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TeleAnalysis writes analytical stories on the telecom industry. It analyses the Indian as well as global telecommunication industry, the mobile phone industry, smartphone industry and the communication industry as a whole. It also does analysis on various digital platforms, social media, the impact of social media on human lives and how it is affecting the human race on a broader perspective. Basis various analysis that we do in TeleAnalysis, we come out with periodical reports and studies around the communication industry. Our analytical stories have found mention in multiple of respected and influential publications, both domestic as well as international.

AnalysisNationalNews

Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan Offer : You Just Can’t Beat Jio In Its Own Game

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No other telecom operator in India has ever faced so much of opposition from incumbent telecom operators, manufactured public opinion or the regulator as Jio has faced since its entry to the market. But the newest 4G operator has always come out stronger every time it was pushed to an obstacle. The new Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer is a classic example of that.

The recent case in point was Jio Summer Surprise offer. Barely weeks after the offer was announced by the company where Jio offered Rs 303 package along with Prime membership that gives a 3-month of no-payment period, TRAI asked the company to withdraw it. The company readily agreed to the regulator’s ‘advice’ and withdrew the offer.

However, a smart and shrewd businessman as Mukesh Ambani, he brought another plan, very similar to the earlier Summer Surprise offer, which sure can’t be asked to be withdrawn.

The new offer, named Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan, asks customers to recharge their Jio number with this new tariff plan of Rs 309  wherein the company offers a 3 month validity. What it essentially means is if a customer recharges his phone with Rs 309 along with subscribing to Jio Prime, he is entitled to three month of no-payment period.

Simply saying, there is hardly any difference between the Jio Summer Surprise offer and this Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer or as Bharti Airtel puts it ‘Old wine in new bottle’.

If you analyse it properly, this new offer shows how Reliance Industries learns from its mistake and that too how fast.

In Jio Summer Surprise offer the company said if someone recharges with Rs 303, he does not have to pay or recharge for the next 3 months, meaning it was offered free for 2 months in one recharge. The regulator, upon complaints from incumbent operators, found this to tricky and bending some rules and hence asked Jio to withdraw it.

But with Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer, the company modified its mistake. Instead of saying customers will get all the services free for 2 months in one recharge, it said with the new offer one recharge is valid for 3 months. Essentially the one and same thing. But Jio know well how to play the game, and that to adhering to the rules.

Under the Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer, with a recharge of Rs 309, customers will get unlimited SMS, calling and data (1GB per day at 4G speed) for 3 months on first recharge. And with Rs 509 recharge the daily 4G data consumption limit increases to 2 GB per day.

 

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AnalysisNationalNews

Autoplay Video Consumes 40% Of Users’ Data : Report

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Though there is a huge surge in data consumption in India, especially video, in 2016, the menace of autoplay video is eating out almost 40% of users’ total data, a report revealed.

In 2016 Indian users consumed around 165 petabytes of data per month and video contributed around 65% of total data traffic. Of this autoplay video or those videos that run without the exclusive permission from the users and run automatically on various platforms like Facebook or Twitter etc contribute almost 40%, a Nokia MBiT report said.

“60% to 70% video consumption is via direct channel such as OTT apps or websites and 30% to 40% are via indirect channels such as social media and browsing,” the Nokia MBiT report cited.

Nokia defines the indirect channels as the autoplay videos that run automatically in social media sites or while browsing the internet. Direct channels are those videos that users watch knowingly, like video streaming on YouTube.

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Amit Marwah, Head, End-to-End Sales Solutioning, India Market, Nokia

The report, India Mobile Broadband Index, said while the users are consuming data unknowingly because of the autoplay videos, there is always the option to shutdown the autoplay option in every app.

Consumers always have the option to stop the autoplay option in the settings of the apps but they need to be little more aware to do it,” says Amit Marwah, Head End-to-End Sales Solutioning, India Market, Nokia.

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Subrat Kar, Co-founder, Vidooly

Autoplay video certainly takes up a significant chunk of consumer data, and the major consumers are the millennials” says Subrat Kar, co-founder of Vidooly, an India based video analytics company that tracks the domestic as well as global video data market using data anlytics and machine learning.

“Of these indirect channels, Facebook contributes around 85% of such autoplay videos, followed by Twitter and InstaVideo,” he adds.

The report also said that a 4G user consumed 30% to 40% more data than a 3G user in 2013 and its because of the higher data speed on 4G connections.

