BlackBerry taps India-based start-ups to reinvent itself

Source:, Jun 25, 2015

New Delhi: Two years ago, when BlackBerry Ltd, came out with its personal assistant app Viki, much like Apple’s Siri and Google Now, it created a flutter in the industry. The app, exclusive to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, used artificial intelligence and natural language processing to learn about a user’s individual preferences and personalize search results over a period of time.

Start-up Agrima Infotech Pvt. Ltd, which developed the app, was part of a developer ecosystem that the Canadian firm had started putting together in 2012 in India. Today, the ecosystem is 35,000-strong and the Waterloo, Ontario-based company is tapping around 600 start-ups through its innovation centre Rubus Labs based in Kochi’s Startup Village, an incubator for telecom start-ups.


BlackBerry plans to leverage this network as part of its global strategy to move on from a closed platform that only provided services for BlackBerry devices to a software and services provider for devices across platforms, including Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

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DoT to deal with M&As on case-by-case basis

Source: The Economic Times, Jun 18, 2015

NEW DELHI: The telecom department will not rework rules on mergers and acquisitions but will deal with guideline-related issues on a case-by-case basis, a senior official has said, in what can be a dampener for telecom operators who have labelled the rules as unfriendly.

The official also said that the department of telecommunication (DoT) won’t auction spectrum in new bands, such as 700 MHz, unless carriers make requests for them.

“We are not revising the (M&A) rules. Let someone approach us and we will deal with it individually,” the official, who did not wish to be named, told ET. No telecom operator has approached the department with any official complaint so far, the official added.

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RCom, Sistema in talks to merge telecom business in India

Source: Times of India, Jun 15, 2015

NEW DELHI: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communication today said it is in talks with AFK Sistema to merge the Russian conglomerate’s Indian telecom operations through a cashless stock swap.

“Reliance Communications (RCOM) and AFK Sistema have entered into exclusive discussions on a potential merger between the Indian telecom business of Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL) and RCOM through a stock swap,” the company said in a statement.

The discussions, it said, are “indicative and non-binding in nature, and remain subject to due diligence, definitive documentation and approvals, as may be necessary.”

Also, there is no certainty that any transaction will result, the statement added.

BSNL putting up 5,000 Base Transceiver Station towers in the country

BSNL putting up 5,000 Base Transceiver Station towers in the countrySource: The Economic Times, Jun 15, 2015

NAWADA: Union Minister for Telecommunications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad today said that the public telecom operator BSNL is putting up 5,000 Base Transceiver Station (BTS) towers across the country to provide better services to its customers.

“BSNL is putting up 5,000 BTS towers across the country to provide better services, of which 1,250 will be established in Bihar to improve the communications network in the state, especially in the interior areas,” Prasad told reporters.The Union Minister said BSNL will provide free roaming services from June 15 across the country and the customers will not have to pay any charge for using the mobile services while traveling outside the circle to which their mobile connection belongs.

He added that his ministry was focusing on improving the post office network in the country by providing banking services and ATM facilities to the customers.

Mobile phone manufacturing hub to come up in Hyderabad

Source: Business Standard, Jun 03, 2015

Hyderabad:  A group of mobile phone manufacturers have come forward to set up a manufacturing hub in the city.b

A delegation of senior executives from mobile phone manufacturing companies headed by Indian Cellular Association president Pankaj Mohindroo met Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday after visiting a proposed site on the outskirts of the city. Read the rest of this entry »

World’s second richest man Carlos Slim eyes Indian telecom

World's second richest man Carlos Slim Source: The Economic Times, May 28, 2015

KOLKATA: Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man after Bill Gates, could be eyeing India as his next big business entry at a time his telecom firm faces stiff challenges in Mexico, its home market and also its biggest.

Slim, the 75-year-old owner of America Movil, made a quiet trip to India about two weeks ago to test the waters and explore partnerships between Latin America’s leading telco and Indian business houses with telecom interests, three people aware of the visit told ET.

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Startup backed by Warner Bros, Sony to foray into India

Source: Times of India, May 27, 2015

NEW DELHI: A video-on-demand venture backed by Hollywood studios Warner Bros and Sony Pictures and Singapore’s telecom giant Singtel will begin services in India from June, looking to cash in on the growing usage of internet on mobile phones.

HOOQ, a start-up aimed at tapping emerging markets with a big focus on India, will offer premium content like movies and acclaimed television series from Hollywood, while also tying up with domestic studios such as Yash Raj Films, Balaji, Shemaroo and SUN TV.

Internet penetration in India is moving up at a rapid pace as device prices come down and data tariffs remain low and attractive. Large-screen 4G-enabled devices are being sold at under Rs 10,000, while those with 3G capability come for around Rs 5,000, making their adoption easier and widespread.

The trend of internet growth is also encouraging content aggregators to look at offerings for mobile devices. Of the 300 million internet customers in India, as many as 200 million get access through mobile devices. Also, most of the around 6-million new users, who debut on the internet on a monthly basis, the majority are getting hooked on through mobile phones. Peter Bithos, CEO of HOOQ, said that the over-the-top application will go live from June. The company promises an advertisement-free delivery of content and plans to charge a monthly fee of Rs 200. The Hollywood content will be from studio partners such as Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Disney, Dreamworks and Miramax. For the local content, it has created a library of 10,000 movies and TV series with content from Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood. “These will be in various regional languages such as Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu,” Bithos said.


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