Friday, December 31, 2010

Free SMS sites expect jump in usage around New Year :)

Free mobile short message services provider and e-card sites are betting big on the growing net savvy gene-ration. As netizen finds e-way the ‘cool’ way to wish their loved ones across the globe, firms like Indyarocks, Way2sms, 123greetings and ibibo are expecting a double digit growth in their revenues this December.

“We are seeing an increase in usage of free platform for every single festival. New Year will be the biggest occasion for us and we are expecting around 15 million SMS greetings to be sent during December 31 and on January 1,” said Kalyan Manyam chief executive officer, Indiya-rocks, one of the free SMS providers.

The free service providers who follow a revenue model based on advertisements also see advertisers evincing interest this year. “We are on way to touching a revenue of $0.75 million (around Rs 3.3 crore) this year and we generally see a 60 per cent rise in revenues this festive season due to a high interest from advertisers,” added Manyam.

One of the important resons for the uptake of free SMSs in the rencet time is because all major mobile service providers withdrew offers on voice calls and SMS during festive season. These free services provide netizen the ease of use and ability to send group SMS greetings with a single click of the mouse.

ibibo, a social game provider in India also provides free SMS and free call option for its registered users. “We use all means to enhance social commun-ication, free SMS and free call is also part of this. During the festive season we see a trend in the usage of e-card and we expect an increase of 40-50 per cent this season,” said Rahul Razdan, president - products & operations, ibibo. The companies which witnessed an increment in visitors during Christmas eve, has even come out with innova-tive means to lure users for New Year. For example, Indiyarocks is running a contest where users can share their special moments in 2010 and is also running a virtual movie awards based on users choice. Another player specialised in eCards —123Greetings, has come out with New Year e-greeting with music, animation, special effects and offers more customisation. The site, which sees an average of 399, 250 visitors per day from across the globe, said visitors from India make up around 20 per cent of its traffic.

“Our service is used by over 91 million unique visitors annually and we offer 20,000 greeting cards which is a mix of 3,000 seasonal and everyday cards. However, we see more users using our service during December. We expect a two-fold growth in the number of users and also revenues from India this month,” said Arvind Kajaria, managing director of IntraSoft Technologies Ltd., which owns 123Greetings.com.

The data available at Google Trends India and Google Insights websites hosted by Google which analyses a portion of hot Google web searches, some of the hot searches on December 24 were Way2sms, New year greet-ings, Christmas SMS hindi, jingle bell songs and Christ-mas scraps. The graphs and statistics state most of these searches are being done from cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Pune where majority of the working youth are concentrated and Internet penetration is high. Even the data from last New Year’s eve shows that Indians prefer e-cards and e-sms to wish their loved ones and the trend is expected to be the same this year.

Mobile TeleSystems acquires 100% stake in Sistema Telecom

 TeleSystems OJSC (MTS), a provider of mobile communication services, has acquired 100% stake in Sistema Telecom LLC (LLC Sistema Telecommunications, Informatics and Communications), a non-operating subsidiary of JSFC Sistema (AFK Sistema OAO). All the three companies are based in Russia.

Announcement (November 16, 2010):

MTS has signed a non-binding indicative offer to acquire 100% of Sistema Telecom for RUB11,590 million ($374.86 million).

The acquisition includes a 45% stake in TS-Retail, in which MTS currently holds a controlling 55% interest, certain promissory notes previously issued by MTS in the amount of RUB2,000 million ($64.68 million), and property rights in respect of the group of trademarks, including the egg trademarks of MTS, Comstar-UTS and Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS).

As part of the transaction, MTS will assume debt considerations totaling RUB1,800 million ($58.21 million), which include the settlement of RUB1,350 million ($43.66 million) in debts between MTS subsidiaries and Sistema Telecom.

ING Bank is acting as financial advisor, while Latham & Watkins is acting as legal advisor to MTS.

The transaction is expected to close in the end of 2010.
Deal Value (US$ Million) 374.86

Deal Type Acquisition

Sub-Category 100% Acquisition

Deal Status Completed: 2010-12-27

Deal Participants
Target (Company)   OOO Sistema Telecom

Acquirer (Company) Mobile TeleSystems OJSC

Vendor (Company) AFK Sistema OAO

Deal Rationale

The acquisition will provide MTS full control of its logos and trademarks to ensure that all shareholders benefit equally in its brand's further development.

Mobile Data Growth in India an Opportunity and a Challenge!!!

Mobile data continues to grow at a phenomenal rate in countries that have already deployed data centric 3G networks. AT&T for example has noted a data growth of over 5000 percent in just three years. Most of this growth is attributed to high bandwidth video related services like video chat, IP TV and access to video content over sites like YouTube on the Internet access. The continued price pressure on data rates together with an unprecedented growth in demand has created a major challenge for operators around the world forcing them to seek ‘unconventional’ solutions.

One such solution is a ‘small cell’ approach where operators deploy femtocells in locations with poor cellular coverage. The data is backhauled via the existing broadband network using standard IP providing a more cost effective data coverage. The alternative solution that is gaining favor is to enable the Wi-Fi radio on the user’s smart phone and deoliver data over that interface rather than over licenced spectrum like UMTS/3G. Data in this case is also backhauled via the pubic Internet. Studies have shown that the majority of mobile data is generated by smart phones in indoor settings which make Wi-Fi an excellent data offload technology. Both these technologies allow data to be moved at a fraction of the cost – though Wi-Fi can be an order of magnitude cheaper than deploying femtocells.

India has been late to the 3G party but is fast catching up. Earlier this year, seven private operators paid a whopping $14.6 billion to buy 3G spectrum. A number of operators like Reliance and Tata have already launched their 3G services. As of end of September 2010, the wireless subscriber base in India stood at 687.71 million, second only to China. However, iSuppli forecasted that 3G will garner 250 million subscribers by 2012.

While there are similarities between India and other 3G enabled nations, there are some very significant differences. Due to fierce competition, voice tariffs in India are one of the lowest in the world. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recently reported a year-over-year decline in Average Revenue per User (ARPU) per month of 33.9 percent for GSM subscribers and 19.6 percent for CDMA subscribers. As of June 2010 the ARPU for GSM was Rs. 122 ($2.71) and for CDMA INR 74 ($1.64). This can be compared to an ARPU of more than $50.00 for post paid service in the U.S. Hence, to recover their huge investments in 3G, Indian operators will have to increasingly look at data services to drive revenue growth.

Indian operators do have a great track record in generating significant revenue from VAS services like ring back tones, music downloads, SMS and a variety of downloadable applications. Most of these services are offered through a strong web portal as ‘premium services’. So it is reasonable to assume that as 3G gains momentum, a lot of these services will be supplemented by high bandwidth services like video sharing, mobile TV, multi-player high-definition gaming and videoconferencing which can become a major revenue generator for them.
Another important factor that is likely to drive up data traffic is India is general internet access from mobile devices. While India has a rapidly growing mobile subscriber base, the low penetration of laptops and personal computers means that the primary source of internet access are likely to be mobile devices. Whatever be the driver, the focus on mobile data is likely to become a double edged sword, quickly outstripping network capacity. These factors, coupled with the limited spectrum allocated to operators in India, may lead to a ‘perfect storm’ where the networks get overwhelmed.

