Posts Tagged ‘Aircel’
Posted by telcobizpedia on August 25, 2009
From http://www.medianama.com/2009/08/223-news-digest-db-groups-myfm-rcom-shaadicom-irctc-tringme-nokia-sbi-irda-frontline-tejas/ on August 25, 2009
By Preethi J
MyFM To Raise 15.2M
Synergy Media Entertainment Ltd, DB Group’s FM radio division, will raise Rs. 1.52 crore through preferential allotment of fully paid up equity shares. It has received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Synergy runs 94.3 MyFM in 17 cities.
Related: Dainik Bhaskar IPO Filing: Digital Kiosks; IndiaInfo.com; I Media Corp
RCOM Launches Antakshari
Reliance Mobile launched a new VAS – Antakshari - on its R-World platform which will allow the subscriber to play antakshari with anyone. Charges are Rs.30 per month with 30 minutes free usage. This service is being launched on both GSM and CDMA networks. (TelecomIndia Online)
IRCTC’s Online Sales Boom
Around 34% of the 880,000 tickets sold daily by the Indian Railways are booked online, ticket sale data between April and July 2009 by the IRCTC reveals. This is not all – online booking of the tickets is also popular amongst low income groups. An thumping 63% of online tickets were booked by them. (Business Standard)
Our Take: IRCTC continues to be the poster boy of Indian e-commerce. We only wish it were more efficient – instead of spending hours standing in a queue, we now spend hours on the website – logging back in due to jittery timeouts and searching for train names and numbers.
Related: IRCTC Does $102 Million In Online Transactions In August; Payment Trends; HDFC, ICICI, Cash Cards Significant
This Bangalore based 2007 startup has a platform that helps developers create voice-enabled widgets for the Internet. Tringme hosts some 22 million call minutes per month and expects this to soar to 40 million in the next 3-4 months. One of its clients is Indiamart. (Moneycontrol)
Our Take: Such a platform could spark off more apps and options in the VoIP domain – so far ruled by Skype and Fring. Ofcourse there is still the regulatory hurdle to cross before VoIP usage picks up.
Strike At Nokia’s Manufacturing Plant in TN
Nokia employees at its handset manufacturing factory in Sriperumbudur have demanded a wage increase of €21 for all employees. (Evertiq)
State Bank of India has added 20,000 mobile-banking customers in 2 months, taking the total to 33,000. M-banking is rising in popularity for small value transactions. (PTI)
All Mobile Banking posts
The site has 300m page views a month. 6,000 new profiles are added every day. (Guardian
Insurance Inst Opts For Online Exams
Complaints of malpractices has led the Insurance Institute of India to make entrance exams for insurance agents online. The institute will be aided in setting up the online examinations by NSEiT, a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. (ET)
HomeShop18 To Raise Funding
The retail TV channel and online site is in discussion with prospective financial and strategic partners to raise money in the next year. It has outlined three priorities – be visible in every television household; to invest in customer experience; and, to reward loyal customers. Network18 owns 65% of HomeShop18. (VCCircle)
PE Firm Frontline Strategy Picks Up Stake In Tejas
The amount and stake are not known, and the stake was picked up by Frontline through a secondary transaction. Tejas has been backed by Battery Ventures, Cascade Capital Management, Mayfield Fund, Intel Capital, Goldman Sachs and Sandstone Private Investments. (VCCircle)
Change In Regulations Deferred: DoT
International telcos in India have been dealt a poor hand by the Indian government. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has postponed plans to remove the double taxation they currently have to comply with for offering long distance calls. They pay license fees twice to the government – for bandwidth which they purchase off domestic operators and again when they resell it to enterprises and their customers. (ET)
Etilsalat Awards IT Contract To Tech Mahindra
Following the move by other telcos to outsource their IT operations, Etisalat DB, which runs new telco Swan Telecom (renamed to Etisalat DB Telecom India), may award the majority of its Rs 150 million outsourcing project to Tech Mahindra. (ET)
Other telco-IT company relationships are: Unitech Wireless – Wipro ; Idea Cellular – IBM ; Bharti Airtel – IBM; Aircel – Wipro
Posted in Bharti Airtel, Ecommerce, Etisalat, Government, Handset Manufacturers, Idea Cellular, Infrastructure And Service Enablers, MCommerce, Other Infrastructure, Carriers and Logistics, Outsourcing, Revenue Performance Etc, Unitech, VAS Misc | Tagged: Aircel, banking, Bharti Airtel, DoT, Ecommerce, Etisalat, FIPB, HomeShop18, IBM, Idea Cellular, Insurance, Internet, IRCTC, Mcommerce, MyFM, Nokia, RCom, shareholding, Tech Mahindra, Tejas, Unitech, VAS, VoIP, Wipro | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on August 21, 2009
At http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125084655798248997.html?mod=rss_india_news on August 21, 2009
MUMBAI — India’s Wireless Tata Telecom Infrastructure Ltd., or WTTL, has made an initial bid for the telecom towers of mobile-phone operator Aircel Ltd., a director of the company that controls WTTL said Friday.
“We are currently studying Aircel assets after making an initial bid,” Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Ltd. Director Sunil Kanoria told Dow Jones Newswires.
WTTL is the second company after GTL Infrastructure Ltd. to confirm an interest in the tower operations of unlisted Aircel, in which Malaysia’s Maxis Communications BHD holds 74%.
Demand for passive network infrastructure such as towers has boomed in India – the world’s fastest-growing telecom market – as new mobile providers opt for leasing the infrastructure to reduce costs and roll out services faster.
Besides independent infrastructure providers such as GTL and WTTL, the other main providers of telecom towers in the country include Indus Towers Ltd. and Reliance Infratel Ltd.
Mr. Kanoria declined to give an estimate on the size or value of the stake WTTL plans to buy. GTL also hasn’t yet announced the details of its bid.
Local media reports have said Aircel was planning to sell a 51% stake in its tower business. Analysts estimate Aircel’s about 12,000 towers are valued at around 5 million rupees-6 million rupees ($102,312-$123,000) each.
Aircel officials weren’t available for comment.
WTTL is the result of a merger of the telecom tower operations of Tata group’s Tata Teleservices Ltd. and Quippo in January. While Tata Teleservices holds 51% of WTTL, its remaining stake and management control is with Quippo.
The company now has about 25,000 towers. At the time of the deal in January, the combined entity had about 18,000 towers, which gave it an enterprise value of 130 billion rupees.
WTTL has a target of having 60,000 towers in two years, excluding any addition from a potential acquisition of Aircel’s tower operations, Mr. Kanoria said.
