Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Videocon Mobiles offering 98% discount on calls to US, Canada

It has issued a new voucher that offers calls to USA and Canada at nominal price of Rs 105 for existing customer and Rs 135 for new acquisitions.

Videocon Mobile has introduced a special US and Canada ILD (International Long Distance) pack. This voucher is available for both new and existing subscribers. It offers calls to USA and Canada at nominal price of Rs 105 for existing customer and Rs 135 for new acquisitions, validity of the pack being 4 weeks. As per the operator, the usual rate for these countries is Rs 6.40 per min and thus the new offer amounts to 98 per cent discount.
Videocon Mobiles offering 98% discount
Arvind Bali, director and chief executive officer, Videocon Telecommunications, said, "Videocon Mobile Services is engaged in bringing the best tariff offers to its consumers and this US and Canada ILD pack is a part of the brand's commitment of the same. With this pack we are offering unmatched and most economical international long distance calling (ILD) to our subscribers at tariffs which will be cheaper than even local calling."
"On a lighter side, who says rupee is declining against the dollar? With such value for money products, we have increased the purchasing power of rupee", Mr. Bali added.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Internet.org aims at bringing internet to all

Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung join hands to provide internet access to users globally.

Internet.org is the new initiative that has been started by Facebook along with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung which aims at providing internet connectivity to all the people in this world. The initiative aims at device technology enablers and device makers working in tandem with one common goal of offering cost effective means of providing internet access to users.
The initiative aims at providing newer technology that would help substantially bring down the cost of internet access so that it can be accessed by everyone and that too on the devices they currently have.
According to the official press release, "The goal of Internet.org is to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected, and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today. The founding members of Internet.org Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung will develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilise industry and governments to bring the world online."
The partners for Internet.org will support development of sustainable new business models and services that make it easier for people to access the internet. This includes providing new incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable access than before.
All in all as the main aim of Internet.org initiative these companies are looking at changing ways in which user's access internet with the use of mobile devices. And aim at offering a more effective way of access which is both cost effective as well as efficient. The work has already begun and what changes will it bring, we will get to see in the times to come

Airtel offers videos, songs and Facebook, all for Re 1

Users can watch favorite videos or listen to audio or even access email and Facebook for just Re 1.

Indian telecom service provider Bharti Airtel today announced the launch of its 'Re 1 Entertainment Store' for mobile phone users in India. This virtual store offers users downloads to mobile content including music, videos, games, photos and other interesting offers all for Re 1 only. This includes access to videos and songs, as well as to Facebook and Yahoo mail, at Re 1 for a whole day.
Airtel offers videos, songs and Facebook, all for Re 1
To access this the Airtel mobile customer will have to dial 56789 from his phone to get started. They can make their choice over the IVR and the transaction will be recorded. Following that, users will receive a WAP link of the video or song requested. The call will be toll free-users will be charged however many times they watch a video.
The launch of the Re 1 Entertainment Store follows the Re 1 video downloads offer rolled out by the company in April this year.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tata Docomo announces unlimited plan, priced at Rs 1299

Under the plan, you will also get 3 GB data and 3000 SMS for free.

Tata Docomo has announced a new unlimited tariff plan for its CDMA customers.
The plan, which costs Rs 1299, offers unlimited calling, 3GB of free data and 3000 free SMS. Dubbed as Unlimited 1299, the plan will be valid for one month from the day of activation. The ISD rates are though varies in different circles.
Tata Docomo announces unlimited plan
Also, after you exhaust your 3 GB quota you will be charged at 30 paisa for each MB consumed while on roaming you will be charged at 10 paisa per 10 KB. Similarly, post 3000 SMSes, you will have to pay Rs 1 and Rs 1.50 for each local and national messages respectively.

Airtel 4G services in Delhi very soon, testing underway: Sources

It has already launched 4G services in Kolkata, Bangaluru, Pune, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Bharti Airtel is currently testing its 4G network in Delhi and may soon launch 4G services in Delhi, according to the sources of The Mobile Indian.
Airtel has already launched 4G services in Kolkata, Bangaluru, Pune, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.
Airtel 4G services in Delhi very soon
Qualcomm had bagged BWA spectrum, or 4G licenses, for Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala. In 2012, Airtel later signed a deal with Qualcomm to roll out 4G services on its behalf. Bharti has otherwise BWA licenses in four circles - Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.
Reliance Industries (RIL), which has pan India license to operate 4G services, is also expected to launch its 4G services in Delhi by this year end. Videocon Telecommunication is also expected to roll out 4G services by December this year. It has got license to provide 4G services in seven circles of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, UP west, UP East, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Many of the 4G operators are also mulling to provide voice services though 4G which anyway will provide high speed data services. Though theoretically, through 4G one can provide data speeds of up to 100 Mbps but in India, operators are likely to provide much lesser data speed. Infact, according to a report, Airtel currently capped its 4G data speed to a mere 10 Mbps after it reduced its data tariffs for the same some days back.

Exclusive: BSNL to reduce data tariffs on Aug 15

Recently, RCom, Tata Docomo, Airtel, and Idea have reduced their data prices too.

State run telecom service provider, BSNL will reduce its data prices further and will announce new data plans on this August 15, a senior executive of the company told The Mobile Indian.

