Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pyro chooses IBM for a 'Green Revolution' in telecom deployments

Pyro walking the ‘Green path’ implements telecom deployments on IBM’s highly-energy efficient hardware and middleware solutions to develop cutting-edge products
Pyro, a leader in providing innovative mobile technology solutions has joined hands with IBM of going the green way through which the world’s largest computer company will power Pyro’s range of products with high-end energy-efficient servers, highly–efficient hardware and optimized middleware solutions that help minimize energy usage in compact designs.

With this strategic alliance, IBM will beef-up Pyro’s mobile technology solutions with energy-efficient BladeCenter Servers, SAN (Storage Area Network), Switches and Routers etc., that are optimized to perform better.  Benefits of this are visible to Telecom operators instantly who have an efficient system with cost reducing capability.
Pyro has made a conscious effort to move on to an eco-friendly mode by deploying resources that ensure Green Technology is leveraged in all the platforms and products being deployed with customers. All components used for deployment of a Pyro product or solution are checked for the carbon footprint created while manufacturing the product.
“Pyro has ensured linear scalability of systems without increasing the power and cooling requirement linearly. Pyro's Road Map is also to work with partners such as IBM on solutions which will work in all environments and lead to optimization of Data Centre footprint besides ensuring optimal system design” said SM Reddy, CEO, Pyro Group. He also added that Pyro’s products and solutions ensure optimized and highly efficient Hardware, Energy Efficient Software, Reduced footprint on the Data Centre, Less Heat generation, Less Power consumption, involvement of lesser resources and human intervention, and many more benefits. 
Pyro, earlier last year had entered into a USD 19 million strategic partnership with IBM for development, testing and management of its products and solutions.source

Altruist Very Close To Acquiring Overseas Mobile VAS Firm

With this deal, Altruist Group, comprising Altruist Tech and Mobile2Win, is looking to add products and market reach. 

Chandigarh-based mobile value added services provider Altruist Group is on course to acquire an international VAS company and has set aside $25 million for the acquisition.
Without disclosing the names of the acquisition targets, Altruist India founder and CEO Dheeraj Aggarwal said, "I have been focusing on inorganic growth for some time now and feel the timing is right - valuations are again at a reasonable level.
We are looking at a company that has complimentary products and market reach." The acquisition will be completed by this fiscal year end - in the next 2 months.
The Altruist Group has 2 companies - Altruist Technologies Pvt Ltd and Mobile2Win India Pvt Ltd, which it acquired in February 2009.
Mobile2Win India Pvt Ltd was backed by Nexus India, Norwest Venture Partners, Softbank China and Silicon Valley Bank. Investors and promoters of Mobile2Win received a 10% stake in Altruist.
The acquisition will differ from the Mobile2Win acquisition in that it will be all cash, according to Aggarwal. It will be funded through internal accruals and debt.
There are two companies in consideration, both international. One Indian firm was considered but is no longer in the race.
Altruist, which offers IT and BPO solutions besides mobile VAS, claims it will register net revenues after direct expenses of $20 million this fiscal.
The company has been voraciously expanding its global reach and the big thrust, as Aggarwal put it, is in S.E.Asia and Africa. It is in the process of setting up centres in Phillippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and Uganda. It already has an Indonesia office with 18 employees.
Altruist will hire 100 within the next year and is spending Rs 25-30 crore on the international roll outs.
On the product front, Altruist is focussing on upgrading to 3G in phases. "We will upgrade a part of our hardware infrastructure to 3G to begin with and gradually scale it," said Aggarwal.
Meanwhile, the subsidiary Mobile2Win, whose target audience has been the low-end handset user, will continue to look to rural India for growth. "We focus on the lowest common denominator of handset owners as a target user.
These are typically people who buy Rs 1500- 3000 phones. There is a relative lack of social entertainment in rural India which will give rise to incremental opportunities which we will tap," said Rajiv Hiranandani, co-founder and executive Director, Mobile2Win India Pvt Ltd.
A large chunk of its revenues are driven by its white labeled voice chat application - (Airtel Friendz Chat), followed by its mobile career portal JobsonPhone.com and its subscription and content business. Read More On  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/04/idINIndia-54653920110204

