Posts Tagged ‘Vodafone’
Posted by telcobizpedia on August 24, 2009
From http://www.medianama.com/2009/08/223-deutsche-telekom-eyes-indian-isp-space-devas-multimedia-looks-to-raise-funds/ on August 24, 2009
By Preethi J
German telecom conglomerate Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile in USA, is planning to join the Internet Service Provider arena in India. According to a MarketWatch report, the telco is planning to set up a high-capacity radio network for quick Internet connections in metropolitan areas of India come next year.
I wonder if we need yet another ISP in India, with already a number of incumbent players – Reliance, Tata Indicom, MTNL, BSNL, Hathaway, Tikona, Sify and Bharti Airtel, and France Telecom, Vodafone and DEN Networks also planning ISPs. With the last mile still closed, wireless is being seen as the way to go; which is where Devas Multimedia comes in.
Devas MultiMedia:Looking To Raise Funds
Deutsche Telekom received permission from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) last year to invest Rs. 317.85 crore into Devas Multimedia, a little known Bangalore-based wireless services company, which was working on a long term Mobile TV (DMB) project with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). DT has acquired 17% stake in Devas.
Interestingly enough, Devas is looking to raise funds. The company, which already has Telecom Ventures and Columbia Capital as investors, apart from Deutsche Telekom, has a proposal pending with the FIPB for permission to “induct fresh foreign equity participation with the induction of a new foreign collaborator.”
Devas is a curious case: little is known about it, and it still appears to be in stealth mode: there’s no website and there is little information on it except of it’s work with ISRO and its backers.
India desperately needs a catalyst to boost Internet penetration: Internet growth in July 2009 in India has actually fallen to 2.7% from 3.4% in June and 6.3% in May 2009. Besides the well known issues of delinking last mile access and ISP licensing which are throttling growth, other issues Deutsche Telekom will need to grapple with are low PC adoption and lack of Indic language content.
Companies Eying ISP Space In India
Earlier this year, France Telecom also entered India through Equant Network Services, its joint venture with Emery Technologies with the intention of launching Internet services; Vodafone too announced its entry. The latest to announce plans of becoming an Internet service provider is DEN Networks, a cable TV company which is planning to go public to raise funds.
The Wireline Alternative: Broadband Over Power
Research and experiments on Broadband over Power Lines have been on for years – news about it pops up every few months. Indian Express has the latest: about Bengal Engineering and Science University professors and CESC have implemented Broadband over Power in two housing estates in Kolkata. The copper wires that supply electricity to double as broadband connections and installing a customer premise equipment that decodes the signals and brings them to your computer. But if it’s that simple, why is it taking so long to materialise? The government recently deferred an application by Powermax Communications, a provider of power transmission and distribution management systems and broadband over power services, to increase foreign equity participation.
Posted in Bharti Airtel, BSNL, Business, FT and Orange, Government, Idea Cellular, Infrastructure And Service Enablers, Internet, Investment, MTNL, New Developments, Other Infrastructure, Carriers and Logistics, Reliance Communication, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Bharti Airtel, Broadband, BSNL, Columbia Capital, DEN Networks, Deutsche Telekom, Devas Multimedia, FIPB, France Telecom, Hathaway, Internet, ISP, ISRO, MTNL, penetration, Reliance, SiFy, subscribers, T-Mobile, Tata Indicom, Tikona, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 18, 2009
via RCom takes a call on the Zoozoo challenge.
Rajesh S Kurup & Sapna Agarwal / Mumbai June 18, 2009, 0:37 IST on The Business Standard
Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Communications (RCom) is borrowing a concept from the Charlie Chaplin classic The Great Dictator. Just as Chaplin dances with a globe in the film, RCom’s forthcoming advertising campaign will shows five animated characters dancing with a globe.
The similarity doesn’t end there. In The Great Dictator, Chaplin is spoofing Adolf Hitler’s wild ambitions to conquer the world. In its ad campaign slated for launch next week, RCom is taking on Vodafone-Essar’s engaging and hugely popular Zoozoos
Being developed by Delhi-based RocketScience, the characters — five of them representing the five network bars on a mobile phone — are yet to be given a name. Right now, they’re being referred to as “humanised network bars”.