"We are currently providing one of the cheapest data tariffs in the country but to reach more people we will further reduce our data tariffs and we will announce the same on August 15," said RK Upadhyay, chief managing director, BSNL while talking to Sandeep Budki of The Mobile Indian today on sidelines of an event today.
BSNL to reduce data tariffs on Aug 15
The new reduced data plans will be standalone packages, he further added.
BSNL is the fourth largest wireless service provider in India after Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communication and Idea Cellular. It has 101.21 million subscribers at the quarter ending March 2013, according to recently released data of TRAI. It provides services all over India except Delhi and Mumbai.
Recently, RCom, Tata Docomo, Airtel, and Idea have reduced their data prices too.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Airtel and Google offer free internet access

Bharti Airtel and Google today announced the launch of Free Zone, which will give Airtel mobile customers access to mobile web search and feature-phone-friendly versions of Gmail and Google+ in India. The first page of a website linked from search results is provided at no data cost.
Airtel mobile customers can access the service by visiting www.airtel.in/freezone and simply start using the Internet without having to sign in to the service. Any user can create a Gmail account instantly on the Free Zone homepage and enjoy a multitude of connectivity and social media services from Google.
Airtel and Google offer free internet access
Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director, Google India said, "The mobile Internet user base is growing really fast in India. Working with Airtel on this exciting trial means that we can offer Internet services at no cost to anyone with a phone. This gives people easier access to information in a way that benefits everyone, whether it's an individual or a small business that wants to reach more people on the web. We hope this initiative will encourage more Indians to experience the value of the Internet and gain from it."
He further added, "Students can easily look up for facts to work on their assignments, housewives will be able to easily check on recipes and connect with their friends and family from their mobile phones."
Airtel subscribers will not incur any data charges to access these services (Google Search, Gmail, Google+) on Free Zone powered by Google, but to access more advanced services such as attachment download or browse through to web sites from the ones accessed in the Free Zone would be enabled through the subscription to a standard data package.

Tata Docomo cuts data rates by 90 per cent

Tata Docomo will charge 1 paisa per 10 KB in case the customer exceeds the data limit of the 2G packs, which are priced at Rs 126, Rs 149 and Rs 249. The 3G data pack is priced at Rs 255.

Tata Docomo becomes the fourth company after Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel to cut its data tariffs.
Tata Docomo has announced a cut in its 2G and 3G mobile internet rates by a whopping 90 per cent from 10 paise to 1 paisa per 10 KB; which will come into effect from July 1. The offer is valid in all 19 circles but only in a limited number of packs. Also, there is no change in overall base rate, which continues to be 10 paise per 10 KB.
Tata Docomo cuts data rates by 90 per cent
The revised tariffs will be applicable on 2G mobile internet packs offered by the company on a recharge value of Rs 126 (2 GB for 30 days,) Rs 149 (2.5 GB for 30 days) and Rs 249 (3 GB for 60 days,) and the 3G data pack of Rs 255 (2 GB for 30 days).
Customers who opt for these packs will pay 1 paisa per 10 KB after the data quota expires. For example, in the Rs 126 pack the 1 paisa per 10 KB rate will be applicable after 2 GB has been consumed.
The company would extend this discount to customers even when they are on national roaming on Tata Docomo GSM networks.

Monday, May 13, 2013

RIL 4G may change TV landscape

 subsidiary, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) has already announced that it will offer live TV service through its 4G network and with such high speed network in place with ample bandwidth available it has the potential to change the TV landscape apart from affecting the whole broadband space.
RJIL had announced in January 2012 itself that it has signed a deal with Network 18 group with preferential access to content of 25 channel for its live TV service. However the deal was not just about that it also included web content and other digital contents.
Apart from that Reliance has been working on its content strategy for more than a year and it has already said that it will offer a lot of content and services including education, healthcare, security, financial services, government-citizen interfaces and entertainment.
RIL 4G may change TV landscape
And though these services will be part of broadband services more the TV service, there is likely to be a lot synergy and many of these services like education will be offered as content on the TV service also.
Pricing Advantage
What will however change the landscape is, RJIL'ss ability to price the service at really affordable rates as it will not have to pay huge amount of satellite rights the way DTH services has to pay for providing live TV services. In 2012, DTH players paid more than 600 crore to ISRO for satellite use and roughly 200 crore to foreign satellite vendors. This is one cost RIL will not have to bother.
According to our calculation 150 channel bouquet on a DTH service costs anything between Rs 250 to Rs 350. If RJIL wants it can offer the same for less than Rs 150.
It also has ample bandwidth of 20MHz which will be sufficient for it to offer all sorts of services without fear of congestion in the network. And finally because the spectrum that it has bought has come cheaper than 3G spectrum and will be primarily used for offering broadband service.
Technology advantage
since RJIL is IP technology it can even offer time shift TV, shopping, on demand videos etc, services just like IPTV service.
RJIL can revive the IPTV technology which has not been able to grow till now due to lack of wired broadband networks and only one player 'Airtel' being a sizeable player.
With wireless technology the roll-out will not be an issue and though it can't match the coverage of DTH (which is available even in a Jungle) it definitely will be much more scalable compared to wired network.
The other very important benefit is that this service can be availed not just on TV but any internet connected device like smartphone, tablets, laptops and smart TVs (even without settop box).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Aircel internet monthly pack now just Rs 24!

The pack offers 100 MB of data only post which you can enjoy internet at 1 paisa per 10 KB.

Aircel has launched a new data plan, Pocket Internet 24, which costs just Rs 24 and has a validity of 30 days. For this Aircel is offering 100 MB of data, post which customers can enjoy internet at a discounted price of 1 paisa per 10KB. The offer is available in Delhi and is aimed at 2G users.
Airtel internet monthly pack now just Rs 24
Aircel is aiming at increasing the adoption of mobile internet service with this pack. Anil Gupta, regional manager, North, Aircel, said, "Pocket Internet 24 is developed keeping in mind the two key issues of a first time user - time to learn and the fear of overspending on data. The product will offer higher validity at lesser price to ensure ample time for the customers to learn and understand the usage of internet on mobile."
Few days back Vodafone also launched a similar pack priced at Rs 25 however the pack offered 500 MB of data but only 7 days validity. Vodafone offer was also aimed at first time users and was available to them only.