One Numer, One Voice Service From Airtel and Nuance

From a Bollywood number as a hello tune to updates about cricket matches, voice-based services have been offering numerous options to users in the Indian mobile phone segment. Bharti airtel and Nuance Communications have revealed a new service dubbed ‘One Numer, One Voice’ to satiate their customers in the country with enhanced precision.
This innovatively crafted service can be expedient for airtel mobile subscribers across the landscape. Thanks to the service, users will simply need to dial a single number, 54321, for accessing all voice-based services. It has been engineered as a single destination for changing Hello Tunes, listening to airtel Radio along with jokes. This initiative will also facilitate customers to receive news and sports updates as well as their daily astrological predictions and more.
Shireesh Joshi, Chief Marketing Officer-Mobile Services, Bharti airtel, explained “At Bharti airtel, we are constantly looking for ways of delivering the best user experience for our 150 million plus customers across the country and accounting for their diverse preferences in language and relative comfort in interacting by voice or text. Our ‘One Number, One Voice’ service provides our customers with the dual benefit of a single number of access for VAS services and the ease ofvoice recognition with multiple language options – giving him a simple and improved service experience. Today, as we join hands with Nuance Communications for the launch of our ‘One Number, One Voice’ service – we look forward to leveraging their expertise towards delivering an improved ‘search and discover content’ experience for airtel mobile customers across India.”
The new offering has been powered by Nuance Communications’ Recognizer 9.0 speech recognition technology. The company also revealed that an extensive pilot project was undertaken in Kerala for almost a year. The results and feedback from the population in the region are said to have helped it for delivering the refined service. Besides, the main menu of this innovation has been designed by incorporating the inputs derived from this research.
“We’re experiencing an unprecedented demand for voice services, as they provide consumers with a fast and intuitive way to access a broad range of content,” remarked Michael Thompson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Division, Nuance Communications. “Bharti airtel’s One Number, One Voice service is an incredibly innovative initiative that brings the power of voice to millions of consumers across India, providing access to exciting content-driven voice services through a single number and simple voice commands.”
Touted as the first application to have integrated the user interfaceguidelines and framework created by Nuance, this service renders a comprehensive experience to its users. Further, the company disclosed that the intuitiveness of the service is capable of distinguishing between regular callers and those using it for the first time. This ability helps it to offer a customized caller service, enabling frequent users to adopt short cuts whereas new callers can expect a detailed reception.
The One Number, One Voice is available for airtel customers across Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh at Rs. 2 per minute charge. The service currently supports Hindi, English, Malayalam and Tamil and will be soon offered in other languages as well.source

June 2014 could be last date for cable TV digitalisation: TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today said it will recommend June 2014 as the last date for completion of cable TV digitalisation in India to the government.

"We will send our roadmap to ministry of I&B (Information and Broadcasting) on Monday. We will ask for sunset date of June 2014 and preferably December 2013 (for cable TV digitalisation)," TRAI Chairman J S Sarma told reporters.

He, however, said the "sunset date" is prerogative of the ministry to decide.

TRAI in its recommendation to I&B ministry had set December 2013 as the date for completion of digitalisation of cable TV but the ministry had asked the sectoral regulator to set December 2015 as the last date.

"Ministry has agreed to most of our proposals. Sunset date is very minor issue. What is important is that ministry has agreed to complete digitalisation the way we have recommended," Sarma said.

As per TRAI recommendations, cable TV digitalisation is to be carried out in four phases. It had suggested that digitalisation of cable TV should be completed in the four metros by March 31, 2011; in all cities having population of over one million by December 31, 2011; in all urban areas by December 31, 2012 and in rest of India by December 2013. 

Nokia join hands with Reliance to provide Ovi Store content

Mobile handset manufacturer Nokia today entered into a partnership with telecom service providerReliance Communications to provide the exclusive excess to Nokia's Ovi Store. 

Reliance Communications consumers can now exclusively access the plethora of 'paid-for' content available on the Ovi Store, through integrated operator billing, for a three month period, the company said in a statement. 

The amount will be either included in their monthly mobile phone bills or deducted from the pre-paid balance, as per their data plans. 

The Ovi Store supports the widest range of content and file types including applications, games, videos, podcasts, productivity tools, web and location-based services and much more.source

Indian MobileTV Service Crosses Half Million

Hello TV has registered 500,000 subscribers to its mobile broadcast service, carried by India’s BSNL cellular network.
Brought to the market by Percept Knorigin, the digital arm of media company Percept Holdings, Hello TV is integrated into BSNL’s WAP portal allowing subscribers to watch streamed video from their browsers.
Both 3G and 2G users have subscribed to the service since its launch a year ago and single channel packs for Hello TV are priced at Rs10 per day, Rs 20 per week, and Rs 30 per month, while a mix of 30 channels is available for a month priced at Rs 149.
Apalya, a competitor to Hello TV, is also available on BSNL via its MiMobi TV application. Single channel packages are priced at Rs 10 per day or Rs 50 per month, and Rs 150 per month for a subscription to all of the TV channels it has to offer.
“The ARPUs [average revenues per user] for mobile TV services are in the range of Rs20 and the churn is high,” said Viraj Malik, managing director and chief executive officer of Percept Knorigin to online publication MediaNama.com. “We are open to working with operators who believe in equitable revenue share and commit to promoting the service.”
Percept Knorigin is currently planning to launch a targeted mobile TV Apple iPad application for Indians living abroad, according to the publication, and is also in discussions for the roll out of 3G and GPRS mobile TV services with three major operators in the next three months.source