Operators are already aware of this problem and are actively seeking solutions to this problem using offload techniques. Femtocells are a valid proposition for them but they are pricey and are still not proven in the current deployments. A more appropriate solution for the Indian market is data traffic offload to Wi-Fi networks.

With this in mind operators are looking at developing Wi-Fi zones of their own or partnering with Wi-Fi operators and aggregators to see if some of the data can be offloaded to these networks. Both, Tata Communications and Bharti Airtel have been actively deploying hundreds of Wi-Fi hotspots across the country as a service to their broadband subscribers. BSNL, Reliance and Spectranet are also offering Wi-Fi Internet access.

Vikas Singh, CMO for Telemedia Services at Bharti Airtel was quoted as saying: “Airtel Wi-Fi hotspots will be strategically located at leading premium hotels, hospitals, chains of restaurants, coffee shops and corporate buildings that are the hub of corporate, community and social activities. For us, this is an initiative to increase customer stickiness and enhance average revenue per user (ARPU) of our broadband customer base.”
In parallel with the 3G roll out, alternative wireless services are being deployed to address the demand for wireless Internet services.

Companies like Tikona, a recent startup, are building all-IP wireless networks using unlicenced spectrum. The technology, referred to as WI-BRO - a variation of WiMAX, is built on meshed networking routes traffic over wired and wirelessly meshed access points. The iSuppli study forecasted a subscriber base for such services to reach 19 million by 2012.
By deploying a Wi-Fi data offload solution, mobile network operators can provide:
l Improved coverage and Quality of Service (QoS) for mobile data subscribers
l Seamless transition between 3G and Wi-Fi – no need for subscribers to manually register or log in to use the network
l Utilization of the existing mobile billing and charging infrastructure
l Subscriber access to secure content provided by the mobile operators – known as “walled garden” services

However, some work must be done to implement this functionality. Based on the operators’ requirements we have classified them into the following three categories.

The 3GPP and 3GPP2 standards bodies have published specifications for these techniques and some companies have developed products to enable seamless integration of Wi-Fi and Cellular networks. IntelliNet has been actively involved in a commercial trial with a leading edge operator in India and the initial results are promising.

However, successful deployment of this solution will require the vendors and the operators to work closely to implement a complete end-to-end solution which will not only address the technological aspects but also all the operational issues in deploying this service such as the integration with the backend OSS systems.

This technology will not only assist operators with 3G licenses offload their excess traffic but also will help operators with 2G licenses to provide their subscribers a 3G-like experience - and do so at a fraction of the cost of deploying 3G infrastructure.

Anjan Ghosal
The author is President, CEO and Founder, IntelliNet Technologies

Mobile connections cross 4 crore in Gujarat, 1 crore added in just 9 months

From a little over 4,000 in 1997 to over four crore in 2010. That is how Gujarat has progressed in number of mobile connections in the past 13 years. Now, the state boasts of 4,01,58,662 mobile connections.

The October 2010 subscription data report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which was released last week, says the mobile subscription in Gujarat stands at 4,01,58,662.

These connections have been provided by 10 operators.
Considering that Gujarat's estimated population is about six crore, the current number of cellularconnections gives one the impression that about 66.6% of people (or 6.66 out of every 10 people) have mobile connections.

But industry sources say there are many who possess more than one connection, so it is not necessarily true that 66.6% of people hold mobile connections.

In May 1997, there were only 4,100 mobile connections in Gujarat. At that time there were only two operators and the incoming charge was Rs8 per minute. It took 11 years for the number of mobile connections to reach one crore in May 2007.

However, the number of subscriptions increased remarkably in short spans thereafter.

Then it took another 18 months for that figure to double. And by the end of January 2010, that is, in only about 14 months, Gujarat recorded a total of three crore mobile phone connections. And soon, in next nine months, one crore connections were added and the number of connections now is over four crore.

Five years back, Gujarat was on the top in the number of connections among 22 circles in India but today it stands seventh.

By end of October 2010, Tamil Nadu had 6.36 crore mobile connections followed by Uttar Pradesh (East) with 5.46 crore, Andhra Pradesh (5.40 crore), Maharashtra & Goa excluding Mumbai (5.23 crore), Bihar (4.63 crore) and Karnataka (4.38 crore). The number of mobile connections in India is now 70.66 crore,of which Gujarat contributes 5.67%.

In last one year, five new telecom companies - Videocon, Uninor, Aircel, Etisalat (GSM service) and Shyam Sistema (CDMA service) - have launched their services in Gujarat. Besides, two existing CDMA players _ Tata and Reliance _ have also started their GSM operations in the state.

Of the total four crore mobile connections, the new players have a share of around 50 lakh connections. Industry sources say since there is a rise in multi-SIM users in Gujarat, there is a huge potential for mobile penetration in rural areas.

"It is pure SIM card penetration in which more than one SIM card is sold to a person. At present, in rural areas of Gujarat the actual mobile penetration is less than 40% so there is a huge potential there," said COO ofBharti Airtel (Gujarat Circle) Shivan Bhargava.

Of the total mobile subscription of 4,01,58,662 in Gujarat, about 3.80 crore are believed to be prepaid connections. "Around 95% of the total mobile connections are prepaid. With more telecom players entering the market, the prepaid connection sales have gone up. Simultaneously, there is also a rise in multi-SIM holders in which people want to try out the cheapest tariff services," said senior vice president (operations) Idea Cellular, Arul Bright.

He said in September and October which are months of festive season, many numbers were added and that pushed the mobile subscriptions to over four crore.

Top 10 Mobile Stories of 2010 around the globe!!

We really have to stop calling these things "cell phones" soon. Looking back, 2010 may be the year the cell phone was finally overtaken by the mobile device, the smart handheld, the itty computer—whatever. Everybody has 'em, and the mobile world is just heating up. Yeah, sure, we're PCMag. Personal computer magazine. Mobile phones are the personal computers of the 2010s, and this year helped show what's coming. Here are my top 10 US mobile trends of 2010.

10. Wireless Consolidation (Or Not)
I have nightmares about the U.S. becoming a wireless duopoly, with Verizon and AT&T owning every American soul and vaguely competing just enough to keep an inattentive FCC happy. Sprint and T-Mobile mostly treaded water in 2010, but I've been really happily surprised by scrappy little MetroPCS, US Cellular, and Cricket, which have gone from being lowest-common-denominator, purely regional carriers to lively specialists in budget 4G (on Metro's part), great customer service (on US Cellular's) and cheap smartphones (on Cricket's.) I'm hoping the little guys will keep innovating, growing and maybe even merging, offering a fifth nationwide player to replace late, lamented Alltel and keep the big guys on their toes.

9. Motorola's Back
Two years ago, Motorola looked practically dead; the inventors of the modern cell phone had simply fainted away under a pile of repetitive RAZRs. Yeah, sure, it was selling a lot of cheap dumb phones, but innovation looked over and done with. But then Qualcomm's Sanjay Jha took over the company, turning it into a premiere Android smartphone shop, and Motorola leveraged a strong relationship with Verizon to bring out the Droid in late 2009. In 2010, the Motorola Droid X and Droid 2 were two of our top cell phone reviews by traffic, showing that Motorola is back to being a major force in the mobile world.

