Telecom sector braces for a revolution with the entry of virtual network operators

Source: The Economic Times, Mar 31, 2016

The Telecom Commission approved a new category of mobile phone services. The providers of these services — called virtual network operators (VNOs) — will be different from the usual telecom operators. Instead of building costly networks, they can simply pay and partner an existing mobile network operator, piggyback on that network and resell their services under their own brand.

The opportunity for VNO could open the doors for everyone from startup entrepreneurs to companies with large consumer base like mutual fund houses to ecommerce firms to retail chains. They could use the telecom networks to offer mobile, fixed line or internet services.
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Govt penalises telcos Rs 323 cr for violating CAF norms

Source: The Economic Times, Mar 02, 2016

NEW DELHI: To meet the country’s growing needs, the government plans to set up nuclear power plants in in Bihar, Haryana and Punjab, Lok Sabha was informed today.

Government aims to increase nuclear power generation capacity by three times in ten years. If it is 4,780 MW today, the same would go up to 13,480 MW, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha. He said new places are being explored for setting up plants to generate nuclear power which would be a big source for meeting the growing energy needs.

With regard to nuclear power programme, Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, said the government is considering setting up new plants in areas not covered before.

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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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