But much like the Zoozoos, these “humanised network bars” will communicate the strength of the company’s network through five-second spot advertisements, they added.
The company’s brief to the agency was to make network bars the brand’s identity and a medium of communicating with its customers, a RocketScience source said.
RCom is making seven short films to be aired across various TV channels beginning next week. The campaign, which also includes an online viral, will run for two weeks.
In one of the advertisements, four of the humanised characters are lifting the fifth and threatening to drop him on the ground. The tagline says: ‘Our network never fails’. Another one has all the five dancing around India’s map, mentioning its “coverage across 20,000 towns and 500,000 villages”.
Asked about the impending campaign, a Reliance Mobile spokesperson declined to comment.
RCom will spend around Rs 150 crore (the amount includes the GSM campaign featuring Hrithik Roshan launched a fortnight ago) over a 60-day period. RCom will also extend its humanised characters to sell its portfolio of value-added brand, just as Vodafone did with Zoozoos. Going a step further, RCom will create jokes around its humanised characters that will be available over SMS and e-mail.
Ad gurus generally have a good take on spoofs. “If done well in good taste and humour, spoof ads are considered flattery, indicating that the idea has been appreciated. It works well for the brand because it creates excitement — but again, this depends on the brand. I am personally not against spoofs,” said Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Worldgroup India, and regional creative director, McCann Asia .
K V Sridhar (known as “Pops”), national creative director, Leo Burnett, added that spoofs by challenger brands taking on market leaders are usually well received by customers.
“For instance, Pepsi’s spoof -’Nothing Official About It’ – was received well. Likewise, when Jet Airways had announced a change — Kingfisher came up with an ad saying ‘We Have Not Changed’.
“If the brand’s personality is fun, and it’s not the market leader, it can take on the larger brand, it’s enjoyable. But if the market leader takes on smaller brands it’s usually not enjoyable.
It’s like a family; the younger brother can take potshots at the older one, but the older one taking a potshot at his younger sibling is considered bad,” he said.
Posted in Advertisement, Reliance Communication, VAS Misc | Tagged: advertisement, Reliance Communications, Vodafone | 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 18, 2009
18 Jun 2009, 0124 hrs IST, Rashmi Pratap, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, said that its direct-to-home (DTH) venture, Bharti Telemedia does not require the approval of the Foreign Investment Board (FIPB), as the investment has come from Bharti Airtel’s internal accruals.
Responding to questions raised by FIPB regarding foreign investments in Bharti Telemedia, the company said there is no cash flow or investment from any foreign entity into Telemedia either directly or through Airtel.
In a letter to FIPB, Telemedia said FDI investment into Airtel has been in accordance with the norms and cap in the telecom sector and duly approved by FIPB. “Further, there is no FDI investor who has invested in Airtel specifically for downstream investment in the DTH sector. Accordingly, Bharti Telemedia did not apply for FIPB approval as it was not seeking fresh FDI or overseas investment,” it added.
This communication has come in response to a query from FIPB, which said approval for Bharti’s DTH services was “subject to compounding” (confirmation) by the Reserve Bank of India. Bharti said that “compounding” was not applicable in this case as only Indian money has been invested in Telemedia and no foreign money was routed to the company.
The government had earlier said the shareholding structure provided by Bharti Telemedia did not have FIPB approval and this was not in accordance with existing FDI policy. Last year, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry had also raised questions about Bharti Telemedia not having FIPB approval for foreign investments coming into it on a pro-rata basis through investing firms, including Airtel.
According to the FDI guidelines for DTH, total foreign equity holding in a company should not exceed 49% and the FDI component within the foreign equity should not exceed 20%. Airtel has 40% stake in Bharti Telemedia, while the remaining is held by an “Indian company of the Bharti group”, a Bharti spokesperson said.
Bharti also pointed out to FIPB that under the revised FDI policy, as per Press Notes 2 and 4, announced in February this year, Airtel qualifies as a company “owned and controlled” by resident Indians and there is no indirect FDI into Telemedia through Airtel.