It plans to spend 50 billion rupees to 55 billion rupees on building towers over the next two years, he said.
The expansion program is well funded for around six months, Mr. Kanoria said. For subsequent expenditure, the company plans to raise funds through debt and may also consider the equity route, he said.
Funds may be raised from existing shareholders or from an institution, Mr. Kanoria said. Eventually the company would look at a public listing, he added, without elaborating.
Posted in Aircel, Business, Infrastructure And Service Enablers, Investment, Joint Venture, Mergers, Other Infrastructure, Carriers and Logistics | Tagged: Aircel, GTL Infrastructure, Indus Towers, Quippo, Reliance Infratel, shareholding, Tower, WTTIL | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 17, 2009
17 Jun 2009, 0305 hrs IST, Rashmi Pratap, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Subscriber numbers in India’s wireless story are losing their relevance today as far as determining the industry position of a service provider is concerned. t will be revenues and not subscriber numbers that could decide the pecking order in the world’s fastest-growing telecom market.
This is reflected in the latest revenue figures released by the industry regulator, Trai. Going by this, the top three operators in India are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL).
Airtel’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) from wireless and wireline operations was Rs 7,998 crore for the March quarter. Vodafone Essar, which offers only mobile services, had revenues of Rs 4,456 crore during January-March 2009 on a subscriber base of 68.7 million. Reliance Communications (RCOM), which has the second largest customer base, reported an AGR of only Rs 2,998 crore on 72.6 million users during the quarter, making it the fourth largest in terms of revenues.
The revenues for the state-owned BSNL stood at Rs 3,943 crore making it the third largest. BSNL offers mobile services on GSM apart from fixed line services. Besides showing the revenue capabilities of an operator, AGR is significant, as it is the basis on which service providers pay licence fee and spectrum charges. Operators pay a revenue share licence fee to the government ranging from 6% to 10% of their AGR. Increasingly, operators are targeting revenue growth instead of a larger user base.
According to Bharti Airtel’s vision statement, the company’s aim is 20% increase in revenue margin per subscriber in the next few years.
Analysts contend that with more and more low-end users signing up for services, it is becoming difficult for operators to maintain margins and improve ARPUs (average revenue per user per month). In such a scenario, those who continue to grow revenues along with subscriber base will be the clear winners.
“As the new subscriber base is primarily drawn from tier III towns and rural markets, the incremental subscriber addition is not leading to a commensurate revenue upside for telcos. The catchphrase to evaluate a telco’s performance will be quality of subscribers rather than the number of new subscribers,” Acsendia Consulting principal analyst, Alok Shende told ET.
A smaller player like Idea Cellular, which operates in 13 circles, had AGR of Rs 2,389 crore on a subscriber base of 39 million. This is just about Rs 600 crore less than RCOM on a base which is almost half of that company.
KPMG director (telecom) Romal Shetty said, “Initially, everyone was going after subscriber numbers. Now, they are looking at quality of subscribers. This explains the emphasis on value added services (VAS), which bring in higher revenues.” He pointed out that low-end pre-paid users are now bringing in monthly revenues of as low as Rs 70 per month.
Tata Teleservices reported revenues of Rs 1,889 crore during the quarter placing it at sixth followed by state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL). Aircel, a relatively new entrant, is at the eight position, which had AGR of Rs 721 crore during the quarter.
Posted in Aircel, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, Idea Cellular, MTNL, Reliance Communication, Tariff, Tata Teleservices, TRAI, VAS Misc, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: "Fixed line", Aircel, Airtel, Alok Shende, ARPU, Bharti, BSNL, CDMA, GSM, Idea, KPMG, MTNL, Reliance Communications, revenue, Romal Shetty, subscriber, TRAI, TTSL, VAS, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 11, 2009
The Hindu Business Line Bureau on June 11, 2009
New Delhi, June 11 GSM based mobile subscription growth rate has slipped for the second consecutive month.
GSM operators added 8.3 million users in May, taking the total user base to 306.45 million, according to the Cellular Operators’ Association of India. The operators had added 8.97 million in April and 10.8 million in March. The slump in growth has been attributed mainly to lower additions by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
BSNL saw its subscribers additions slow to 4.5 lakh in May, less than half of April’s 1.04 million and less than one-fifth of record additions of 2.50 million in March. In comparison, Bharti Airtel added 2.8 million new subscribers in May while Vodafone got just over 2.5 million in the same month. “Private operators are maintaining the growth rate. If BSNL ramps up its network then the growth rate will be back on track,” said an industry representative. Both Idea Cellular and Aircel have added more than one million new subscribers each in May.
Related stories at
Excerpt from above:
Meanwhile, the Reliance Communications (RCom) has deactivated over 36,000 connections in Jammu & Kashmir even as the state police continued its probe into the violation of guidelines in issuing SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) cards.
“The company has deactivated 36,000 connections and begun an internal probe into issuance of mobile connections on the basis of fake documents,” senior superintendent of police, crime branch-Jammu, J P Singh said. Singh, who is heading the probe, said Reliance had conveyed to the crime branch the deactivation of these numbers and on the progress of its internal probe.
Posted in COAI | Tagged: Aircel, Airtel, Bharti, BSNL, COAI, GSM, Idea, Police, RCom, subscribers, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 10, 2009
10 Jun 2009, 0047 hrs IST, Rashmi Pratap & Boby Kurian, ET Bureau
MUMBAI | BANGALORE: France Telecom and Telstra of Australia are in talks with Malaysia’s Maxis Communication to buy a minority stake in Indian telecom operator Aircel, in yet another sign that the ongoing slowdown and credit crunch are having a negligible impact on deal activity in the telecom sector.
The talks between the two overseas players and Maxis revolve around France Tele buying a 20-25% stake in Aircel, a dominant player in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. Aircel, which is one of the major regional players in India, is in the midst of a $5-billion expansion plan that will see it becoming a pan-India player.
Meanwhile, Saudi Telecom, which owns 25% in Aircel parent Maxis, is likely to increase its stake in the company to 35% for about $1 billion. The money from the sale of Maxis’ stake will also be used to invest in Aircel. Goldman Sachs is advising Saudi Telecom in its transaction with Maxis. The deal with Saudi Telecom is expected to be completed within a month.
Estimates of the valuation of Aircel, which has a subscriber base of 19.6 million, vary between $7 billion and $8 billion. France Tele, which is not looking to buy a majority stake, will end up paying about $1.4-2 billion if the deal goes through at this valuation, people close to the development said.
The Indian telecom sector is perhaps one of the few sectors in the economy that is still witnessing strong M&A deal activity despite an economic slowdown. In the past 10 months, about $5 billion of deals have been concluded, including a mega $2.7-billion transaction that saw Japanese giant NTT DoCoMo buying 26% in Tata Teleservices.