BlackBerry woos customers with 1 GB plan for just Rs 129

Although not available in metros, the BlackBerry 129 Plan will allow users to access BlackBerry services of up to 1 GB at just Rs 129

BlackBerry has announced a new plan under which it is offering 1 GB of data for just Rs 129.
Called as BlackBerry 129 plan, it is presently the most affordable BlackBerry plan ever to be offered. However, the plan is not available in any metro cities instead, BlackBerry is offering the plan in 15 low and mid revenue generating circles where users can opt the plan for mail exchange, web surfing and BBM for up to 1 GB worth of usage.
The plan is available for West Bengal (excluding Kolkata), Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, North East, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu (excluding Chennai), Uttar Pradesh West and Uttar Pradesh East.
BlackBerry Messenger
According to the plan, customers will get access to most BlackBerry services all included in the price for up to 1 GB worth of usage. The plan is valid for devices running on the BlackBerry 7 OS platform and is not for the new Blackberry 10 OS based devices that were launched this year.
The BlackBerry Messenger or BBM is a native Instant Messaging service for BlackBerry smartphones which allows BlackBerry users to send and receive short messages and attachments instantly to other BlackBerry users, wherever they are - in the country or outside.
The plan is available for the customers of Aircel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone customers in all the 15 circles mentioned above.

Understanding Vodafone 'All in One plan' for Samsung Galaxy S4

The plan is valid for both Postpaid as well as Prepaid customers with more or less similar benefits.

Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4 has now been made available for buyers in India at an exciting price point. But along with that Samsung has tied up with Vodafone to offer a special "All in on" tariff plan for the customers of Galaxy S4.
The plan comprises of a year-long commitment for users and comes with a host of benefits including Rs 12,000 worth of savings during the first year. Although it is beneficial for the users but for many it also is confusing at the same time, so here is how Vodafone customers can benefit from the special Samsung Galaxy S4 "All in One" plan.
All in One plan
First and foremost thing to do after purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone is to insert your existing Vodafone SIM on the handset. Users will automatically get an SMS within 24 hours informing them about the "All in One" plan.
The plan is valid for both the prepaid as well as postpaid users. Others can also opt for mobile number portability to take the benefits of this scheme. To know how to transfer your carrier using MNP read here.
For postpaid users, the plan offers more than Rs 1000 in savings. Users will be offered the plan for a monthly rental of Rs 1199 plus taxes in which they will be eligible for 3000 minutes of local as well as national calling, 3 GB 3G Internet, 750 SMS local+ national and Missed Call Information service. It offers unlimited Internet access but after 3 GB speed will be reduced to 64 Kbps.
For prepaid users, Vodafone is offering the plan for 15 and 30 days over recharge of Rs 345 and Rs 678 respectively. For Rs 345 recharge, users will get 500 local and STD minutes, 512 MB 3G data and 250 local and national SMS valid for 15 days. For Rs 678 recharge, users will get 1000 local and STD minutes, 1 GB 3G data and 500 local and national SMS valid for 30 days. However, here also users will get unlimited Internet access after 1 GB/512 MB allowance while speed will be reduced to 64 Kbps.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vodafone launches M-Pesa mobile money service with ICICI bank

The service will allow deposit and withdrawal of money from select Vodafone outlets.

Vodafone's M-Pesa service, which was announced in November 2012, is finally available for users in Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

M-Pesa has been launched through Vodafone's 100 per cent subsidiary, Mobile Commerce Solutions (MCSL) and ICICI Bank. This offering will include a mobile money account with ICICI Bank and a Mobile Wallet issued by MCSL.
Vodafone launches M-Pesa
Customers can not only be able to deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, but they can also transfer money to any mobile phone in India.

This money can be used to recharge mobile phone and DTH accounts, utility bill payments, to transfer money to any bank account in India and to make payments at select shops.

To register for the service, Vodafone customers need to visit an 'M-Pesa' agent outlet, fill up a form, submit identity and address proofs, and have to deposit a minimum amount to open their 'M-Pesa' account.

The MCSL Mobile Wallet get activated immediately and the customer can do a variety of transactions like cash deposit, transfer money to any bank account, money transfer to any other 'M-Pesa' customer, recharge mobiles and DTH, pay mobile and utility bills. Once the documents are verified and approved by MCSL and ICICI Bank, the customer can do other transactions like cash withdrawal and sending money to any mobile number.

This service is especially aimed at people who do not have any bank account right now. However, people with an existing bank account can also use it. These services will be made available using a network of authorised agents who will enable the customer to deposit and withdraw cash in and from their account.

Marten Pieters, managing director and chief executive officer of Vodafone India said, "Vodafone 'M-Pesa' is offering millions of people basic financial services, beyond the reach of traditional banking (in Africa mainly). This offering has been customised to serve the Indian customer in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements."

The service is already quite popular in Africa where the service has been available for past couple of years. In India, Airtel already has a similar service with Airtel money.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Airtel makes incoming free during international roaming

USA international roaming offers outgoing calls at Rs 20 per minute and above while other countries get it at Rs 40 per minute outgoing calls.

