Tag Archive: Telecom



Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications on Tuesday blamed “freebies” offered by a new telecom operator – an apparent reference to Mukesh Ambani-run group firm Reliance Jio – for woes of the sector even as it denied having delayed any payment by more than three months.

Debt-ridden RCom said that for the first time in history, the debt of listed telecom operators has exceeded their market capitalisation.

“As a result of increase in debt and decline in revenue, the debt servicing capabilities of telecom companies have been adversely impacted.

“The telecom industry’s current financial problem to some extent can be attributed to the entry of a new telecom operator and its strategy of freebies to gain customer and market share,” RCom said in a regulatory filing.

“The ‘go-slow approach by domestic banks is not only adversely impacting the corporate in making investment decision but also important refinancing programmes, which is not only creating a mismatch in cash flows of corporate but also impacting the bank’s financials due to increased provisioning,” RCom said.

The company has defaulted on some of the payments to lenders and it has received time till December for strategic restructuring plan under which it will get a 7-month standstill to service loans amounting to Rs. 45,000 crores.

The company shared details of debt raised along with due dates adding that “in no case, the delay has exceeded three months” and hence it was not required to sent any intimation to stock exchanges for delay in payments.

RCom said that lenders have granted it standstill period of seven months from June 2017 to service obligations related to existing debts.

RCom said that it has already announced sale of mobile towers to Brookfield Infrastructure and combination of its wireless business with Aircel group which, on completion of the deal, will reduce existing debt by up to Rs. 25,000 crores.

Shares of RCom on Tuesday closed at Rs. 20.9 a unit, down by 4.35 percent compared to previous close, at BSE Tuesday.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Nokia 3 customers will get 4GB of free Vodafone 3G/ 4G data as part of the partnership between the telecom operator and HMD Global, the new custodian of the Nokia mobile phone brand. In addition to this, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 buyers will also get 4GB and 9GB of free data from Vodafone when the two smartphones become available to purchase in July. Of the three Nokia Android phones, only the Nokia 3 is available to purchase at present. The free Vodafone data will be available for both prepaid and postpaid customers buying the smartphones.

Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6 free Vodafone data offer
With the new Vodafone India offers, Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 users will be able to avail additional 4G or 3G data. Prepaid subscribers with Nokia 3 or Nokia 5 phones will get 4GB additional data with the purchase of a 1GB recharge, for 3 months or 3 recharges (whichever comes first) at Rs. 142; this means they will get 5GB data at the price of 1GB. Similarly, Nokia 6 users will get total of 10GB data from Vodafone on purchase of a 1GB recharge, for 3 months or 3 recharges at Rs. 251. The company notes that prices will vary depending on the circle.

As for postpaid subscribers, Vodafone says Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 users will also get the same extra 4GB data for three consecutive billing cycles, if they have a minimum of a 1GB data plan activated. Nokia 6 users will likewise get 9GB of additional 4G or 3G data.

Vodafone adds that the additional data offers for Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 smartphone users are valid across all Vodafone circles, while customers in Vodafone’s ICR circles (AP & Telangana, MP & CG, Bihar & Jharkhand, HP & J&K) will get the data at 2G speeds.

Announcing this initiative, Sandeep Kataria, Chief Commercial Officer, Vodafone India said, “We are delighted to partner with HMD Global to roll out this exciting offer that enables our customers to get the most out of their new Nokia smartphones.”

Commenting on the partnership, Ajey Mehta, Vice President India, HMD Global, said, “This partnership showcases our commitment to provide the best possible experience to our Nokia smartphone consumers who are Vodafone subscribers.”

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Google’s vice-president for South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan has been appointed new chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

 

He took over charge from FreeCharge’s co-founder and chief executive officer Kunal Shah.

MakeMyTrip Chairman & Group CEO Deep Kalra has taken over as vice chairman from music app Saavn co-founder and President Vinodh Bhat.

Facebook’s Managing Director – India & South Asia, Umang Bedi has been elected as the new Treasurer of the Association. Subho Ray continues to be the President of the Association, IAMAI said in a statement.

The tenure of the new council is for two years.

“Anandan assumes office at a time when the industry is going through a growth trajectory with more than 400 million Internet users and with more than 300 million mobile Internet users,” the statement said.

In rural India, with an estimated population of 906 million, have only 156 million Internet users.
“Thus, there are potential 750 million users still in rural heartlands; if only they can be reached out properly. Thus, the new council will work towards increasing the Internet users’ base, especially in rural areas,” the statement said.

Another key focus area of work for the new council would be the promotion of local language content. Currently, much of the content on the Internet is in English. English language accounts for nearly 56 percent of the content on the worldwide web, while Indian languages account for less than 0.1 percent, the statement said.

Enabling Indic content on the Internet will lead to a growth of 39 percent with the current Internet user base of India.

IAMAI, which helps Internet based firms in handling industry and policy issues, said that the new council would also work towards promoting the digital startup ecosystem in India.

“The Council believes that apps economy in India will drive the next level of Internet growth, along with Indic. With over 300 million mobile Internet users and more than 200 million local language consumers on the Internet, the growth trajectory for apps development is bound to be exponential,” IAMAI said.