Indian telecom companies, too, are growing at a scorching pace with monthly subscriber additions rising to more than 10 million a month. At this rate, Indian subscriber base is expected to leap past the 500 million mark in double quick time.
Aircel on course to widen pan-India reach by June 2010
The continued high growth is of great interest to foreign investors. Impending developments such as auction of spectrum for 3G (third generation) and broadband wireless access (BWA), besides the entry of MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), offer further growth opportunities,” said Salil Pitale, head (telecom & media), at Enam Investment Banking.
For France Telecom, Europe’s third-largest phone company which owns the Orange brand, it will be an opportunity to re-enter the world’s fastest growing telecom as it faces a slowdown in its home turf and in other mature markets.
In response to an e-mail, an Aircel spokesperson said, “We are not aware of any discussions with France Telecom about this matter. Maxis Communications and its partners remain firmly committed to the accelerated growth and development of Aircel to be a successful pan-India operator.” A France Telecom spokesperson said, “We do not comment on market rumours.”
France Telecom first approached Maxis in August last year, just before the global market meltdown. “At that time, it was also in talks with Tata Teleservices (TTSL). Negotiations with Maxis were revived after NTT DoCoMo clinched the deal with TTSL,” a person familiar with the discussions told ET.
Maxis was also in talks with AT&T last year for selling a similar stake, but the deal could not go through because of differences in valuation. Talks between France Tele are still at a preliminary stage and the deal may also fall through because of Maxis’ insistence that the prospective investor also purchase a small stake from Maxis. France Tele, on the other hand, wants the investment to go into the company, that is Aircel, and is not keen on buying directly from Maxis.
Maxis owns 74% in Aircel while the rest is held by Chennai-based Reddy family, promoters of Apollo Hospitals. France Tele had held a stake in Mumbai-based BPL Mobile for many years before exiting in 2003. In 2007, its group company Orange Business Services acquired GTL’s enterprise and managed services division. Subsequently, it bagged NLD and ILD licences in India. A stake in a mobile firm now will complete France Telecom’s India story.
Aircel is currently in a money-guzzling mode, with the target to complete pan-India footprint by June next year. Ananda Krishnan, the owner of Maxis, also needs money to pump into Natrindo Telepon Seluler, a telecom firm in Indonesia which has a 3G licence. Plus, he bought out NTT DoCoMo from Sri Lanka Telecom in 2007 and that business also requires continued investments.
In a bid to fund these plans, Ananda delisted Maxis in June 2007 in a $12-billion deal and within days, he sold 25% of it to Saudi Telecom for over $3 billion. Due to this, Saudi Telecom has an effective 18.5% stake in Aircel. Dilution of another 25% in Aircel will help Ananda’s Maxis raise around $2 billion at a time when global credit scenario is not very positive.
At the same time, India’s telecom growth story continues to attract international investor interest, with all the major telcos making a beeline for India. This is despite the presence of 12 players and entry of four more telcos later this year. For Ananda, stake sale could be an opportunity to raise money without giving any controlling rights.
Low-profile billionaire Ananda Krishnan, whose business empire stretches from telecom and media to power and construction, is known for buying and selling businesses. In May last year, he sold Excel, the giant exhibition venue in London’s Docklands, for around $230 million, to a group backed by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. He then bought a 20% stake in British regional newspaper chain Johnston Press and is widely believed to be interested in setting up a global media empire.
Posted in Aircel, Joint Venture, Tata Teleservices, Telcos' Composition | Tagged: Aircel, Ananda Krishnan, Apollo, AT&T, BPL Mobile, Broadband, France Telecom, Goldman Sachs, GTL, Maxis, Merger, Natrindo Telepon Seluler, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Salil Pitale, Saudi Telecom, shareholding, Sri Lanka Telecom, Telstra, TTSL, Wireless | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 2, 2009
From http://www.efytimes.com on June 02, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the main telecom industry lobby group of India, has announced a new executive council which has taken over the reins of the industry association. Suneeta Reddy, chairperson, Aircel Ltd and vice chairperson, COAI has been appointed as chairperson of COAI. Also Sanjay Kapoor, deputy CEO, Bharti Airtel has now become the vice chairperson of COAI for 2009-10.
During the COAI Annual General Meeting held on 29 May 2009 at New Delhi, outgoing chairman Asim Ghosh thanked the members for their unwavering support during his tenure as chairman. He reminisced fondly about his long association with the industry and the several challenges that the industry had faced and overcome in the last decade.
Ghosh noted that 2008 was a landmark year for the Indian industry as it had reached global scale. He pointed out that the job was never done and there would always be challenges ahead. He thanked Suneeta Ready for her support as vice chairperson, the executive council and the secretariat team for their efforts and contributions and wished them all the very best for the future.
Suneeta Ready, the chairperson elect, thanked the members for the trust and faith reposed in her. She emphasised that COAI had always stood for inclusive growth. She pointed out that the agenda for industry for the next 12 months included ensuring availability of adequate 2G spectrum, an early auction of 3G and BWA spectrum to facilitate the leap to the next generation of services, bridging of the digital divide, improving the financial viability of the industry and making it globally competitive.
Suneeta pointed out that with the imminent introduction of mobile number portability, the SIM card would become like a vote that could be exercised anytime by the consumers, and the industry should make all efforts to ensure that mobile is viewed as a service that adds value to the consumers lives.
The main members of COAI are: Aircel Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Datacom Solutions Pvt Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, Loop Mobile Ltd, Reliance Telecom Ltd, S Tel Pvt Ltd, Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd, Tata Teleservices Ltd, Unitech Wireless Pvt Ltd and Vodafone Essar Ltd.
Story at Financial Express on 30 May, 2009
New Delhi: The COAI Annual General Meeting held at New Delhi saw a smooth transition with the new Executive Council taking over the reins of the industry association.
The event saw the General Body ratify the nominations of Ms. Suneeta Reddy, Chairperson Aircel Ltd. and Vice Chairperson, COAI as Chairperson, COAI and Mr. Sanjay Kapoor, Deputy CEO, Bharti Airtel as Vice Chairperson of COAI for 2009-2010.
The nominations for the Executive Council were also ratified by the General Body.
