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What OpenSignal Says On Jio, Airtel And Indian 4G Landscape

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OpenSignal, a technology company that tracks and annalyses how telecom networks in different countries work and behave, came out with a very interesting report about Indian 4G network and current dynamics of the country’s telecom industry.

The report prepared by OpenSignal primarily tracked the 4G landscape and made a comparison between two of India’s leading 4G operators – Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.

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The technology firm did an analysis of average peak speed and average download speed of these two operators. The survey period was between December 2016 to February 2017.

Basis the findings OpenSignal said Bharti Airtel has the fastest 4G speed during the recorded period whereas Jio has much better network capable of offering incredibly fast LTE services.

It said Airtel’s average peak speed test was 56.6 Mbps, which is 5 times faster than its average 4G download test of 11.5 Mbps. In contrast Jio’s average peak speed was 50 mbps which is 13 times faster than its average download speed of 3.9 mbps. Meanwhile, both Vodafone and Idea peak speed measurements are about 4 times faster than their 4G measurements.

“Even though Jio had the slowest average 4G speeds in our India report, in our peak speed comparison Jio’s average connection was second only to Airtel,” the report said.

So why are Jio’s peaks so much higher than its average?

The report tries to find the answer. “Clearly Jio’s networks are capable of supporting some incredibly fast LTE connections when conditions are ideal,” it said.

“The reason why is congestion,” justified Kevin Fitchard who wrote the findings of OpenSignals’ report in a blog.

He said Jio has experienced phenomenal growth since launching its all-4G service last autumn, signing up more than 100 million subscribers in the space of few months, and for much of that period Jio has been offering those customers nearly unlimited access to mobile data.

“That kind of heavy usage is bound to tax any network, forcing users to vie against one another for bandwidth,” he writes. “Our data shows that Jio’s slow average 4G speeds aren’t a technical limitation, but rather a capacity bottleneck. As Jio adds more capacity — either through new spectrum or building more cell sites — or as Jio’s mobile data consumption levels drop, then its typical download speeds should increase.”

OpenSignal who works like Ookla also raises questions on Indian regulator TRAI’s method of determining 4G speeds.

The report writes that Indian regulator TRAI has measured the fastest 4G speeds on Jio’s networks for the past six months through its MySpeed app. Meanwhile our testing along with measurements conducted by other independent testing groups like Ookla have found Jio’s average LTE speeds to be much slower.

“The discrepancy comes from TRAI’s methodology,” says Fitchard. “TRAI is measuring operator performance under ideal conditions, while OpenSignal’s methodology tests the typical everyday experience of consumers.”

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Micromax Offers 100 Day Replacement Warranty On Feature Phones

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Now, there’s a bit of good news for the feature phone users. If you happen to own a feature phone from Micromax which is not more than 100 days old, you can get a new phone if your device is having any problem. A 100 day replacement warranty is being offered to you!

Today, the Gurgaon based mobile phone maker announced a 100-day replacement warranty on its feature phones. Though the company says it will be applicable on all feature phones, at present it is being offered on 10 models only.

These 10 feature phone models include Micromax X1i, x706, x424, x740, x730, x904, x570, x512, x412 and x726.

Starting today, 100 day replacement warranty is being made available for Feature phones, where Micromax will replace failing feature phone with the same/equivalent model in the first 100 days from the date of activation of the device.

There are certain criteria though.

To avail the 100 day replacement warranty your feature phone should adhere to certain conditions. they are :
Phone should be under warranty.
If Software does not rectify the concern.
Eligible if device needs a hardware repair.
Replacement device will be of the same or equivalent model.

“We have a large base of feature phone users and for these valued users one of the key proposition for buying their phone is a great after sale service experience. Taking our promise, a step ahead, we are now bringing a care free user experience for all the feature phone customers offering them full replacement within 100 days of purchase, if any problem arises,” said Commenting on this, Shubhodip Pal, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer.

He further added that “the service team is working towards improving the overall customer service experience at the service centres, which includes building a more professional environment, getting the service right at first shot and recruiting trained service executives amongst some of the other initiatives.”

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Rs 500 Jio 4G Feature Phone Launch Set For 15th Aug

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Jio’s plans to launch a 4G feature phone has been known even before Jio launched its 4G services in the country, with confirmation of such plan coming from many handset makers. When and what price point the phone will be launched was not known though.