Under the revised Press Notes, a company is considered Indian if Indian promoters have a stake of at least 51%. Moreover, the investments made by such companies in any joint venture or downstream venture will be treated as Indian. Since a major part of SingTel’s 31% stake and Vodafone’s over 4% share in Airtel is routed through majority-owned Indian companies, Airtel is owned and controlled by Indians.
Airtel launched its DTH services in October last year. It competes with Tata Sky, Reliance Communications’ Big TV, Zee’s Dish TV and Sun Direct in this segment. The company hasn’t yet started disclosing revenues from DTH services separately. “We will start disclosing the operational and financial performance of DTH operations next year, once they become material,” Airtel CEO and joint MD Manoj Kohli said recently.
Posted in Bharti Airtel, BIG TV, Dish TV, Government, Statutory And Regulatory, Tata Sky | Tagged: Airtel, Bharti, Bharti Telemedia, BIG TV, Dish TV, DTH, FIPB, Government, Investment, Manoj Kohli, SingTel, Sun Direct, Tata Sky, 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 Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, BSNL, Reliance Communication, VAS Misc, Idea Cellular, Vodafone Essar, TRAI, Aircel, MTNL, Tariff | Tagged: VAS, Bharti, BSNL, TRAI, GSM, CDMA, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, revenue, subscriber, MTNL, Idea, TTSL, KPMG, Romal Shetty, ARPU, Airtel, Aircel, "Fixed line", Alok Shende | 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 Economic Times of India June 17, 2009, 9:50AM EST
via Nokia Tops List of India’s Most Trusted Brands – BusinessWeek.
Nokia’s tagline of ‘connecting people’ certainly seems to have struck a chord with the Indian consumer. For a second year running, the handset maker has topped the prestigious, ‘Brand Equity Most Trusted Brands (MTB) Survey’. In second and third places are the two venerable consumer brands, Colgate, a four-time winner, and Lux, respectively.
The survey was unveiled last night at a glittering ceremony, which saw the who’s who of India’s brandsphere making their way to Mumbai from all parts of the country to be in attendance. The marque names included HUL MD Nitin Paranjpe, Nokia MD D Shivakumar, P&G MD Shantanu Khosla, Britannia MD Vinita Bali, BCG India MD Janmejaya Sinha, JWT CEO Colvyn Harris, Madison chairman Sam Balsara, Ogilvy India executive chairman & NCD Piyush Pandey and McCann Erickson India executive chairman Prasoon Joshi.
A clear indication that today the Brand Equity MTB Survey is the one study that marketers put their faith in. In this, the sixth year of the MTB survey, there are two new entrants into the top 10. Coming in at No. 6 is one of the oldest brands in India, Horlicks.
The brand, which has perennially been in the top 20, has finally managed to leapfrog into the coveted top 10. However, it is Reliance Mobile which is the star of this year’s edition, considering that it had failed to crack the top 20 in 2008. Telecom, as a category, is clearly on the ascendant. Airtel, BSNL and Vodafone have all surged up the charts to finish in the top 30, ranking 12, 19 and 30, respectively.
Hindustan Unilever, as has always been the case, continues to dominate the overall rankings with three brands (Lifebuoy, Lux and Pepsodent) in the top 10 and seven in the top 20. However, Pond’s, a brand from the HUL stable, also happens to be the biggest loser in the top 10, falling from No. 5 last year to No. 16 this year.
In the listing of the top 50 service brands, three out of the five brands are public sector brands namely SBI (13), LIC (17) and BSNL (19), perhaps an indication that public sector brands are perfectly capable of holding their own against their private counterparts.
The Brand Equity MTB survey is the largest, most diverse and most prestigious survey of its kind, with over 8,000 respondents nation-wide and is conducted by The Nielsen Company on behalf of Brand Equity. The detailed survey findings are available in today’s 12-page special edition of Brand Equity.
Also, watch out for all the action from the launch party and interviews with winners and India’s premier marketers on ET NOW, the soon-to-be launched cutting-edge channel for business news.