The data and consumption pattern tracked by Nokia for this MBiT report does not include data consumption on Reliance Jio network.

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Analysis

When LeEco Threatens This Journalist With Legal Action

LeTV-LeEco-Logo
By now, it is well known that Chinese smartphone maker LeEco is in deep trouble, globally, may be because of its overly ambitious plans or its unplanned ventures, or both. It is also now known that its India business is in worst shape as almost the entire staff of the company has left the sinking ship. Besides, the man who is supposed to run the show, the COO, Atul Jain has already left. Rather he was asked to leave.
TeleAnalysis filed this story in early January this year that LeEco asks it COO Atul Jain to leave. This made the company so uncomfortable that the smartphone maker threatened this correspondent with legal actions.
“My legal team is too upset with this, and they are contemplating legal action against you,” warned an official spokesperson of the company. This correspondent, however, welcomed the spokesperson to do their job, while allowing him to do his.
“If that happens, you will be in deep trouble,and you don’t understand it” the official tried to remind me of the repercussions.
In the guise of a request, the official commanded, “Please take down the story immediately,” the official added, saying the story to be ‘entirely incorrect’.
Its not very uncommon for us to come across situations when company’s spokespersons deny some developments, or discard some rumors or dispel some speculations, but threatening with legal actions was bit gross.
We had reported that, besides the employee layoffs, the company is also mulling exiting India operations, the most lucrative market at this moment.
It was imperative do that story as interests of thousands of Indians, who had bought LeEco’s products including smartphones and TVs, were at stake. If the company exits India, these customers will be bereaved of any product support, if required at any point of time.
What was more dangerous than this was while all the chaos was going on at the firm, its India executives kept on telling Indian consumers that all is fine with the company, and kept selling their products.
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Analysis

Vodafone Idea Merger May See 10,000 Job Losses, Closure Of 40% Outlets

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The proposed Vodafone Idea merger, no doubt, will save both the companies from the Jio-inflicted competition but it is not going to be a happy affair for the employees at these two firms. An estimated 10,000 employees may have to quit the merged entity during the process.

The Vodafone Idea merger is going to be the merger of the Titans as the number 2 and 3 operators of the country are going to join forces to fight against an illusive number 1. The Vodafone Idea merger also is a classic case of overlapping assets – from spectrum to telecom towers, from workforce to retail outlets.

Before the entry of Jio, both the companies – Idea and Vodafone – were two full fledged operators having the required number of employees to run their business. As per last filed reports, Vodafone India has little over 13,000 employees and Idea Cellular has 17,621 employees, totaling to more than 30,000. In contrast, country’s largest operator Bharti Airtel is managing its services, almost smoothly, with around 19,000 employees.

Survival Was The Premise Of The Merger
The Vodafone Idea merger is happening because the firms want to survive against the onslaught of Reliance Jio that has invested more money in last 3 years compared to what the other two have invested in last 10 years. More than that, the Jio effect has, for the first time, forced Idea to witness a loss in last one decade.

So, the premise of this merger is to maintain the bottomline. When manpower cost, including employee salaries, perks and other incentives, amount for around 30 -35% of the company’s expenditure, it makes no sense for the merged entity to retain the overlapping workforce. The Vodafone Idea merger would have around 10,000 overlapping job profiles. This section may get the pink slips.

The job losses will happen at all levels, however, the major impact will be at senior and middle level. The merged entity may not like to have overlapping senior employees, who are the fattest pay takers.

Retail Outlets May See Closure

Besides employees, after the merger, the merged entity will have double the number of retail outlets. The top three operators of the country, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, have their company owned branded outlets across the country, besides retail touch points at every nook and corner. And interestingly, the retail outlets of these operators are strategically placed very close to each other.

Now, after the merger, having separate retails outlets of Vodafone or Idea, does not make sense. And also, having two outlets at the same location is also not advisable. The Vodafone Idea merger would, for sure, see closure of many such outlets. By end of December 2016, Idea had close to 9,000 company owned outlets whereas Vodafone has more than 10,000 such outlets across the country. Half of these would see their shutters down post the merger. Or, in best case, some of these will be relocated.

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Analysis

How Mukesh Ambani Stopped Customer Churn With Jio Prime

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RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, on 21 February, announced that it has acquired 100 million customers since launch and launched a new scheme called Jio Prime. Acquiring 100 million customers in just 170 days is no small feat, in fact, it was the fastest pace any operator added customers in such a short period.