TeleAnalysis had last year reported that Jio was in the process of making a 4G feature phone and it could launch the phone at Rs 1500.

People will still need to wait till mid August to get a 4G feature phone, however the good news is that announcement of launch is expected to take place as soon as July 21st and the phone will be available at a terrific price of Rs 500.

The announcement regarding this phone will be made at the Reliance AGM to be held on July 21. It is also expected that Jio will also announce monthly tariff plans of less than Rs 100 for these feature phone users.

An Economic Times report quoting the HSBC research note says that Jio 4G feature phone with VoLTE capability will be subsidised by the operator to achieve Rs 500 price point of the phone. Jio, according to report, has already placed an order of 18-20 million units for the handsets with Chinese vendors such as Zhejiang Techain Electronics Technology Co., Shenzhen CHINO-E Communication Co, Crave and Megaphone.

The phone will be launched under Lyf brand and will start arriving by late July in India and will be launched on 15th August.

TeleAnalysis has been talking to several handset markers in India about their 4G feature phone plans and many vendors like InFocus and Karbonn have confirmed that they are indeed working for such phones, with InFocus confirming plans to launch them in 2017.

We believe that soon after Jio other operators too will launch 4G feature phone and Indian handset makers will also be joining the party sooner than later.

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InFocus Targets 6 Mn Phones This Fiscal, 70% Would Be Feature Phones

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Foxconn owned smartphone brand InFocus that relaunched in India last week after a long 2 years of silence targets to sell 6 million mobile phones in India by the end of this fiscal. But the interesting part is 70% of this total number would come from feature phones.

“Out of the 6 million target 70% of our volume would be from feature phones that we are planning to launch shortly,” InFocus India VP, Sales & Marketing Piyush Puri told TeleAnalysis.

At present the company claims to have 2 million mobile phone subscribers and all are smartphone users.

When asked why the company wants to focus on feature phones while the country is moving towards smartphone, Puri said it is because they want to re-position themselves in the market and it needs a massive reach.

“This is being done strategically,” he clarifies. “In order to position ourselves in the smartphone market, we need to increase our penetration in the Indian mobile phones market. And that can be done by reaching out every part of the country through increase in our retail presence.”

From that aspect the company is increasing its retail presence to 50000 outlets across the country from current 3000 by end of next quarter.

This appears too ambitious.

Puri also said that the company is going to create new benchmarks through its feature phones.

“Like we are planning to launch 100 days return policy for our feature phones as well as will create new price barriers like Rs 699 phone,” he added.

The feature phones, Puri said, will be manufactured in a plant in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

He said InFocus has got a mandate from its parent company Foxconn that if it could increase its presence to 50,000 retail outlets for its feature phones and 8000 outlets for smartphones by end of this fiscal, then Foxconn would pump in more money.

At present InFocus has got $10 million to spend on Indian market for its branding and marketing purpose.

Last week the company launched a new smartphone in the Indian market. The phone, named Turbo 5, highlights its battery power – of 5000 mAh – and priced it at Rs 7,999 for the 3GB RAM variant. The InFocus Turbo 5 also launched another variant with lower RAM, of 2GB, and priced it at Rs 6,999.

The InFocus Turbo 5 is a 5.2 inch device with full HD display and is powered by low-end MediaTek quadcore processor with clock speed of 1.3 GHz.

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Jio Flexes Muscle, Brings 40 Tbps Submarine Cable System To India

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In the quest to offer high-speed data connectivity to its customers, and that too without any lag, Reliance Jio Thursday launched its own submarine cable system.  Called Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) submarine cable system, it will stretch over 25,000 km from Marseille, France to Hong Kong, with 21 cable landings across Asia and Europe and is one of the longest 100Gbps technology based submarine system.

The AAE-1 cable system is designed over 100Gbps transmission technology, with a minimum design capacity of 40 Tbps.

The submarine cable system is built by a consortium of telecom operators from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Reliance Jio is the only operator from India in it. The other operators that form the consortium include China Unicom, CIL (HyalRoute), Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, GT5L, Mobily, Omantel, Ooredoo, OTEG, PCCW, PTCL, Retelit, Telecom Egypt, TeleYemen, TOT, Viettel, VNPT and VTC.

The AAE-1 connects Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, with Malaysia and Singapore, then onwards to Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.

Jio provides the Network Operations & Management for AAE-1 Cable System. The AAE-1 NOC, managed by Jio, leverages the state of the art facility in Navi Mumbai along-with its advanced tools and automation.

“With diversified Points of Presence (PoP) in Asia (Hong Kong and Singapore) and three onward connectivity options in Europe (via France, Italy and Greece), AAE-1 will provide the requisite flexibility and diversity for carriers and their customers,” Jio said in a statement.

AAE-1 will pass through the critical hubs, serving the increasing demand for video centric data bandwidth supporting all types of communications, applications, and content within India and beyond. AAE-1 links seamlessly with other cable systems and fiber networks to deliver direct access to all global markets.

“The new terabit capacity and 100Gbps direct connectivity to global content hubs and interconnection points ensure that Jio will continue to offer its customers the most exceptional high speed internet and digital service experience,” said Mathew Oommen, President-Jio. “We are excited to participate in the launch and deliver the cable landing in Mumbai at the time when India’s data traffic continues its accelerated data consumption and growth.”

The company said due to the advanced design and route, AAE-1 provides one of the lowest latency routes between Hong Kong, India, Middle East and Europe with the fewest hops.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform With Live Bokeh Feature Launched

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Qualcomm on Wednesday launched a new mobile platform, Snapdragon 450, aimed at mid-range smartphones and tablets that brings improvements in battery life, graphics, 4G connectivity and also supports dual camera.

Launched at the MWC Shanghai, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 mobile platform is first in its 400 series to use 14 nm FinFET process, and offers better results than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 435.

Among many improvements over the 435 mobile platform, one of the major highligts of the Snapdragon 450 is its support for dual camera and live Bokeh effects. This is the first mobile platform in 400 series to bring this kind support. The Snapdragon 450 can support dual camera of 13 MP + 13 MP or can support single camera upto 21 MP. This platform also supports hybrid autofocus, 1080p video capture and playback upto 60fps, and supports SloMo video.

The Snapdragon 450 also supports 1920×1200 full HD support which means manufactures can bring smartphones with more vibrant displays in the mid range category in coming times.

The other improvements include improved CPU and GPU, battery life and connectivity.

The Snapodragon 450’s octa core ARM Cortex A53 CPU offers 25% faster computing performance than its predecessor – Snapdragon 435, and a similar output in the GPU performance as well.

In terms of battery power, the 450 mobile platform’s power management offers four additional hours of battery back up and 30% less power consumption while gaming compared to 435 platform. Besides, the Snapdragon 450 comes with Quick Charge 3.0 that can charge a typical smartphone upto 80% in just 35 minutes.

“We’ve made many recent changes to the Snapdragon Mobile Platforms as part of our vision to deliver the most advanced mobile functionality at the best possible value, and the Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform is another realization of that vision,” said Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With the Snapdragon 450, users are going to see a dramatically improved level of performance, connectivity, battery life and imaging performance.”

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3 years jail term for tampering with mobile IMEI number: New Rules being framed

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Department of Telecom ( DoT) is preparing new rules with up to 3 years jail term to prevent tampering of International Mobile Equipment Identity Number (IMEI) number- a 15-digit serial number unique for all mobile devices. Fake IMEI number is not just about theft of mobile phone but is a matter of national security as security agencies use this number to track phone and calls.

The IMEI number is used by a GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used for stopping a stolen phone from accessing that network.

The DoT suples bar telecom operators from providing service to mobile phones with fake IMEI number but the operators face are problems in identifying such handsets. In one of the tracking case of mobile phone, the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell of the DoT found there were around 18,000 handsets were using same IMEI number.

“It is difficult to track mobile phones because of duplicate IMEI numbers. The DoT is working on rules to make tampering of IMEI numbers a punishable offence under Indian Telegraph Act,” a government official said to PTI.

The proposed rules are being framed in a combination of section 7 and section 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act. Section 7 gives DoT power to make rules for the conduct of telecom or telegraph services and section 25 deals with damaging of the telegraph line, machines and related equipment.

The rules will be notified in official gazette once finalised,” the officer said to PTI.

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India Buys 1 Mn Xiaomi Redmi 4 Phones In 1 Month

redmi 4

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi today said the company has sold over 1 million (10 lakhs) Redmi 4 smartphones in just one month.