Posted in Bharti Airtel, BSNL, Handset Manufacturers, Reliance Communication, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Airtel, “Reliance Mobile”, Brand, BSNL, D Shivakumar, Nokia, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 16, 2009
From http://www.economictimes.com on June 16, 2009
NEW DELHI: Mobile services company Vodafone Essar has applied for Internet Service Provider
and national long distance licence and has approached the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for approval.
The company officials confirmed that the operator has applied for these two licences and aims to become a full-fledged communication service provider
in the country.
FIPB, on June 19, may take up the proposal, sources said. If Vodafone Essar, in which the UK-based mobile firm Vodafone holds majority stake, gets the national long distance licence (NLD) it will help the company save operating expenses for carrying STD traffic, instead of hiring other mobile company’s network for the purpose.
All the top mobile operators like Reliance Communications, Bharti, BSNL and MTNL have their own NLD infrastructure.
The company is also planning to enter the internet service segment in which all other major mobile operators like BSNL, Reliance Communications and MTNL has a presence.
Posted in Bharti Airtel, BSNL, MTNL, Reliance Communication, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Bharti, BSNL, FIPB, Internet, license, MTNL, NLD, Reliance, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 16, 2009
From www.ciol.com on June 16, 2009
MUMBAI, INDIA: According to Apple’s global support site, Bharti Airtel has been authorised to legally unlock the iconic 3G iPhone handsets in the country.
Thus enabling the Indian company to sell it to any user, not necessarily only an Airtel subscriber. The companys may also charge an additional fee for the unlocking, the website said.
This is in contrast to the existing practice of Apple in offering the iPhones — launched in two versions, 8 GB and 16 GB — bundled with the services of only two operators, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Essar.
In India, the 8 GB model costs around Rs 31,000, while the 16 GB is priced at Rs 36,000. Apple is also set to launch the latest version, iPhone 3GS, billed as the “fastest, most powerful iPhone yet”, on August 9.
Related stories at
Posted in Bharti Airtel, Handset Manufacturers, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: 2G, 3G, 3GS, Airtel, Apple, Bharti, iPhone, Price, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 12, 2009
12 Jun 2009, 0740 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: India’s leading GSM telecom operators — Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar — are set to bring Apple’s latest iPhone, called iPhone 3G S, to India in August. The new iPhone 3G S, which offers faster data speeds, a new camera, video recording, compass and voice control, was unveiled in US earlier this week.
In India, Apple has exclusive tie-ups with Bharti and Vodafone and this is one of the few markets where the US-based technology firm has a tie-up with two operators. Bharti and Vodafone jointly account for over 170 million of the over 400 million cellphone users in the country.
Apple had issued a guidance, saying the iPhone 3G S would make its debut in India in August, but refused to specify the date and the pricing for the country. The guidance also added that the handset would be launched in 31 other countries in August. Additionally, as per information made public by Apple, the iPhone 3G S will go on sale in 10 countries, including the US on June 19, and another 32 countries in the month of July.
Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar did not offer comments to a detailed query sent by ET.
In India, the new iPhone from Apple is set to face competition from smartphones such as Nokia’s N97 and similar offerings from BlackBerry and Samsung. Another handset that can be a potential threat to Apple’s new product is the Palm’s Pre which has just hit the US market, but is currently not available in India.
But, unlike handsets such as Nokia’s N97, the new iPhone 3G S will have a unique advantage as it has over 100,000 applications and also enjoys the support of the most vibrant and innovative developer community in this space. This implies, Apple’s product is more than just a technically superior handset, but more of a software platform with thousands of custom-made applications.
However, the catch is that the earlier model of the iPhone’s India entry has been a huge failure both in terms of sales (due to an unviable distribution model) coupled with a steep price tag and poor advertising which resulted in the brand failing to connect with customers here.
Also, customers in India who had followed Apple’s pricing globally during in other countries and believed that the iPhone would sport a similar price tag of $199 here were put off by the fact that they would have to shell out more than three time the amount to buy the product. Worse still, market watchers say that neither Apple nor Bharti and Vodafone Essar put in the efforts to explain the difference in market dynamics in India which led to the higher pricing here which left customers confused.
