Posts Tagged ‘Idea’
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 18, 2009
via Nokia Siemens Adds GPRS To Idea Service Areas From http://www.efytimes.com, June 18, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009: Indian mobile operator Idea Cellular is upgrading its network in 22 telecom service areas to tap into the lucrative value added data services market. By March 2010, Idea subscribers will be able to enjoy multimedia messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, online music and other mobile services. The services will be enabled by Nokia Siemens Networks’ GPRS (general packet radio service) technology and Unified Charging Solution (UCS evolve).
Nokia Siemens Networks will add GPRS capability to 10 Idea telecom service areas, while the existing GPRS capability in 12 other areas will be expanded.
According to Anil Tandan, chief technology officer, Idea Cellular, “The value added services market in India holds tremendous potential. The greater opportunity lies in data services and in expanding our capabilities and service portfolio in this area. The right technology foundation is fundamental to our success, and it needs to include not just a method of delivering services, but of monetizing them effectively. Nokia Siemens Networks has strong credentials in this field and has played an important role in the development of our technology strategy for data services.”
As part of the project, Nokia Siemens Networks has also designed and will implement a charging solution that will enable Idea to use a single system across these locations for real-time charging of the new services for both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers.
Added Michael Kuehner, country head, Nokia Siemens Networks, “Customer lifecycle management entails building a flexible ecosystem of multiple partners that can develop innovative applications and content quickly, and at the right price points. The volumes and complexity are high, which makes billing and charging of these services difficult. As its technology partner, we are confident that our solution will not only help Idea Cellular build new revenue streams but also deliver greater quality of service.”
The Idea service areas where Nokia Siemens Networks will add GPRS capability are Mumbai, Orissa, Tamil Nadu including Chennai, Kolkata and West Bengal, J&K, Karnataka, Punjab, Assam and North East.
Nokia Siemens Networks will upgrade Idea’s existing GPRS capacity in the service areas of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West, Haryana, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra and Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
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Posted in Equipment Manufacturer, Idea Cellular, VAS Misc | Tagged: Anil Tandan, GPRS, Idea, MMS, NSN, VAS | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 18, 2009
via Indian mobile users to hit 771 mn by 2013: Gartner – The Financial Express on June 18, 2009
Bangalore: Indian mobile users will jump more than 90 per cent to 771 million by 2013 as companies expand networks to rural areas in the world’s fastest growing wireless market, research firm Gartner said.
India had 403.66 million wireless users at the end of April, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India figures showed earlier this month, second only to China that has more than 600 million wireless subscribers.
Cheap call tariffs and handsets are driving demand in India, where operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications are now building telecom towers and networks to cover smaller towns and villages to hook new users.
Gartner, the world’s biggest technology research firm, sees mobile subscriber base growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3 per cent in the four years to 2013, up from an estimated 452 million by the end of 2009.
Revenues of Indian mobile phone companies will exceed $30 billion in 2013, rising at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5 per cent over the same period, it said.
“The Indian mobile industry has now moved out of its hyper growth mode, but it will continue to grow at double-digit rates … as operators focus on rural parts of the country, said Madhusudan Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner.
Gartner, however, predicted a “significant drop” in average revenue per user (ARPU) — a key gauge of performance — as the bulk of new subscribers from the hinterland usually talk less on phones and some use mobiles just to answer calls.
Bharti, which is in talks with South Africa’s telecoms firm MTN Group to create the world’s No.3 wireless group, saw a drop of 15 per cent in its March quarter ARPU as it won more new users in rural areas. The research firm said voice tariffs would fall substantially in 2009 as new operators join the market.
The telecoms unit of Indian developer Unitech Ltd will launch mobile services with Norway’s Telenor in the December quarter this year, a top company official said on Tuesday.
Bharti’s rivals such as Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular are also rapidly expanding their services across the country.
Related stories at
Posted in Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Other Infrastructure, Carriers and Logistics, Reliance Communication, Revenue Performance Etc, TRAI, Unitech, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Airtel, ARPU, Bharti, CAGR, Gartner, Idea, Madhusudan Gupta, mobile, MTN, postpaid, prepaid, Reliance Communications, revenue, rural, subscribers, tariff, Telenor, Unitech, Vodafone | 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 17, 2009
17 Jun 2009, 0702 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip & Sandeep Gurumurthi, ET Now
The wait for additional airwaves, key for mobile operators to expand their customer base, has just got longer, with the telecom ministry deciding to make any decision on this only after the upcoming auction of third-generation spectrum, according to a top official in the department of telecom (DoT).