In a Facebook post, the company’s India chief Manu Jain claimed the company sold this number of Redmi 4 phones in one  month period from 23 May till 22 June 2017.

If that’s true, it’s one of the rarest achievements for a Chinese smartphone brand to sell so many smartphones in a month. This is a new record for the company.

Earlier the record was hold by Xioami’s another model Redmi Note 4 that, the company claimed, had sold more than 1 million units in 45 days.

“Redmi Note 4 broke all records by selling 1+ Mn units in 1st 45 days, and now Redmi 4 has gone even one step ahead,” wrote Manu Jain, Xioami’s VP and India MD.

In the post he thanked the Redmi 4 users and Mi fans and said it would not have been possible without their constant love and support.

The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is a 5 inch smartphone and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor. The phone has a metal body and the display is covered with 2.5D curved glass and it sports a front finger print sensor.

The smartphone comes with a rear 13 megapixel camera with flash and PDAF features. It alsso offers a front camera of 5 megapixel with Beautify feature. Xiaomi Redmi 4 is a dual SIM LTE device that supports VoLTE and works on all available 4G bands in India.

The device carries a 4100 mAh battery and comes in two colors – black and glod. The phone runs on Android Marshmallow and the GUI is based on MIUI 8.

The Xiaomi Redmi 4 comes in 3 variants – 2GBRAM with 16 GB internal memory along with 3GB/32 GB and 4GB/64 GB version. The last two variants cost Rs 8,999 and Rs 10,999 respectively.

The Xiaomi Redmi 4 comes in three variants basis its storage capacity and the cheapest and basic variant cots only R 6,999.

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Will iPhone 8 cause shortage of memory chip? Firms stock up on memory chip!

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Global electronics makers are scrambling to stock up on memory chips to keep production lines running as Apple Inc’s new iPhone 8 launch later this year threatens to worsen a global squeeze on supply.
While heavyweights such as Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd – which is also the world’s top memory chip maker – will not be seriously hit, industry sources and analysts say some electronics makers are paying a premium to lock into longer-term contracts.
Others are placing orders earlier than before to ensure their perilously low inventories do no dry up completely.
“After the supply shortages emerged we brought forward our procurement decisions, to ensure a stable supply,” smartphone and personal computer maker LG Electronics Inc said in a statement, adding it had pushed up quarterly purchase decisions by about a month.
Chip manufacturing technologies are growing increasingly complex, raising investment costs yet providing less output growth as some suppliers struggle to improve yields. This has caused some chip prices to double or triple from a year earlier.
Some analysts say device makers could be forced to cut down on the amount of DRAM chips, which help devices perform multiple tasks at once, or NAND chips that are used for long-term data storage, on new products if the cannot get enough chips.
A chip supplier source told Reuters a handful of clients have moved to 6-month supply agreements, accepting higher prices than the customary quarterly or monthly deals, to make sure they get enough memory chips for their products.
“The problem will be more acute for the NAND market, where the iPhone remains a critical source of demand given the huge sales volumes and recent moves to increase storage capacity on the device,” said the source, who declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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TRAI To Set Framework On Predatory Pricing

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Telecom regulatory authority of India, according to a report in Economic Times, will bring in new norms on pricing in the next 45 days. Ever since Reliance Jio launched its service a war of words has ensued in the telecom industry regarding predatory pricing. With both incumbent and the new comer alleging malpractices on one another.

 

TRAI has been under pressure both to end the fued and also to check downward slide in Government’s revenue from Telecom sector. Now according to a report in Economic Time, TRAI is reviewing Telecommunication Tariff Order 1999.

Telecom watchdog plans announce a set of new rules to oversee tariffs fixed by service providers and ensure transparency in the process. “We will come up with a set of regulatory principles on tariff in about 45 days,” Trai Secretary Sudhir Gupta told The Economic Times.

Move also becomes important as revenue from Data segment has grown many fold in the last few months and is expected to overtake voice revenue in coming months. Telecommunication Tariff Order 1999 is voice focused and there is need to review that in light of new realities of the sector.

The move comes after telecom majors Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea accused new entrant Reliance Jio of predatory pricing.

While Airtel had approached the Competition Commission of India to penalise Mukesh Ambani’s Jio for offering anti-competitive prices to customers. In April, Jio had alleged violation of pricing regulations and misleading customers through false marketing of some of its plans.

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