Telecom sector revenues rise after 9 quarters

Source: Financial Express, Oct 02, 2019

After declining for nine quarters, the revenue of the telecom industry has finally started to grow, and in the April-June 2019 period, both gross revenue and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of the sector have seen a rise.

Figures shared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) show that the gross revenue of the industry for April-June 2019 stood at Rs 61,535 crore, a 5.37% jump against Rs 58,401 crore last year. Similarly, AGR rose 7.03% to `39,124 crore for the reported period compared with Rs 36,552 crore last year.

After analysing data of the last over two years, this is the first time in nine quarters when the industry has seen a healthy jump in revenues.

Last time, the industry saw both gross revenue and AGR increase was in the July-September 2016 quarter, when both the segments grew over 9%. However, after that there has been a decline and, in the October-December 2016 period, the AGR of the industry declined 0.39%, though the gross revenue rose marginally.

Reliance Jio had launched its commercial services in September 2016 and the industry has witnessed over two years of brutal tariff war. The signs of revival were visible in the preceding January-March 2019 quarter when the industry reported a marginal or 0.66% rise in AGR to Rs 35,932 crore, though gross revenue declined 6.08% to Rs 58,414 crore.

In terms of operators, it is the state-run BSNL, which has topped the growth rate in AGR in access services. BSNL’s AGR grew 27.94% sequentially to Rs 2,598.61 crore in the June 2019 quarter against Rs 2,031.07 crore in the March 2019 quarter. Bharti Airtel also saw its AGR grew 26.15% sequentially to Rs7,468.63 crore for the reported period compared with Rs 5,920.22 crore in the preceding March quarter. Reliance Jio’s AGR grew 9.77% to Rs 10,800.44 crore for the period compared with Rs 9,838.91 crore in the preceding quarter.

Vodafone Idea’s AGR though continue to decline and the figures for the reported period stood at Rs 6721.06 crore, down 5.78% from Rs 7,133.40 crore in the preceding quarter. Access services contributed 73.23% of the total AGR of telecom services. Monthly average revenue per user (Arpu) for access services increased to Rs 80.66 against Rs 72.49 in March quarter.

OnePlus begins smartphone exports from India

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 27, 2019

NEW DELHI: China’s OnePlus has started exporting smartphones made in India to western markets including the US, and will evaluate making the country its manufacturing hub, provided quality is high and cost competitive, said its cofounder.

OnePlus is also planning a deeper play into India by taking a leaf out of Apple’s playbook and entering the services space in a bid to monetise its existing premium handset base. The company is already leader in the premium — or above Rs 30,000 segment — with a 43% share, followed by Samsung and Apple, according to Counterpoint Research.

“2019 is our best year so far (in India)…As Indian infrastructure matures and ecosystem for manufacturing builds out, there is definitely a possibility to keep investing here,” Carl Pei, co-founder of OnePlus, told ET in an exclusive interview. He said that if quality was high enough and cost was good, then it makes sense to use India as an export hub. Read the rest of this entry »

India’s corporate tax cut to boost smartphone manufacturing

Source: LiveMint.com, Sept 23, 2019

MUMBAI : India’s lower corporate tax rate will help its smartphone industry expand, fuel research and development (R&D) investment and attract higher-value component makers to the world’s second-biggest smartphone market, four top industry executives said.

India slashed its headline corporate tax rate to 22% from 30% on Friday in a surprise gambit aimed at wooing manufacturers and boosting investment in Asia’s third-biggest economy, where unemployment has surged as growth sinks to six-year lows.

The country is currently vying with rivals like Vietnam to attract global firms such as Apple and encourage contract manufacturers like Foxconn and Wistron to step up their presence. Read the rest of this entry »

Telecom dept intends to hold spectrum auction by December: Report

Source: Business Standard, Sept 10, 2019

New Delhi: The Telecom Department is making all efforts to hold spectrum auction in the current calendar year despite the tight timeline, a senior DoT official has said.

The Digital Communications Commission – the apex decision-making body at the DoT – is scheduled to meet next week to take a final decision on spectrum prices, and it is widely expected that the panel will go with the recommendations made by the regulator.

“Spectrum auction and spectrum prices are the most important items on agenda for the upcoming meeting which will be held in the third week of this month,” the official privy to the matter said. Read the rest of this entry »

MTNL raises Rs 800 crore claims from DoT, reimbursement on rent dues

Source: Business Standard, Sept 09, 2019

New Delhi: MTNL – where a massive cash crunch has stalled salary payments for two months now – has approached the government with about Rs 800 crore worth of claims, including rent-related dues and reimbursement for a bond issue dating back several years, according to multiple sources.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is examining the claims that have been made by the state-owned corporation, sources said.

The matter assumes significance as the company is reeling under a massive cash shortage and has been unable to pay staff wages for July and August. MTNL, last week, admitted that salary payment for two months is pending and that sincere effort is being made to release at least a portion of the dues at the earliest. Read the rest of this entry »

Reliance launches JioFiber, sets up new battle with Airtel Xstream

Source: Business Standard, Sept 06, 2019

Mumbai: Reliance Industries’ telecom arm, Reliance Jio, announced the commercial launch of JioFiber, its fiber-to-the-home (FTH) service, across 1,600 cities and towns, targeting 20 million homes over the next 12 months. Analysts, however, feel the plans are not as disruptive as the telco’s wireless ones, which it launched three years ago. JioFiber has been running trials of the service since the past two years, for almost 500,000 customers. The plans range from Rs 699 to Rs 8,499 a month. Earlier this week, rival Bharti Airtel launched a new hardware —Xstream box and Xstream smart stick — and revamped the Airtel TV app, calling it Airtel Xstream.

“The launch of JioFiber with its revolutionary services is just the beginning of a new and exciting journey,” said Akash Ambani, director, Reliance Jio Infocomm. Read the rest of this entry »

BSNL, MTNL likely to get 4G spectrum worth Rs 20,000 crore

Source: Financial Express, Sept 04, 2019

New Delhi: It seems that decks have been cleared for the administrative allotment of 4G spectrum worth `20,000 crore to BSNL/MTNL as solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta is understood to have given a go-ahead to a department of telecommunications (DoT) proposal regarding the same.

Sources say the DoT had sought legal opinion from SG after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) refused to offer its views regarding the matter, terming it an administrative issue. The legal view was necessary in the backdrop of the 2012 Supreme Court order which mandated that spectrum has to be auctioned for commercial purposes.

BSNL and MTNL cite allotment of 4G spectrum as the prerequisite to survive in the hyper competitive market. Read the rest of this entry »