8. Blackberry Lights a Torch in a Dark Hallway
Microsoft wasn't the only major mobile manufacturer to struggle in 2010. BlackBerry has watched its market share slide, slide, slide in the U.S., backstopped by massive growth in emerging countries - but I'm talking about the top 10 mobile stories in the USA, OK? The new BlackBerry 6 OS is effective but underwhelming, and the flagship Torch has sold decently but not spectacularly. RIM just needs to stay alive until it can assemble a bunch of recent acquisitions—OS company QNX, browser company Torch Mobile, UI company TAT—into a spectacular new operating system that will debut on its PlayBook tablet in 2011.

7. Apple and AT&T, Together ... Forever?
Every month, "iPhone on Verizon" rumors. Every month, no iPhone on Verizon. 2010 started with some pundits positively proclaiming that the iPad would appear on a carrier other than AT&T, and lo and behold: it was an AT&T exclusive. The iPhone 4? An AT&T exclusive. But late this year, as Android's growth seemed to start making Apple sweat, we began to see cracks in the alliance: Apple quietly blessed Verizon, allowing a somewhat awkward iPad+MiFi solution, and Verizon executives started using indirect language to pave the way for more Apple products to appear on its network. Maybe 2011 will be the year the dam finally breaks.

6. Windows Phone 7
Several of our top mobile stories by traffic were about Windows Phone 7. Microsoft's new OS broke big after the company basically spent a year playing dead in mobile (including with the dead-on-arrival Microsoft Kin), showing you really can't count anything out in a market this fast moving. In six weeks after launch, Microsoft shipped 1.5 million phones to its launch partners; the company has also slapped down half a billion dollars in marketing money. The new OS is a fresh start, with an interface that looks like none other and a more than 50-50 chance of becoming a real, consistent player.

5. iPhone 4 Antennagate
The iPhone 4's antenna problems made Apple do a very, very rare thing: admit the company did something wrong. That's like dogs turning into cats, or the world spinning backwards. I remember testing the "death grip" over and over again late at night, surprised to see that yes, the iPhone 4's antenna had a bug in it. And yet, if you look at the iPhone's spectacular sales statistics, startlingly few people cared in the end; it turns out iPhones have been lousy voice phones for so long that people don't expect solid call quality from an iPhone. The device's spectacular camera, incredible apps, and myriad other powers more than make up for its voice failings.

4. The iPad (And a Tiny Little Bit of the Samsung Galaxy Tab)
2010 was supposed to be the year of the tablet. It was the year of the iPad. The iPad singlehandedly created, maintained, and triumphed over the mobile tablet category, joined for most of the year by a worthless Island of Misfit Toys that didn't provide much competition at all. Late in the year Samsung brought out the first real Android-powered iPad competitor, but found themselves stabbed in the back by Google, which said that the "real" version of Android for tablets won't be out until 2011. We're going to see literally dozens of tablets at CES 2011, so perhaps next year will be everyone else's chance.

3. The Beginnings of 4G
4G became mainstream in 2010. I should probably say "4G" became mainstream, as the carriers announcing fourth-generation networks did so without the blessing of the International Telecommunications Union, the arbiter of these things, until the ITU finally buckled and gave up. 4G, to U.S. carriers, means wireless networks finally fast enough to go mano-a-mano with wired broadband. But it doesn't seem, yet, to mean radical new uses or prices for those networks. Verizon's speedy network is expensive, while Sprint's affordable 4G network is less reliable and T-Mobile's has few devices able to take advantage of its maximum speeds. Now that many carriers have 4G, they have to use 2011 to make consumers understand why they should start buying 4G devices instead of 3G gadgets.

2. The Rise of Android
According to our traffic counting software, the top four most-read cell phone reviews this year were all Android powered smartphones. One of the top finishers may shock you: it's the LG Optimus S, an extremely well-done, low-end phone for Sprint. But the Optimus S's popularity shows the strength of Android: the operating system was as successful on low-end models as on high-end phones like the Motorola Droid X (which was traffic-grabber number two), and in 2010 it became the market-share-leading smartphone OS to beat.

1. Smartphones Hit a Tipping Point
Sometime in 2010, everyone started asking me about smartphones. According to ComScore, more than 25 percent of American mobile phone owners now have smartphones, and they're no longer high-priced devices. Every carrier has free smartphones, and Cricket, Virgin, and MetroPCS are selling smar phones with low monthly rates. I think we've hit the mobile tipping point in the U.S. where most people are no longer looking for voice communication devices; they're looking for mobile pocket computers that happen to make phone calls. More than anything else, I think this trend will define what we're writing and speaking about in 2011.

Think I got it right? Think I got it wrong? Incensed I didn't include anything from either Nokia or Palm? Tell me in the comments below. For more, see the slideshow above. By: Sascha Segan

3G video calls rollout won't be impacted by security issue !!

New Delhi: Rollout of the much-awaited 3G services is unlikely to be affected by the security issue surrounding interception of video calling, research firm KPMG said.

"3G rollout plans have already been finalised by most operators. There are bigger challenges in terms of rolling out the services in a cost-effective manner and no operator has got a pan-India licence," KPMG Executive Director Jaideep Ghosh told reporters.

So, the rollout of 3G services from the operator's side is not going to change much because of this particular issue, he added.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had asked telecom operators Tata Teleservices and RCom to stop video calling services till they adhered to security norms for its legal interception.

Asked if telecom players would put on hold rolling out 3G services on the back of the government orders, Ghosh said, "Operators have paid huge amounts to get the licences and they would like to roll out services soon. I don't think operators would like to wait for six months or a year. Services would go on, only video calls have been put on hold."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Breaking down 4G vs. 3G cellular networks

What is 4G?

With Sprint and Verizon Wireless launching fourth-generation high-speed networks in the Denver area this month, the term has dominated cellphone marketing recently and will continue to do so next year, when Apple is expected to release a 4G-capable iPhone.

The differences between 4G and predecessor 3G, which surfaced commercially nearly a decade ago, are fairly substantial. Sprint and network partner Clearwire have both generations of wireless technology atop a luxury high-rise near Washington Park in Denver.

The 3G cell site is the equivalent of an 8-foot- high storage cabinet filled with computer equipment. The 4G site is about half the size and consumes about five times less power.

3G networks

Clearwire operations manager Mark Severseike displays a 4G cell, with a much bulkier 3G cell in the background. Clearwire is majority-owned by Sprint. (John Prieto, The Denver Post)

carry voice and Internet traffic. 4G networks are built specifically for Internet content, so cell sites don't include equipment to route phone calls, reducing their footprint and creating energy efficiencies. That also positions 4G networks to better handle high-bandwidth activities.

"These are really key differentiators in the next generation of wireless networks," said Mark Loarie, director of technical operations in the Rockies for Clearwire.

Sprint is the majority owner of Clearwire, which is building the WiMax network that Sprint uses for its mobile broadband service.

When a user makes a call with Sprint's 4G cellphones, that traffic travels through 3G cell sites. The device uses 4G connections for Web browsing, video streaming and other Internet-related services. Clearwire has nearly 200 4G sites along the Front Range.

