Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NextGen Voice Portal

Reliance Communications, one of India's telecom service provider, is all set to launch R World, a next generation mobile portal, a press release revealed.

The portal would deliver a host of futuristic mobile internet and data services to the customers.
Motricity's m-Core platform has been selected by the Indian telecom service provider to deliver advanced capabilities on its 3G, GSM and CDMA mobile platforms.
"The initial customer response to R World has been exceptional. We believe the future of mobile experiences is going to be based on the delivery of highly personalized offerings which include localized content, delivered to our customers in their native language," said Prashant Gokarn, head of  3G Business at Reliance Communications (News - Alert), in a statement.

Gokarn said that Reliance is pioneering a new way of delivering personalized information anytime, anyplace and through any device.Motricity's (News -Alert) m-Core Platform provides the company the scale and the capabilities it needs to deliver on this vision, he added.
"Motricity is pleased to continue to work closely with Reliance to evolve R World," said Ryan Wuerch, chief executive officer of Motricity.
Wuerch said that through the delivery of highly relevant experiences, Reliance will be in position to delight and retain its customers, and further monetize these offerings through the marketing of targeted mobile value added services, as well as, targeted mobile marketing and advertising campaigns.
Motricity is a mobile data solutions provider exclusively focused on the rapidly growing mobile Internet market.
Officials with Reliance pointed out that key features which the company intends to make available through R World include-Highly-targeted mobile marketing and advertising campaigns, to further monetize the mobile Internet experience; localized regional content to serve individual consumer interests and tastes; multiple language support, starting with Hindi, the native language of over 250 million Indians and location-based services to help ensure users get what matters most to them based on where they are at any given time.source

DTH+3G can bring the next big revolution.

These days I’m in Mumbai, and as I entered here while coming from Delhi I found almost every slum house on the way fitted with Airtel DTH. That’s some awesome thing, isn’t? DTH subscribers are over 20 Million now and guess what? It added 10 million subscribers during 2009-2010 i.e. adding half of it’s 5 year total during last year. It’s growth is amazing and everyone from Broadcasters to Subscribers are loving it.
Be it the innovations like- HDTV, Digital Dolby, Record via Mobile, Pause live TV or the content- interactive TV, Movies on Demand, people seem to praise every thing about DTH. And thanks the competition, prices are coming down almost every day.
As DTH expand it’s tentacles to untapped markets where Cable Industry couldn’t reach in last 10 years, it may give an answer to very important questions- Could we connect every household in India (specially rural India) via broadband? The answer lies in new-age wireless technologies like 3G and WiMAX (BWA). As Airtel Digital TV, CEO Ajai Puri puts it-
The advent of new wireless access technologies like 3G & BWA will make it possible for customers to experience the true power of two-way interactivity even on DTH.
Companies like Airtel, Tata and Reliance can actually take true advantage of being in both DTH and Telecom industries and acquiring costly 3G spectrum.
Wireless is the only solution to connect whole of India and TV can be a medium of choice to connect to internet for those who have never used a physical computer. Imagine the day when you can connect to internet just by attaching a mouse and keyboard to your Television!
Let’s see how fast these companies implement 3G technologies over DTH to enable 2-way interactivity which will not only enhance TV viewing experience but will also connect millions of Indians to broadband internet.
Do you think DTH can achieve what TRAI has been saying but couldn’t achieve till now- 200 Million broadband users?source

First Intel-branded 3G, 4G chips debut

Add capApple's iPad uses what is now an Intel 3G chip--formerly Infineon.
(Credit: Apple)

Intel announced shipments of the first 3G chips--and future 4G silicon--that sport its branding today at Mobile World Congress--the fruits of its acquisition of Infineon's wireless business.

"Intel Inside" takes on a new meaning with 3G chips. After the acquisition, Intel Mobile Communications has overnight become a major supplier of so-called baseband processors, which handle the 3G connection and are one of the most critical chips in a smartphone or tablet.
Intel's--formerly Infineon's--3G chips are used in prominent devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
Announced today, the XMM 6260 is designed for smartphones and can be coupled with a smartphone's application processor or offered as a standalone solution for PC modems and data cards, Intel said.
The HSPA+ technology "comprises a fully integrated HSPA+ system solution supporting HSPA category 14 (21 megabits per second) in the downlink and category 7 (11.5Mbps) in the uplink," according to Intel.
Intel's MWC wireless rollouts don't stop there. The world's largest chipmaker also announced LTE technology, generically referred to as 4G.
The multimode (LTE/3G/2G) platform XMM 7060 "is suitable for integration in LTE-enabled portable devices such as mobile handsets, data cards/dongles and other embedded solutions," Intel said.
The 3G silicon is shipping in volume now, while the LTE solution will be available for volume shipment in the second half of 2012. Though the world's largest manufacturer of chips, Intel will not be making these products, instead consigning production to an Asia-based manufacturer.source