Communications minister A Raja and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met twice on Tuesday, but were unable to reach a consensus on key issues related to 3G auctions such as the base price for these radio frequencies as well as the number of players to be allowed to offer these high-end services.
“No consensus as of now on the base price. We discussed various suggestions — whether we should go for uniform base price or opt for differential pricing, according to circle, depending upon commercial viability of that area,” Mr Raja told reporters after his second meeting with Mr Mukherjee.
As a fallout, the telecom ministry has decided that it will take a call on all issues related with second-generation spectrum, the airwaves on which all mobile services are offered at present, including the methodology for future allocations, the pricing for this scarce resource and the usage charges for utilising these airwaves only after the upcoming auctions of third generation spectrum, the official said on condition of anonymity.
The ministries are divided over the base price for the 3G auctions with DoT proposing a reserve price of Rs 2,020 crore for pan-India 3G spectrum and the finance ministry wanting it to be doubled. DoT has said it is open to hiking the reserve price to Rs 3,540 crore as a compromise.
The two ministers said for the first time that they were willing to look at a differential pricing formula to arrive at a base price for 3G auctions, vital for high-end services such as video conferencing and high-speed internet on the mobiles.
Industry analysts, however, say using a new formula to arrive at differential pricing for each circle will be a time-consuming process that will further delay the 3G auctions.
The development implies that existing telcos will not get 2G spectrum till the issue is settled. Now, they will have to invest heavily on infrastructure to ensure that the quality of services do not deteriorate.
At present, all telecom services are offered on 2G spectrum and these airwaves have been given to telcos based on their subscriber numbers. Put simply, additional radio frequencies are dished out as telcos as they add more subscribers. Currently, India follows a controversial practice of allocating spectrum based on companies’ subscriber base, and is the only country in the world that follows this method.
There are two key factors that have led to the communications ministry deciding to stop all 2G allocations until the completion of 3G auctions.
First, the spectrum panel in its report submitted last month had said the country should adopt the internationally-accepted auction system for issuing additional 2G airwaves to telcos. This committee, consisting of academicians, industry representatives, government officers and industry representatives, had suggested that the 2G pricing be market-linked and be related to the auction price of 3G spectrum.
Second, the committee had also suggested that all telcos who hold radio frequencies beyond the 6.2 MHz mark be charged a one-time fee for all the extra radio frequencies they hold, while adding that this one-time fee be calculated based on the 3G auction price.
The communications ministry can act on these recommendations only after the 3G auctions take place.
The larger implication is that all telcos will have to shell out huge amounts, both for the excess 2G radio frequencies they hold as well as for all additional allocations in the future.
Additionally, DoT’s move to freeze all 2G allocations is also set to impact all telcos. For instance, India’s largest telco, Bharti Airtel, is awaiting additional spectrum allotment of 1 MHz each in five circles.
Reliance Communications, which has start-up spectrum in all 22 circles in the country, is now eligible for the next tranche in six circles as it has reached the prescribed subscriber numbers in these areas. Other telcos such as Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular too are awaiting additional spectrum in several circles.
With no airwaves allotments over the next couple of months, these operators will have to spend significant amounts in setting up new cellsites. Analysts say for most operators, it is, therefore, a tradeoff between increased capex and allowing the quality of services to deteriorate on account of the spectrum crunch.
This is because it is technically possible to have increased number of subscribers using the same amount of radio frequencies, provided operators spend significant amounts in building more base stations and subscribing to the latest technological innovations.
It is not just the large players that are impacted by the latest policy logjam. The government’s move to put all allocations on hold will also pinch small players and new entrants like Datacom, Unitech Wireless
and Swan Telecom, who are awaiting start-up spectrum in many regions.