Of course, the most significant difference between 4G and 3G for consumers is speed. Sprint 4G offers Internet download speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G service, generally ranging from 3 megabits per second to 6 Mbps. Speeds can reach 12 Mbps, comparable to standard residential broadband service, depending on network congestion and how far a user is from a 4G cell site.

There are also differences between 4G technologies. Verizon's Long Term Evolution 4G service has faster average download speeds, advertised at 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps, and uses spectrum that can better penetrate buildings. Sprint and Clearwire's WiMax service uses a frequency with more capacity, allowing them to offer unlimited data plans.

Until recently, Sprint's and Verizon's networks didn't officially qualify for 4G classification, previously reserved for technology not yet commercially available.

But the International Telecommunication Union, which handles such designations for the industry, said this month that WiMax and LTE could both be recognized as 4G. The agency also said upgraded 3G networks could use the designation.

Why 3G rollout is tough??

Will 2011 turn out to be a revolutionary new year for India's half a billion mobile subscribers? While telecom companies are already hyping the brave new world of 3G services, standards of basic telephony services continue to languish in the basement.

The nine leading telecom operators, including state-run BSNL and MTNL, who had burned their pockets to pay Rs 67,718.95 crore to acquire 3G spectrum, much to their dismay, are finding it difficult to sell-off these airwaves to those telecom operators or companies who had not bid for it.

 Teething troubles

    Paid heavily to buy 3G airwaves to free-up decongestion for voice calls

  • Fear losing customers once MNP is rolled-out

The nine leading operators, including BSNL &

  • MTNL paid Rs 67,718.95 cr to acquire 3G spectrum

  • But they are yet to find any potential client for selling-off 3G airwaves

  • Heads of both had written to telecom minister for refunds of licence fee

Operators are wary of tariffs prior to launch of 3G, which makes their confusion apparent about fate of 3G

    Less than 20% of population uses services beyond voice calls

  • India has the lowest mobile tariffs, with average usage of Rs 130/mo

The worries for these operators have compounded further as they have invested another whopping Rs 20,000 crore and more to develop the 3G infrastructure, which they expect to roll out by early next year. "3G is not successful. The operators paid too much to buy the 3G airwaves to freeup congestion in voice calls. They also feared losing customers once the mobile number portability (MNP) is rolled-out.

Most of the newcomers have ample spectrum and they don't anticipate 3G requirement," said an industry expert. Despite the fact that state-run telecom operators BSNL and MTNL were given 3G airwaves two years back - private operators have got it in October this year - they have not been able to do much with their first-mover advantage in 3G. Both are now in the process of outsourcing their 3G networks.

But both MTNL as well as BSNL are yet to find any potential client for selling-off 3G airwaves. Heads of both the state-run BSNL and MTNL had written to the telecom minister for refund of licence fee paid for 3G and BWA spectrum.

However, operators like Bharti Airtel, who already have 3G services in many circles are in talks with operators who have got 3G for roaming pacts for ensuring a pan-India footprint. There have been speculations that Bharti could enter into strategic alliance with Idea and Vodafone for pan India 3G rollout. But other operators who do not have 3G airwaves have largely ignored the need for it in the near future.

For instance, Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL), a joint venture (JV) between Sistema of Russia and the Shyam Group of India, which operates CDMA mobile services under the brand name MTS has already clarified that it does not need 3G services and that it has enough bandwidth to support faster data services and jam-free voice network. "We have adequate spectrum and we don't anticipate its need," said a top SSTL official.

Then there are worries whether the bruising tariff war currently on in 2G will continue into 3G. When Tata DoCoMo launched 3G services at 0.66 paise per second. Bharti Airtel said it had paid heavily for 3G spectrum and cannot afford a tariff war. Tata DoCoMo is keen on subscribing to 3G network to stay afloat in the Indian market. It does not have even start-up spectrum in certain circles.

Moreover, the industry experts have a view that 3G services will hardly matter for large number of subscribers. "I don't think 3G will make much of difference to most of the subscribers. We hardly have less than 20 per cent of them who use services beyond voice calls.

Over half of the subscribers are those who use nonvoice services," said Col S. N. Aggarwal, consumer activist and telecom expert. "3G is hyped. We have already told Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India)that consumers first need to get better services rather than 3G services. We continue to get spam calls. There is no check on operators and telemarketers. The Trai, as a regulator, has become toothless. We need better regulations to govern the sector effectively," points out Randhir Verma, a telecom expert.

According to Rajan Mathews, the director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the launch of 3G services will provide new valueadded service applications and also change the way we communicate. 3G would facilitate a new range of services, including high-speed data downloads and enable applications like Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and highspeed data exchange.

India's telecom tele-density is 62.51 per cent, with 706.69 million phone connections, of which 1.9 crore new subscribers were added during October. India has the lowest mobile tariffs, with average usage of Rs 130 per month.

Airtel increases mobile internet charges

Airtel, the market leader in mobile space, has announced an increase in mobile internet browsing charges on its mobile office service.

Airtel has more than doubled the charges from 30p/50 KB to 30p/20 KB. However, if you have taken a package you are less likely to be affected. For instance, if you are paying a fixed charge of Rs 98 for 2GB data access, you are unlikely to see any change in your bill.

On the other hand, Airtel's Live WAP portal, which was free of charge till now, will be charged at the rate of 30p/20 KB with effect from December 28, 2010.

Whether other operators will follow suit is yet to be seen. Since it is a move that has been made to check excessive load on the network, there is a possibility that operators whose networks are not very busy will not hike prices.

Another possible reason could be to push people to take up fixed monthly plans for internet access, thereby securing a minimum revenue per user for the operator.

As per an Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) report, there was 104 per cent increase in users of mobile internet in 2009 as compared to 2008. As the trend is going to get stronger, moves like these might hamper it. In heavily competitive markets like India, such moves might not be feasible.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3G? 4G? 10G? Who Needs Faster Cell Service?

Not that long ago your cell phone was not considered a small mobile computer or smartphone.  It wasn’t that long ago that you could barely get a signal on your cell phone long enough to have a 2 minute conversation.  In the mobile market today, you get to hear ads regarding a 3G network, even 4G, referring to the speed of such networks.  Which company has the fastest and if you care, do you really need your network to be faster?

Your cell phone is getting smaller, smarter and faster ever signal time you upgrade.  The network that your cell phone is on is always getting faster.  But how fast is a 4G network?  Most people might not even know what 3 or 4G means, but if the number is higher it must be worth what you are paying for it.  A 4G network for your smartphone will allow you to view video and data at high speeds, very comparable to your DSL connection at your residence.

Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and other companies are hoping that you want your smartphone to watch video, stream TV or access large amount of data so that you will subscribe to there service.  The bad thing is if you are switching services, you are most likely locked in there for 2 years while you watch other networks upgrade to something better.

The standard 4G network would handle about 100MB per second, according to the ITU, but smartphone networks are showing results at only 1/10th of that speed.  Those companies are Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.  These providers are quite a way behind what the standard is.  Does this mean your network can only get faster?

Think about what you use your smartphone for every day and think, “do I need faster cell phone service?”, and if not, don’t worry at least you won’t be paying of something that is just going to drain your battery faster than normal. by John Sukowaty

What Operators require???