Market watchers and analysts also say that Apple’s decision to go in with only Bharti and Vodafone Essar in India was flawed, especially considering that GSM operators here are not major players in the handset retail space. This is because, GSM players rarely bundle handsets and restrict such offering to the lower-end phones in non-urban and rural markets.
For consumers, some of the new features that come with the iPhone 3G S include its ability to remember text that has been entered once, thereby eliminating the need to retype e-mail addresses, postal addresses or usernames, the digital compass which aids in navigation and a host of features that make it friendly for the disabled. Besides, it also comes with Apple’s own earphones along with a multi-button remote, but with a single control key and a mic.
Related stories at
Posted in Bharti Airtel, Handset Manufacturers, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Airtel, Apple, Bharti, Blackberry, iPhone, N97, Palm Pre, Price, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 11, 2009
From The Financial Express on June 11, 2009
New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, India’s top mobile operator added 2.81 million mobile users in May to have a total of 99.5 million, data from the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) showed on Thursday.
Third-ranked Vodafone Essar added 2.54 million mobile users in May to boost its total to 74.1 million, the data showed
Posted in Bharti Airtel | Tagged: Airtel, Bharti, COAI, Essar, subscribers, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 11, 2009
Thomas K. Thomas on The Hindu Business Line on June 11, 2009
New Delhi, June 10 The Communications Ministry is likely to reject the recommendations made by the Spectrum Committee to auction spectrum for GSM-based cellular services and favour maintaining status quo on the existing subscriber-based allocation criteria.
The Ministry is also not for capping start-up spectrum for new players at 4.4 Mhz, as proposed by the panel set up by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The panel, headed by the Additional Secretary, Mr Subodh Kumar, had suggested sweeping changes in the spectrum allocation policy including scrapping the existing subscriber base criteria.
Highly placed officials in the Ministry of Communications told Business Line, “While we are in favour of auctioning 3G and WiMax spectrum as soon as possible, radio frequency for 2G mobile service cannot be auctioned as it is illegal. It is unfair to ask new players to take part in an auction when some of the existing players have got spectrum based on the subscriber criteria,” the official said.
Pay for addition
However, the Ministry is likely to price additional spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz derived from the fee paid by operators during the fourth cellular bidding process. “We are considering a formula whereby operators with more than 6.2 Mhz will have to pay a one-time fee derived from the amount paid by the fourth cellular operator for the 4.4 Mhz,” the official said.
If this formula is accepted then existing players such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone will have to pay at least Rs 375 crore for each unit of spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz.
The Ministry will take a final view on these proposals after consulting the telecom regulator. The spectrum panel had suggested freezing all allocation of spectrum at current levels. It had suggested that spectrum should be auctioned and existing players should pay a one-time fee based on the amount collected during the auction for third generation mobile services.
Related story at
Posted in Spectrum | Tagged: 2G, 3G, Airtel, Bharti, communications ministry, DoT, Spectrum, Subodh Kumar, Vodafone, WiMAX | 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 9, 2009
Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan Tuesday June 09, 2009
Before you just skim the headlines and jump for joy at the sight of “50% iPhone price-cut”, take a deep breath and remember that the devil is in the details.
Sure, the iPhone 3G is currently priced at $200 in most markets and today, Apple, while announcing a newer model, the iPhone 3G-S, also decided that the older one’s price will be slashed to $100.
Simple math suggests that the price has been halved, but the truth is that it’s only been reduced by $100. You have to remember that the $200 price is only for users who signed up for a 2-year plan from their mobile operators who charged hefty monthly rental fees for data.
In fact, in the US, AT&T offers the iPhone 3G without a 2-year contract for $600 and $700 for the 8GB and 16GB versions respectively.
That’s pretty close in rupee terms to what Airtel & Vodafone charge in India, without subsidizing the handset in lieu of a 2-year contract. Thus the only impact of the price-cut is likely to be a Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 (approx $100) cut in the price of the Indian iPhone 3G.
Posted in Handset Manufacturers | Tagged: Airtel, AT&T, Bharti, iPhone, Price, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 9, 2009
9 Jun 2009, 0019 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Vodafone Essar’s plan to hive off its signal towers and telecom network-related infrastructure arm to companies in Mauritius has run into rough weather for the second time after a government agency flagged the vexed issue of using a tax haven for such deals.