Outgoing Chairman, Mr. Asim Ghosh thanked the members for their unwavering support during his tenure as Chairman. He reminisced fondly about his long association with the industry and the several challenges that the industry had faced and overcome in the last decade. He also noted how 2008 was a landmark year for the Indian industry as it had reached global scale. He pointed out that the job was never done and there would always be challenges ahead.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: 3G, Aircel, Airtel, Asim Ghosh, Bharti, BWA, COAI, Datacom, Idea, Loop, MNP, Reliance, S-Tel, Sanjay Kapoor, Spectrum, Suneeta Reddy, Swan, TTSL, Unitech, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 2, 2009
2 Jun 2009, 0142 hrs IST, Durba Ghosh, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Leading GSM
operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar have added 2.8 million and 2.7 million subscribers in April, continuing their respective growth momentum. The second-largest mobile operator Reliance Communication
added just over 2-million subscribers last month, according to data released by telecom regulator Trai on Monday.
GSM operator Aircel added about 1.1 million new subscribers in April taking its total subscriber base to 19.5 million. Tata Teleservices, a CDMA operator, added about 0.6 million new users in the given month taking its subscriber base to 35.7 million. Idea Cellular and Spice Communications together added a notch over 1-million subscribers in April. State-owned telco MTNL added 47,045 new subscribers in April.
RCOM, the country’s largest telecom operator on CDMA technology platform
, had launched GSM-based services in January with schemes providing free talk time up to Rs 900 and this resulted in its subscriber numbers surging between January-March. The free scheme was taken away by March-end, which resulted in subscriber additions falling in April.
RCOM had outperformed the industry in these three months, it added 5-million new users in January and over 3-million new subscribers in February and March. In comparison, the largest mobile operator, Bharti, added 2.7 million new users
each in January and February 2009 and 2.8 million in March.
RCOM now has a mobile subscriber base of 74.8 million and Vodafone Essar’s total subscriber base stands at 71.5 million, while Bharti Airtel leads with 96.7 million total subscribers. Vodafone Essar also saw a drop of about 0.07 million users in its monthly additions in April and the telco added just over 2.7-million subscribers as against 2.84 million in March.
With this, Bharti Airtel regained the number one position in terms of subscriber additions by a few thousand users as it increased its customer base by 2.8-million users in April.
In March 2009, Vodafone Essar had beaten Bharti Airtel in monthly subscriber additions for the first time. Trai also said that India’s mobile base had crossed the 400-million mark in April, inching close to the target of 500-million users by 2010, set by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
The total wireless subscriber base now stands at 403.66 million, while the total telecom base, which includes that of landline is 441.47 million, Trai added. But, the number of new mobile connections added in April saw a 23% drop compared with 15.64 million new additions in the previous month.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Aircel, Airtel, Bharti, CDMA, GSM, Idea, MTNL, Reliance, subscribers, Tata, TRAI, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 2, 2009
2 Jun 2009, 1528 hrs IST, IANS on http://www.economictimes.com
NEW DELHI: Telecom operator Aircel has awarded a five-year multi-million-dollar contract to Telcordia, a global communication software service provider, or implementing its real-time charging solution, the company said on Tuesday.
Aircel is a joint venture between Malaysia’s Maxis Communications
and India’s Apollo Hospitals Group.
“Aircel has awarded Telcordia a five-year, multi-million dollar contract for Telcordia Real-Time Charging, a flexible charging and policy control solution for their mobile prepaid subscribers,” the company said in a statement.
Earlier Telcordia had deployed the solution in just five months on a trial basis, powering Aircel’s pan-India network rollout and supporting the introduction of interactive real-time services and tariff plans.
“We selected Telcordia’s leading edge solution because it provides us with the reliability and scalability we need to support our business strategy of delivering service innovation to millions of subscribers,” said Gurdeep Singh, chief operating officer Aircel Cellular.
“Telcordia implemented the entire solution in record time. The prepaid solution is flexible and vendor agnostic, which means that we are able to easily and quickly implement new service offers, which will attract more customers and build our market share,” he added.
The real-time charging solution is emerging as a market leader for next generation prepaid services in high growth and highly competitive markets.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: "Gurdeep Singh", Aircel, Apollo, Maxis, Telecordia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 28, 2009
From The Hindu Business Line on 28 May 2009
Bangalore, May 27
Patient-doctor link portal HealthcareMagic has said its subscribers now can not only consult a doctor on phone but also pay their fee by phone. The company has tied up with mobile payment service provider Atom Telecom to provide IVR-based payment option for the service.
“Patients can now interact with doctors by dialling a landline number to get medical assistance for their illness or common query,” a release by the Bangalore-based HealthcareMagic said. “The charges range from Rs 160 to Rs 999 and can be paid through mobile or landline using credit card.”
HealthcareMagic launched its ‘Doctor on Call’ and ‘Doctor on Click’ live chat service over a year back. The charges were collected online; now this extends to phone-based payment, a spokesperson said.
The option of paying over the phone will cover all 400 million telecom subscribers and 40 million landline subscribers across the country. It has tied up with insurance and telecom players including Reliance Telecom, BPL Mobile, Aircel, ICICI Lombard and Bajaj Allianz.
“Providing m-payment facility for our customers will definitely increase our subscriber base and smoothen the payment system. As the mobile penetration in India is more than the Internet, Atom’s technology will definitely help get more visibility” to the service, said Dr Abhilash Thirupathy, VP-Marketing & Business Development, HealthcareMagic.
Those seeking medical advice need to dial HealthcareMagic’s call centre number and choose from various packages. They would then be connected to Atom IVR to pay by credit card over the phone. Once the transaction is done, the customer is connected to a panel of doctors.
The service is initially available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in English and Hindi. The company plans to make it available 24×7 in more languages, and also bring in advice from super-specialists.
“HealthcareMagic’s service-at-your-disposal is rapidly catching up as a concept in the country. With this tie-up, we are confident that the best of health care services will now be available on call instantly, thus benefiting entire population,” said Mr Dewang Neralla, Director, Atom.
Atom is the digital, retail initiative of the Financial Technologies Group and is said to have handled over 100 crore similar transactions in India and West Asia.
Posted in Before 11 June 2009 | Tagged: Abhilash Thirupathy, Aircel, Atom Telecom, Bajaj Allianz, BPL Mobile, Dewang Neralla, HealthcareMagic, ICICI Lombard, inancial Technologies Group, IVR, Mcommerce, Reliance Telecom, VAS | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 27, 2009
Thomas K Thomas on The Hindu Business Line dated 27 May 2009
New Delhi, May 26 The telecommunication sector has been a significant driver of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in India accounting for the highest share of deals at 18.6 per cent and 22 per cent during the last two years with values of $5.7 billion and $11 billion in 2008 and 2007, respectively. If the $23-billion Bharti-MTN deal goes through, then the trend is expected to continue this year as well.