Airtel has launched new International roaming packs for its customers in India. With these packs travelers to USA can get up to 5 hours of non-chargeable incoming calls and make outgoing calls at Rs 20 per minute through special packs, all valid for 30 days.
There are three options for travelers to USA: Rs 1,000 pack offers 10 minutes free incoming and outgoing calls at Rs 60 per minute. Rs 3,500 pack offers outgoing calling at Rs 35 per minute and 60 minute of free incoming calls. There is a Rs 8500 pack that offers offers outgoing calls at Rs 20 per minute and 300 minutes of free incoming calls.
Airtel makes incoming free during international roaming
Airtel postpaid customers travelling to countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, UAE and the UK can now receive up to two hours of non-chargeable incoming calls and make outgoing calls for Rs 40 per minute through special packs. There are two packs for these countries, costing Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,600.
In Rs 1500 pack, users get 15 days validity, outgoing calls at Rs 60 per minute and 30 minutes of free incoming calls. The costlier pack of Rs 3,600 offers 120 minutes free incoming calls and outgoing calls at Rs 40 per minute, and is valid for 15 days.
Airtel prepaid customers travelling to a select countries can also enjoy special outgoing and incoming call rates for Rs 20/minute on recharge packs of Rs 779 and Rs 1479, along with getting full talk time on these packs which can be used both during international roaming as well as in India.
To know more details, customers can call 121 or SMS IROAM to 121 or log on to www.airtel.in/ir.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

MTS to offer 9.8 Mbps data speed, LTE after two years

MTS will deploy CDMA Rev B which will enable it to offer speeds up to 14.4 mbps.

MTS will deploy next generation CDMA technology, called EVDO Rev B, in all its nine circles to offer data speeds up to 9.8 Mbps, which is much higher than 7.2 Mbps that most 3G operators are offering right now.
The company has also announced plans to implement LTE network in its circles including Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West), West Bengal, and Rajasthan.
MTS to offer 9.8 Mbps data speed
However Spokesperson of MTS India told The Mobile Indian, "LTE is a long term plan and will happen only after about 2 years. In the short term we are looking at improving our existing CDMA network to offer better coverage and speeds in the nine circles that we are now present.”
On asking about the specific technology he said, "EVDO Rev B is a possibility since we have bagged three channels of spectrum (1.25 MHz each with total 3.75 MHz), and we will be looking at deploying the technology in near term.”
MTS has already rollout EVDO Rev B network along the Jaipur-Delhi and Chennai-Bangalore highway more than a year ago, offering data speeds up to 9.8 Mbps.
The company's licenses in 21 circles were canceled by the Supreme Court in 2012. However, it bagged spectrum in eight circles including Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West), and West Bengal again at the auction held on March 11 this year, in which it was the only participant.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Airtel barred from adding 3G subscribers in 7 circles

Supreme Court has asked Airtel not to add new customers in 7 circles where it offers services based on spectrum of Vodafone and Idea.

GSM service provider, Airtel cannot add new 3G customers in seven circles including Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh pending further orders from Supreme Court of India. However it can continue to offer 3G services to the existing users in these circles.
Supreme Court has asked Airtel not to add new customers
In these circles Airtel offers 3G services using spectrum allocated to Vodafone and Idea Cellular under an Intra Circle Roaming agreement between these three operators, which has been termed illegal by the Government of India. Airtel has been asked to shut 3G operations in these circles and also pay a fine of Rs 350 crore by Department of Telecom, an order which was upheld by theDelhi High Court. Against that order, Airtel had moved to the Supreme Court few days back.
The Intra Circle roaming agreement allows these three operators (Airtel, Idea and vodafone) to offer services on almost pan India basis, even though each of them managed to bag spectrum in maximum 13 circles (of total 22 circles of the country). This has been challenged by both the Government and rivals like RCom terming the pact as illegal and also anti-competitive.

Vodafone internet trail pack: Enjoy 500 MB for Rs 25


The pack has a validity of seven days and is available for both 2G and 3G connections.

Vodafone has announced internet trail packs under which it is offering 500 MB of data to its customers. The pack has a validity of seven days. If you are opting for 2G, you have to shell out Rs 25 while for 3G you have to pay Rs 49.
These plans are available to both postpaid as well as prepaid users of Vodafone all over the country. However, there are several conditions.
Vodafone internet trail pack
For instance, if you are a prepaid user, it will overwrite your current pack but in case of a prepaid user, you can revert back to your original plan after the seven day period is over. Also, if you have now a 2G pack but you are using a 3G handset then you will be automatically offered a 3G pack.
To subscribe to these plans, send an SMS - 'ACT TRY' - to 111.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Airtel will have to stop 3G services in 7 circles

The impacted circles include Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

Delhi High Court has issued an order, removing the stay on Department of Telecom's earlier directive asking Vodafone, Airtel and Idea to annul their 3G roaming pact.
Hence, now Airtel will have to stop its 3G services in 7 circles where it offers the services using spectrum of Idea Cellular and Vodafone.
The impacted circles include Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
Airtel will have to stop 3-G services in 7 circles
DoT had earlier asked Airtel to stop its Intra circle roaming agreement with the other two operators and had also asked Airtel to pay a fine of Rs 350 crore terming the pact as illegal.
Airtel got stay order from a single bench of Delhi High court on the DoT order. However now a larger bench of Delhi High Court has quashed the earlier ruling and has asked Airtel to stop offering 3G services and will also have to pay the fine of Rs 350 crore.
Bharti Airtel is expected to approach the Supreme Court on the matter today, but will have to shut down 3G services in seven regions if SC fails to provide relief.
The High Court was acting on a plea by Reliance Communications (RCOM), which said Bharti's move to provide pan-India 3G data services was impacting its business.
Vodafone and Idea Cellular also offer 3G services through this pact and are likely to get notice from the DoT, demanding that they hang up on 3G roaming pacts.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea won 3G airwaves in 13, nine and 11 circles, respectively, in the 2010 auctions. They subsequently entered into intra-circle roaming pacts which allowed them to offer 3G services where it did not have spectrum on its own, but used the partners spectrum to offer services.

RIL to speed up its LTE rollout with RCom deal

Without this deal RIL would have to invest both a lot of money and time in setting up its pan India LTE network.