The companies in the new council include Times Internet, OLX, Policy Bazaar, Yatra, Paytm, Hungama, Mobikwik, Indiamart, Itzcash and Pepperfry.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The telecom tribunal on Thursday did not stay Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer, but asked regulator TRAI to “re-examine” issues relating to the approval granted to the operator to continue with the freebies.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), in its order on Thursday, asked TRAI to apprise it of the “outcome and findings of the examination” within two weeks.

TDSAT last week had reserved the order on an interim appeal seeking a stay on Reliance Jio’s free offer after hearing all the parties concerned, including TRAI, incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, and newcomer Jio.

In its interim appeal, Airtel had sought a stay on TRAI’s approval to Jio to continue with the free services. It had also sought a direction to the regulator to produce all the records related to its decision.

The appeal also sought to restrain Jio from providing its consumers the zero tariff plan and promotional plans. Jio had launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September last year, and in December, extended the freebies till March 31, 2017.

Following this, the existing players such as Airtel and Idea moved the telecom tribunal against TRAI for letting the new operator continue the free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days.
The operators criticised the regulator for being a “mute spectator” to the alleged violations.

On January 31, TRAI had held that Jio’s free voice calling and data plan were not violation of the regulatory guidelines.

TRAI had further said its examination had revealed that. the ‘Happy New Year Offer’ launched by Jio on December 4, 2016, is distinct from its earlier Jio Welcome Offer and could not be treated as an extension of the promotional offer as the benefits under both differed.

Recently, Jio announced that it will start charging for its mobile services from April 1.

Last month, Jio said its existing subscribers and new customers who come on board by March 31 can continue to enjoy unlimited benefits of its Happy New Year Offer for one more year (till March 31, 2018) by paying a one-time fee of Rs. 99 and thereafter Rs. 303 a month.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Vodafone said on Monday it was in talks to merge its Indian operations with rival Idea Cellular in an all-share deal that would create a new market leader better able to cope with the brutal price war convulsing the industry.

India’s three leading mobile operators, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, have all been hammered by the arrival of Jio Infocomm, a new operator owned by the billionaire Mukesh Ambani which has shaken up the market by offering free voice and data to customers.

Vodafone confirmed growing media speculation that it was in talks with Idea’s parent, conglomerate Aditya Birla, over a deal that would result in Idea issuing new shares to Vodafone.

Vodafone’s stock jumped 3 percent after it said a deal would enable it to deconsolidate the asset, or take it off its books, and receive a dividend from the combined group.

Bharti and other local rivals, including Vodafone’s India unit, have slashed prepaid tariffs and unveiled cheaper data plans to compete against Jio.

But analysts warn that the strategy will extract a cost, with Vodafone forced into a $5 billion writedown of its India business last year because of competition in the country.

Vodafone has been looking to spin off its Indian business but said on November 15 it would wait for market conditions to stabilize before listing Vodafone India’s shares.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha will meet the CEOs of telecom companies on November 1 to take stock of the call drop issue.

“The minister will meet telecom company Chief Executive Officers on November 1 to take stock of the call drop situation. It’s a stock-taking meeting and also roadmap for the future,” Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak told reporters here on Friday on the sidelines of an event.

Deepak said the sectoral regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – has informed that there has been substantial improvement in call drop situation.

“We had a meeting in June, they (telecom service providers) gave us a 100-day plan. There has been, we believe, from TRAI figures lot of improvement in call drops. There were 54 networks which were not performing upto the standard in December 2015, and now it is down to only 19,” Deepak added.

The telecom companies had given a 100-day roadmap to the government in June to improve call drop situation.

“They assured that the target for the 100-day programme, as committed to the (telecom) secretary, will be met. They indicated that from the beginning of June 10 (when the 100-day programme started), there will be addition of around 60,000 BTS (base transceiver station) in 100 days across the country, out of which 48,000 have been installed in the first 45 days,” Manoj Sinha said on July 25.
The service providers have committed Rs. 12,000 crore to install 60,000 BTS to address the situation by arresting call drops.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Idea Cellular said on Friday it has slashed mobile Internet rates to offer more value to customers on their 4G, 3G and 2G data packs. The revised data packs are available across all circles starting Friday.

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“We want to ensure that benefits of Internet are reaped conveniently by every individual, through our innovative, customised and affordable products. This will enable the Internet revolution and its impact to be felt in every part of the country,” said a company statement, citing Chief Marketing Officer Sashi Shankar.

“Now Idea users can get up to 45 percent more data benefits on sachet packs below 1GB. Idea offers a wide range of 4G, 3G and 2G sachet data packs priced between Rs. 8 and Rs. 225,” the statement said.

The statement added that the 2G data pack priced at Rs. 19 which previously offering 75MB data for 3 days, will now offer 110MB data for 3 days – a 45 percent increase in data.

