For the first time ever, Indian mobile phone sees contraction in Q4 growth

TelecommunicationSource: Business Standard, Feb 25, 2015

Pune: India’s mobile phone market has seen its first ever contraction. For the October-December 2014 quarter, domestic mobile phone sales stood at 64.3 million units — a drop of five per cent annually and 11 per cent from the July-September quarter.According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the smartphone market experienced a shipment contraction largely owing to a high channel inventory at the beginning of the quarter, prompted by the festive season, during which there was a surge in online sales.

The quarter was a correction phase where the smartphone market declined by four per cent and the feature phone market declined by 14 per cent from the previous quarter. However, the feature phone to smartphone migration is clearly visible in the numbers.

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Airtel, BSNL to sign pan-India intra-circle roaming pact

Source: Business Standard, Feb 22, 2015

New Delhi: Telecom operators Airtel and BSNL are likely to sign a pan-India roaming pact within a month to strengthen their 2G mobile services in areas where either of them is having a weak or negligible presence.

“We are soon going to sign a pan-India intra-circle roaming agreement with Airtel with a focus to strengthen coverage in rural areas. Commercials are being worked out. This is most likely to signed within a month,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.When contacted, Airtel did not comment on the matter.

Airtel, BSNL
Shrivastava said the deal is a part of the BSNL strategy to spend carefully on building infrastructure and use sharing rules to bring down operational cost besides providing good network to consumers.

“We have made ‘co-opetition’ (co-operative competition) as one of the key strategies. Under this we are looking at opportunity where we can co-operate with other players to expand our business,” he said.

BSNL has invested about Rs 4,000 crore in the latest network expansion (phase 7). It is expected to be completed by June 2015.Airtel claims its mobile network with 1,42,898 base stations covers an area of 87 per cent of India’s population.BSNL’s mobile network covers an area of 72 per cent of country’s population which will further increase after completion of phase 7 network expansion.

The state-run telecom firm will have about 1,10,000 base stations after June this year.

Videocon Telecom To Invest Rs 1,200 Cr for Rolling Out 4G Services In 3 Circles

TelecommunicationSource: The Hindu Buisnessline, Feb 19, 2015

Mumbai, Feb 19: Mobile services provider Videocon Telecom plans to invest about Rs. 1,200 crore for rolling out 4G services in three circles in the next three years. The company plans to rollout 4G services in 29 cities across Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Bihar circles.

The operator, which holds 5 MHz liberalised spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band in these circles, plans to utilise the entire spectrum for the rollout of 4G LTE services in select cities and offer voice on overlay network in these key cities. In the remaining coverage area, the company will offer 2G voice on own network, it said in a statement.

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Hcl, Nokia India Enter Pact To Distribute Microsoft Mobile Devices

Source: Livemint, Feb 18, 2015

New Delhi: HCL Infosystems Ltd on Tuesday said it entered into a three-year contract with Nokia India Sales Pvt. Ltd (NISPL), a subsidiary of Microsoft Mobile Oy. to distribute Microsoft Mobile devices including Microsoft Lumia across India.

The company said it will enhance the footprint of Microsoft Mobile devices across the organized trade and general trade channels as well as rural India.

“The partnership is aimed at triggering significant business growth and synergy for both companies,” it said. “The partnership also enables both companies to explore new channels to enhance their last-mile connect.

HCL Infosystems has a distribution network that encompasses over 1, 00,000 retail outlets, 800 direct distributors and 12,400 channel partners across 15,000 towns and 664 districts.

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India aims US$ 10 billion telecom exports in five years

Source: IBEF.org, Feb 16, 2015

New Delhi: The Government of India aims to increase exports of telecom products and services at 25 per cent compund annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next five years to reach US$ 10 billion, said Mr Rakesh Garg, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India.

Telecom exports from India currently stands around Rs 32,000 crore (US$ 5.14 billion), of which Rs 20,000 crore (US$ 3.21 billion) comes from products and equipment and the remaining Rs 12,000 crore (US$ 1.92 billion) from services.

The Government of India is making efforts to reduce electronic products imports and to meet requirement of domestic market through indigenous production and has also offered various incentives to the industry to boost domestic manufacturing in the field of electronics.

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8 telecom companies in race for spectrum

8 telecom companies in race for spectrumSource: Times of India, Feb 17, 2015

NEW DELHI: The telecom industry lined up for a new round of spectrum auctions — slated for next month — even as some of them have approached various courts with some “clarifications and queries” regarding the sale. While eight operators, including the companies owned by Ambani brothers — Mukesh (Reliance Jio Infocomm) and Anil (Reliance Communications) — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have submitted applications, Russia’s Sistema-controlled Sistema Shyam Teleservices opted out of the race over differences on the reserve price and contiguity of spectrum.

The auctions, which will see the government sell spectrum in the CDMA frequency of 800 MHz and also in the GSM bands of 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz are expected to fetch the government over Rs 1 lakh crore as operators are likely to bid aggressively to bag the scarce commodity, considering some of them are losing airwaves in many key circles. The fight is expected to be particularly aggressive in the highly-efficient 900 MHz band and also in the 2,100 MHz frequency, which is mainly used for 3G services.

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Telecom ministry wants Budget boost for making of equipment

Source: Business Standard, Feb 06, 2015

New Delhi: The ministry of information technology and Communications has asked the finance ministry for tax incentives to manufacture telecom equipment and for setting up and operating passive infrastructure such as mobile transmission towers.

It has said such benefits would help lower the cost of services and in the goal of affordable telephony. Plus, promoting the ‘Make in India’ programme of the government.

In its recommendations for Budget 2015-16, it has asked for extension of the investment-linked incentives under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act for the above purposes.

Since its introduction in 2009, the list of specified businesses eligible for such incentives has been expanded each year, now covering cold chain facilities, hotels, hospitals, housing projects and warehousing, the ministry noted.

India has the world’s second largest telecom network, with 942 million connections and 75 per cent tele-density. However, there has been a decline in capability to make equipment, says the ministry. Imports in this space were Rs 69,516 crore in 2013-14, against export of Rs 20,475 crore.

The benefits will be important to promote domestic manufacturing of mobile handsets. Manufacturing of products such as towers, green shelters, diesel generating sets, air conditioners, power management systems, battery banks and UPS will get a boost.

The ministry has also asked for deferred payment of excise duty to domestic manufacturers of telecom equipment for seven years, interest-free. Currently, there is no such provision. Or a differential duty structure, applicable on mobile phones, should be extended to cover all telecom products. At present, a countervailing duty of six per cent is applicable on imported mobile devices.

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