Recently, IDC published a white paper on the App strategy of Mobile operators and while the report doesn’t get into the real depth of what operators really want (apart from increasing ARPU), it does throw some interesting insight and a good summary of operators’ role in the new app world.

Operator Model

  • Store within a store. This is a carrier-branded store, which contains other stores within it such as RIM and Microsoft.

  • Coexisting side-by-side stores. This is typical with Android Marketplace, where the operator brands its own store but also supports Android Marketplace.

  • A joint service model. This means that an operator handles the retail operations of billing, customer service, and marketing, while the application store such as Nokia Ovi does the wholesale aspects of content aggregation, developer relationships, certifying, testing, and so forth.

  • Virtual preloaded operator apps. In this model, the operator works with the open OS platforms such as Android, Microsoft Windows for Mobile, RIM, and Ovi and preloads the operator-branded application infrastructure.

Most Popular App Platform


Android tops the chart, followed by RIM/Blackberry App world.

What’s interesting is that 26% of the interviewed operators expressed interest in migrating from their proprietary platform to that of a partner – essentially this means that operators are now realizing the need to open up and partner with other app platform, in order to scale their app offering.

Also, operators in emerging markets were more open to partner as opposed to the ones in developed world.

Preferred Business Model

"Revenue share" was identified as the most preferred model by 85% of the interviewed operators. Capex and fee/subscriber were the other two preferred models (15%).

Also, depending on how big an operator is (i.e. number of subscribers), they have different pain points when it comes to defining a strategy for app stores.

  • Smaller operators view enhanced customer experience as a top objective of their application store; larger operators focus the application store strategy on reduced customer churn rate.

  • Smaller operators depend on local, vernacular content as one of the primary drivers for application store success.

  • Larger operators, which focus on reducing churn and increasing customer acquisitions, identify quality and relevance of applications as the differentiation success factor.

  • Large operators, which are already farther along with implementation of their application store strategy, are more willing to work with partners.

  • Providing an integrated three-screen experience across mobile devices, PCs, and TV sets is a critical point of differentiation for many of the world’s integrated operators.

What’s your take?

Blackberry Unlimited plan In TataDocomo

BlackBerry goes ‘Unlimited’ only with Tata DOCOMO

Tata DOCOMO, the brand that has become synonymous with consumer-centric innovation–has delivered yet another ‘NEW’ for the Indian consumers.

Tata DOCOMO has recently announced their exciting Blackberry Unlimited plan for both their Prepay and Postpay consumers.

To enjoy the benefits of ‘Blackberry Unlimited’, a consumer will have to shell out only Rs. 399/month. For this price, a consumer can get the following (and these are only a few of the many) benefits:-

a) Unlimited Internet browsing (including audio / video streaming)

b) Unlimited Emailing

c) Unlimited Social Networking

d) Unlimited Blackberry App World

Blackberry as a service is gaining in popularity in India, and this product truly comes as a boon to those millions of consumers who would like to stay connected to their friends, followers and circle of influence – all the time, at a low price.

For select cities, where Tata DOCOMO 3G has been launched, the consumers will also get additional 300 MB data download offer with this product. This will enable the consumers to get the real taste of experiencing the super-express speeds on Tata DOCOMO 3G.

Unlike the other brands in the market who either offer ‘limited browsing / emailing’ or expensive Blackberry plans, this is a true Blackberry-for-all product that is not only affordable but at the same time also offers a high-value experience to the consumer.

Consumers can enjoy the Blackberry Unlimited on Tata DOCOMO across all circles where Tata DOCOMO exists as mobile operator. To subscribe to the product a consumer can either call 1800-419-0121 or visit http://tatadocomo.com/blackberry399.aspx

Welcome to UP - MTS CDMA Services

Sistema Shyam Tele Services Limited today announced the expansion of its services under the MTS brand in UP East and UP West Circles.

Announcing the launch of MTS in UP East and UP West Circles, Sergey Savchenko, Chief Financial Officer, Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) said, “The launch of telephony services by MTS in UP East and UP West has further expanded our national footprint. MTS would now be able to address the telecom needs of over 80% of India’s population and about 92% of the data market potential in the country. This truly represents a very exciting opportunity for MTS.”

This is all set to further add to the company’s customer base, which now stands at over 8 million voice and over 400,000 mobile broadband customers. The Russian Government recently picked up approximately 17% stake in SSTL for $ 600 million US. SSTL has already invested over $2.2 billion US in India. An investment of about Rs. 150 crore has been earmarked for UP East and UP West circles

Five milestones for Indian telecom in 2010

By: Nilabh Jha| afaqs! Telecom Yatra | New Delhi, December 29, 2010 

2010 was a most eventful year for telecommunications in India. Although these events have had little impact this year, they are all set to transform the way we use mobile phones. We've counted the five most significant telecom events from the past year.


The first one is obvious. 3G spectrum auctions were finally carried out and operators have started launching services. Tata emerged as the first company to launch 3G and other players that won spectrum are set to follow suit.

In 2011 we will have faster mobile broadband and better value added services. Video - something most of us wanted to, but could not enjoy on the existing network will be much better now.


Another improvement in networks was announced at the auction of BWA spectrum. No operator has launched BWA services yet, and there is no official word on when they are planning to do so. However, it is expected that by the end of the first quarter the first BWA network will be in operation.

True broadband speeds are expected to be available in the country in 2011.

Cheaper smartphones

In 2010, smartphones were much talked about in India. Almost every month there were a couple of smartphones launched by companies such as Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG etc, but these phones were costly and though the segment grew by leaps and bounds, the share of smartphones in the mobile phone market remains low.

By the end of 2010 many Indian brands such as Micromax and Lemon announced smartphones that cost less than Rs 10,000. Even international brands have reduced the price of smartphones to just above Rs 10,000.

This trend is likely to intensify in 2011 - many chip makers have already announced cheap, but powerful chips. Samsung has announced a display technology that is better than the existing IPS panel and is cheaper to produce. Further, more and more Indian brands will enter the market, making it highly competitive.

Google has also announced that it will focus on low cost Android phones to increase the reach of the already popular Android OS.


These devices became popular in 2010, but could not make a real impact in India. We already have two tablets available in India launched in the last quarter of 2010 - Samsung Galaxy Tab and Olive Tab from Olive communications, but both these tablets are still in the higher price bracket as they cost at around Rs 30,000.

Apart from price, the biggest hurdle is connectivity. Tablets are essentially mobile devices and to tap their full potential one needs good wireless connectivity, which will be in abundance in 2011 thanks to 3G and LTE services becoming main stream.

On the pricing front the good news is that there are many launches in the offing and with increased competition, prices are expected to go down. Even Indian players have announced plans for tablets, and will push the price further down.

Telecom Yatra has information from reliable sources that Reliance Infocom will bring tablets priced below Rs 8,000 for its LTE customers in India.

Number portability

There are many consumers who are not satisfied with their operator but cannot change their number as it has become their identity. Mobile number portability gives people the freedom to change their operator without changing while retaining their number. For now the service is only available in Haryana, but within a couple of months at least half the country will have 3G. The remaining half will not have to wait much longer either.

