Spectrum auction, 5G trials top Telecom Ministry agenda for new government

Source: LiveMint.com, May 23, 2019

New Delhi: Preparing the Cabinet note for spectrum auction, rolling out of the new digital communications policy and establishing regulatory sandboxes, 5G technology trials, policy on experimentation and trial spectrum for technologies in June, will top the agenda of the Union Telecom Ministry over the next three months once the new government takes over.

With election results indicative of a return of the Modi government, the telecom ministry has started getting its act together by working on the pending schedule of the last government which was on halt for the polls while awaiting a new government.

Another area awaiting decisions are settling issues on merger and transfers of licenses of the mergers and acquisitions taken so far — such as Airtel-Telenor, Airtel-TTSL, Vodafone-Idea among others.

The Department of Telecom is also preparing a Cabinet note for spectrum auction for the new government. The much-awaited spectrum auction will finally happen in the second half of 2019 where a whopping 8,293.95 Mhz of telecom frequencies at an estimated total base price of ₹5.77 lakh crore are expected to go under the hammer. Read the rest of this entry »

What a declining user base means for telcos in India

Source: LiveMint.com, May 22, 2019


1) Is the subscriber base falling?

The country’s mobile user base has shown a declining trend from 1.18 billion at the end of March 2018 to 1.16 billion at the end of March this year. However, the decline has not been consistent on a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis. Users in March 2019 fell by 21.86 million m-o-m, but there had been a rise of 1.7 million in the total number of users in February, mainly due to subscriber additions by Reliance Jio and BSNL, which made up for the decline in Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s customer base in that month. Vodafone Idea and Airtel count only paying customers. Trai counts each SIM as a user and includes inactive subscribers. Read the rest of this entry »

Infinix starts export of India-made mobile devices

Source: IBEF.org, May 22, 2019

New Delhi: Terming India as a “top priority market”, Infinix said Tuesday it has started exporting India-made devices to nearby geographies.

Infinix, which is part of China’s Transsion Holdings, is focussing on the sub-Rs 10,000 price category of smartphones in the country as it competes with the likes of Xiaomi and Samsung in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market.

Infinix Mobility (Global) Managing Director Benjamin Jiang said India is the “single largest market” for Transsion in terms of number of units. Read the rest of this entry »

Issuing 5G trial spectrum to telcos in DoT’s 100-day agenda

Source: LiveMint.com, May 16, 2019

New Delhi: India wants to keep her date with the global 5G roll out in 2020.

With Lok Sabha elections entering its last phase, the 100-day action plan prepared by the Department of Telecom (DoT) has put 5G technology trials and its experimentation with spectrum on top of the agenda of the new government.

The new government at the Centre will have the task of issuing 5G network trial licenses to the telcos along with the spectrum.

The allocation will take place as soon as the new government takes charge, which could be in June, and depending on their readiness, the telcos could start the initial 5G run in the same month. The network trial licenses will be issued before that, said an official source.

“In the ‘Enabling 5G in India’ programme, the 100-day action plan of the DoT includes 5G technology trials, policy on experimentation and trial spectrum for technologies, policy on participation in standardisation and international standards bodies, regulatory policy and application and use case labs,” the source said. Read the rest of this entry »

India tells US it’s willing to reduce import duties on telecom equipment

Source: Business Standard, May 04, 2019

New Delhi: India has proposed to reduce import duties on telecom equipment, including mobile phones and smart watches, and offered an optimum duty reduction package, in line with the United State’s (US’) demands.

According to sources, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu told US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that duties on IT products — a key US concern — may be cut, but not eliminated.

A ministerial-level meeting on Monday also saw India assure the US that certain changes to the draft e-commerce policy would be forthcoming once all stakeholder comments are considered.

Since under the World Trade Organization rules, import duties have to be similar for all nations, tariff reduction on telecom equipment may lead to major revenue loss for the government and a jump in imports, which stood at $15.82 billion in the April-February period of 2016-17. Read the rest of this entry »

TRAI ropes in BECIL to audit systems of cable, DTH firms under new norms

Source: Business Standard, May 05, 2019

New Delhi: Sector regulator TRAI has roped in state-owned Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) for conducting audits to ensure that cable TV and DTH companies are complying with its new regulatory norms.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which had earlier warned of action against operators found to be flouting the new tariff order and regulatory regime, said that audits in this regard will begin soon.

“BECIL will be conducting the audit on behalf of TRAI to ensure compliance with the new regulatory framework. We request all distribution platform operators (DPOs) to ensure compliance with the new regulatory framework in letter and spirit,” TRAI Secretary S K Gupta told PTI.

Gupta said that a decision is being taken on the companies that would face the audit of systems. Read the rest of this entry »

Telecom companies stop user poaching as stability returns to industry

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 25, 2019

Mumbai: Mobile phone subscribers may have felt some relief in the past few months, having stopped receiving incessant calls from rival operators asking them to switch loyalties. This is because India’s older telcos — Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel — have stopped their poaching activities, in a sign that the industry could be returning to stability, with all three carriers — the third being latest entrant Reliance Jio — close to each other in terms of revenue and subscriber market share.

Industry officials and analysts said the aim is to protect one’s turf and reduce churn, which will also help to cut down on subscriber acquisition costs, helping operating margins.

“We have stopped making pesky calls to competition base for daily offers, or offer for only today, via auto-diallers. In three large players that are almost equal, it is a given that if I do it (call subscribers of rivals daily), somebody else is also going to do it to me,” Balesh Sharma, CEO of the India’s largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea, told ET. Read the rest of this entry »