Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Marco Polo goes Mobile

Marco Polo Hotel has launched a new mobile booking facility which will allow potential guests to book rooms using their mobile phone.
The MobiBook application, which can be downloaded on smart phones, lets guests view reservations in real time, edit their number of stays and preferences and reserve rooms.
“Marco Polo Hotel is constantly finding innovative ways to deliver customer convenience when booking their stays with us and our sister properties – Savoy Group,” said Marco Polo Hotel and Savoy Group of Hotels vice president Sunil Marya.
“Satisfying their needs and requirements has never been more important to us than what it is today given the fierce competition in our industry. With sweeping innovations taking place in the hotel industry, we need to constantly find creative ways to communicate our services to sophisticated clienteles by providing them mobile solutions to the way they book with us,” he added.source

Idea plans 3G tie-ups to cover non-licence areas

India’s third largest mobile operator, Idea Cellular, hopes to gain hopes to gain significantly from mobile number
portability (MNP) that is expected to create a churn in 3G subscribers following a price war among operators.

Idea has already gained the most from MNP, with a net addition of 4 lakh subscribers, taking its total subscriber base to 89 million users. “Number portability is aimed at enabling customers to shift from one operator to another, irrespective of whether it is 2G or 3G services,” said Ambrish Jain, deputy MD, Idea Cellular, on Tuesday after launching the company’s 3G service in Andhra Pradesh.

Jain said Idea is also preparing to enter into pacts with select mobile operators for specific areas where it did not have 3G licence. “These alliances will enable Idea subscribers throughout the country to enjoy 3G services apart from deriving the benefit of national roaming,” he said without elaborating on the timeframe for these pacts to come into effect.

Last week, Bharti Airtel, while launching its 3G services in Hyderabad, also said that it was looking to partner with other mobile operators to offer services in areas where it does not have licence. Jain said margins of Idea Cellular were under pressure due to a slide in the average revenue per user (ARPU). However, he said, the company is optimistic about compensating for the decline in ARPU with increased revenue from value-added services, particularly 3G services. “A hundred-fold expansion in data usage, with the adoption of 3G services, is likely in three to four years,” he said.

While Idea’s ARPU at present ranges from Rs 172 to Rs 200, the 3G services are expected to arrest any further decline in average revenue per user.

The average spend on data usage in India is only $ 0.3 against the world average of $ 4 and $ 21 in Japan. Typically, data services account for 28 per cent of revenue and voice contributes the remaining 72 per cent. But this is likely to change in two years with data contributing at least a third of revenue, he said.

Idea Cellular had traffic of over one billion minutes per day as of December 2010, compared with 697 million minutes per day a year ago.

Jain declined to comment on the DoT’s intent to issue showcause notices to Idea with respect to overlapping of licences, saying “the matter is sub-judice”. In 2008, Idea had picked up a stake in Spice resulting in a situation where both Idea and Spice held licences in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra circles. Idea maintained that it did not breach any licence agreement. In March, additional solicitor general of India Amarjit Singh Chandhiok suggested a penalty of Rs 300 crore on the company.source

Sharp to launch GSM based 3G phones in Indian market

Sharp will be launching a whole range of 3G enabled mobile phones in the Indian market. With a range of various 3G phones already available in the Indian market it will interesting to see what new this company brings in the market. The company hopes to sell its GSM models priced above Rs. 10,000. If the handsets have all the essential features of a smartphone then the price bracket by SBSIL will be competition in the market. With this mid- level price range the mobile company could easily fetch good amount of buyers.
Sharp Business Systems (India) Limited, within a short span of ten years in India, is already amongst the top brands for Digital Multifunction Products. The company has a nation-wide sales & service network covering even the remotest locations of India. Sharp considers India to be an extremely important market for its products. It is a measure of this strong belief in the Indian market that it has three subsidiaries in India
The company already has a range of handsets like Sharp Alice meant for youth has a Compact Full-touch Design with FM (recording, schedule recording), Front Stereo-speaker, SNS shortcut (Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, Gmail, Yahoo India in favorite menu), Opera MINI browser pre-installed and is a fully loaded handset, Sharp Blink another dual SIM handset by SBSIL with Feminized appearance with 7 color LED illumination lamp, Instant access to the latest songs and news for free, CMOS camera , 2.4inch QVGA TFT display, Opera Mini etc.
With this launch of 3G handsets hoping for some good results in already existing range of handsets in Indian market.source

Idea to take 3G to 200 towns of AP by fiscal end

Idea Cellular, the country’s third largest mobile operator, today launched its 3G services in 14 towns in Andhra Pradesh including Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, with plans to cover 200 towns in the state by the end of the current financial year.
Andhra Pradesh, with 8.5 million subscribers in 17,200 towns and villages, accounts for 10 per cent (Rs 1,600 crore) of the total revenues of Idea Cellular. The company has 6,500 cell sites in the state and plans to increase it substantially in the coming months, Subbaraman Iyer, chief operating officer (Hyderabad circle), told mediapersons here on Tuesday.

Stating that mobile data was the next growth area as voice revenue growth was flattening, deputy managing director Ambrish P Jain said 28 per cent of the entire telecom revenues came from broadband globally, which was expected to touch 33 per cent by 2013.

“Indian data ARPU (average revenue per user) is one of the lowest in the world at $0.03, as against an ARPU of $4 in the developed world. There is a high potential for data ARPU growth,” he said, adding that data currently accounted for 4 per cent of Idea’s revenues and its ARPU was between Rs 170 and Rs 250 depending on the circle.
Jain said the company was present in 11 circles now and intended to go pan-India with 3G, including in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, through strategic alliances by the end of this financial year.
“Currently, 10 per cent of our over 89 million subscribers nationally are using 3G-enabled handsets. There will be upgradation of handsets from time to time and we are in talks with mobile manufacturers to launch 3G handsets through combo offers,” he said while declining to draw any time line.
Replying to a query on mobile number portability (MNP), Jain said MNP had been very positive for Idea and the company had gained to the tune of 400,000 subscribers nationally.source