Mr Bundeep Singh Rangar, Chairman, IndusView Advisors Ltd, says: “This one deal worth $23 billion will almost match the value of the 280 cross-border mergers and acquisitions last year at $25 billion. It marks the grand entry of India as an acquirer in the international telecom industry, just as previous years saw India Inc. buying into international steel, auto and IT industries.” The value of M&A deals during the first four months of 2009 totalled $2 billion.
There have been a string of investments in Indian telecom companies since last year. This includes the deals between Tata Teleservices Ltd and NTT DoCoMo, Inc.; Unitech Telecom and Norwegian telecom firm Telenor ASA at $1.36 billion; Swan Telecom and Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) at $900 million; and Bahrain Telecommunications Co and S Tel Ltd for $225 million.
Next in line
The Bharti-MTN deal could trigger similar deals in the Indian telecom space. Other operators, including Reliance Communications, Loop Telecom, Datacom, Idea Cellular and Aircel, could be the next to strike a deal with a foreign player.
A number of international operators, including AT&T, Kuwait-based Zain Group, Qatar Telecom and Telecom Italia SpA, are looking to enter the fastest growing telecom market in the world. Analysts say that M&As in the Indian telecom space could pick up pace because on the one hand domestic players are looking at foreign money to fund expansion plans and on the other international operators are exploring ways to move into emerging markets with their home market reaching saturation.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: "Tata Teleservices", Aircel, Airtel, AT And T, Bahrain, Datacom, DoCoMo, Etisalat, Idea, Loop, Merger, MTN, Qatar Telecom, Reliance, S-Tel, Swan, Telecom Italia, Telenor, Unitech, Zain | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 22, 2009
On Second Republic on 22 May 2009
New subscriber additions by India’s mobile operators appears to be slowing down – the country added around 11.46 million mobile subscribers in April 2009, the lowest in a month in 2009. Compared to additions in the first three months of 2009, this is surely a significant drop. After adding more than 28 million subscribers in January and February, India had added 15.64 wireless subscribers during the month of March 2009. Total subscriber additions in the Jan-March quarter stood at more than 43 million, a world record by all accounts.
Reliance Communications, which offers both GSM and CDMA mobile services, had added around 2.6 million new subscribers during March 2009. Compared to that, it only added around 1.75 million subscribers in April, according to data from AUSPI. In January and February, the operator had added more than 8 million subscribers.
As the April GSM subscriber data shows, almost all GSM operators witnessed a negative growth in monthly subscriber additions. Market leader Bharti Airtel saw only a marginal growth of 0.1% in month on month subscriber additions, according to the data released by industry group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). State-owned BSNL, which had added around 2.5 million subscribers in March, saw the biggest drop in monthly growth. Idea Cellular saw a 25.8% drop in its month additions.
With subscriber additions slowing down, it’s going to be challenging for the new operators to take on the current incumbents. However, Aircel’s performance in April is noteworthy and may interest the new operators. Aircel launched its GSM service in several parts of India only recently and had registered a 10.5% growth in its monthly subscriber additions in April.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Aircel, AUSPI, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, CDMA, cel, COAI, GSM, Idea, Reliance, subscribers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 21, 2009
From www.businesss-standard.com/India by Seema Sindhu / New Delhi May 21, 2009, 0:01 IST
The value-added services sector is expected to touch Rs 9,760 cr by end June. Telecom operators in India appear to be gung-ho over the prospects of value-added services (VAS) which help them to differentiate, add substantially to their margins while simultaneously be a precusor to third generation or 3G regime. The recent creative campaigns of majors like Vodafone (ZooZoos), Airtel (R Madhavan and Vidya Balan), Virgin Mobile (music download) and Aircel’s (Internet applications) are a case in point.
VAS offerings provide telcos with a wider platform for communication. Sunzay Passari, VAS & devices head at Loop Mobile, says: “If you look at the current campaigns of telcos, there’s focus on VAS. Strategically, it’s VAS where telcos can differentiate themselves. Our advertising is more VAS-oriented. Around 60-70 per cent of our total ad budget goes into VAS advertising,” says Passari. This year, VAS comprised 12.5 per cent of Loop’s total revenue, and over 8 per cent came from non-SMS services. Passari says the share of VAS is increasing significantly.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) predicts that the VAS industry will touch Rs 9,760 crore by end of June 2009, growing at 70 per cent. Music, caller ring back tones and wallpapers are the most consumed services. Over half of the music industry’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) comes from the mobile space. Moreover, given the declining average revenue per user (Arpu) and increasing competition among operators as new players join in, there will be more focus on VAS.
For India’s largest private telco, for instance, VAS will play an important role as Bharti Airtel moves towards achieving its target of adding another 100 million in just three years. The company has already crossed the 100-million subscriber mark. VAS accounts for around 10 per cent of Airtel’s revenues (non-SMS would be around 6 per cent). “As we move from plain generic communication to entertainment, VAS plays an important role. It acts as a productivity-enhancement and livelihood-enhancement tool. For instance, we have mandi prices for rural people on their mobiles, we give them weather information and also provide local job search facility on mobiles. As SMS moves from English to vernacular languages, VAS revenue (both from SMS and non-SMS services) will only increase,” says Raghunath Mandava, chief marketing officer, Airtel.
Harit Nagpal, director, new business and marketing at Vodafone Essar, has a slightly different take on this subject. “We can’t go away from our core, network promotion. ZooZoos was to offer some variety. You have to have some variety in your campaign,” he says. VAS comprises around 10 per cent of its total revenue, and more than half of it comes from non-SMS services. For Vodafone, while there is no significant increase in VAS revenue share compared to the near-past, it has increased in value terms.
Prashant Singhal, telecom head at Ernst & Young, opines, “Though voice is the killer application, operators don’t have to induce customers to use voice. That’s why there’s this focus on VAS. Moreover for new operators, VAS gives better revenue margins too.” A new operator will end up paying 60-75 paisa (20 paisa termination charge and 45-55 paisa carriage fee) on a national call while charging the customer only 1.50 paise. On the other hand, chances are that an old operator’s call will terminate on its own subscriber (on account of penetration), which will save him both the charges. VAS gives telcos a margin of 60-80 per cent.
Aircel, which since its inception has used VAS as its strategy, says VAS has helped it project its brand as fresh. Gurdeep Singh, COO of Aircel, adds: “Last decade had seen enough of roll-out and affordability in telephony. Future of telephony is VAS. Thus we have put VAS at the core of our strategy. VAS contributes 10 per cent of total revenue of Indian telcos, whereas in other countries it contributes between 15-30 per cent of total revenue. It’s an underexploited area we are looking to tap.” Singh refuses that margins are better in VAS.Also the VAS shift is a precursor to 3G. On asking if it’s a preparation in account to 3G, Passari responds, “As you add more and more subscribers and take into account the number of players entering the market, moving towards VAS is the only way. When 3G comes, definitely it will give immediate boost to those telcos which are well positioned in VAS. So, it’s a mix of both.” Singh of Aircel holds the same view.