Posted in Bharti Airtel, Datacom, Govt Financials, Reliance Communication, Spectrum, Swan, Unitech, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: 2G, 3G, A Raja, Airtel, Bharti, DoT, Government, Idea, Internet, Reliance Communications, Spectrum, Swan, Unitech, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 17, 2009
From http://www.economictimes.com on June 17, 2009
CHENNAI: Telecom operator IDEA Cellular, part of the Aditya Birla Group, would soon roll out its GSM service in the metro, a company official said here on Tuesday.
“It (GSM service) should be rolled out in Chennai very soon,” IDEA Cellular Chief Corporate Affairs Office Rajat Mukarji told reporters.
The company has already launched its service in Coimbatore, Madurai and other cities apart from the metro, he said.
To a query, he said they have received a ‘good’ response from the cities in Tamil Nadu where the services has been launched. However he declined to specify the number of mobile phone connections they had provided.
The company has operations in four southern states. In Karnataka it acquired telecom operator Spice while it has rolled out services in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, he said.
He said the Southern region ranked ‘fourth’ in the company’s overall subscriber base. “Out of the 40 million customers (in the country), 25 per cent is from Southern region”, he said.
Posted in Idea Cellular | Tagged: GSM, Idea, Rajat Mukarji, Spice | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 15, 2009
From www.ciol.com on June 15, 2009, source PTI
MUMBAI, INDIA: Leading mobile phone maker Nokia has launched cellphones, which will help farmers get instant information on farm prices in ‘mandis’.The company claimed that the new phone could display information in two languages and offer graphically rich user interface.
The company will be selling the devices first in Maharashtra and later to other states as also to select countries in Asia and Africa, officials said today.
The new devices costing about Rs 2,000 will also help users access education and entertainment services. Agriculture service will contain information on seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, market prices and weather.
The content will be available for Rs 30 to Rs 60 per month depending upon the information availed.
Nokia India Managing Director D Shivakumar said the company has tied up with Idea Cellular to offer the service and is talking to other mobile operators as well.
(Please see also story on Nokia Life Tools)
Posted in Handset Manufacturers, Idea Cellular, VAS Misc | Tagged: Idea, Nokia, Price, rural, VAS | 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 8, 2009
From www.ciol.com on June 8, 2009
BANGALORE, INDIA: Bangalore-based Ziva Software has announced that its mobile fetch engine Zook will power Idea Cellular’s, a telecom services provider, newly launched personalized ‘Stock Search and Subscription Service’. Idea will initially launch this service in Punjab.
Ajay Sethi, CEO, Ziva Software, said: “Under the ‘Stock Search and Subscription Service’, Idea will provide the subscribers with updated stock market SMS alerts on their mobile, enabling them to keep an eye on their portfolio while on the move. Unlike other broadcast services, one can choose to be alerted on specific stocks. This is a pure value service, just providing information and there are no tips, speculations or hints. A diligent investor can make the right decisions using the alerts.”
“Available at a nominal monthly amount of Rs. 30, Idea Punjab subscribers need to only SMS ACT to 51234 to get alerts on all business news, customized stock information, NSE & BSE conclusive information and the day’s top gainers and losers. With customized stocks, the user can choose to receive periodic information of up to three stocks of their choice at no additional cost.” added Ajay Sethi.
Posted in Idea Cellular, VAS Misc | Tagged: Ajay Sethi, Idea, SMS, VAS, Ziva Software, Zook | 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 May 30, 2009
30 May 2009, 0308 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The days of standing tall are virtually over. India’s standalone telecom tower companies are crumbling under the crushing weight of a credit crunch, few new orders, and competition from the gigantic tower networks owned by mobile phone companies themselves.
A spate of mergers and acquisitions will certainly help a few standalone tower companies survive to tell the tale. But market watchers say without a serious makeover of their business model, it may be hard to ring in sustained profits
Just a year ago, standalone tower companies were enjoying exceptional good fortune in the world’s fastest-growing telecom market. Backed by foreign private equity funds in a two-year-old sector, these companies had enough cash in their war chest to start looking for acquisitions and even expanding overseas.
But the global economic recession, which began to make itself felt from the start of 2009, rudely brought this dream run to a halt. Capital is now hard to come by in this investment-intensive sector, forcing smaller players to look for mergers and sellouts.