RIL may now roll out its LTE services in the country sooner than expected as it has signed a Rs 1200 crore deal with Reliance Communication, which will allow it to use existing fiber network of the later to provide backhaul services for its Reliance Jio Infocomm LTE service.
Without this deal RIL would have to invest both a lot of money and time in setting up its pan India LTE network. The deal also envisions using towers of RCom in future by Reliance Jio which means that now RIL will be able to roll out networks in almost all parts of the country in a short span of time.
Industry insiders told The Mobile Indian that RIL will rollout launch its first network in 2-3 circles by middle of this year. However major rollout will only happen by end of 2013 when most of the major cities of the country will be covered.
RIL may now roll out its LTE services
Since Reliance Jio Infocomm has a pan India tower and fiber optic network, this seems to be very much the possibility.
Our sources also revealed that RIL has completed the testing of devices, network, content and basic strategy, and it's just a matter of time before the announcement from RIL starts to pour in.
RIL had purchased Infotel, which bagged pan India 4G spectrum in 2010, for Rs 4500 crore. With this purchase, Reliance Industries got 20MHz spectrum across the country and recently it was also allowed by the government to offer voice services on this network.
This in comparison to 3G spectrum is not just much cheaper (Airtel paid Rs 6499 crore for only 13 circles and 5MHz spectrum) but also much bigger chunk of spectrum is available to it, which means that it can provide congestion free network.
With this new deal with RCom, RIL has also reduced its spending on network roll-out which will further enable it to offer 4G services at very low prices. Reportedly, Reliance Jio Infocomm is mulling to offer 1 GB data for only Rs 10, as compared to Rs 250 that 3G operators charge for the same amount of data. RIL, in partnership with Samsung, has also announced to offer LTE enabled smartphones for $100 that too with EMI option

Free WiFi on trains from today

Passengers will be able to access up to 4 Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth on the train.

As announced in this year's Railway Budget, the Indian Railways has started the free WiFi Internet services in trains from today, starting with the New Delhi- Howrah Rajdhani express. As per the Railway Budget, this year fifty other trains will get this service too.
Passengers travelling in these trains will get up to 4 Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth but actual speed will depend on number of passengers using the service at any given time. Access to porn sites will be blocked.
Free WiFi on trains from today
Nirav Dave, managing director, Techno Sat Comm (India) Ltd, the company which is providing the technology, told The Hindu Business Line,"Critical communication applications like email or online transactions will be given top priority. Video downloads and gaming would be last, if there is a crunch on the bandwidth availability."
Internet access to passengers has been provided using two-way satellite hybrid with 2G/3G and WiFi. The system will offer 99 percent connectivity and in case the satellite link is lost it will rely on 2G/3G connectivity in the area where the train is passing through.
For accessing the service, passengers will have to provide mobile number, PNR number, Government ID (election card, Aadhar etc) for getting unique password by SMS on the mobile. The system will be scaled up to offer interactive multimedia entertainment with Internet Television in the future.
The Railways intends to expand this service to other Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto express trains progressively based on customer feedback and acceptance. Hopefully this is not just another pilot project which will die down, and gets implemented in more trains before a feedback is considered.

Aircel offers extra talktime when Chennai scores above 164 runs in IPL

People opting for Rs 164 pack will get full talktime, plus Rs 1 for every run that Chennai scores above 164 in its IPL matches.

Aircel, the lead sponsor of IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has announced that it will offer extra talktime to its users when the team scores 164 or above runs.
The offer will be valid on full talktime pack of Rs 164. Users with this pack will get as many extra talktime as much as the team would scores above 164. For instance, in a match, if CSK scores 180 runs, the customers will get an extra talk time of Rs 16 (valid for 15 days).
IPL team Chennai Super Kings
The Rs 164 pack will also offer 5 minutes (Aircel to Aircel) free for two days, apart from full talktime and extra talktime based on CSK's score.
The denomination of extra talk time will be valid from first match to the next match and so forth and will change according to the runs scored by CSK in every match. In case of CSK scoring less than or equal to the MRP, assured benefit of full talk time and 5 Local Aircel to Aircel minutes will be offered.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Airtel, Vodafone and Loop license renewal request rejected by DoT

License of these operators in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata is set to expire in 2014. To continue services these players will have to bid for spectrum in these circles.

Department of Telecom (DoT) has rejected the request of renewal of license of Airtel, Vodafone and Loop mobile for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles. License of these operators will expire next year. While only Vodafone has confirmed receiving the letter of rejection, it is likely that other two will get it on Monday.
Vodafone in a statement said, "Vodafone is deeply disappointed with the summary rejection of its request for extension of its licenses in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata service areas by DoT. This decision is against the interests of our several million customers in these cities/circles."
DoT has asked these operators to bid for the spectrum to extend their license instead of simply holding on to what they already have by paying a small fee. DoT has already listed the spectrum held by these operators in 900 Mhz for auctions.
Airtel, Vodafone and Loop license renewal request rejected by DoT
The spectrum identified for auction in 900 Mhz includes 8 Mhz held by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone each in Delhi circle, 8 Mhz each of Loop Mobile and Vodafone in Mumbai; and in Kolkata 6.2 Mhz spectrum of Bharti Airtel and 7.8 Mhz of Vodafone that is due for renewal in 2014.
While Airtel and Vodafone already have 3G spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai with which they will be able to continue offering the services, Vodafone also has 3G spectrum in Kolkata. Loop has no option but to bid for spectrum or else exit the market. Loop already lost license in 21 circles, through a Supreme Court order in the 2G scam.
However 3G spectrum is in 1800 MHz band while their existing 2G operations run on 900 Mhz band, which is twice as good as 1800 MHz band and if these operators choose not to bid then they will have to increase their tower density by almost double.
Vodafone has released a very emotional statement in view of this rejection which reads, "In addition, there appears to be no acknowledgment by DoT of the full and faithful operation of the license for 18 years - for being a pioneer and entering the market when there was no concept of mobile telephony in India, for investing tens of thousands of crores in setting up a state of the art network, for serving millions of subscribers and for contributing to the national tele-density objectives, for being the second largest rural mobile service provider in India. Vodafone has also been consistently contributing several crores in revenues to the national exchequer. Clearly, in DoT's opinion, these aspects are not important for determining expediency."