Posted in Before 11 June 2009 | Tagged: "Virgin Mobile", 3G, Aircel, Airtel, ARPU, Bharti, Ernst Young, IPR, Loop mobile, VAS, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 16, 2009
15 May 2009, 0643 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip & Sandeep Gurumurthi, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Leading GSM operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular are confronted with a catch-22 situation. The Department of Telecom (DOT) will soon announce a reduction in spectrum usage charges to a uniform 3% of the telcos’ annual revenues. But, only those GSM operators who agree to pay a one-time fee for all excess radio frequencies they hold beyond the 6.2 MHz mark will be eligible for this reduction.
As per the current policy, all telcos share 2-6% of their annual revenues with the government as a fee for using the radio frequencies allotted to them. Spectrum or radio frequencies airwaves is the lifeline for telcos as all communication signals travel on these airwaves.
Further, the catch is, this one-time spectrum fee must be equivalent to the market value of the extra radio frequencies. The committee, set up to resolve all spectrum related controversies, has said that this onetime charge must be established through the upcoming 3G (third generation) airwaves auctions. For instance, if Vodafone Essar has been awarded 2 units of radio frequencies in Delhi & Mumbai beyond the 6.2 MHz mark, it will have to pay a fee equivalent to what the same amount of airwaves fetched during the 3G auctions in these two metro cities to enjoy a lower spectrum usage fee. In such a scenario, Vodafone will share 3% of its revenues from Delhi and Mumbai as against 6% at present. At present, the mobile services offered by all private GSM operators are done via second generation (2G) airwaves. India will soon auction 3G airwaves that will enable its operators to offer high-end services such as ultrafast internet, video conferencing, interactive gaming amongst other services. The panel’s report also adds that this one-time charge should be paid within two months of price discovery (through 3G auctions).
The larger implication is that GSM biggies such as such Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar & Idea Cellular, Aircel Cellular and others who hold airwaves beyond the 6.2 MHz mark in several regions across the country will soon have to decide if they want to continue with the present regime and pay a higher levy as against paying this onetime charge and enjoying a lower revenue share rate.
Some of the GSM operators said that they would comment only after unveiling of the new spectrum policy. An industry executive linked to a GSM operator said that ‘if such a clause were to be part of the new policy, telcos would adopt mixed approach’.
“In some circles, where the 3G price discovery may be low, GSM players will opt for this one-time fee, while in other regions, they are likely to continue under the existing regime,” the executive added.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: 3G, Aircel, Bharti Airtel, DoT, GSM, Idea Cellular, Vodafone Essar | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 16, 2009
14 May 2009, 0350 hrs IST, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: GSM telecom operators in India recorded a lower number of subscriber additions of 8.9 million in April as against 10.8 million in March, led by a sharp dip in monthly additions by state-owned telcos BSNL and MTNL. BSNL added just over 1 million users in April as against over 2.5 million in March. The total GSM subscriber base now stands at 297.7 million, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said on Wednesday. The subscriber base data for Reliance Communication was not reported.
Another state-owned telco MTNL, which operates in Mumbai and Delhi, also saw a dip in monthly additions with about 45,553 users in April compared with 92,097 users in the previous month. Both MTNL and BSNL now have a subscriber base of 4.2 million and 47.7 million, respectively.
Airtel led the number of additions made by the GSM operators in April. Inching closer to the 100 million subscriber-base mark, market leader Bharti Airtel added 2.8 million users in April compared with 2.8 million in March, taking its total subscriber base to 96.7 million.
As a result, Bharti Airtel continues to lead the GSM market with a market share of about 32.5% followed by Vodafone Essar with 24.03%. Vodafone Essar, the second-largest private GSM player, reported a total subscriber base of 71.5 million with about 2.7 million users added during April. It added lesser number of users in April compared to March, when it saw close to 2.8 million new users, as per data compiled by COAI.
Aircel, which recently launched its services in Delhi, added over 1.1 million subscribers all India. The operator now has about 19.5 million subscribers in its portfolio. Idea Cellular also added about 1.1 million subscribers during April, taking its total subscriber base to 44.1 million.
(Excerpt from India adds 8.9 mn GSM mobile users in April, 13 May 2009, 1542 hrs IST, REUTERS, reported on ET)
Reliance Communications, which had 72.67 million subscribers at end-March, expanded its GSM mobile services to all the service areas of the country in January, but the majority of its customers are still on rival CDMA technology. Tata Teleservices, in which Japan’s NTT DoCoMo owns a 26 percent stake, also operates on CDMA and monthly additions are reported separately.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: "Tata Teleservices", Aircel, Bharti Airtel, BSNL, CDMA, COAI, Idea Cellular, MTNL, NTTDOCOMO, Reliance, subscribers, Vodafone Essar | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 15, 2009
15 May 2009, 0609 hrs IST, Krishna Gopalan, ET Bureau
Over the last few weeks, it has been hard to miss the sight of Mahendra Singh Dhoni making travel plans with a couple of look-alikes of Indian cricketers. The advertisement has been ubiquitous and is certain to have met you in the face in newspapers, television channels and outdoor hoardings. This is the young and successful Indian captain speaking the voice of Aircel.
Like its brand ambassador Dhoni, Aircel has lofty ambitions. “In the next 24-36 months, we are targeting a subscriber base of 50 million. In 4-5 years, that number should hit 100 million,” says Sandip Das, CEO of Malaysia-based Maxis Communications, which owns a 74% stake in Aircel, with Apollo Hospitals owning the rest.
On the face of it, there is no better wireless market to be in than India. The country has close to 400 million subscribers and brings in at least nine million new ones each month. With that comes the bigger challenge. There are at least eight operators in any cellular circle and with tariffs already hitting rock-bottom, the battle is intensely competitive.
It is not as if Aircel has not taken note of this rather difficult situation. “It is hard to be the seventh or the eight operator. We have conceded almost a decade,” says Das, quite candidly. It was way back in 1999 when Aircel commenced its operations with a foray into the Tamil Nadu circle. The company was then owned by maverick businessman C Sivasankaran, who in a couple of years would acquire RPG Cellular’s Chennai operations.
Maxis of Malaysia entered the picture in 2006, by buying out Aircel from Sivasankaran for $1.08 billion. At that point, Aircel, apart from Chennai and Tamil Nadu, had licenses to provide services in 12 out of a maximum of 23 cellular circles.