The M&A list is getting longer by the day. Xcel Telecom, which was incubated by Dallas-based $4-billion multi-strategy fund Q Investments
, is looking for the exit door. Xcel itself had acquired Tics Telecom, a Punjab-based telecom infrastructure firm, for an undisclosed sum before selling out to Nasdaq-listed American Towers (ATC) for Rs 700 crore.
ATC is also in talks with Gurgaon-based tower company Independent Mobile Infrastructure that is present in 10 circles with 400 towers.
Essar Telecom Infrastructure, the country’s second-largest independent mobile tower company, has also approached ATC for a possible merger or even a complete sellout. This is not the first time, though.
Earlier, ETI, which owns over 4,500 towers, was talking with Tata-Quippo for a merger
, but could not make much headway. Last year, ETI was on the verge of sealing a merger deal with GTL Infrastructure, but the $2-billion deal fell through at the last minute.
Even Quippo Telecom Infrastructure, which till recently was vying with GTL Infrastructure to be the country’s largest independent tower company, had to merge with the tower arm of Tata Teleservices in December 2008 to take on larger players. The newly-created company could boast of over 18,000 towers and commanded an enterprise valuation of about Rs 13,000 crore ($2.6 billion).
Other standalone tower firms too are headed this way. Executives in the tower business say, South India-based firms such as Aster Teleservices & TVS Interconnect Systems are also reportedly on the block. But earlier this week, an executive with private equity firm New Silk Route, which owns majority stake in Aster, denied his company was exiting the tower company.
So what went so spectacularly wrong? Has this sale season been triggered by a mere cash crunch or is it the symptom of a deeper fault line in the business that has cracked open with the first tremors of a crisis?
BK Syngal, senior principal, Dua Consulting, and former chairman of VSNL, says the primary reason is that the business model of small players has failed.
“Over the past two years, all major telecom operators have hived off their towers and other related infrastructure into separate companies. Standalone players who have between 3,000 and 5,000 towers cannot compete with the hived off tower arms of the telcos in terms of scale,” he said.
“Scale is precisely the reason why Quippo and the Tatas merged their tower arms. From about 22,000 towers currently, we are looking at a portfolio of over 60,000 within the next two years. No player with less than 60,000 will be able to survive in the market,” said QTIL group president and MD Arun Kapur. “You need such numbers to cover about 70% of the country’s geographical area,” he said.
It may be a Herculean task. Indus Towers, a three-way joint venture between Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular, has over 100,000 towers, making it the largest tower firm in the world.
Bharti Infratel, which holds Airtel’s towers in circles where Indus is not present, has close to 30,000 towers. Reliance Communications has consolidated
its 48,000-plus towers in a new entity called Reliance Telecom Infrastructure while the recently established Quippo-Tata combine has over 21,000 towers.
New entrants in the mobile phone business prefer to tie up with these larger established players rather than sign on standalone tower companies as it reduces risk as well capital investment.
According to industry estimates, this model can reduce capex by up to 60% and rollout can be much faster. For instance, Telenor, which picked up 60% stake in Unitech Wireless, entered into a tower sharing deal with the Quippo-Tata combine. The latter is also talking to other new players Sistema-Shyam and S Tel for similar deals.
QTIL’s Kapur says new entrants choose larger players because it brings down costs significantly. “We are perhaps the only completely independent tower company that is not linked to any operator. We already have committed business from the Tatas, Telenor and several other players. The higher the tenancy rate, the larger the savings for telcos as the overall costs come down. When costs are down, we can invest more in technology, R&D and increasing efficiency,” he said.
But this has been a huge blow for standalone tower companies. The new orders they were banking
on, did not arrive after all.
An senior executive, who recently quit an independent tower company, says the slide started in the second half of last year. “We rolled out towers and then waited for telcos to sign on. But over the past six months, telcos have chosen to go with established larger players to minimise risk,” he said.
The scramble by small and medium tower companies to sell out or seek mergers will only intensify in the days ahead. Industry analysts say the market will soon shrink to four or five large players who are backed by service providers. For smaller players, the dream of cashing in on the Indian telecom success is turning out to be shortlived.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: American Towers, Aster, Bharti, Essar, GTL, Idea, Independent, Indus Towers, QTIL, S-Tel, SSTL, Tata, Tata-Quippo, Telenor, Tics, towers, TVS, Unitech, Vodafone, Xcel | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 29, 2009
29 May 2009, 0157 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Malaysia’s Axiata group (earlier Telekom Malaysia) is not looking at raising its stake in Idea Cellular. Any increase in Axiata’s stake beyond 20% will require the consent of promoter Aditya Birla group under the terms of the agreement signed by the parties in June last year.