Videocon to offer 23 Mbps speed over LTE network

While LTE is capable of offering 100 Mbps speed, due to limited spectrum, Videocon will offer lower speed. It will offer only 9 Mbps speed in smaller cities.

Videocon, which is set to offer FD LTE services in six circles, has said that it will offer only 23 Mbps speed in larger cities and 9 Mbps speed in smaller towns and cities.
Arvind Bali, chief executive officer of Videocon mobile services, while talking to The Mobile Indian said, "We have got 5MHz spectrum in each of the six circles, of which we plan to use 3 Mhz for LTE services in large cities and rest for the 2G based voice service, this will enable us to offer speeds of up to 23 Mbps. In smaller towns however we will use only 1.4 MHz for LTE, to offer 9 Mbps speed."
While these speeds are considerable higher than current 3G speeds being offered in India, it will be substantially lower than 100 Mbps that LTE is capable of offering.
Videocon to offer 23 Mbps speed over LTE network
Arvind added, "Even at these speeds LTE will offer much better experience compared to 3G networks with much better reliability. Moreover our network will be dynamic and allocate bandwidth to 2G and LTE according to the load, so if voice traffic is higher more space will be allocated to 2G, if data is higher more bandwidth with be allocated to LTE".
Videocon has 4G spectrum in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, UP west, UP East, Bihar and Jharkhand. It has however only 2G spectrum in Punjab so it will not offer LTE services there.
When we asked if they plan to upgrade the spectrum by paying a fee to the government, Arvind said, "We already have CDMA, GSM, Wireless broadband services in Punjab and therefore can cater to requirements of consumers there. We do not want to upgrade our spectrum there as of now."
Though he did not share the LTE pricing structure, but said that we will try to remain the most value for money brand in the space.
About the LTE handsets, he said, "The technology that we are using is already in use and handsets are available in decent numbers already, almost all the high end handsets like Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia Lumia 920 support the LTE that we plan to deploy. We have also asked our mobile handset division to create dongles and low priced mobile phones to support our network and that will be ready in time for our launch."
It may be noted that apart from Videocon, all the players in the 4G space are using TD LTE instead of FDD LTE technology which is being used by Videocon and most of the operators in the USA and Europe countries. So while Airtel which has LTE network in four cities of Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore and Chandigarh does not offer mobile phones right now, Videocon's FDD LTE network will be supported by all the high end phones already available in India

Friday, March 22, 2013

Videocon announces free incoming calls on roaming

Government of India is mulling free roaming facility for all starting this October.

Videocon Mobile Services has made incoming calls free while on roaming by default, so you do not have to pay any processing fee or special tariff voucher to avail it.
This offering shall be available for Videocon users with immediate effect without any hidden cost, announced the company in a press release.
Videocon announces free incoming calls on roaming
However, this facility will be available to Videocon subscribers roaming in Videocon's own network. All outgoing local and STD calls (during roaming) will be charged at Rs 1 and Rs 1.5 per minute respectively. All local and national outgoing SMSes during roaming will be charged at Rs 3.45 per SMS while Rs 5 per SMS will be levied for international SMSes. As per Videocon, for data during roaming, users have to pay 10 paisa for each 10 KB consumed.
Arvind Bali, director and chief executive officer, Videocon Mobile Services commented, "We aim at being a country free of any physical or geographical boundaries, and in pursuance of the visionary recommendations as underlined in the National Telecom Policy 2012, we reiterate our commitment towards 'One Nation - Free Roaming'. To extend the benefits of freedom of movement across our Network, we have introduced this offering where our subscribers roaming across Videocon Network will stand to benefit from free incoming calls. There are no strings attached to the proposition, no STVs/recharges required. This is yet another 'Industry first' by Videocon and we are committed to our mantra of providing something "Extra” to our customers always."
The government of India has been mulling to abolish roaming charges for a long time. Earlier, roaming charges were to be abolished from March but has now been postponed to October this year. Operators have been though vehemently opposing the same citing loss of revenues. Sometime back Aircel has announced a new pack called 'One Nation, One Rate'. The plan offers one rate for voice, SMS and data in home circle and on roaming on Aircel network which virtually means free roaming.
Bharti Airtel has also announced free roaming for its prepaid users in Delhi sometime back. Under that scheme, Airtel's prepaid users in Delhi can enjoy free incoming calls in as many as five states - Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand and West Bengal (except Kolkata).

Govt mulling single emergency number

TRAI has sought public comments on making 100 or 108 as single number for entire country just like 911 or 999 are in USA.

Government of India is finally waking up and through TRAI has started a process of setting up a single number, either 100 or 108, for all emergency situations across the country. People will be able to call this number in various emergencies like fire or medical or accidents.
At present, just the Delhi police uses numbers like 100, 1096, 1090, and multitudes of other numbers calling it woman and child helpline, anti-stalking helpline. These helplines over the years have mushroomed with each new ghastly event like the December 16th gang rape incident post which the Delhi government had set up 181 as the new helpline for women. All this means that it is virtually impossible to figure out which number to call especially when you are stressed in an emergency.
Many countries have single emergency numbers like 911 in USA, 999 in UK and 000 in Australia.
Govt mulling single emergency number
TRAI has released a consultation paper on "Universal Single Number Based Integrated Emergency Communication and Response System (IECRS)” for this purpose.
"In India, number 100 which is reserved for calling Police services is very popular. This makes 100 a suitable candidate for the choice of single number for IECRS," TRAI said.
However, 108 emergency service managed by EMRI ( Emergency Management and Research Institute) across more than ten states is becoming popular as an emergency response system, TRAI added.
TRAI has also sought comments if there should be primary or secondary access numbers in the country on the lines of other countries.
"A secondary emergency response number also exists in some countries like 112 in UK (in addition to 999), 112 in Australia (in addition to 000). Calls from this number are again routed to primary response numbers in these countries," TRAI said.
It, however, said there are challenges in its implementation particularly when there are various government departments involved in handling different types of emergencies. This is a weird comment as anywhere in the world only medical department will handle medical emergencies, fire will be handled by fire department etc. So there is nothing new in India. What is needed is a simple software, and call center that directs these calls intelligently to these departments.
TRAI has also asked if emergency number access be allowed from inactive SIMs or handsets without SIMs and how the funding requirement should be met for costs involved in implementation of IECRS. This is again in our opinion a question that is not even needed to be asked. Providing emergency services is one of the core duties of the government and therefore be funded by the government and of course it has to be offered on all phones.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Airtel 4G launched in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula

Delhi and Mumbai are expected to be the next one to get it.

Bharti Airtel has launched 4G (LTE) services in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. The service will offer data download speeds up to 100 Mbps. Airtel had already launched its 4G services in Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune.
The service will be able to support streaming of High Definition (HD) videos, and other services that work on high speed networks. However unlike Pune, where the company has announced support for voice services, in rest of the circles including Chandigarh no such announcement has been made.
Also, Airtel has launched the LTE service with only two devices - a 4G multimode Dongle and a WiFi router (CPE) both priced at Rs 4,999. It has five unlimited plans with high speed data limit post which users will get speed of 128 Kbps only. The unlimited plans start at Rs 999 for 6 GB. There are Rs 1,399, Rs 1,999, Rs 2,999 and Rs 4,799 plans as well for which you would get 9 GB, 18 GB, 30 GB and 50 GB of high speed data respectively.
Airtel 4G launched in Chandigarh
Airtel is offering discounts with all these plans. For instance, in the Rs 999 plan, you will get Rs 147 back every month for six months. Similarly, Rs 1,399 plan gives Rs 466 off for 6 months, Rs 312 is waived off every month for 12 months in the Rs 1,999 plan. In the other two plans, you will get Rs 417 off every month for 12 months.
Airtel is also offering Smartbytes, which basically allows you to buy extra high speed data quota. These are priced at Rs 600, Rs 875 and Rs 1500 offering 3 GB, 5 GB and 10 GB extra data.
The plans are not very expensive when you compare these with 3G services, and since all the plans are unlimited you will not even get a bill shock. However, currently there are no tablets or smartphones in the market which are compatible to use the 4G services, so you can only make use of the 4G network with your laptops or as a home/office broadband network.
Airtel is currently the only player to offer 4G services in the country. However once players like Reliance Industries (RIL) launches their service we will see more competition and a steep drop in 4G data tariffs.
In 2010, Airtel had successfully bid for BWA license spectrum in Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) circles. Additionally, last year, Bharti Airtel acquired 49 percent interest in Qualcomm's India entities that hold BWA licenses in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala.
The company has said that it is currently working towards rolling out state-of-the-art networks in remaining license circles. And we know from our sources that Delhi and Mumbai circles are next in line for the launch.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bengaluru's 2 main roads to get free WiFi

The Karnataka state government will soon provide free WiFi service on Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka state government will soon provide free WiFi service on Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road in Bengaluru. The service is expected to start around next month which will make Bangalore the first city to have such a service, Economic Times has reported.
The idea is the brainchild of a government-appointed panel headed by Mohandas Pai, a former director at Infosys. The pilot service will be available for at least six months, after which panel will evaluate the network and announce possible expansion plans.
Bengaluru's 2 main roads to get free WiFi
"A smartphone revolution is happening in India, but connectivity is still an issue here. We wanted to provide seamless internet access to people," said Pai, who is also the chairman of the Manipal Global Education.
The decision to offer free wireless broadband access was taken last year and the recommendations of the ICT group were sent to Karnataka's chief minister in January. Bangalore-based internet service provider D-VoiS has been assigned to implement the pilot free of charge. "Once the pilot finishes, we will talk to other private ISPs and figure out a revenue-sharing model," Pai said.
However, what kind of revenue model can be generated is not clear, moreover opposition from 3G and 4G service providers is expected as the free WiFi service will impact their revenues.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Videocon Mobiles to offer 4G service from Dec 2013 onwards

Videocon Telecommunication will offer LTE or 4G services in seven circles.

Videocon Telecommunication will offer LTE or 4G services in seven circles of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, UP west, UP East, Bihar and Jharkhand from December this year.
Speaking at a press conference in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Arvind Bali, director and chief executive officer, Videocon Telecommunication said, "In this auction, we have right to offer 2G, 3G, LTE and other high-end data services to customers. We are not interested in 3G but have started working on launching 4G or LTE services in all the seven circles. We will hit the market with the service by December 2013”.
Videocon Mobiles
Videocon has selected Nokia Siemens network to roll-out the 4G network. Notably, Videocon Telecommunication is the only player in India to launch FD-LTE services in India, unlike other players who will launch 4G services using TDD LTE network.
This move by Videocon is thus important as handsets like Nokia Lumia, Apple iPhone 5, and LG Optimus G support FD-LTE, but there are no devices right now that support the TDD-LTE network which has been deployed by Airtel will also be used by RIL, Aircel and Tikona when then commence their 4G services.
FD LTE offers data speeds in excess of 100 Mbps and also offer voice services with HD(high definition) clarity. The service will also be used to offer services like video chat, mobile TV, HD TV content, digital video broadcasting etc.
Videocon has bagged only up to 5 MHZ spectrum which will be very less if the service becomes popular as data services consume a lot of bandwidth.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

MTS launches customisable dongles with 15GB data free

MTS has launched dongles with stickers for Rs 1,299.