Aircel launches 3G services; soon to roll out in 11 circles

Aircel will invest nearly Rs 23,000 crore in 3G and 2G operations in the next 3-4 years. This will take the company's cumulative investment in India by then to around Rs 45,000 crore or $10 billion, according to the company's Chief Operating Officer, Mr Gurdeep Singh.
Launching Aircel's 3G services, Mr Singh said the youth comprise over 50 per cent of the country's population and are among active Internet users and also avid users of Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites. This service will address the high speed digital needs of such consumers with the power of the Internet creating new opportunities in sectors such as education, entertainment and employment.
After Chennai, Aircel will roll out the 3G services in 11 telecom circles, excluding Punjab and West Bengal, in the next one week. It will cover all of its 13 circles with 3G network by mid-March, he said.
Aircel, a part of Malaysia's Maxis Communications, has bagged 3G spectrum for 13 telecom circles. Mr Singh said the ‘value added service' (VAS) and ‘data' will drive the growth of 3G in the country. At present, revenue from VAS and data is only 10 per cent in India, while in other developed countries it is nearly 40 per cent.
The company has tied up with Samsung, BlackBerry, Dell and Nokia for ‘smart' mobile devices with 3G compatibility. The base rate will be 3 paise per 10KB. At an inclusive price of Rs 132, Rs 252, Rs 502 and Rs 802, consumers can have 75 MB, 150 MB, 350 MB and 1024 MB data, respectively, a month with in-built voice and SMS, he said.
Mr Singh said in the next five years nearly 35 per cent of Aircel's customers would be using 3G services. Aircel has a subscriber base of around 50 million subscribers.source

Number of 3G users in CHINA crosses 50 million

China's three major communications firms together added more than 11 million mobile customers in January, ending the month with a total of nearly 853 million mobile users. Among those, 3G users totaled more than 50 million, according to figures from the mobile companies. 

China Mobile attracted more than 5 million new customers during January to bring its total customer base to nearly 590 million. Of the total, 23 million are 3G customers. 

China Telecom signed up 3.5 million new mobile subscribers in January to bring its total to 94 million. Of the total, 13.64 million are 3G customers. However, the carrier continued shedding fixed-line customers and saw its customer base fall by 420,000 to end the month with a total of 175 million local access lines in service. China Telecom gained 1 million broadband subscribers in the month to hit a total of nearly 65 million. 

China Unicom ended January with a total of almost 170 million mobile customers, which include more than 154 million 2G subscribers and more than 15 million 3G customers. Unicom gained a total of 2.2 million new mobile subscribers in the month. The company also added 292,000 fixed-line customers to bring its total to 97 million local access subscribers in January and 973,000 broadband customers to reach a total of more than 48 million. 

Huang Wenge, an analyst of Minsheng Securities, predicted that 3G smartphones will experience explosive growth in 2011, and their market share is likely to grow from 10 percent in 2010 to 30 percent by the end of this year, Xinhua news agency reported.

No takers for mobile towers on regulatory glitches

Mobile users seem to be latest victims of regulatory uncertainty in the telecom sector, as quality of service remains compromised despite third generation (3G) rollout by most of the operators. Telecom towers, which act as emitting points for cell phone signals, have not been getting added occupancy or tenancy, said two of the country's top three telecom tower companies who did not wish to be identified. 

Mobile phone companies can increase the capacity and consistency of their networks by increasing the number of antennae hosted on telecom towers, but a slowdown in equipment imports and uncertainty over licencce conditions for new operators have put network rollouts on hold. 

Three people familiar with the sector said tenancy of India's largest mobile tower company, Indus Towers -a Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular joint venture with nearly 110,000 towers- has been almost static, and it is likely to remain so for another quarter or so. Tata-owned Viom Networks' tenancy has risen merely 0.1-0.2 per tower to 2.2-2.3 even though the company added just over 1,000 towers in the entire period. Only GTL Infrastructure, the fourth largest and the only independent tower company in the country, seems optimistic about tenancy, as it has almost doubled new tenants each month over the last quarter. 

Launch of 3G services and expansion plans of new telecom operators such as Uninor, Videocon, Loop Telecom, and Etisalat DB Telecom were expected to create a surge in tower tenancy.