“We are not in any way raising our stake in Idea Cellular. We are working together with the Idea management and the Birla group for growing the company. We are not mulling any open offer as well,” Axiata group executive director and CFO Yusof Annuar Yaacob told ET on phone from Kuala Lumpur.
Mr Yaacob said, “Our focus at the moment is to complete the merger between the two entities Spice and Idea. Once completed Axiata’s stake will be raised to about 20%. The existing agreement between Axiata and Aditya Birla group clearly stipulates that we can only increase our shareholding in Idea Cellular with prior consent from the Birla group.”
The two sides are awaiting court approvals for the merger, which is expected to be completed in the next four-five months. There have been reports that Axiata, post merger, will go for an open offer to increase its stake to 26%, which will give it veto powers. “There is no basis for this speculation,” a top Idea Cellular official said.
Idea scrip closed at Rs 78.65 on BSE on Wednesday, almost unchanged over the previous close of Rs 78.85. Axiata entered Idea after BK Modi-led Spice Communications agreed for a merger with the telco. Axiata held 39.8% in Spice. Idea acquired Spice in a three-step transaction, beginning with purchase of 40.8% from Modi group for Rs 2,700 crore. It, along with Axiata, then made an open offer to acquire 20% stake in Spice from other shareholder. Idea is also taking over 39.8% from Axiata by exchanging 49 Idea shares for 100 Spice shares.
Meanwhile, Axiata has acquired a 14.99% stake in Idea Cellular for Rs 7,300 crore. It would further increase the stake by about 4.3% on account of share swap and will end up with about 19.3% stake in Idea. Spice Communications will be de-listed post the completion of the merger. After the equity infusion from Axiata and merger with Spice, the Aditya Birla promoter group stake will come down from 57.7% to 46.5%.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Axiata, Birla, Court, Idea, shareholding, Spice, Telekom Malaysia, Yusof Annuar Yaacob | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 27, 2009
27 May 2009, 0408 hrs IST, SHALINI SINGH, TNN on http://www.economictimes.com/
NEW DELHI: If Bharti Airtel’s proposed $23 to $29 billion merger with South African operator MTN goes through, India’s telecom M&A market will come of age either crossing or getting close to the $50 billion mark within a span of four years.
The telecom sector has seen greater M&A deals than any other segment in the country. Since 2005, 15 M&A deals have been struck, crossing a value of $25 billion. If Bharti pulls off a marriage with MTN, this number can cross $50 billion.
This also reveals that the size of Bharti-MTN deal will be roughly equal to or more than the last 15 telecom M&A deals in the country, though it is different since the transaction size is driven by share-swap rather than pure equity sale.
M&As in the Indian telecom sector started in the late 90s with companies like Bharti, Hutchison (now Vodafone), and Birla-AT&T (now Idea) starting to buy out smaller cellular operators with one or two circle operations. The first large M&A deal began with Tata Cellular merging with Birla-AT&T. This was followed by their acquisition of Escotel and RPG.
Bharti made multiple acquisitions in the late 90′s to 2002. Hutchison first acquired Facel in Gujarat, and then BPL, to expand its footprint in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Of the 15 M&A deals struck since 2005, the largest was Vodafone 67% acquisition of Hutchison Essar for $13.66 billion which placed the enterprise value of Hutchison’s mobile footprint in India at $18.8 billion in 2007.
The second largest deal in terms of valuation was more recently, in December 2008, when NTT DoCoMo bought 26% of Tata Tele for $2.7 billion, representing an enterprise value of $10.38 billion for Tata Tele.
Many Indian companies have sold stakes on more than one occasion, and between 2005 and 2008 the valuations of these companies have steadily gone up. Tata Teleservices, which received a valuation of $10.38 billion from DoCoMo in 2008, was valued at a mere $1.27 billion by Temasec in August 2006 when it parted with 9.9% stake.
Similarly, Providence and TA Associates valued Idea Cellular at approximately $3.9 billion at 2006-end. Subsequently, in mid-2008, Telecom Malaysia gave Idea an enterprise value of $7.6 billion and acquired 14.9% stake.
Two of the most recent acquisitions include Telenor in Unitech and Etisalat in Swan neither of which had, at the time of the acquisition, any subscribers or operations in India. These deals were valued at $1.7 billion and $2 billion respectively.
It is clear that India is one of the most attractive markets representing huge growth potential over the next five years. DoT, in its latest spectrum report, has forecast one billion mobile consumers by 2014. This would mean an average addition of 10 million subscribers per month for the next five years.
It is also clear that no market in the world can sustain 12 to 13 operators per circle which is currently the case in India. It is expected that in line with the M&A deals over the last three years, further consolidation is on the cards in the near future. Most telecom experts forecast three to four national players with two or three regional operators over the next two to three years as average revenues per user decline, markets start to slowly saturate, and mobile telephony moves from the current land grab mentality to a fight for switching high-paying customers between competing mobile networks.
It is, however critical that for India to move to an efficient number of market players from the present overcrowding, the government immediately start to review its April 2008 telecom M&A guidelines which place severe restrictions on inter-circle mergers within the first three years.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Bharti, Birla-AT And T, BPL, DoCoMo, Escotel, Etisalat, Facel, Hutchison, Idea, Merger, MTN, Providence, Swan, TA Associates, Tata, Telecom Malaysia, Telenor, Temasec, Unitech, Vodafone | 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 25, 2009
25 May 2009, 2134 hrs IST, PTI on http://www.economictimes.com
COIMBATORE: Telecom service provider IDEA Cellular
today launched GSM mobile services in Tamil Nadu, marking its entry into the state and said it would invest Rs 1000 crore to expand its footprint in the next two years.
“With this launch, IDEA, an Aditya Birla Group Gompany, will now cover nearly 90 per cent of the telephony potential of India,” IDEAL Cellular Director (Operations) Himanshu Kapania told reporters here.
The company, which launched its GSM services
in 130 towns across the state, said it will invest Rs 1,000 crore by March 2011 for expanding its footprint in the state.
“For expanding footprint in Tamil, we will invest around Rs 1,000 crore by March 2011 for setting up around 2600 towers in the state,” Kapania said.
Stating that the company has launched its service in major towns of Tamil Nadu, including Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Tirupur, Erode and Vellore, Himanshu said that the service in Chennai Metro would be launched soon.
With 25 per cent of its overall subscriber base coming from three areas of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, IDEA plans to set up a network of 2,400 cell sites by March 2010, which would be increased to 2,600 sites by March 2011.
On National plans, Himanshu said that the company would have pan India presence by the end of this year, with services being launched in West Bengal and Kolkata, Assam and North Eastern States.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: GSM, Himanshu Kapania, Idea | 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 19, 2009
NEW DELHI: State-run MTNL has received the highest amount of spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai at 12.4 Mhz as on March 2009 while private GSM operators Bharti and Vodafone are not far behind at 10 Mhz each in the same period.
Bharti and Vodafone have 10 Mhz each in Delhi. But most importantly, the private operators have got 8 Mhz each in the key 900 Mhz band while MTNL has got 6.2 Mhz on the same band. 900 Mhz is the most efficient band which can accommodate large chunk of subscribers. As per the data compiled by the Department of Telecom’s spectrum division, Idea has got 8 Mhz of spectrum on 1800 Mhz band in Delhi.
In Mumbai, MTNL has got 12.4 Mhz of spectrum with 6.2 Mhz each on the 900 and 1800 Mhz band while Vodafone has got 10.2 Mhz followed by BPL at 10 Mhz and Bharti at 9.2 Mhz. Host of new operators including Swan, Datacom, Unitech and TTSL have got 4.4 Mhz each.
BSNL holds 10 Mhz of spectrum in most of the circles it operate such as Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil (Chennai), Kerala, Haryana, UP (East & West), Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Bharti, BPL, Datacom, DoT, GSM, Idea, MTNL, Spectrum, Swan, TTSL, Unitech, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 13, 2009
8 Jan, 2009, 1325 hrs IST,IANS
NEW DELHI: With the telephone subscriber base rising to 374.13 million in November, the congestion levels between one network to another has risen considerably with Bharti Airtel’s network emerging the most congested.