The Department of International Taxation (DIT) in Mumbai, the government agency that examines cross-border deals, has said in its interim report that the Vodafone Essar plan seeks to route funds in a way to take advantage of the India–Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
According to the provisions of DTAA, Mauritius-based entities are exempt from paying capital gains tax in both countries.
After DIT’s interim report, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has yet again deferred Vodafone Essar’s proposal on Ortus Infratel and Holdings.
This is the second time a government agency has opposed Vodafone Essar’s plan. In April, the revenue department under the finance ministry had said the proposed investment in the new company through Mauritius would result in ‘round tripping’.
The revenue department had referred the matter to DIT, which has again stated in its interim report that ‘the possibility of round tripping cannot be eliminated’.
In response to a detailed query sent by ET, Vodafone said the company cannot comment on the observations of either DIT or the revenue department.
In its interim report to FIPB, DIT has said the two Mauritius entities were mere holding companies with a share capital of just $100. It added that the telco has not furnished the source of funds for both Vodafone Tower and Essar Infratel despite repeated reminders. But a person close to Vodafone Essar, who wished to remain anonymous, said the source of funds for both these companies have been provided to DIT.
Posted in Govt Financials, Other Infrastructure, Carriers and Logistics, Statutory And Regulatory, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Essar Infratel, Government, Ortus Infratel And Holdings, Vodafone, Vodafone Tower | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 8, 2009
8 Jun 2009, 0004 hrs IST, PTI on www.economictimes.com
NEW YORK: Nearly two years after it sold its Indian telecom business to British giant Vodafone, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International has warned of possible tax and other obligatory payments in connection
with the deal.
“We may be subject to claims or have to make payments as a result of warranty, indemnity or other obligations assumed in connection with the sale of interests relating to CGP investments holdings to a subsidiary of Vodafone Group, or Vodafone, in May 2007,” the US-listed HTIL said in a regulatory filing here.
Under the deal, HTIL had sold its majority 52% stake, held through Cayman Island-based CGP Investments Holdings, in Indian telecom venture Hutch-Essar to Vodafone for over $11 billion. Hutch-Essar was later renamed as Vodafone Essar. HTIL, in its annual report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), further said that ”the Indian tax authorities may consider the gain arising from this sale to be taxable in India. “The Indian tax authorities have initiated an investigation into Vodafone’s obligations to withhold tax from the acquisition proceeds.”
The Hong Kong-based firm, which is part of billionaire Li Ka-shing-led Hutchison Group, said that it has “received legal advice and believe that the sale is not taxable in India, and therefore, no Indian tax is payable by us.”
“Accordingly, we have not provided for any claims or Indian tax liabilities in connection with the sale. However, there can be no assurance what the final outcome will be. If we eventually make any such payments or suffer any Indian tax on this sale, it may have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations,” it noted.
Htil completed the sale in May 2007 to Vodafone for cash consideration of $11,074 million before costs, expenses and interest payable by Vodafone, plus the assumption of $2 billion of net debt.
Posted in Government, Service Providers Internals, Vodafone Essar | Tagged: Government, Hutchison, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 7, 2009
Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times on June 7, 2009
After tasting success in domestic markets, it’s ‘Dial Africa’ for Indian telecommunication companies. And it’s not the high-profile, twice-rejected MTN alone that’s attracting Indian firms.
While the government-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) is in advanced discussions for telecom licences in four countries, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is formulating its strategy to enter the continent.
Adding their bit are the Essar group, Tata Communications and Reliance Communications, all of which have licences for telecom services in African countries and are looking to expand their operations.
Bharti Airtel is negotiating with South Africa-based MTN for a “two way deal” that would allow it to own 49 per cent equity in South African giant MTN.
“We are evaluating a proposal to acquire a company that has licences in four to five countries,” said R.S.P. Sinha, chairman and managing director (CMD), MTNL. “Africa is a lucrative market and we would like to acquire a licence through auction if there is an opportunity.” However, in most countries, licences have been auctioned.
