Telcos could sink with Trai planning Rs 4.6-tn auction

indexSource: Financial Express, Jan 28, 2016

New Delhi: If the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has its way, financially burdened telcos could end up bidding more than four times the Rs 1,09,000 crore they bid for spectrum a year ago. This, at a time when telcos are under pressure to invest more capex to improve the quality of their networks, not just to take care of call drops but to be able to handle the data traffic that is increasing every day.

If the auctions go through — it is up to communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to accept the recommendations — telcos will be bidding an astronomical Rs 4 lakh crore for just the 700 MHz spectrum which has excellent propagation qualities but for which there is, as yet, no reasonably priced equipment available.

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Telecom industry cross 100 crore mark, but call-drop spoils party in 2015

It was a towering feat for the telecom industry in 2015 to cross 100-crore subscriber mark, but the call-drop menace spoiled the party and the operators are now pulling up their socks to face greater competition with the imminent entry of Reliance Jio in 2016.It took a rap on the knuckles by the government for the mobile operators to beef up their network performance, which still remains far from the optimal levels with dropped calls still remaining a problem in many areas.

The government is however are hopeful that the problem of call drops will become a thing of past in the new year with the operators putting up more towers, while more spectrum could also be made available to them at the earliest.

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Consumers upbeat on 4G rollout

Consumers upbeat on 4G rolloutSource: Business Standard, Nov 12, 2015

New Delhi: Telecom companies have not rolled out long-term evolution (LTE), commonly known as 4G, throughout India yet. But mobile handset buyers are preparing well in advance. While 4G telecom service is offered by a single service provider in the country, sales of smartphones supporting 4G have crossed nine million units in the September quarter – a whopping 1,000 per cent jump over the sale in the year-ago period.

Currently, Bharti Airtel offers 4G data service in 296 towns across India. While Vodafone and Idea are expected to launch 4G service by next year, Aircel offers the service for its enterprise customers only. However, according to analysts, the recent buzz around the launch of 4G service by Reliance Jio and others have increased interest among handset buyers.

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Telcos allowed to liberalise 800 & 1,800 MHz

Source: Business Standard, Nov 06, 2015

New Delhi: The department of telecommunications (DoT) said on Thursday it was allowing operators to liberalise, meaning to allow use of any technology, their 800 MHz (mainly used in CDMA services) and 1800 MHz spectrum allocation, assigned administratively before an auction policy was put into place.

The move is expected to benefit the spectrum sharing arrangement planned between Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications (RCom) and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, to offer fourth-generation (4G) services pan-India.

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Telecom firms gear up for deals as competition heats ups

Financial Express, Nov 03, 2015

New Delhi: India’s crowded telecoms sector is preparing for a long-awaited shake-up as highly indebted players jostle for access to costly airwaves and brace for the launch of a deep-pocketed new rival backed by Mukesh Ambani.

Ambani owns oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries, which is expected to begin offering fast data services across India by early 2016.

With about 980 million wireless users, India’s mobile market trails only that of China. But despite impressive growth rates, many firms are struggling with balance sheets stretched by costly spectrum auctions and rock bottom tariffs, making the telecoms sector in India prime for mergers and consolidations.

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Centre to restrict borrowings by discoms

Source: Business Standard, Oct 29, 2015

New Delhi: Borrowings by state-run power distribution companies (discoms) are likely to be restricted by strict parameters set by the Union government. Under the financial restructuring programme, the average national aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) losses are likely to be fixed at 15 per cent by 2018-19. The government is also targeting to eliminate annual financial losses of all discoms from the current level of Rs 60,000 crore.

The move is aimed at not only bailing out lenders, which have exposure of Rs 4 lakh crore to discoms, but also prevent bad debt. “The discoms would have to commit to a loss-reduction trajectory so the national average comes down to 15 per cent from 27 per cent,” said a government official. The amount of loss reduction would vary from state to state.

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Lava to invest Rs500 crore to set up manufacturing plant

LavaSource: LiveMint.com, Oct 25, 2015

New Delhi: In line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, domestic handset vendor Lava will invest Rs.500 crore to set up a manufacturing plant in Tirupati.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for a dedicated mobile handset and electronics manufacturing facility at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. According to officials, apart from Lava, the facility will house brands like Micromax, Celkon and Karbonn.

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