CBI questions brass of 9 telcos

NEW DELHI: CBI has accelerated its task of identifying the main beneficiaries of the 2G scam , masterminded by former Telecom Minister A Raja , ahead of the March 1 deadline set by the Supreme Court. Senior functionaries of S-Tel and Unitech, Loop Telecom, Swan Telecom and Reliance Communications have been questioned about their role in the scam in the last few days. 

The investigating agency has already conducted one round of examining of officials of all 9 telecom companies which were conferred the 2G licences in 2008, and is in the process of interrogating them again. According to CBI, the charges against the companies which were awarded a total of 122 licences across 22 circles in 2008, fall broadly in three categories. They are, violation of the first-come-first-served policy, tampering of cut-off date for licences and failure to meet the eligibility criteria. The charges against most companies fall under any of the three categories or more. 

In its status report before the apex court last week, CBI described it as multiple-conspiracies. CBI had last week arrested DB Realty promoter and Swan (now called Etisalat DB) director Shahid Balwa in connection with the scam. The prosecution claimed that Balwa had entered into a conspiracy with some private companies to cause a loss to the exchequer. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report last November said priority lists in Punjab and Maharashtra were tweaked to benefit Swan in spectrum allocation. 

In the same report , CAG had alleged that S-Tel was not eligible for getting six mobile permits . The national auditor found that the company had submitted false certificate from the company secretary. S-Tel Chief Operating Officer Shamik Das said CBI had asked for information from all companies who got licences in 2008 and there were no specific charges against the company. He said the company had for its interaction with CBI sent its official representative. 

A Unitech spokeswoman said pursuant to the Supreme Court order, all the 9 telecom companies which received the licenses were being questioned by the agencies and was not specific to any one company. Unitech is a responsible corporate, functioning within the guidelines prescribed by the government and has been fully co-operating with the investigating agency, she said. 

RCOM CEO Wireless Syed Safawi said CBI was reportedly examining a large number of telecom companies and their officials from across the entire telecom industry in relation to various matters for 2001-2008 . “We are fully co-operating with the authorities in this regard, and will continue to extend all assistance as required to enable them to complete their investigations ,’’ he said.source

Mobile Call Charges Likely To Rise

he Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Wednesday, has recommended a six-fold jump in 2G spectrum cost for operators. This is after the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) findings that the exchequer has lost an estimated amount of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore in 2008 by selling 2G licenses bundled with start-up spectrum at Rs. 1,658 crore to pan-India operators.

The operators are currently paying Rs. 1,658 crore for the contracted 6.2 MHz spectrum for pan-India license but TRAI has come out with a new rate of Rs. 10,972.45 crore. Also, each MHz of additional spectrum held by operators should cost a one-time charge of Rs. 4,571.87 crore (all India). However, this would vary from circle to circle and operators would be required to pay only for those circles, where they hold extra spectrum. TRAI has also recommended that the suggested prices should be made effective from April 1, 2010.

This would mean that our mobile bills are going to multiply in the coming days. Imagine the call rates being Rs. 5 or Rs. 6 per minute, for local calls. That would be “disastrous”, as the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the general body for GSM service providers, says.

“This would mean that my mobile charges are going to triple or even more. My father lives abroad and if the call charges are going to be hiked, all I can do is reduce my dependency on mobile phones and make use of cheaper internet based services like Skype or GTalk,” says Arun Shajan, Quality Controller, Hilton Hyundai, Trivandrum.

“Also, in the long run, this is going to cause heavy loss for the government as more and more people would turn to the aforementioned services,” he adds.

Major telecom operators like Bharti and Vodafone have raised their concern over the new recommendations by TRAI, terming them as “flawed, illogical and discriminatory” against the old operators. The COAI also commented that it is like “changing the goal post in the middle of the game.”