According to Ambani, Reliance Jio added 7 customers every second through out that 170 days, and the pace surpassed the customer acquisition speed of internet biggies like Facebook or WhatsApp.

However, these mammoth customer number in such a short period was possible, simply because Ambani offered his services free of cost to the customers. So it was no big achievement to have that number of customers who are on-boarded free to the network.

But analysts earlier felt that once Jio starts charging for its services, customers may not like to stick to Jio and there would be huge drop-out of customers from the Jio network. Some earlier reports also suggested that most of the Jio users are considering a Jio as their secondary number. Means, these customers will always have their primary connection, be it of Airtel, Vodafone or Idea, or some other, and use Jio services as a standby, and as long as it is free.

However, the same may not be case anymore with the launch of Jio Prime, despite it being a paid service.

How Jio Prime Changes The Game
During its 100 million customer celebration, Mukesh Ambani also announced that from 1 April Jio services will not be offered free. It will be charged and customers will have to pay for it. And this had been the long standing demand of the industry as well as other operators that Jio should not offer services for free, which is directly affecting the financial health of, one, the industry and, two, the operators. The telecom services industry, led by its association COAI, and spearheaded by top three operators – Airtel, Vodafone and Idea – had been complaining about Jio’s services being free and even knocked the government’s door asking for a redressal and to create a level playing field.

Jio on 21 February forced them to shut their mouth and not crib anymore. It launched its new service offering through a scheme called Jio Prime. The Jio Prime asks the customers to register for the prime membership by paying a fee of Rs99. Once you are a Prime member, you can avail all the existing services, that were earlier offered free, by paying a monthly charge of Rs 303.

What exactly does this mean?
To a Jio customer, it means the services still remain free, almost. You use two things on a smartphone – one, make voice calls, and two, use data for all other purposes – be it surfing, social media, gaming, texting, ‘whatsapping’ and all others.

Anyways, the voice calls are free on Jio. That means you can make free voice calls to any network absolutely free. This is not free with any other operator, yet. That takes care of one of your prime needs – making calls. Second, by paying Rs 303 under Jio Prime scheme you get unlimited data consumption for the entire month. To be more precise, a customer gets 1 GB of free 4G data per day. That means 30 GB of free 4G data a month. And it costs just Rs 303 or Rs 10 per GB. No other operator matches this rate. The closest cheapest operator is BSNL that offers 1 GB 4G data at Rs 36.

It means with Jio Prime both the needs a customer is sorted, that too with a recharge of Rs 303.

Why Customers Won’t Quit Jio
During the free period, Ambani said, Jio customers consumed 100 crore GB of data per month, or 3 crore GB a day. This free offer of data has made consumers addicted to data consumption. If addiction is an exaggerated term, then they, for sure, have realized the value of data. And customers would not shy away from this anytime soon, or never. The hunger will, in fact, grow.

So, it may possible, that the existing Jio customers would like to stick to the operator as they will be getting 30 GB of data for the monthly price. It may also possible that they will not dump their other number, be it from Airtel, Vodafone or Idea.

That apart, tariff plan under the Jio Prime scheme is simple as against that of other operators. Customers are still confused which plan should they buy that give them best value for their money. In Jio Prime, they know they will get 30 GB of 4G data for Rs 303.

Challenges for Jio

Jio, for sure, is not going to walk in a park in the coming times. Though there is high probability that its customers will not move out of its network, Mukesh Ambani, however, can not be complacent, which, the businessman he is, will not be. The big challenge of Jio network is its voice network. A phone does not remain a phone if it can not make a call, which has been an issue with the new operator. Most of the cases, when someone switches off his Jio services or connects to other data network, Jio’s voice network does not work properly. At times, does not work at all.

In order to keep the Jio Prime members stick to the network, and for Mukesh Ambani to celebrate next 100 million customers, the operator, has to work tirelessly to maintain the voice network in a robust stage.

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Analysis

Exiting India Decision Not Taken Lightly : Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke

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This morning Airtel announced that it is acquiring Telenor India, the Indian arm of Norwegian telecom major Telenor. However, this was not a happily taken decision for the company, laments the Group CEO Sigve Brekke.

“The decision to exit India has not been taken lightly,” said Brekke on the development.

