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Airtel, RCoM DTH to offer broadband

Telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCOM), which are set to make their Direct To Home (DTH) foray by the year-end, plan to have a key differentiator from existing players in this space. Bharti and RCOM are looking at providing satellite-based broadband internet services along with their DTH offerings. Globally, a number of DTH majors, especially in the US have adopted this strategy. Bharti’s and RCOM’s move may also prompt Dish TV, country’s largest private DTH player to enter this space in the coming months.

“Satellite internet is a North American model. There are a lot of areas where Bharti would possibly never lay copper cable as it does not make economic sense. In these areas, Bharti will look at a offering broadband through Wi-Max or through DTH,” Bharti Airtel president, broadband and telephone services, Atul Bindal told ET.

Similarly, RCOM’s DTH venture, which is called BlueMagic is also looking at satellite internet services as one of the key differenciators. RCOM sources said that along this facility, the company was also looking at an entire gamut of voice and data services, including facilities like video on demand to offer higher interactivity to subscribers using its digital TV platform.
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Clock maker Ajanta will launch Made in India cellphone for Rs 999



Ajanta the world’s largest clock manufacturer plans to launch its very first set of Indian mobiles, making it the first Indian mobile producer in the country.

While most GSM mobiles that provide facilities like camera, MP3 and FM start from prices of Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500, Ajanta plans to offer all these facilities for Rs 999.

The group plans to launch its mobiles in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in August. The mobiles will then be marketed in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and other semi-metros.

According to a senior official in the mobile division of the group, Ajanta mobiles will be of Indian make.

The mobiles will be manufactured in Rajkot, Gujarat, except for the electronic panel (IC), which will be imported from the group’s China-based factory.

A senior official said, “In the first phase, the company will introduce four models. These will be of economy range.

Just like our clocks, our mobiles too will have an amazingly different range. In fact, we will market our products in the price range that no other mobile companies offer.”

According to the company’s analysis, India’s mobile companies have only considered metros, semi-metros and towns to market their product.
 

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Much to chagrin of some of our forumers yet another Indo-China comparison but nevertheless an interesting article....


The Making of India’s Shenzhen






The sprawling lime green building is visible from a great distance. As you come close, you see workers in white hard hats and luminous orange jackets swarming all over like ants on a giant carcass. Spread over 250 acres, this site will house a massive integrated manufacturing complex for the $15.3-billion Flextronics Industries, a Singapore-headquartered manufacturer of electronic products. Its general manager and director (India operations) Gururaj A. says some 1,500 are employed on the site currently, trying to make sure the complex will be ready by September.

T. Murugan, 35, a contract labourer has some idea of what’s actually going on. “Inge naraiya velioor company factory podaraanga,” (Many foreign companies are setting up factories here), he says. Last year, he had worked on the $150-million Nokia project, a few kilometres away. And he has heard that soon some other velioor (foreign) companies will also start work. He hopes to find employment there. His news is correct. The manufacturing units of both Motorola and Foxconn are slated to come up over the next few months.

It was barely 15 years ago that Sriperumbudur shot to fame. It was India’s Dallas, where its young, 47-year-old ex-PM was assassinated. The horrific images of death had seared the nation’s consciousness. Yet, it is perhaps a fitting tribute that the town where a PM who had spoken of India’s role in the 21st century, modernised the telecom infrastructure and believed in the transformational powers of IT, and laid down his life, should emerge as ground zero of electronic manufacturing in India.


Consider that by October, Flextronics will begin to make a million mobile phones a month from the Sriperumbudur complex. (Nokia already makes 2.5 million phones a month.) It will also make base stations. That’s just the beginning. By year end, a second building will be ready that will make set-top boxes, DVD players, automotive components and PCs. By December 2007, at least 10 component suppliers who are part of Flextronics’ global supply chain will have their plants up and running in the campus.


Says Gururaj: “We will use the land discreetly. The idea is to ensure that all the key suppliers, both Indian and international, have a presence here.” This campus will provide jobs to 7,000 people by December 2007. According to officials in the Department of Telecommunications, by 2008, over $1 billion will be invested in Sriperumbudur for telecom manufacturing facilities alone. Of this, around $250 million has already been invested, mainly by Nokia ($150 million) and Flextronics ($100 million). By end 2007, all the new companies will provide jobs to over 50,000 people.

There are three types of operations coming up at Sriperumbudur. One, the OEMs like Nokia and Motorola. Then the EMS’ like Flextronics and Foxconn, who supply to OEMs around the globe. Finally, there are the component suppliers who work either with the OEMs or the EMS’. They include Aspocomp (global turnover euro 154 million; printed circuit boards), Salcomp (euro 156 million; chargers), Perlos (euro 667 million; mechanics) and Sanmina-SCI ($12.2 billion; network components).

Each of these outfits will be housed within an SEZ. Apart from them, Velankani Information System (which has set up an IT park in Bangalore that houses Siemens, Elcoteq and Patni Computers) is setting up an ITES SEZ that will house a 5 million-sq. ft manufacturing facility for another set of 20 global telecom suppliers (see ‘Feeding Into The System’). Says Rajiv Kochhar, CEO, Avista Advisory, a financial services group: “Today, all the key plots in Sriperumbudur are gone.” It is already beginning to look like a patchwork of SEZs.



Predictably, the comparison with Shenzhen has already begun. In 1979, Deng Xiaoping used it as a test-bed for free market principles. It was then a town of 300,000 people, outside Hong Kong. Close to 80 per cent of Shenzhen’s revenue then came from agriculture. Today, Shenzhen covers 2,020 sq. km, much bigger than Delhi’s 1,483 sq. km, and has a population of 4.05 million.

This year, Chinese companies and global players like Foxconn, Philips and Samsung are expected to make 100 million mobile handsets in Shenzhen. That will account for close to 10 per cent of the mobile phones made globally.

Going by calculations, during 2007, Sriperumbudur should make close to half of what Shenzhen will make this year — 50 million handsets, of which more than 30 per cent will be exported, much like what happens in Shenzhen.

Sure, Shenzhen isn’t about handsets alone. A whole range of items like computers, set-top boxes and laser printers are made there. Over the last two decades, it has seen investments of $30 billion. Moreover, it accounts for 9 per cent of China’s GDP. (SEZs collectively contribute 35 per cent of China’s GDP.) Clearly, therefore, it will be a while before Sriperumbudur can reach those levels. However, as Gururaj argues: “It has everything in place to emerge as India’s answer to Shenzhen in the next few years.”

Towards end 2004, shortly after he had taken over as communications and information technology minister of the UPA government, Dayanidhi Maran had persuasively argued with BW that while IT did put India on the global economic map, it was manufacturing that provided the jobs. Maran also figured that telecom and other allied electronic goods companies would perhaps be most open to persuasion given the opportunity India provided.

Consider that in 2005, Indians bought electronic goods worth $22 billion, making it the world’s seventh largest market. Again, during 2005, Indians bought 36 million mobile phones. That makes India the third largest market after China and the US for mobile phones. This year, demand for mobiles is expected to touch 50 million.

Little wonder, one of the first things Maran did as minister was convince Nokia’s then CEO Jorma Ollila to set up the company’s tenth bulk manufacturing plant in Sriperumbudur. Though by then Nokia had decided to set up a plant in India given the roaring business it was doing here, it hadn’t decided on the location. Maran was instrumental in convincing Nokia to choose Sriperumbudur over Bangalore, Hyderabad and the National Capital Region (NCR).

While this helped Maran politically — his constituency happens to be in nearby Chennai, barely 40 km away and Sriperumbudur has begun sourcing a lot of talent from there — Nokia did emerge as the pivot around which many of the other investments were centred. (The first ever investment in Sriperumbudur was Hyundai setting up its factory there in 1999, but between then and 2004, little else happened.)

Maran did a few other things. One, he made it a precondition for all equipment suppliers that were keen on participating in the big BSNL and MTNL expansion tenders to manufacture 30 per cent of the order in India. This would force them to manufacture in India, he reasoned. Companies like Nokia and Motorola have already participated in BSNL’s 60-million line expansion tender worth $5 billion.

......


Das points to fresh investments being made to develop the state’s infrastructure, which he believes will keep the FDI flowing in. Though Tamil Nadu is one of the few states with surplus power (current installed capacity at 10,011 MW, higher than maximum peak demand of 8,600 MW) close to 2,000 MW of fresh capacity will be commissioned over the next three years. This includes 1,000 MW at Tuticorin and Jayakondam.

Luckily for Das, private entrepreneurs have also spotted the Sriperumbudur opportunity, and have begun pitching in. Consider that real estate prices there have gone up by 20 per cent in the last one year — a rise that is comparable to Chennai’s. Two leading Mumbai-based builders are looking at housing projects there and have already begun asking Nokia and Flextronics on salary details of their executives. Again, global hotel chains from the US are looking at properties there, which should be up by next year. Says a consultant: “What hotels are looking at is to provide affordable rooms. It will save them the bother of commuting up and down from Chennai daily.”

Nokia’s Lehtela argues that Sriperumbudur will need to ensure that it stays easily accessible. (Currently, there is a four-lane highway that connects it to the nearest port and international airport in Chennai.) “The nature of the mobile phone business is such that you need very good logistics. It is not just the flow of goods into the factory that matters. Equally important is the flow of finished goods from the factory to the rest of India and abroad,” says Lehtela.

Telecom analysts say that for India to be seen as an alternative to China in telecom equipment manufacturing, costs have to be at least 4 per cent lower here. (Margins in this business are wafer thin.) Typically, materials account for 80-85 per cent of costs. Companies like Flextronics and Nokia, therefore, prefer to either have their vendors within the same compound (as is evident in Sriperumbudur) or manufacture in locations where it is logistically easy to source components.

BY all accounts, Sriperumbudur is showing the signs of an industrial cluster in the making — a few pioneer investors at first, a somewhat rough and ready ecosystem to support them and then the others start coming in, in a virtuous cycle of events. Also, the fact that the state churns out 2.5 lakh engineering graduates is a big plus.

While it is still premature to draw lessons from Sriperumbudur, it will still be worth watching how events unfold there. After all, there aren’t any high-tech manufacturing clusters in the country — and this one could just be the beginning of a new wave.

 

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Saudi Telecom to enter Indian mkt soon.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...enter_Indian_mkt_soon/articleshow/2177701.cms

DUBAI: Saudi Telecom expects to soon receive Indian government's go-ahead to enter the country through its recent 25 per cent stake buy in Malaysia's Maxis Communications, which owns 74 per cent of Chennai-based Aircel.

"The details of the deal, which will enable us to enter Malaysian and Indian markets, will be available within a week from now," Saudi Telecom spokesman Saud ibn Dafer Al-Qahtani said.
The USD three billion deal, announced on June 26, gives the Saudi company an 18.5 per cent indirect stake in Aircel Cellular.

Aircel will have to seek Foreign Investment Promotion Board's approval for this change in shareholding.
The deal is similar to that of Egyptian telecom operator Orascom's acquisition of 19 per cent stake in Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International (HTIL) two years ago, which gave it an indirect 10 per cent stake in Hutch Essar -- the then Indian business of HTIL.

While Maxis controls majority shares of Aircel, the balance 26 per cent is held by Reddy family of Apollo Hospitals group.

Aircel right now has eight circles and has applied for pan-India licence from the government depending on the availability of spectrum.
 

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No more irritation for cell phone users.

http://www.hindu.com/2007/07/06/stories/2007070653110200.htm

Bangalore: “Good afternoon, sir, I am calling from XYZ Bank regarding a new scheme we are issuing. Can I speak to you about it?”

How many times have you heard these words and hung up in disgust?

Unsolicited calls have plagued cell phone users ever since cellular phone carriers allowed telemarketers to use their customer databases. The recent ban on telemarketers making unsolicited calls served by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) therefore, comes as a relief to consumers.

Customers who do not want to receive unsolicited calls can now register with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to put customers on a “Do-Not-Call” list. The NIC aims at maintaining this list at a national level.....
 

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Telephone subscribers swell to 206mn.

http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/jul/06tele1.htm

The mobile subscribers grew by about 73 per cent to reach 157 million in 2006-07, however, fixed line subscribers have declined 3.3 per cent, taking the total below 48.91 million in this period, according to the annual survey by Voice and Data magazine.

"With the increase in connectivity, one in five Indians has access to a phone. Despite this impressive growth, the rural teledensity is only 4-6 per cent compared to urban teledensity at 50 per cent," the survey said.

Despite a fall in the fixed line subscribers and a marginal decrease in revenue, state-owned telecom major BSNL stood at the top with revenues at Rs 40,135 crore (Rs 401.35 billion), followed by Bharti Airtel [Get Quote] at Rs 17,888 crore (Rs 178.88 billion).

Reliance Communications [Get Quote] and Hutch-Essar were at third and fourth slot with revenues of Rs 14,684 crore (Rs 146.84 billion) and Rs 10,565 crore (Rs 105.65 billion) respectively.

MTNL [Get Quote] slipped two positions to number 7 with a decline of 11.5 per cent to Rs 4,923 crore in 2006-07. Tata Tele Services climbed up to sixth position from eighth last year. Bharti garnered 24 per cent market share with over 37 million subscribers, followed by BSNL with 18 per cent market share and 27.9 million subscribers.

Reliance Communications also has 27.9 million subscribers with 18 per cent market share.
 

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RCom launches bundled mobile internet data card.

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Jul92007/national2007070911849.asp?section=updatenews

Reliance Communications on Monday launched a bundled mobile internet data card, allowing its NetConnect customers to avail the services virtually free of cost.

The fortune 500 company has also entered into alliances with laptop manufacturers to bundle Reliance NetConnect Data Cards, its President (Personal Business) S P Shukla told a press conference here.

"Offering world's best prices for data cards, Reliance gives customers the flexibility to choose from a wide range of options which include getting a free data card against 12 months subscription," Shukla said.
According to him, the Freedom plan or 24-month subscription offers free usage of one gigabyte every month while the Swift 50 plan provides 40 hours of free usage every month.

Alternatively, customer can purchase the data card by making an upfront payment of Rs 2,850 for USB data card and Rs 2,990 for PCMCIA data card, which is 28 per cent lower than the current prices, the company said.

It said with over ten million NetConnect enabled handsets being used by Reliance Mobile customers across the country, the offering allows existing customers to access the internet anytime and anywhere using their mobile phones while creating a future potential customer for Reliance data cards.

"The new pricing plans, including providing a data card to Reliance NetConnect customers at virtually no cost, further enhances the value proposition".
 

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Airtel introduces GPS on mobile handsets
12 Jul, 2007, PTI

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel on Thursday announced the launch of GPS-based navigation application on mobile handsets in collaboration with Wayfinder Systems AB of Sweden.

To start with, the application would be available on BlackBerry 8800 and an Airtel user would be able to get map information and area coverage details of cities including - Delhi and NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chandigarh, Bharti Airtel said in a statement here.

Airtel users would also have the option to purchase map information and area coverage details of Europe and North America online.

"As market leaders, we are at the forefront of bringing pioneering solutions that delivers greater value and enhances the communication experience of all Airtel users," Bharti Airtel Chief Marketing Officer Mobile Services Sanjay Gupta said.

Bharti Airtel is offering a six months free trial for all its Airtel BlackBerry 8800 users. As per the offer, the customer will not have to pay any subscription charges on the application during this period. However, data download charges will apply as per the subscriber's BlackBerry plan.

The application turns the compatible mobile phone into a complete GPS-based navigation system with detailed maps and Points-of-Interest of a number of cities in India,

The navigation system provides all users with continuously updated, real-time content and geographical data via the wireless network using EDGE/GPRS.
Source: Economic Times
 

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Defence Ministry agrees to vacate 42.5 Mhz spectrum

http://www.hindu.com/2007/07/15/stories/2007071555061000.htm

Department of Telecommunication will provide alternative network for Defence forces

Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja said on Saturday that the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) sanctioned Rs.1,600 crore for laying an optical fibre alternative network for the Defence forces so that they would be able to vacate 42.5 Mhz spectrum, including the 3G spectrum by September.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Raja said as soon as the spectrum was vacated, the DoT would be fully utilising its unspent funds to the tune of Rs.30,000 crore for rural telephony and broadband services within a stipulated period.

Right from the inception of the Telegraph Act, 1883 it had been believed that all the spectrum were vested with the Ministry of Defence, he said, adding that he had taken up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee, who was the chairman of the group of Ministers constituted for this purpose.

Explaining to them that the DoT was the “real owner of the spectrum,” he had stressed the need to bring under its domain the spectrum which had been lying unutilised for the past over 100 years. The Defence Ministry had also agreed to vacate the spectrum if it was provided with an alternative mode.

Minister said that efforts would be made to enable the BSNL to remain in full readiness to utilise the benefits of technological evolution in 2G/3G/WiMAX.
 

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BSNL factories may make hi-tech equipment


In a bid to revive its manufacturing arm, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is mandating its telecom factories to move into production of equipment based on newer technologies including broadband modem and SIM cards for mobile phones.

BSNL has seven telecom factories which at present manufacture equipment such as coin box telephone for Public Call Offices and optic fibre cable accessories used by fixed line operators. BSNL is also exploring the option of entering into a joint venture for manufacturing CDMA based fixed wireless terminals.

The telecom factories with a combined turnover of Rs 550 crore are located at Kolkata, Gopalpur, Kharagpur, Jabalpur, Bhillai, Richhai and Mumbai. The move is in line with the Government’s strategy to shift all its telecom manufacturing companies to high-end technology equipment.

Indian Telephone Industries, for example, has ventured into GSM equipment and is now looking to foray into production of CDMA and Wi-Max technologies. Until now, multinational firms such as Nokia, Ericsson and Alcatel have set up manufacturing base in India but there has been no significant contribution by any of the Indian telecom manufacturers.Manufacturing by local companies has been limited to old technologies such as fixed line switches. But with most service providers deploying next-generation networks, Indian manufacturing firms have failed to keep pace with the changing technology.

Even the private sector has not been able to throw up any big names in telecom gear production.

In contrast, initiatives by the Chinese Government has resulted in the growth of locally bred companies like ZTE and Huawei, which are now suppliers of high-end telecom gear not just in China but also in the global market
 

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Indian mobile market to cross $25b

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...e_market_to_cross_25b/articleshow/2215672.cms

NEW DELHI: Cellular services segment in India, the world's fastest growing wireless market, is expected to more than double to $25 billion by 2011, global consultancy and research firm Gartner has said. Total earnings of cellular services market in 2006 was $8.95 billion and would reach $25.617 billion by 2011 growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.4%, Gartner said.

Cellular market penetration is also projected to increase from 12.7% in 2006 to 38.6% in 2011. This overall penetration will primarily be driven by an increased focus on rural market. By 2011, Gartner expects 58% of the rural population and 95% of the urban population to be covered with mobile connections.

"With more marginal users forming the bulk of the addressable market, low service costs and inexpensive handsets will help to unlock the inertia and facilitate adoption of mobile services," Gartner senior research analyst Madhusudan Gupta said.

The growth, however, would be restrained because of the problems regarding allocation of scarce spectrum. This could have an impact on expansion plans and the quality of service because of inadequate investment in or upgrading of networks.

Indicating that there was still scope for reducing mobile tariff, Gupta said although call rates have reduced to about 2.6 cents per minute, it remained high compared with fixed line rates at 0.9 cents per minute. Rural market presents immense growth opportunities as mobile penetration was just 2%. Many firms are planning to tap this market by introducing handsets that would cost below Rs 1,000.
 

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GSM, CDMA fight over spectrum.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/GSM_CDMA_fight_over_spectrum/articleshow/2215780.cms

NEW DELHI: The telecom industry is torn apart over the issue of capping service providers in the mobile segment. Deep divisions among GSM players, in addition to outright war between GSM and CDMA operators resulted in allegations and counter allegations flying freely at a Trai open house on Wednesday to discuss stakeholder positions.

Crux lies in the issue of bundling spectrum with licence, which is in sharp variance with global practices.
Globally, unlimited licences are issued as they are treated merely as a process of authorisation, while spectrum is always bid separately. So it is availabity of spectrum and not licences that determines the market structure.

COAI, which represents a majority, not unanimous view on the subject, supports capping of the number of access providers. It finds support in this from Bharti and Vodafone. They argue for open competition only as a good motherhood philosophy as scarcity of spectrum perforce restricts the number of players. Allocation of this scarce resource should continue to follow subscriber-based norms, which despite being unique to India, helps prevent hoarding, they say.
CDMA players, Reliance and HFCL oppose any cap or limit to competition as the task of adding over 600 million phones in the next six to eight years clearly requires new competitors and investors.

They argue that given India's 1.1 billion population, each operator needs to cover almost 17 crore users, multiple times higher than the world average. This creates the need for several more operators. Any attempt by Trai to set up subjective eligibility criteria for 2G, 3G or Wimax will be anti-competitive and lead towards litigation, they caution.

COAI and its members argue that industry works on wafer thin margins with a 7.8% return on capital. More competition could threaten industry viability and affect rural rollouts. It points out that the global average is 17.18 MHz of spectrum per operator against 6.89 for GSM in India. This is inefficient and raises capex, says T V Ramachandran of COAI.

Reliance and HFCL attack these claims, pointing to a 22% return on capital for Bharti, 14% to 16% for Idea and 14% for Reliance. These are way above 5.5% — 6.8% in Canada and US. Indian telcos boast of a healthy 38% EBITA, up from a meagre 19% last year. Despite offering the worlds lowest tariff of 2 cents/minute, India's EBITA equals the world average, they argue.

CDMA players discount Trai's view that there will not be much reduction in tariffs even if new operators are added. They say tariffs can and will go down with more competition. While this will reduce EBITAs and ARPUs, it will keep industry viable and robust.

CDMA operators also refute COAI's argument that more spectrum is needed for rural penetration. They say 2G spectrum lies unused in rural India. It is lack of infrastructure and not spectrum that has isolated rural India from mobile revolution, they add. Fresh spectrum allocation for existing operators based on subscriber criteria will lead to hoarding of 2G and cartelization in 3G.Vodafones $20 billion valuation illustrates the depth of the market and space for more operators, they say.
Tatas, which opposed the subscriber-based criteria in 2005, took a middle path. It remained low key on capping and silent on 3G/Wimax issues.
 

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Ericsson Lands $2 Billion Deal With Bharti In India
July 18, 2007

STOCKHOLM - Swedish telecom equipment maker Telefon AB LM Ericsson (ERIC) Wednesday announced one of its largest-ever wireless network equipment deals, a contract worth $2 billion with India's Bharti Airtel Ltd. (532454.BY), the country's largest mobile phone operator by customers.

Under the two-year supply and services contract, Ericsson will expand Bharti Airtel's mobile network across 15 of 23 telecom circles in India.

Ericsson earlier signed other contracts with Bharti for managed services whereby Ericsson would operate the Indian company's network.

Mats Granryd, president of Ericsson in India, said Wednesday's contract doesn't include any managed services and earlier contracts in that area aren't affected.

Wednesday's announcement was preceded by media reports that a deal was to be closed.

"The order is in the upper range of expectations," Swedbank analyst Jan Ihrfelt said. "India is a strategically important market and the order from Bharti is significant for Ericsson."

Ericsson rival Nokia Siemens Networks earlier this month also signed a memorandum of understanding, worth $900 million, with Bharti Airtel.

The Finnish-German joint venture between Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Siemens AG (SI) will expand Bharti's GSM mobile phone service across eight circles of India, as well as improve fixed-line and international calling capabilities.

Granryd said the sales split of 70% for Ericsson and 30% for Nokia Siemens Networks from Bharti Airtel remains after the new deals.

Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks are also the front-runners for a $4.87 billion contract with India's state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL.YY).

The BSNL project, however, stalled in May as India's new communications and information technology minister wanted the telecom services provider to renegotiate the price.

"We're waiting for BSNL to officially choose its course ahead," Granryd said.

He said he doesn't see Wednesday's announcement of a deal with Bharti affecting its chances of also landing a deal with BSNL.

India is one the fastest-growing mobile phone markets in the world, and Granryd said Bharti alone added nearly 2 million new customers in June.

"The mobile tariffs are low and demand is pent up - I see few things that can stop the development," he said, noting that in some major cities there's a lack of spectrum to be used for mobile telephony.

Ericsson is currently deploying 2,000 radio base stations for Bharti per month and Granryd sees this rate continuing ahead.
Source: CNN Money
 

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Idea to go on air in Mumbai this yr

The department of telecom (DoT) on Friday is learnt to have allocated spectrum to Idea Cellular for the GSM-based service provider’s foray into the Mumbai circle. Idea Cellular will launch mobile services in Mumbai by the year-end and is expected to spend about Rs 700 crore for its network rollout in the metro.

With this, competition in Mumbai is set to touch an all-time high as the metro will become only the third telecom circle in the country after West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh to have five GSM players offering services.
 

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TIRUCHI: The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Tiruchi, has a special free meter reading information service in all telephone exchanges to facilitate customers to check usage and control their telephone bill. Customers could dial 19621 to know the reading in Tamil and 19622 in English from their telephone. The meter reading service is an automatic computerised toll free. service. This service is not available for telephones working in WLL Technology Exchanges.
 

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MTNL to start VoIP service in Nepal.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...VoIP_service_in_Nepal/articleshow/2258064.cms

NEW DELHI: State run MTNL's JV company United Telecom Ltd (UTL) has been permitted by Nepalese government to start Voice over Internet Protocol services there, which will offer cheaper overseas calls besides checking huge revenue loss due to illegal ILD calls.

UTL was recently allowed by Nepal government for starting the VoIP-based international long distance services making it the first operator to launch this service in the hilly kingdom. UTL, a joint venture of MTNL with VSNL, TCIL and a local Nepalese firm had obtained telecom service license in Nepal where it has already commissioned their CDMA-based telecom service and ILD service and have about 1 lakh customers. Calling overseas may come down further with state-run MTNL planning to launch VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol services where call tariffs could be as low as Re 1 a minute.

The Nepal Government is losing NRS 8 billion annually due to illegal international long distance call bypass services offered by VoIP-powered public phone booths and cyber cafes. To check this losses, the Nepal Telecom Authority has finally given the green signal to UTL and Nepal Telecom to employ VoIP technology, MTNL sources said.

The PSU is also planning to launch VoIP services in Delhi and Mumbai soon to offer cheap calling rates to overseas destination. It could be like One India rates where domestic call charges are Re 1 a minute, sources said. BSNL is already offering ISD call rates to the US and Canada at Rs 1.75 a minute.
 

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Tata Telecom eyes 100 million subscriber base by 2010.

http://www.deepikaglobal.com/ENG_full.asp?catcode=ENG5&mcode=Business#5263

New Delhi, Aug 5 (UNI) Tata Teleservices has said it expects its subscriber base to touch the 100-million mark by 2010.
''Though our current market share is nine per cent, our incremental share has been increasing by a million customers each month,'' company Chief Operating Officer Debashis Sur told UNI.

The right technology at the right price will help in increasing the penetration of the services, he added.
Talking about the 3G policy, Mr Sur said the platform would offer more applications to the consumer along with greater speed. ''This would increase the scope of competition and the consumer will get more services at competitive rates, giving him more options to choose from,'' Mr Sur said.

When asked about the slow growth of CDMA technology compared to GSM, he said that it was simply the time factor. ''GSM has been around longer. CDMA is a newer technology and Tata is yet a younger player,'' he said.
Tata Telecom is aggressively looking towards the competition.
''We are geared to enter the North-east region. Everything is ready.

We just need the license to roll out the services.'' The telecom sector has been witnessing a sharp growth over the last few years. ''The next spurt of growth will come from rural India. The market offers opportunities and it will fuel the engine of growth,'' said Mr Sur.

''But you cannot overlook the urban market. The cities continue to rank ahead in the subscriber base volume,'' he added.
 

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Moderator
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Ringing in 200 million, 4 months early

The government had set a target of 200 million mobile phones and 250 million phones (both fixed and mobile) by the end of 2007.

The country hit the 100 million mark in mobile phones as recently as May 2006. While it took over 10 years to reach the magic figure of 100 million (as wireless telephony was introduced in 1995), it took just over a year to reach the next 100 million.


In July, the mobile subscriber base in the country rose by 8.06 million, taking the total wireless users to 192.98 million. Even if the subscriber base increases by 7 million in August, India will have 200 million wireless subscribers by the end of this month.

India is third after China and the US, in terms of wireless subscribers. Meanwhile, the CDMA (code division multiple access) Development Group (CDG) has announced that India's CDMA subscriber base has crossed 50 million.

The remaining 150 million mobile subscribers are from the global system for mobile communications (GSM) group.

Among metros, Chennai topped the growth in fixed-line subscribers, constituting 19.9% of its total telephone base, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi followed with 19.5%, 18.7% and 14.8%, respectively.

Against less than 20% fixed-line users, out of the total phone subscribers in each of the metros, wireless users in Delhi are as high as 85.1% of the total (fixed and mobile). The respective figures for Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are 81.2%, 80.4% and 80%, respectively.

Of the 15.6 million phone users in Delhi, 13.28 million are wireless subscribers, and the remaining 2.32 million fixed-phone users.

In Mumbai, the total phone subscriber base is at 13.39 million. Of this, 10.88 million are wireless users and the remaining 2.51 million fixed-phone users. In Kolkata, the total phone users are 7.22 million, of which 5.81 million are mobile subscribers and the remaining 1.41 million fixed-line users.

In Chennai, the total number of phone users is at 6.66 million. Of this, 5.33 million are wireless subscribers and the remaining 1.33 million fixed-phone users.

As on July-end, the total number of telephone subscribers in the country has touched 232.87 million, after adding 7.86 million during the month. While 8.06 million users were added in July in the wireless segment, the wireline category saw a drop by 0.20 million.

The overall teledensity in the country has increased to 20.52 in July, against 19.86 in July. The total wireless base stood at 192.98 million at the end of July, against 39.89 million fixed-line subscribers in the country.
 

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Mast Malang
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Nokia's Big Plans for India

On a three-day tour of India in late August, the first since he became president and chief executive of Finnish telecom giant Nokia (NOK) last year, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo highlighted just how important the fast-growing Indian telecom market has become. He visited Nokia's manufacturing facility in Chennai and met telecom regulators in New Delhi and corporate customers in Mumbai. Nokia has long dominated the Indian mobile handset market, with a 70% share, and on his trip Kallasvuo announced that India is now Nokia's second-largest market, displacing the U.S. and behind only China. Moreover, he also revealed that Nokia has chosen India to be the global hub for Nokia Siemens Networks, the two companies' telecom infrastructure joint venture.

Kallasvuo talked to BusinessWeek's Nandini Lakshman in Mumbai about the importance of emerging markets and whether the lessons he learned from some were applicable to the others. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow
http://www.businessweek.com/globalb...tm?chan=globalbiz_asia+index+page_top+stories
 
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