express concern about the steep fall in foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecom. In September 2013, he’d written to M F Farooqui, secretary in the department of telecommunications, asking him to take immediate steps to address the issue, as the decline had affected the country’s current account deficit.

The intervention seems well-timed. Between November and December 2013, FDI inflow in telecom suddenly jumped 155 per cent as compared with the total inflow during April-October 2013. And, this does not include Vodafone’s projected investment of Rs 10,141 crore for raising stake in its Indian entity, as the proposal was formally approved only last month.

Telecom sees sudden jump in FDI

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