However, the telecom operators in Trivandrum, when contacted chose not to comment on this. “I’m not aware of any such issues and as such I have not been intimated about any call charge hikes,” says Jyothi Shankar, XX, BSNL, Trivandrum.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal also criticised the CAG for the methodology used to arrive at the presumptive figures.  source

Secrecy in deal kept DoT, TRAI out of the loop

The Antrix-Devas controversial deal has brought to the fore the secretive functioning of the Department of Space (DoS) and the Indian Space Research Organisation while dealing with allocation of their resources for general use. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which are responsible for the growth of telecom and DTH services, have been making unsuccessful attempts at getting the DoS and ISRO to streamline issues related to these two sectors.
While the DoT is the custodian of spectrum (radio waves) and it frames policies on satellite communications and VSAT services such as DTH, the TRAI decides the regulatory mechanism of the two sectors. But in the deal between ISRO's commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, and Devas Multimedia, both the DoT and the TRAI were not kept in the loop.
“The use of satellites and transponders has undergone major changes since the boom in the mobile telephony and DTH sectors in recent years. As far as the use of space technologies for general use goes, it is no longer a secretive issue. Telecom and DTH come under our purview … we tried to discuss the matter with the DoS and ISRO officials on several occasions, but they never cooperated,” a former TRAI Chairman told The Hindu.
“The telecom sector is plagued by the scarcity of spectrum due to a tremendous boom in mobile telephony ... we have been trying to get unused spectrum from various government agencies like defence, police, Railways, and the DoS to ensure that the telecom sector gets spectrum to support growth. [But] the response from the DoS has been poor. We wanted to discuss the use of S-band to help the growth of broadband where India is lagging behind, but the DoS would either bring the Union Cabinet into the picture or talk about national security to scuttle our moves,” he said.
Significantly, the Department of Telecom opposed the ISRO-Devas deal in 2007, two years before ISRO asked for a review, while senior DoT officials have been saying ISRO had no power to allocate spectrum.
Devas' claim
Devas Multimedia president and CEO Ramachandran Viswanathan has been claiming that as per the agreement signed by the Bangalore-based firm and Antrix, the allocation of transponders was based on the SATCOM Policy as an “open window process,” just like DTH and GSAT service providers received in the past.
But the SATCOM Policy forms part of the New Telecom Policy 1999 that comes under the DoT and is made as per recommendations of the TRAI. Similarly, licences to VSAT service providers are also given under the NTP 1999. “The SATCOM Policy shall provide for users to avail [themselves] of transponder capacity from both domestic and foreign satellites. However, the same has to be in consultation with the Department of Space … Under the existing ISP policy, international long distance communication for data has been opened up. The gateways for this purpose shall be allowed to use SATCOM,” says NTP 1999.
Pointing out that they were never informed by the DoS at the time of the signing of the deal between Antrix and Devas, the former TRAI Chairman also said that legally they should have informed both the DoT and the TRAI. “And when the use of spectrum was for general interest, the DoS and ISRO should have consulted us. We have been demanding S-band spectrum for broadband services, but now it seems that Devas wanted to get the high-value spectrum for similar services,” he added.source

Vodafone says - Auctioning is the only way out of 2G mess

Vodafone Essar has told the Department of Telecom that auctioning 2G spectrum is the only right way forward to deal with the current mess. The mobile phone company said that recommendation by the telecom regulator to price spectrum based on calculations was incorrect and unjustifiable.
“Even though the one-man committee has criticised DoT for not implementing the 2003 decision of the Cabinet to move to auctioning of spectrum….even today the TRAI refuses to advice to move to an auction model and has come out with an arbitrary and flawed administrative way of charging for spectrum, designed to aggravate the discrimination between different operators,” the Vodafone letter to DoT Secretary said.
“We believe that there is only one way out of this mess viz. allocation of spectrum through transparent auctions. In respect of an administrative approach to address legacy issues, we believe that it at all it has to be applied, the only acceptable way forward will have to be a solution that is anchored around on uniformly applied principles — i.e. no distinctions between below and beyond 6.2 Mhz or between GSM and CDMA,” it said.
The TRAI has suggested that the Government should collect a one-time fee from operators with 2G spectrum at the rate of Rs 1,769 crore per Mhz of spectrum up to 6.2 Mhz and Rs 4,571 crore per Mhz for anything beyond that. This will cost the telecom firms about Rs 16,000 crore, according to Government estimates. Over the next few years, this could go up to Rs 40,000 crore, when the operators go for renewing their licences
Vodafone said that the TRAI had not granted a hearing. The company said that TRAI has no powers to impose retrospective charges for spectrum already allocated.
Last week, Reliance Communications had come out saying that the TRAI recommendations benefitted incumbent operators such as Vodafone as it had reduced the per Mhz price compared with the May 2010 proposals. In May last year, TRAI had said that 2G spectrum should be priced on a pro-rata based on 3G auction price.source