MTS, CDMA operator with operations in 9 circles, has launched a new customisable dongle priced at Rs 1,299. User can customise the dongle using stickers which has themes like music, gaming and lifestyle.
Along with that MTS dongle offers additional benefits like free 15 GB data and value added service(VAS) over a period of six months.
MTS dongles
But, there is a catch to get free data. MTS customers need to recharge their account with Rs 248 for six months and in return during the first month they will get 4GB data free and unlimited access to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; for the next three months subscribers will get 3GB data free followed by 1GB data free in 5th and 6th month. These goodies will be in addition to regular data limit of 1GB under the Rs 248 plan.
In terms of VAS customers will get free subscription to MTS TV,MTS Music and MTS Games On Demand for two months. Data benefits will be given over a period of six months.
MTS dongles
Going forward, MTS also plans to launch an online platform where people can select the design to be put on the dongles. These dongles will be available in Delhi NCR, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
MTS recently won back spectrum in 8 circles and already had spectrum in Rajasthan, and this is the first major announcement from the CDMA operator post getting back spectrum which was canceled by Supreme court. And given the kind of offer they have come up with, it looks like they will focus on regaining their ground by some very attractive pricing.

No MNP for subscribers of Uninor, MTS & Videocon

MNP service will not be available to subscribers of operators whose licenses were canceled by the Supreme Court.

Mobile number portability service will not be available to subscribers of operators whose licenses were canceled by the Supreme Court in February last year.
However this is applicable only to circles where these operators did not win spectrum in recently held auctions, in which MTS won spectrum in 9 circles, Uninor and Videocon in 6 circles each.
Worst hit will be MTS subscribers in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (East) as auction for CDMA was held only on 11th March and MTS chose not to buy spectrum in these circles, and had just started process of informing subscribers asking them to port to other networks. Every other service provider has already (more or less) completed the process of shifting their subscribers to other networks.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued direction to all existing telecom operators to stop accepting porting (transfer) request of mobile numbers that were allocated to telecom companies whose permits to operate stands cancelled as per Supreme Court order.
The regulator said, "All the Mobile Number Portability service providers not to process and all the Unified Access Service Providers (telecom operators) should not to entertain request for porting in respect of mobile telephone numbers belonging to the service providers."
In the direction, TRAI has asked to stop accepting porting request from Tata Teleservices (3 service area), Unitech Wireless , now Uninor (15 service area), Videocon (11 service area), Loop (13 service area), Etisalat (15 service area), S Tel (5 service area) and SSTL (10 service area) where the companies lost their licences.
The TRAI direction comes following Supreme Court order of February 2, 2012 and February 15, 2012 asking telecom operators to close their operations.
Last year, the apex court cancelled 122 2G licences but gave the operators a chance to continue operations only if they acquire fresh spectrum through auction.

Monday, March 11, 2013

MTS wins spectrum in eight circles

MTS will close operations in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (East) though.

CDMA operator, MTS has won spectrum in eight circles including Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal. However, it has failed to gain spectrum for Mumbai, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (East).
MTS had spectrum in 22 circles out of which 21 licenses were cancelled by the Supreme Court in February 2012; its license in Rajasthan was not canceled by Supreme Court then. Later MTS decided to close its operation in 10 circles (whose licenses it had lost by the SC ruling) including Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, North East, Orissa and Punjab.
MTS wins spectrum in eight circles
Now since it only bought spectrum in eight circles, it will have to close down operations in three more circles including Mumbai, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (East).
In a statement, the company said, "While bidding for spectrum in the auctions, MTS India considered a range of variables including spectrum pricing, number of carrier slots available, levels of competition, future data potential in the circles etc. Based on such criteria, the company also decided not to bid for Mumbai, Maharashtra and UP East circles and would be immediately initiating the process to inform its customers in 3 circles to port out to other telecom operators of their choice".
Vsevolod Rozanov, president and chief executive officer of Sistema Shyam TeleServices (MTS parent company), "Given the range of variables we have considered and the spectrum cost for 800 MHz, it was a big challenge to arrive at a core list of 8 circles and to bid accordingly. With Rajasthan circle also a part of MTS India's footprint, we would be able to service 40% of country's population, address over 60% of data business potential, safeguard 75% of our current revenues and significantly optimize our losses. Our go forward plan includes building an even stronger MTS brand in the country by focusing on our data centric-voice enabled strategy."
The spectrum won by SSTL in eight circles is technology neutral (it can offer 2G, 3G or even 4G services using this spectrum) and would be valid for 20 years. The company would be required to pay Rs 3,639 crores for the license period. The terms include payment of 25 per cent of the final bid amount within 10 days, followed by a payment moratorium until March 2016, after which the balance amount will be paid in 10 equal annual installments. The Government of India has confirmed that SSTL will be able to set off the previous license cost of Rs 1,626 crores against the new spectrum cost.
The company also said that 15 percent of its employees are employed in the three circles where the company decided not to bid and would therefore be affected and that full efforts are being made to absorb maximum number of employees in other circles or to place some of the employees in other Companies.
MTS has a customer base of over 12.1 million, out of which 13 per cent come from the impacted circles.