Between July-September 2008, Airtel had 41 points of inter-connections (POIs) — the highest level of congestion among the various networks. Vodafone was the second most congested network with 22 POIs, followed by Reliance Communications and Idea with 19 each, and Dishnet Wireless with 18.
To ensure seamless inter-connection, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the sector’s regulator, monitors the level of congestion at the POI between various service providers on a monthly basis.
This parameter signifies the ease with which a customer of one network is able to communicate with a customer of another network. It also reflects as to how effective is the inter-connection between two networks.
The benchmark notified by the telecom watchdog in the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulation of July 2005 for this parameter is less than 0.5 per cent. This means that out of 200 calls between two operators, only one call ought to face a congestion problem.
However, a TRAI report says the performance of mobile service providers with respect to congestion on POIs improved in September as compared to June.
The number of POIs having congestion decreased from 156 in June to 129 in September, a TRAI said. Of these, September saw 129 POIs (of which 67 had more than 5 per cent congestion), as compared to 86 POIs in June. On the other hand, there were 42 POIs in September where the level of congestion was more than 10 per cent, while 11 POIs registered more than 40 per cent congestion.
“In respect of POIs from private CMSPs (cellular mobile service providers) to state-run telecom operators — Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the number of POIs having congestion has decreased from 94 in June to 68 in September,” TRAI said.
In the same period, POI congestion among private CMSPs also decreased marginally, from 62 in June to 61 in September. Bihar is the most affected telecom circle in terms of congestion, followed by Maharashtra, Gujarat, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh-West and Himachal Pradesh, TRAI said.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Airtel, BSNL, Congestion, Dishnet Wireless, Idea, MTNL, POI, Points of interconnection, QoS, Reliance Communications, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on May 13, 2009
12 May, 2009, 1616 hrs IST,TNN
NEW DELHI: Telecom operators, such as Tata Teleservices, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, are expected to issue multi-year BPO contracts totaling nearly Rs 500 crore in the next couple of months. The telcos are also likely to consolidate the BPO work among fewer vendors, which means the winners will get a larger pie of the contract.
With the telcos’ existing BPO contracts coming up for renewal, they have decided to invite new bids from BPO firms. While Tata Teleservices and Idea have already floated requests for proposal (RFPs), Vodafone is yet to do so, said an industry executive in the know of the developments.
It’s learnt that the outsourcing contracts will be for a mix of inbound and outbound services, including customer retention, cross-selling and payment follow-up. All contracts are expected to require about 500- 1,000 seats each. While the Tata Tele contract is estimated to be worth about Rs 150 crore spanning three years, Vodafone is expected to sign BPO deals worth about Rs 150-180 crore. Idea’s contract is expected to add another Rs 150-160 crore.
“The existing telcos are either expanding into new circles (Idea) or launching new services (GSM launch by Tata Tele) and their customer support requirements are growing. They are also looking at fewer vendors to ensure greater quality control,” said a BPO industry executive participating in these bids.
Both Tata Teleservices and Vodafone declined to comment in response to an e-mail questionnaire on the BPO contracts. Idea said it’s looking at new BPO contracts in a couple of months as part of its ongoing expansion process.
The new BPO deals will mean a new opportunity for BPO firms such as Aegis BPO, Serco BPO (formerly InfoVision), MphasiS BPO and Spanco BPO. Most of these firms already cater to multiple telecom operators. For instance, Aegis BPO provides customer support services to four leading telcos, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Tata Teleservices.
“Telecom companies offer a significant opportunity as this is a sector that continues to grow and add record subscribers every month,” said Serco BPO chief exec Aditya Gupta.
Telecom companies such as Bharti Airtel have been the pioneers of outsourcing in the domestic market. Indian telcos have outsourced IT systems, network management and customer care services to players such as IBM, Nokia Siemens Networks and Aegis BPO. According to research by ValueNotes, outsourcing of services in the telecom sector is expected to grow to Rs 2,770 crore by FY12 from Rs 720 crore in FY08.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Aegis, Bharti Airtel, BPO, Contract, GSM, IBM, Idea, Mphasis, Nokia, Serco, Siemens, Spanco, Tata, Vodafone | 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 »