Similarly, a 4G/ 3G data pack for Rs. 22 which offers 65MB data for 3 days, will now give 90MB 3G data for 3 days, which is a 38 percent in data.
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


At a time when calls through Skype, Viber and Whatsapp are gaining popularity with every passing day, the Indian telecom watchdog on Wednesday issued a consultation paper on Internet Telephony seeking stakeholders’ opinions on various matters ranging from additional entry fee, call termination charges to quality of service parameters.

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In the consultation paper, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) requested the stakeholders to furnish their comments by July 21 and counter comments by August 4.

“What should be the additional entry fee, performance bank guarantee and financial bank guarantee for Internet Service Providers (ISP) if they are also allowed to provide unrestricted Internet Telephony?” the consultation paper asked.

The telecom service providers (TSP) have been asking the regulator for a long time to bring the Internet Telephony service providers or the over-the-top (OTT) players under the ambit of the law.

The TSPs had been seeking a level playing field between themselves and OTT apps which ride on their networks. But the OTT players offer cheaper rates as they do not have to pay any of the regulatory levies.

The consultation paper asked: “Whether accessing the telecom services of a TSP by the subscriber through public Internet can be construed as extension of fixed line or mobile services of the TSP?”

There were two major categories for voice transmission over internet protocol (IP) networks based on the type of IP network used. When voice is transmitted over public Internet, it is termed as Internet Telephony. Similarly when voice is transmitted over managed IP networks, it is termed as Voice over IP (VoIP).

Internet Telephony can be deemed to be a subset of voice over IP, in the sense that, when voice is carried over a IP network it can be termed as Voice over IP. And if the IP network in this case is the public Internet then it can be called Internet telephony.

The paper also sought views on call termination charges. “What should be the termination charge when call is terminating into Internet telephony network? What should be the termination charge for the calls originated from Internet Telephony Network and terminated into the wire-line and wireless Network?”

“How to ensure that users of International Internet Telephony calls pay applicable International termination charges?”

The paper also covered security issues. It asked: “Is it possible to provide location information to the police station when the subscriber is making Internet telephony call to emergency number? If yes, how? In case it is not possible to provide emergency services through Internet Telephony, whether informing limitation of Internet Telephony calls in advance to the consumers will be sufficient?”

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The Union government on Friday released licence guidelines for Virtual Network Operators (VNO).

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“After considering the recommendations of Trai on VNO, the government has decided to grant Unified Licence VNO (UL VNO),” the telecom department said in its guidelines.

It said VNOs were treated as extension of Network Service Operator or telecom service providers and “they would not be allowed to install equipment interconnecting with the network of other NSOs.”

“VNOs shall also be allowed to create their own service deliver platforms in respect of customer service, billing and value added service,” the guideline said.

Regarding entry fee, the guideline said: “A one-time non-refundable entry fee for authorisation of each service and service area shall be payable before signing of licence agreement and thereafter for each additional authorisation. The total amount of entry fee shall be subject to a maximum of Rs. 7.5 crore.”
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Rating agency Fitch Tuesday said that telecom giant Airtel to may not bid for premium 700MHz band spectrum in the upcoming auction due to its high price and limited availability of devices.

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“We do not expect Bharti to bid in the upcoming auction of 700MHz in India, given the high indicative price for this spectrum, limited device availability and the company’s ownership of alternative spectrum (1800MHz/2300MHz) to roll out 4G services,” Fitch Ratings said in a statement.

The government is preparing for next round of spectrum auction in July in which airwaves worth Rs. 5.66 lakh crore will be put up for sale.

Telecom Commission has approved a record high base price of Rs. 11,485 crore per MHz for the 700MHz band. If all available radiowaves under this get sold at the Trai-suggested price, it alone will yield a whopping Rs. 4 lakh crore.

Fitch Ratings has “affirmed Bharti Airtel’s long term foreign currency issuer default rating and senior secured rating at BBB-“, the agency said in a statement.

It also affirmed the same rating for Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV’s bonds. This entity manages Bharti Airtel’s Africa operation.

The credit rating indicates ability of a company to pay back debt. While AAA ratings denotes highest credit quality, BBB is granted for good credit quality indicating that expectations of default risk are currently low.

Fitch said that it also does not expect Bharti to make another large debt-funded acquisition given management’s commitment to sell non-core assets to reduce debt.

The company has been in acquiring spree with most recent being broadband wireless spectrum of Aircel for Rs. 3,500 crore.

Recently Bharti Airtel acquired spectrum of Videocon and Augere too.

Fitch, however, projected capital expenditure of Bharti Airtel to be around Rs. 22,000-23,000 crore in current fiscal.

“Which includes its core capex of Rs. 20,500 crore and around Rs. 2500 crore for spectrum payments. The core capex includes investments to improve its 3G/4G networks to compete effectively against Jio and to reduce the frequency of call drops,” Fitch said.

The rating agency said that during FY2016, Airtel received about Rs. 10,500 crore from sale and lease back of towers in eight African countries.

“During financial year 2017, we expect Bharti to receive net proceeds from assets sales, including about Rs. 4,500 crore from the sale of towers and African operations for Rs. 5,800 crore. It will likely use these funds to pay for its spectrum acquisition from Videocon Ltd and Aircel Ltd for Rs. 7,000 crore,” Fitch said.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)