“Funding is not an issue for our Africa expansions,” Sinha said. “We have done all the ground work.” MTNL is presently a service provider in partnership with Tata Communications (formerly VSNL) and Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL). “We will enter into Africa on our own,” said Sinha.
MTNL not the only government-owned company eyeing the African market. “We are looking at an expansion in Africa,” said Kuldeep Goyal, CMD, BSNL. “Whenever we find right opportunity we will grab it.”
Essar group has acquired a telecom licence in Uganda. “Africa is an important market for Essar’s telecom business and we are working towards building a strong brand in this market,” said Srinivas iyengar, CEO, Essar Telecom Kenya. “We would be looking at opportunities to establish a pan Africa footprint in future.”
The company plans to offer services in a joint venture with a local company, Kenya Telecom Uganda Ltd. It already has a licence in Kenya and plans to expand in other countries.
“We find African markets promising and have recently hiked our stake in Neotel (of South Africa) to 56 per cent from 26 per cent,” a senior Tata Communications official said. “We view this as a beach head to the rest of the African markets as and when right opportunities arise.”
“African countries have just started moving on the development path,” said RK Upadhyay, CMD, TCIL. The company has been executing telecom infrastructure projects in Africa for past 20 years and is present in 30 countries. “There is expected to be enormous growth in telecommunications in next five years. Whenever, development takes place in a developing economy, the need for telecom services increases,” Upadhyay said.
“Africa has a low teledensity and high average revenue per user,” said Goyal. This explains why Indian providers want to go to. India has a teledensity (number of telephones for a population of 100) of about 40 per cent. In many African countries the teledensity is below 20 per cent (See table).
Besides, the continent’s average revenue per user is high. Against Rs 250 per month in India, the number in some African countries including is about three times as much.
Reliance has a licence in Uganda for offering mobile, fixed line, Internet, national and international long distance services, in addition to WiMax and Wifi services. It plans to acquire licences in other countries, a senior official said.
Posted in Joint Venture, Mergers | Tagged: "Fixed line", Africa, Airtel, ARPU, Bharti, BSNL, Essar, Internet, Kuldeep Goyal, license, Merger, MTN, MTNL, NeoTel, R S P Sinha, Reliance, Srinivas Iyengar, Tata, TCIL, teledensity, Vodafone, VSNL, WiMAX | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 5, 2009
The Hindu Business Line on June 5, 2009
Indus Towers Ltd, mobile tower company, announced the appointment of Mr B.S. Shantharaju as the new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to this assignment, Mr Shantharaju worked with Delhi International Airports (P) Ltd as the Chief Executive Officer after the airport was privatised. Mr Shantharaju will take over from Mr Stefan Langkamp, who is moving back to his parent company Vodafone to take up his next assignment.
Posted in Other Infrastructure, Carriers and Logistics | Tagged: B S Shantharaju, Indus Towers, Stefan Langkamp, Vodafone | Leave a Comment »
Posted by telcobizpedia on June 4, 2009
Jun 03, 2009 at 2001 hrs IST on Finacial Express
London: British telecom major Vodafone’s former chief executive Arun Sarin received 500,000 pounds (Rs 3.87 crore) to relocate to the US following his departure from the company.
According to the group’s annual report, for the year ended March 2009, Sarin received a remuneration of 1.42 million pounds (Rs 10.99 crore), which includes basis salary, cash incentives and other benefits.
The company stated that the benefits and other category in the renumeration “includes 500,000 pounds in respect of relocation for Arun Sarin.” In the FY 2009, Sarin collected 436,000 pounds in basic salary, 434,000 pounds in incentive schemes, 553,000 pounds in other benefits and awards, including the relocation fee of 500,000 pounds in 2009, the data available in the company’s annual report shows.
Overall, Sarin’s pay package stood at 8.1 million pounds in the year to March 31. It included 6.1 million pounds in shares and dividend of 564,000 pounds.
The company stated that Sarin had an contractual entitlement to 500,000 pounds in connection with his relocation to the US.
In the previous financial year 2008, Sarin had received 3.59 million pounds as remuneration from Vodafone.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Arun Sarin, Vodafone | 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 »