If Chennai and Tamil Nadu were high-quality operations, there was really nothing beyond that barring a small presence in a handful of circles like West Bengal, Orissa and the North-East . From that rather insignificant position, Aircel has grown to being present in 17 circles. When operations were launched in Mumbai in April, it completed its footprint across the four large metros. No small achievement this, given that a much older player like Idea Cellular operates only in Delhi and Mumbai out of the four.
The team at Aircel does not see too much merit in the theory that the Indian wireless market is saturated. “We think there’s room for a brand to come from behind ,” says Aircel’s Chief Operating Officer , Gurdeep Singh. “We are the second largest operator in J&K and have moved up the rankings in several places. We have tailor made products for all our markets,” he says. A case in point is a tariff plan for price-sensitive markets where the user pays Rs 1,000 and gets 1,000 free SMS’, 1,000 minutes of free local calls as well as an equal number for STD calls.
That line of thinking seems to have worked. March 2009 has been the best ever for the GSM segment in terms of net additions, and the market grew by 10.84 million subscribers, with Aircel alone bringing in over a million subscribers. “We believe Aircel will be fairly successful, despite being a relatively late entrant in the metro, A and B circles. We estimate a 34.2% Compound Annual Growth Rate in subscribers for Aircel over the next three years,” says Subhabrata Majumder, Associate Director – Research at Macquarie Capital Securities.
THE WAY FORWARD
Telecom is an investment-guzzling business with long payback periods, where the key is having quality infrastructure and figuring out innovative ways to manage costs. In terms of infrastructure, Aircel has 20,000 telecom towers — a combination of towers that are owned and shared — and is looking at making the best use of these assets.
“Out of this, around 12,000 are owned by us. Next year, we will own close to 25,000 towers,” says Das. Like most other operators, Aircel too is looking at making the best use of its tower assets. “Yes , we will use our tower business to bring in some cash into our business. It is useful to arbitrage value for reinvestment in capex for our network rollout,” is how he describes the plan for the tower business.
Out of Aircel’s $10 billion investment plan, it has already committed close to $6 billion. That has come from a combination of equity and debt. Aircel’s parent Maxis is the biggest operator in Malaysia apart from having a presence in Indonesia and India is its most sizeable investment to date. According to Das, most of Aircel’s mature business — circles where they have been around for a while — have broken even. “In 3-4 years, we will be EBITDA positive in our new circles,” he says.
In the midst of all this, the bane for the operators in India relates to falling levels of Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). Operators need to look for ways to maintain ARPUs, which have a bearing on margins. Maxis is a big player in the value-added services (VAS) and Aircel, over time, will launch these in the Indian market. “Aircel’s pricing philosophy is to maintain ARPU by giving more to subscribers rather than to drop ARPU. The company is targeting a sharp increase in its VAS share from 9% of ARPU to 15% by 2011,” says Majumder.
India has never really been the easiest market for the best of marketers, and telecom is certainly no exception to that. For Aircel, the strategy has been to stay away from the price war which seems to have worked pretty well so far. How the game will unfold for this Johnny-come-lately in the time to come will be worth watching.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Aircel, Apollo, ARPU, C Sivasankaran, Maxis, revenue, RPG Cellular, Sandeep Das | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 13, 2009
Business Standard: Rajesh S Kurup / Mumbai May 4, 2009, 0:41 IST
The mobile tariffs in the world’s cheapest telecom market are set to fall further by at least 20-25 per cent during the year, more so due to increasing number of telecom operators and infrastructure overcapacity.
With local call rates at 33 paise (BSNL) and STD rates at 50 paise per minute (most mobile operators), the country has the lowest telecom tariffs in the world.
To begin with, the industry is expecting the new licensees (including Loop Telecom, Datacom Solutions and Unitech Wireless) to commence operations in this year itself. This coupled with the expected expansion of operations of existing players like Aircel Cellular, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications (RCom) will have an impact on the mobile tariffs.
“Whenever new entrants commence operations in the country, there is a high chance of reduction in tariffs as they come in with innovative strategies and prices, including freebies. This will increase competitive pressure on other players who will have to launch similar products to compete in the market. Moreover, apart from tariffs, the price reduction would also be extended to handsets,” European handset major Meridian India CEO Rajiv Khanna told Business Standard.
Another reason is an expected overcapacity in towers. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) estimates that the country needs around 300,000 towers by 2010 to support the massive 10 million monthly subscriber additions.
At present, the sector has around 2,75,000 towers. Operators like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone and independent tower companies like GTL Infrastructure and Indus Towers are increasing capacity and the 300,000-mark will be crossed much before the deadline, if not this year itself.
“The increase in the number of players will benefit the consumers in terms of newer enriched applications, choice and affordability. The on-ground traffic is increasing, but quality of traffic is not, clearly indicating that there is a need for more capacity. The tower infrastructure availability is going at comfortable speed. The industry will have to now think of ways and means of handling the increasing capacity proportionately, but more resource effectively,” GTL Chief Operating Officer and director Charudatta Naik said.
The recent slash in termination charges from 30 to 20 paise for domestic calls, which the operators have begun passing on to the subscribers, is also pulling tariffs down. Termination charges are the charges paid by one operator to another for terminating the calls on the latter’s network.
Moreover, the expected allocation of additional 2G spectrum and auction of 3G spectrum will also lead to a further rate cut. “The new government will have to allocate 2G spectrum to operators for additional expansion plans, while 3G auction will also take place immediately after the government coming into power. While some players would get 3G spectrum, others will slash prices to thwart competition,” a Mumbai-based analyst said.
However, the price reduction is not all that good. According to Idea Cellular Managing Director Sanjeev Aga: “Indian companies are rolling our predatory prices without conducting proper studies, unlike in the US or developed countries. Price reductions coming in from desperate companies are anti-competition and these are not based on economic sense, and in the long run this would be anti-consumer and anti-industry.”
In the short-term, it is the customer who will reap the benefits of the tariff fall.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: 3G, Aircel, Bhart Airtel, BSNL, Datacom, GTL Infrastructure, Idea, Indus Towers, Loop, Meridian, Reliance, revenue, tariff, Tata, TRAI, Unitech, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 10, 2009
9 May 2009, 1210 hrs IST, N Shivapriya & Rashmi Pratap, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Wipro, which has already bagged two large IT outsorcing contracts from telcos, is among the shortlisted contenders for another large outsourcing deal, this time from Swan Telecom. The other vendors that have made it to the shortlist include IBM and Tech Mahindra. UAE-based operator Etisalat owns 45% stake in Swan Telecom.