Use smart phone for airport check-in at Bangalore

Published: Wednesday, Dec 29, 2010, 8:46 IST
By Hemanth CS | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Come April, you can check in for your flight and get your boarding pass at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) by merely flashing an encrypted bar code on your mobile phone.

This service, to start with, will be offered to international passengers departing from Bangalore to European and West Asian destinations on Lufthansa and Emirates flights.

If you intend to use this service, you should have a web-enabled mobile phone, using which you will have to log on to the airline’s website site and opt for the mobile check-in service.

After completing the procedure you will receive a two-dimensional encrypted bar code which has to be produced at the airport.

After the bar code is scanned by the CISF personnel, boarding pass will be issued and you can directly board the flight.

“The check-in service will save a lot of time for the passengers. We are planning to introduce this system from spring 2011 onwards primarily with international airlines,” BIAL president, Marcel Hungerbuehler, told DNA.

He said the service will subsequently be implemented on domestic routes also.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nod for private players to roll out 3G

Sandeep Joshi:

They have been told to address all security-related concerns within 6 months

Though there is still no clear-cut solution in sight for intercepting video-calls, the Union government is learnt to have given a go-ahead to mobile operators to roll out 3G services with a condition that they put a mechanism in place within six months of the launch to help security agencies monitor hi-end mobile services, particularly video-calls.

After discussing the issue, Home Secretary Gopal K. Pillai and Telecom Secretary R. Chandrashekhar have reportedly decided to give conditional clearance for the launch of 3G services by mobile operators after getting assurance from the telecom operators that they would address all security-related concerns of the law enforcement agencies within six months of the launch of the services.

The issue had come to light after the Home Ministry and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) objected to the launch of 3G services by two leading private telecom players — the Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices — a few weeks ago, saying that there was no facility for real-time monitoring of video calls.

The government not only asked these two service providers to stop video-call facility, but also directed other operators ready for the 3G roll-out to find solutions to the security-related issues before going ahead with their launch plans. This caused concern in the telecom industry, with operators accusing the government of not allowing a level-playing field as the two government-owned operators — the BSNL and the MTNL – were already offering 3G services for the last several months.

However, the DoT and the Home Ministry did not relent and asked the private operators to address the security issue fearing that could be misused by anti-national elements.

The law enforcement agencies pointed out that contents of video-calls get displayed only after five minutes of the completion of calls, while they wanted interception on real-time basis.

During the demonstration given by the two private mobile providers to the law enforcement agencies, it came to light that long duration video-calls, both incoming and outgoing, could not be intercepted. This prompted security agencies to ask for decoders for real-time interception of such calls, to which the operators have agreed to provide a solution within next six months.

“The telecom industry is concerned as the government is still to a get a solution from Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM) for intercepting its BlackBerry data services. The government has given the RIM time till January 31, 2011 after which it could be asked to stop its two popular data services that is in encrypted format and cannot be deciphered by law enforcement agencies. Under such circumstances, decision to allow conditional launch of 3G services will leave the industry as well as consumers nervous,” said a senior functionary of a private telecom firm.

Suffer unsolicited mobile calls till Feb 1

New Delhi, Dec 29: For all those who think that the New Year will mean the end of unsolicited commercial calls and messages, you will have to wait a little longer. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had earlier promised that such calls would end from January 2011. Buzz up!Consumers will have to suffer a while longer to get reprieve and wait till February 1, 2011. TRAI in a statement said, "Telemarketers registration shall commence from Jan 15 and other provisions shall come into force from Feb 1. Having regard to security audit of the website and other processes involved, TRAI has found it necessary to re-determine the dates for implementation of the regulations." The telecom authority have issued a months grace period for operators and telemarketers by issuing a second amendment to its December 1 'Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations'. "We had asked the TRAI for some more time. There is a whole lot of work that has to be done in order to comply with the security concerns, including setting up of infrastructure to filter calls," said Rajan Mathew, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.

MTNL to ink 3G network sharing deal by January

State-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd is expect to finalise agreements for sharing its third generation (3G) mobile network with private service providers by early next year.
MTNL has taken Rs 7,000 crore of loans to pay for spectrum for both 3G and Broadband Wireless Access and it would be difficult for the state sector undertaking to service such big loans without making these operations profitable. Both MTNL and BSNL were given 3G spectrum at least a year ahead of the auction for the private players. However, their services did not pick much and they could not take the first-mover’s advantage. In June, MTNL had invited bids from local telecom service providers to use its 3G mobile network. It revised the tender in September. The agreement will allow mobile users of operators without 3G spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai to roam on MTNL’s network in these circles. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Reliance Communications were the only operators who bagged 3G spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai, considered premium markets for telecom service providers.

Two private operators, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, have recently launched 3G mobile services. These services allow mobile users to access internet and download videos and movies at a much faster pace, apart from offering video voice calls.

The company has received bids from two companies to share its 3G network in the two circles where it offers mobile services, a senior company official told Business Standard. It expects to finalise the agreements by the end of January. He wouldn’t divulge who the bidders were.

MTNL is also in talks with its sister concern, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, to share the latter’s network for providing roaming services to its 3G customers. BSNL offers mobile services across the country, barring Delhi and Mumbai circles, where MTNL operates.

MTNL expects annual revenue of about Rs 300 crore from 3G roaming agreements with other telecom operators, who could not win 3G spectrum in the Delhi and Mumbai circles in the recent auction

Mansi Taneja / New Delhi December 27, 2010, 0:38 IST

Bharti Airtel not prepared, 3G rollout to get delayed

“The network is not yet ready as testing is currently on and besides, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has to grant approval for the start of 3G video calling services. We do not want to offer 3G services to our customers in bits and pieces,” disclosed the official who declined to be named.

Bharti Airtel had earlier announced in October that it would launch its 3G services before the end of the current calendar year. Two private sector telecom companies, Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Reliance Communications (RCom) have already announced the launch of their 3G services in select circles.

State owned telcos, Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) were allowed to launch their 3G services in 2008 to give them a headstart against private sector competition. Bharti Airtel, which bagged spectrum across 13 circles for 3G services _ auction for which was held earlier this year — is also expected to follow a similar launch strategy. BSNL and MNTL have no restriction on video calls.

“We will be launching in certain circles first, as did the other operators rather than simultaneous rollout across all the circles where we have spectrum,” said the official. No private sector telecom operator won a pan-India licence for 3G spectrum at the auction. Bharti Airtel had paid Rs 12,296 crore as licence fee for the 3G spectrum.

The company has also tied up with Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) and Ericsson for deployment of high speed packet access (HSPA) network for its 3G rollout in India. For Bangladesh, Bharti Airtel is relying on Huawei for its 3G rollout, said the official. It takes about three to six months for testing of telecom equipment to be completed.

The DoT has withheld its approval for allowing video calls over 3G networks to the private sector operators, following concerns expressed by law enforcement agencies over lack of real time interception facilities for video calls. Telecom companies have said that technology for real time interception of video calls was still under development and could take up to six months for deployment across the entire network.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) is to take a final decision on allowing video calls till such time as real time interception facilities are available and convey it to the DoT which will then issue the necessary approval to the telcos. Currently, only BSNL and MTNL offer video calls to their subscribers while the two private sector telcos — TTSL and RCom — have yet to be granted approval.

Indian Telecom Network Grows by 40 Percent in 2010

Now here’s something that will bring a smile to faces still clouded by the Raja 2G scam. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology have reported that the Indian Telecommunications network has grown by a massive 40 percent this year and as of October 31, stands at a total of 742.13 million connections. 706.70 million of the connections are wireless, which now makes the Indian Telecom Network the largest wireless network in the world.
The Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) set the end-of-plan target at 600 million connections, a figure that was surpassed 22 months early in February 2010. To better understand just how monumental these numbers are, we’ll have to compare these numbers to the ones released in 2003. The reported total number of connections was 54.6 million, a paltry figure compared to the 742.13 million it is now. Even more striking was the growth within the year, with a marked 120.85 million increase from March to October.

Other points of interest were Vodafone and Reliance hitting the 100 million subscriber mark, which follows Airtel doing the same last year. Broadband connections also showed a pretty decent increase – from 0.18 million subscribers in 2005 to 8.8 million on March 31, 2010 and finally to 10.34 million at the end of October 2010.

Speaking about the ministry’s future plans, the report said they plan to take 3G very seriously, claiming it would “completely transform the character of the internet/broadband scenario in India”. The Ministry also plans to finally roll Mobile Number Portability out on 20th January 2011, which was something the masses have wanted for absolute ages. While the service was implemented in Haryana in November, the rest of the country had to wait – something that will be rectified soon, because networks in the other areas have already started migrating to the MNP environment.

Lots of positive news in there and we hope this upward trend continues.


Future Group to roll out mobile service nationwide.Will this be the 4th SIM of Indians? Or 5th?

Future Group, which launched its T24 mobile telephone service in a partnership with Tata Teleservices Ltd, plans a national rollout in a couple of months, a top executive said.

T24, launched in June, is aimed at tapping the millions of customers visiting Future Group’s retail chains such as Big Bazaar, Pantaloons and Food Bazaar. It offers free talk-time to shoppers on purchases at these stores.

Over the past six months, the group has signed up around 350,000 subscribers in the telecom circles it operates in— Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

“It is still a regional or a local brand, so to speak,” said Mayur Toshniwal, the group’s chief executive for telecom. “We have to make it a national brand.”

Toshniwal said the company aims to add a “few million” subscribers in the next year. “It (the T24 business) won’t be in thousands of crore (of revenue), but it definitely will be in hundreds of crore in the next 12 months,” he said, but declined to share specific revenue projections.

Toshniwal said Future Group also sees huge potential in offering other telecom services as well through Tata Teleservices, the country’s fourth largest cellular operator by subscribers.

India’s mobile phone subscriber base is growing rapidly. In October, the country added 19 million wireless subscribers, taking the overall base to 707 million, according to data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Tata Teleservices has a similar partnership with UK-based Virgin Group for a sub-branded mobile service called Virgin, which was launched in India in 2008.

“In such a partnership, Virgin doesn’t need to have telecom’s physical infrastructure, towers, licences, spectrum, and they use the Tata’s backbone and network,” said Romal Shetty, head of telecom at consultancy KPMG, speaking about the Tata Telservices-Virgin tie-up. “...they do it on (a) revenue-sharing (basis). They just need to create a product-oriented brand.”

2G Raises a Political Storm- The Telecom RADIAshuns!!!!!

2G Raises a Political Storm- The Telecom RADIAshuns!!!!!
Dear Chums,

After a quite break for some weeks which saw unprecedented events unfolding in front of me, it was necessary to present some insider information on the latest scam ..and probably the biggest in the country- the 2G Telecom Scam!!!!

DMK's stoic support of the tainted Telecom minister A Raja just led to a more wholesome belief in the party's acronym (Dont Mess with Karunanidhi!!!!)

The Parliament was stalled for the entire winter session with some minutes of work having been recorded (mostly the time taken to decide to walkout, I guess!!!) The opposition pegs the loss to the exchequer because of the protests to be pittance compared to the scam value.

What a scam it has been!!!! One wholesome epic journey running for years with different parties and ministers and lobbyists and licensees!!!!!

Talking of the lobbyists, Neera Radia has become the toast of the Telecom town nowadays. 3Geers to her!!!!!!

With the opposition unrelenting in its demands for a JPC, with the PM Manmohan Singh unwilling to placate the opposition this time, with Ratan Tata planning to go on a letter-writing spree, with A Raja unwilling to admit to any wrong doing, with Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi still socializing with the political top shots, with Neera Radia raids showing no end- it just resulted in the following disastrous (or humorous) results:-


Mamta Banerjee has given up using cell phones till the guilty will be brought to the books.


All BJP ministers have boycotted the Telecom Services offered on the impure 2G spectrum air. By some strange logic- all of them have subscribed to foreign telecom services via Thuraya - the satellite phone services!!!!


Congress is trying to check if it can get a wisp of any scam in procuring of the Thuraya phones and the source of the payments made to this company!!!


Baba Ramdev has condemned the usage of mobile phones and is planning a grand yagnya which will purify the air which was polluted by the scam. Environmentalists peg the damage caused to the environs by the fumes and smoke emanating from the altar much more than the 2G scam.


Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt announced their next-out-of-the-factory product called Aye Raja!!! starring Emraan Hashmi and a new comer Meera Wadia. Mahesh Bhatt announced that this movie would be a slice of life depcition of the scam and Emraan will essay the role of a politician who stumbles from the path of righteousness and ends up with a biggest scam to rock the country. The female lead will essay the role of a corporate lobbyist who woos the minister and influences him to award incoherent licenses. The movie is to be picturised in some scenic locations across the globe and will have some mind boggling special effects. Already a lot of news is being made about an important scene where Emraan refuses a bribe offered to him by a Telecom company. What a special effect!!!!When asked whether the kissathon will continue with this movie, Emraan mentioned," There are some bold scenes in the movie which are pivotal to the script of the film. They have been shot very aesthetically and are intended to take the movie further and to a new level".


Lalooji has come up with another whopper!!!! He has alleged that his cattle stock have been rendered carcinogenic because of the impurity of the airwaves sold at deflated prices to benefit some involved parties. Indian Medical Association is trying to check the veracity of the claim by examining the cattle and NIMHANS is planning to do the same with their owner.


Ratan Tata has developed a hobby out of writing to Government departments regarding other Tata Group issues in anticipation of opening up another Pandora's box akin to Telecom.


A Raja recently got an award from Air India for making the most round trips between Chennai and Delhi. Since the scam surfaced, Raja has travelled endlessly between Chennai and Delhi for CBI investigations etc. If not airwaves, be it airways then, for Raja!!!!


Raja has put a stay order on Aye Raja movie release. He has asked the courts that he be allowed a privy viewing and based on his consent, the movie should be appropriately edited or censored. The Bhatts have vehemently refuted Raja's claim stating that the movie was an "inspired" work of fiction. Raja has also demanded that the movie be dubbed in Tamil for his viewing.


Neera Radia is amongst that last 4 contestants in the season 4 of Bigg Boss which is being anchored by Abhishek Bachchan and Anil Ambani. What an Idea sirjee!!!! She has also bagged some big deals across the Telecom world.