The company that came to India in 2008 has been doing losses since its entry to the world’s most competitive market. And the competition got more fierce with the entry of Reliance Jio as a new telecom operator that has forced many operators to consolidate. To sustain the pressure Telenor India needed huge and regular investments. However, the group did not find putting more money to the loss-making firm anymore.

“After thorough consideration, it is our view that the significant investments needed to secure Telenor India’s future business on a standalone basis would not have given an acceptable level of return,” says Brekke.

For FY 2016, Telenor India’s revenue was reported at 6 billion Norwegian currency (NOK) compared to FY 2015′ revenue of 5.59 billion NOK, which is an increment of just 3%. This increment, however, was due to higher interconnect fees, says the company. The related loss in FY 2016 was at 7.3 billion NOK.

Airtel will completely take over the company and the acquisition will be completed within 12 months, both the companies said in a statement.

The acquisition includes the complete ownership of Telenor India’s spectrum, licenses and operations, its employees -around 4,500, and its customer base of around 44 million.

As part of the agreement, Airtel will take over outstanding spectrum payments and other operational contracts, including tower lease. Telenor services are commercially available in six telecom circles in India (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar & Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West), and the company also has spectrum in Assam.

From 1st quarter 2017, Telenor Group will discontinue its India operations as a business unit and stop reporting about the same.

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Analysis

What To Expect From Mukesh Ambani’s Announcement Today

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Reliance Industries has informed its Chairman Mukesh Ambani is going to make some announcements today. Industry and media in particular and public in general become too excited whenever RIL says there’s a Mukesh Ambani’s announcement. Whenever there was a such announcement, the public as well as the industry wait for it in bated breath and with equal curiosity – the public expecting some telecom freebies and offerings, and his industry competitors start to calculate how its going to impact them.

So what will Mukesh Ambani’s announcement include today? We do not know what he will announce today but here are some anticipated announcements.

Jio 100 Mn Customers

We are sure this makes a part of Mukesh Ambani’s announcement today. In fact Ambani is expected to open his remarks with this announcement that Reliance Jio had acquired 100 million customers. We are privy to one of his presentation slides that says ‘We dreamt it, we did it’. And the company ‘celebrates 100 million digital life’ in just 170 days.

Free Offers Extension

We do not believe Reliance Jio to extend the free services beyond 31 March, 2017. However, at the same time, he is not going to create a situation where customers, say this 100 million, would dump Jio SIM and go back to their old loyal service provider – be it Airtel, Vodafone or Idea, or any other. It is expected he may announce some lucrative tariff plans so that the customers still remained glued to his data plans. He may offer some freebies along with his data plans. For example, yesterday Jio and Uber forged a partnership where Uber users can pay using JioMoney. While doing that, the company said, it will come up with some incentive plans for both JioMoney and Uber users. However, the details about the incentives are not announced. Ambani might add this to his speech today.

Jio LYF Feature Phone

Well, he may finally announce the LYF 4G feature phone today. TeleAnalysis had broke the story that Jio is planning to bring a 4G feature phone, could be named LYF Easy, and will price it below Rs 1500. This has been doing the rounds for quite some days, but it seems the time has come. This could be one announcement today. Mukesh Ambani had always maintained that his company’s goal is to reach out to the masses of the country, and an affordable 4G feature phone could enable him to achieve that.

The objective of bringing 4G feature phones is to offer VoLTE capability in the low-cost phones. These phones will have VoLTE capability so that the users can make free voice calls, the main priority of that kind of user, and the most lucrative offer from Jio.

In India feature phones still contribute close to 70% of phone sales and the price starts from Rs 500 and goes upto Rs 4000. However, 80% of the feature phones of below Rs 2000 are not capable of anything beyond voice calls and text messages. The biggest deterrent for data consumption is the lack of an access device, and affordability is the prime reason why 70% of Indians still buying feature phones. With the launch of features phones that are 4G compatible can surely change the dynamics of data business for operators.

The other elements that could be a part of Mukesh Ambani’s announcement today would be around his plans for Jio Payments Bank which is expected to be launched anytime in this month or before March.

The company has informed that he will make his speech at 1.30 Pm today. Ever since his firm Reliance Jio entered to the telecom business, any and every such announcement has created flutters in the industry and ruffled few feathers among his competitors.

You can watch RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s announcement here.