If Wipro wins this deal, the IT major would have won as many large outsourcing deals from telcos as IBM. Earlier this week, Wipro announced a nine-year deal with Unitech Wireless estimated at Rs 2,500 crore. In January 2008, it bagged a $600-million deal from Aircel Cellular. This deal is expected to be as large as the Unitech Wireless contract, said industry sources.
IBM has large outsourcing contracts from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular. Till the Aircel deal, it had a dream run, bagging all the large deals from telecos. Close to seven vendors had bid for the Swan Telecom contract, but about four of them could be in the final shortlist, said an industry expert, who did not wish to be named. He said operators may prefer outsourcing to a player other than IBM for competitive reasons. “Wipro could be a favourite to win because IBM already has three large operators with it. So, new operators may prefer not to go with it. Tech Mahindra’s niche focus may work against it in such contracts because the operators want vendors with a broad area of expertise,” the expert said. Compared to Wipro, Tech Mahindra is also a relatively new entrant into the domestic market.
Swan and other new operators are negotiating their IT contracts ahead of their equipment orders. In a response to a query on the company’s IT outsourcing plans, a Swan Telecom spokesperson said: “We are currently in the preparatory stages and will announce our plans for the Indian market at the appropriate time.” In a response to an email from ET, Wipro said: “Wipro does not comment on speculations and as a policy, we do not comment on specific clients or business.” New entrants like Unitech, Swan, Datacom and Loop are liable to pay penalty if they don’t launch services even after 52 weeks of spectrum allotment. Beyond 52 weeks, there is a grace period of three weeks. “We evaluated Wipro on all parameters — financial and commercial — and found the company extremely competitive. Also, being new in the (telecom) vertical, they brought a lot of freshness in approach and innovative ideas. We went about it objectively and Wipro had the team and infrastructure to support the project,” Aircel COO Gurdeep Singh had told ET about why the company decided to outsource to Wipro.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: "Gurdeep Singh", "Unitech Wireless”, Aircel, Airtel, Bharti, Datacom, Etisalat, IBM, Idea, Loop, Swan, Tech Mahindra, Unitech, Vodafone, Wipro | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 10, 2009
6 May 2009, 0052 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The Sahara group has picked up an 11.7% stake in Chennai-based telecom company S Tel, which has licences to operate in several northern and eastern states, according to a report submitted by the telecom regulator Trai to the government. The regulator had prepared a report on the ownership of all companies that were given telecom licences last year following reports of stake sales by promoters. The deal can be worth around Rs 250 crore, if S Tel’s stake sale to Bahrain Telecommunications earlier this year is taken as the benchmark.
A Sahara executive, who did not wish to be named, confirmed that a group company by the name of Sahara India Investment Corp had picked up stake in S Tel and said that it was only a ‘financial investment’. This executive, however, refused to divulge the deal size. The Sahara group spokesperson did not comment.
Earlier this year, Batelco Millennium India, a consortium formed by Bahrain Telecommunications and Dubai-based Millennium Private Equity, had picked up a 49% stake in the company for about $225 million that valued the company at about $450 million (Rs 2,250 crore). So far, private equity firms, Skycity Foundations and Telecom Investments (Mauritius), were believed to be holding the remaining 51% stake in the company. The S Tel website lists these two PE firms as “co-promoters”, but does not divulge any additional details on them.
S Tel has unified access services licences — government parlance for telecom licences that allow wireline as well as wireless services in a service area — and start-up spectrum in Bihar, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, the North East and Assam.It also holds a category A internet service provider (ISP) licence that allows it to provide broadband services across the country. Last year, S Tel attracted attention when it offered to pay Rs 13,752 crore to the government for a pan-India spectrum. Earlier in 2008, it was reported to have doubled the offer of revenue to the government for licences in all 22 circles for which it had applied for. Recent news reports have also linked the telco with maverick investor C Sivasankaran, who is reportedly looking to pick up a stake in the company. Mr Sivasankaran, a serial entrepreneur, who sold his cellular services firm Aircel for $1.08 billion to Maxis Telecom at the end of 2005, was barred from buying more than 10% stake in any Indian telecom company as part of a non-compete agreement he had signed with the Malaysian company. But, this agreement ended at the end of March.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Aircel, “Telecom Investments Mauritius”, Batelco, ISP, Maxis, S-Tel, Sahara, Sivasankaran, Skycity, UAS | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 10, 2009
6 May 2009, 0203 hrs IST, Rashmi Pratap & Krishna Gopalan, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: India’s big three wireless service appear to have hit the peak of their capex cycles. For FY10, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar are expected to cumulatively invest $6.5 billion, which is over a 30% drop compared to their outlays for FY09. This is largely because the biggies have already entered all the telecom circles and now will just need to spend on network upgradation and marketing. Also, with the transfer of passive infrastructure assets like towers to separate companies and outsourcing non-core operations, including IT and call centres, operators have managed to convert a significant part of capex into opex.
The capex for Bharti Airtel, India’s largest cellular service provider, is down to $2.5 billion for FY10 from a level of $3.5 billion in FY09. “For Bharti Airtel, stand-alone capex, which does not include passive infrastructure, should be around $2.5 billion,” the company joint MD Akhil Gupta said after announcing the results last week. He added that investment plans for its passive infrastructure companies, Bharti Infratel and Indus Telecom, are still under way. Airtel’s population coverage has crossed the 80% mark. By generating free cash flows now, the company expects to meet future capex requirements from internal accruals.
Bharti Airtel’s closest rival, Reliance Communications (RCom) has reduced its proposed capex FY10 to $2 billion. This is after the company spent far less than its forecast of Rs 30,000 crore ($6 billion) last fiscal. It eventually spent Rs 19,000 crore. “The peak of the capex cycle is behind us and we are moving towards a free cash flow,” RCOM vice-chairman Satish Seth said.The other player forming the big three, Vodafone Essar, which like Bharti Airtel and RCom is a pan-India player, spent around $2 billion last fiscal and is expected to invest a similar amount this year, too. However, players who are still in the expansion mode — among them are Idea Cellular and Aircel — have increased their investment outlay despite a global economic slowdown. Idea, which invested over Rs 5,000 crore in FY09, will increase that to Rs 6,000 crore this fiscal. Aircel, meanwhile, has a total capex outlay of $10 billion, out of which around $6 billion has been invested.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: "Akhil Gupta", "Indus Telecon", Aircel, Airtel, “Bharti Infratel”, “Satish Seth”, Bharti, Capex, Essar, Idea Cellular, RCom, Reliance, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »