Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mobile video calls all set to catch-up in India

According to a new survey conducted by PwC, a consulting firm, the Mobile VAS market in India is set to grow to a Rs 55 thousand crore industry by 2015.

Thanks to the  BWA and 3G network roll outs. Speed that so long has been a deterrent for overall VAS adoption, will now be a key enabler that will drive adoption of VAS.
Here are some interesting results of the PwC report titled Value Added Service: The Next Wave:
87 per cent of the people surveyed are aware of VAS based on regional entertainment, in the form of regional music videos and movies clips; 47 per cent are ready to adopt the services in future and are also willing to spend Rs 50 per month on regional entertainment.
71 per cent survey respondents are aware of the VAS of medical advice from doctor; 49 per cent of the users are willing to adopt the service in future at a price of Rs 73 per month.
Four out of five people are willing to use SMS in future and spend monthly average of Rs 42. In terms of revenues, SMS can contribute nearly Rs. 14,000 crore of revenue by 2015 for the mobile VAS value chain players. The operators, however, would need to focus on the multilingual SMSs and handset manufacturers would need to design keyboards (or applications) which are designed for ease of typing in Indian languages.
Future adoption for medical advice from doctors is higher for SEC B (51 per cent) as compared to SEC A (49 per cent) and SEC C (47 per cent).
Subscription interest for online gaming is almost double for students (57 per cent) compared to 30 per cent for those working full time.
Interestingly, future adoption for making video calls is higher for SEC C (54 per cent) than SEC A (48 per cent) and SEC B (49 per cent).
Even though mCommerce has awareness levels of more than 60 per cent for most of the services, future adoption rates are lower. This points towards the special focus that is required to remove roadblocks to adoption like usability and data security concerns.
On the road ahead for VAS, Sivarama concluded:
“With handset manufacturers entering VAS ecosystem with powerful operating systems and associated Application Stores, we will see shifts in the industry with handset players, VAS vendors and service providers collaborating and competing with each other. The revenue share of VAS players is expected to increase over time.”.

CloudTalk Launches Voice Social Network for iPhone and Android

Emotion may be the missing element in Facebook and Twitter posts. A new mobile social network called CloudTalk adds this by having you use your voice to post, as well as allowing text, photos, and videos. CloudTalk today released mobile apps that let users interact with the primarily voice-based social network on iPhones and Android phones.
San Francisco-based CloudTalk's Chairman and CEO David Haden demonstrated the new app to PCMag.com last week. Hayden had previously released a CloudTalk predecessor, called Pana.ma in 2009. Not only can users leave voice messages in a social network feed, but our meeting was recorded using the service. CloudTalk also lets users create and participate in public communities; current examples of these commnunities include Digital Photography, Singles Club, Music, and Apple Talk.
A Web version of CloudTalk is available, but it's still in beta, and doesn't include all the features of the mobile apps, such as community content. "We're leading with the smart phones, because that's what people use for communication. We're at a transition where the mobile is more important than the Web," said CloudTalk's chief marketing officer, John Linney.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, though, you don't have a set group of friends or contacts for all your group conversations in CloudTalk. Instead, you invite selected contacts as participants for each conversation, and can add more if necessary. The conversations remain available, so you can add to them at any point in the future and all participants will be updated, somewhat similar to how Google Wave works. Users can also send private messages to contacts, but unlike in Facebook, you don't get to see all of another user's contacts on a rich profile page, and you're not prompted to add friends. It sounds a bit like T-Mobile's Bobsled, but with an emphasis on messages, rather than VOIP calls.
"The friction caused by phone calls when we can't take them, and voice mail that feels like a dead end, is making it harder to use our voice in daily communications with our social circle. CloudTalk stands out as the only platform to put the power and convenience of voice at the center of the social communications experience," wrote Hayden on a company press release, announcing the service. "CloudTalk makes talking as easy as texting, so we can freely use our voices to convey emotion, avoid misconstrued tone and get a message across far more quickly and powerfully than text alone."
Not only does voice add emotion, but some concepts are just too involved for a simple tweet to do the job. This could be of particular interest to businesses, which may need to collaborate with complex instructions and descriptions, either for procedures, strategies, or products.
CloudTalk iPhone and Android apps are free and available starting today on the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace. Look for an in-depth review of the service on PCMag.com in the coming days.source

Airtel Closes Operations in Manipur

India’s largest GSM mobile service operator Bharti airtel shuts down its operations in Manipur state leaving over three lakh subscribers in the North East telecom circle in the lurch.

According to the statement by the All Manipur Airtel Workers Union “following continuous attacks by militants on telecom towers and employees associated with the Airtel, the BTS/Mobile Network tower are now switch off which will breakdown the mobile services of Airtel in Manipur state.”

Presently there are 5 Mobile Service Providers (GSM/CDMA) in the North East region – Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance and Tata Indicom. The services of almost all the private operators have been affected except state-owned BSNL.

All the five GSM/CDMA service providers operating in the state having threatened to shut down their operations following threats, attacks and extortion notices from different militant groups in the past few weeks.

The decision of the Airtel Manipur Union to switch off all BTS towers of the service provider will lead to the closure of all Airtel network in the state till a amiable solution is brought. However only those customers located in capital city Imphal were currently being able to use their services.

It is significant to say that different militant groups have demanded huge sums of money from the mobile phone service providers in the state, at least two employees of two different companies have been shot in the past two weeks. The police have so far registered as many as six cases of extortion and threats, but no arrests have been made as yet

How Osiyan Got VAS CONTRACTS??

The office of former Telecom Minister A. Raja pushed for contracts for Osiyan Communications, a New Delhi based mobile Value Added Services solutions provider, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia has allegedly said in a statement to the India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the 2G spectrum scam. A copy of what is allegedly Radia’s statement (pdf) to the CBI has been hosted ondailybhaskar.com.
According to that statement, after hearing phone calls that the CBI had recorded, Radia revealed that she had received a request from the office of former Telecom Minister A. Raja’s office to lobby for Osiyan and recommend the company to her clients, Unitech and Tata Teleservices.
She says, ” We had received request from Minister’s office for Osiyan which is a value added services company in the Telecom Sector. They wanted us to recommend their company for introduction to Unitech and Tata Teleservices Ltd. In this regard I had called Rohit Chandra (CEO of Unitech Wireless), to check whether they had called for tenders for USSD and CRBT (the transcript reads USSB and PRBT) and if possible they may consider they may consider this company..”
On being asked by Chandra, if she was acquainted with Mahesh Jain, she responds that she did not know Mahesh Jain but had seen him in Minister A. Raja’s office.  ” On being further asked whether I knew Mr.Mahesh Jain and whether M/S Osiyan Communication was a company related to Mr.Mahesh Jain, I state that I do not know him personally but I had seen him in Minister’s (A. Raja) office. I further state that it was not in my knowledge whether Osiyan is owned by Shri Mahesh Jain but it was in my knowledge that Shri Mahesh Jain is associated with the company.”
In another call, she inquires about the status of Osiyan’s proposal, to which Sanjay Chandra answers that the documents have been sent. ” I state that I had this call with Rohit, the call, I am inquiring about the status of Osiyan (Osian in the transcript) proposal to Unitech to which, Rohit informs me that he has sent across those documents.”
She also asks Vishal Mehta, Group CEO of Unitech, to let Sanjay Chandra know that she was being chased for Osiyan Communications in a separate call.
What is Osiyan?
Osiyan’s website isn’t functional – there’s just a landing page. According to a presentation that we found on Scribd, the company was founded in 1997 and offers services and solutions such as MCA, SMSC, UMS, CRBT, LBS, 3G, USSD, IVRS and M-Commerce, among others, and claims to have deployments in US, Oman, Uganda, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Brunei, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Laos and Indonesia. In India, the presentation suggests deployments on Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, BPL (Loop), HFCL, MTNL, Spice, Idea, Reliance Communications and even Tata Indicom.source