11.Well, what about the general public and the services offered by the Telecom companies????
It continues to be normal as if nothing happened. Anil Ambani bought back huge proportions of his RCOM stocks during the peak of the scam and is now selling them back happily and laughing away to the banks!!!!

Neera Radia has decided to venture into greener pastures of Telecom Consultancy to foreign governments. Supposedly her initial clients include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Zambia etc.

As for A Raja, he has been nominated to the World Telecom Forum as India's representative created towards having uniform telecom policies for the next generation of services. How, if you may wonder? That is the Congress way of punishment!!!


Spread of 3G telephony to push VAS industry in 2011

NEW DELHI: The spread of 3G mobile telephony will bolster the growth of multi-billion dollar value added services (VAS) market through innovative content and lead to affordable handsets attracting users in both rural and urban areas, says a study.

"The key drivers for the growth of 3G in India will be innovative content, improved customer services and increased affordability of handsets as well as availability of value added services," said global consultancy firm KPMG.

"These drivers will help ensure growth of 3G not just in urban areas but in rural areas as well," it added.

Currently, the VAS market is worth Rs 110-120 billion (Rs 11-12,000 crore), about 10 per cent of the total revenues of the wireless industry.

KPMG said this share is likely to increase to 12-13 per cent during 2011.

It added that the growth would be driven by increasing focus of operators on VAS in view of continuous fall in voice tariffs, greater penetration of feature-rich handsets, spread of vernacular content and increased adoption of applications.

Besides, new areas like m-commerce and m-advertising will gather momentum in the coming years.

KPMG said new technologies and advance of more countries towards 3G and 4G services are providing a clearer path for mobile VAS grow exponentially.

Emerging economies such as China, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and Russia are expected to increase global VAS revenues, it added.

2010 in Review–The Year When Mobile Startups Flew ‘Kites’

What about Kites? Well, Kites is a Bollywood movie that carried huge expectation, but went bust on the day 1 itself.

Flying Kites: In Love With Operator
Something similar happened with Mobile/VAS ecosystem in India and most importantly, with the Indian telecom industry.

Inflated Subscriber Numbers
500 million? 600 million?

Telecom operators reported skyrocketing number of 682 million subscribers (i.e. 58% penetration) in the month of September 2010.

Since spectrum allotment is done in proportion to subscriber base, telecom operators have enough incentive to inflate this number. September of 2010, TRAI shared the actual subscriber numbers which stands at ~70% of the reported numbers, i.e. 478 million.

2G Scam
The recent 2G scam is one of the worst scams in the country and while government demystifies the real story, expect lesser investment in this space.
Apart from the monetary loss (INR 1.76 L Crores), this has also brought shame and most importantly, eroded the confidence in India’s telecom story.

“When any industry comes under scanner, all the stakeholders also come under the scanner… It does affect credibility.” –[Quote by Spice Mobility/ASSOCHAM president, Dilip Modi].

Mobile Startups : Funding Anyone?
Big Became Bigger – that’s the sweet and short summary of Indian mobile VAS industry.

There hasn’t been a lot of action in funding space, as small players haven’t been able to go big and the good old story of 70:30 (Operator:VAS player revenue share) continues.

Aside, one of the most heartbreaking news for mobile startups was shutdown of Bharti Airtel Innovation fund (and lack of other funding stories in VAS/App space). And to add to this, some of the significant funding has happened from VCs outside India (which says a lot about Indian investors’ approach towards this ecosystem).

■Eko Raises Series A from US Based 4B Capital
■InMobi Raises $8mn from KPCB and Sherpalo Ventures
Does this mean that mobile startups need to go roaming (and can find a better match outside India, when it comes to funding)?

What about App Developers?

2010 witnessed the rise of mobile app stores in the country. Right from Aircel to Airtel – everybody has one, but no one is talking about monetization. Everybody is talking about their size, but no one is talking about the ecosystem or the economy of app stores.

There hardly are details of Operator’s roadmap regarding app stores and how are they going to work with app developers on the same. So far, it seems like a Scatter Gun Strategy.

The Good News
- Finally, 3G auction went through and we have already started seeing launch of 3G services. Content is the key here and expect app startups to rise to the occasion.

- Rise of Micromax. An inspiring ‘Made in India’ story, Micromax has certainly arrived and the company has been gaining ground owing to its foray into Android devices. The reason Micromax growth is so important for others to take note is not just because of the rising market share, but because of the fact that company has managed to find a product-to-market fit in an already crowded market (dominated by MNC brands).

To summarize, mobile VAS/APP ecosystem needs a fresh approach and most of the investors in this space aren’t the ones who will risk their $$s in one app, one vas offering. And that’s tricky for app/vas startups as it calls for dilution.

But the journey continues.

What’s your take on this ecosystem? What will 2011 mean for VAS/App startups

MTS expands Telecom services in UP East and UP West

MTS has announced the expansion of its mobile telephony services in UP East and UP West Circles. This is all set to further add to the company’s customer base, which now stands at over 8 million voice and over 400,000 mobile broadband customers. The Russian Government recently picked up approximately 17% stake in SSTL for $ 600 million US.

Announcing the launch of MTS in UP East and UP West Circles, Sergey Savchenko, Chief Financial Officer, Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) said, “The launch of telephony services by MTS in UP East and UP West has further expanded our national footprint. MTS would now be able to address the telecom needs of over 80% of India’s population and about 92% of the data market potential in the country. This truly represents a very exciting opportunity for MTS.”

Indian Telecom Subscriber base reaches 742.12 Million –18.98 mobile subscriber additions!

What ever the situation, there is one thing you can always count on – the growth of Mobile subscribers in India. Another stellar month and another big bunch of subscriber additions, 18.98 Million to be precise.

As per the latest TRAI report for month of October 2010, Mobile subscriber base has now reached 706.69 million taking overall tally of Telecom Subscribers in India to staggering 742 Million taking the overall tele-density in India to 62.51.

Highlights of Telecom Subscribers [October 2010]
■Total Telephone subscriber base reaches 742.12 Million
■Wireless subscription reaches 706.69 Million
■Wireline subscription declines to 35.43 Million
■18.98 Million new additions in wireless
■Overall Tele+density reaches 62.51
■Broadband subscription is 10.52 million

Unlike last month, there is not surprises in subscriber addition numbers. India’s number 1 telecom operator Bharti add 15.81% of all the subscribers added. Vodafone adds 13.09 percent followed by Uninor (which I must say is doing rather well) at 13.07 percent. It is surprising that Tata has managed to add only 9.20 percent of overall subscribers!
Bharti consolidates its number one position and now has more than 1/5th of total Indian Mobile market (20.70 percent). Reliance (16.89) and Vodafone (16.70) are still running neck to neck. Tata is a distant 4th with 11.44 percent market share followed by Idea (10.76%).

Wireline Segment Growth
The negative growth in wireline segment continues with subscriber base decline from 35.57 Million in September-2010 to 35.43 Million at the end of October-2010. BSNL/MTNL, two PSU operators hold 83.31% of the Wireline market share. Overall Wireline teledensity is 2.98

Broadband Subscriber Growth
Total Broadband subscriber base increased slightly from 10.29 million in
September-2010 to 10.52 million in October-2010, there by showing a growth of