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Reliance Jio Impact : Its Blood Everywhere

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Telecom operators, all big three, as well as industry watchers believe the Reliance Jio impact on the financial health of these firms in Q3 is the beginning – Q4 could be worse.

When Reliance Jio launched its services in early September, and offered everything – voice, data, video – for free, the industry reaction was like ‘Let’s see!”. When the free offerings were extended to another three months from December 2016 to March 2017, the industry started feeling the heat. And when the quarterly results were out post Jio’s first 3 months of free offerings, the industry was bleeding and the top 3 operators, profusely. There was blood everywhere – voice, data and video. And there are no signs of a stoppage as of now.

The Indian telecom industry has seen many ups and downs in the past and was affected by many disruptions – from liberalization of policies to multiple multi-billion dollar scams – during the journey. But nothing has had as fast and as precise impact as caused by the re-entry of Reliance Jio, the multi-billion dollar startup of Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man.

Look at these statements.

“As a result of this current industry upheaval, the standalone revenue dropped to an unforeseen level,” said Idea Cellular, country’s third largest operator.

“We have also entered discussions with the Aditya Birla Group about an all-share merger of Vodafone India and Idea,” said Vitorio Collao, CEO of Vodafone Group, the parent company of India’s second largest operator.

This (Jio) has led to an unprecedented year on year revenue decline for the industry, pressure on margins and a serious impact on the financial health of the sector.” This comes from Gopal Vittal, the CEO of India’s largest operator -Bharti Airtel.

And if the top three operator of world’s fastest growing telecom market is referring to one particular disruption, then this is no joke – as was being perceived during the initial days.

Jio Impact On Idea
Since 2007, when the Aditya Birla Group telco went public, it has never witnessed a financial loss. For the first time in 10 years Idea posted a net loss of Rs 386 crore in Q3 of 2017 compared to a profit of Rs 90 crore a quarter ago. In revenue terms also, the firm saw a degrowth and posted revenue of Rs 8663 crore compared to Rs 9300 crore in Q2.

“The Indian mobile industry witnessed an unprecedented disruption in the quarter of October to December 2016, primarily due to free voice & mobile data promotions by the new entrant in the sector,” Idea attributes the loss to.

On Voice :The company, in its own words, said, it was forced to reduce voice rates by 10.6% and offer it at 29.6 paisa per minute compared to 33.1 paisa a quarter ago. But the company was still worried as the ‘lure of free offerings resulted in lower than normal volume.’

On Data :The impact, however, was harsher on the firm’s data business. The company dropped its data rate by 15.2%, but the Jio impact was such that still 5.5 million mobile data users opted out of its data plans, what the company claims as ‘happened for the first time.’ And the data ARPU dropped to Rs 111 from Rs 130 a quarter ago.

Jio Impact On Vodafone India

Vodafone India’s revenue dropped by 1.9% during the Q3 compared to Q2 of 2017. Sequentially the Q2 revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1. This huge drop, Vodafone said, was because of ‘heightened competitive pressure following free services offered by the new entrant.’ The company does not offer a break up of its net profit region wise.

On Voice :The company’s voice revenue also declined by 3% in Q3 compared to 2.7% up in the previous quarter. Vodafone blamed this on the new entrant’s (Reliance Jio) low ICU. The company also said it had reduced its voice rates by 4% in this quarter.

On Data :Look at the impact on data business. Vodafone India’s data revenue dropped to 0.6% in October-December quarter from 16% in the previous quarter. This brought down the company’s data user base to 65 million from 70 million a quarter back. Like Idea, this British company has also reduced its data pricing by 11% during this period to fend off the competition.

Jio Impact on Airtel

Airtel is the largest operator in the country and perhaps the only operator to sustain the ‘predatory’ practices of Reliance Jio. Experts also believe that the Sunil Mittal led firm can successfully withstand all pressures from the new entrant. However, it was not entirely immune to Jio’s onslaught.

In Q3 2017, the company’s net income plunged to a new low – 54.5%. The company posted a net profit of Rs 503 crore in Q3, 2017 compared to Rs 1108 crore for the same period a year ago. If we make a quarter on quarter comparison, the Airtel Q3 shows even more troubled picture – a drop of 65.5% compared to the previous quarter. In Q2 2017, company’s net profit was Rs 1460 crore.

Revenues for Airtel India in the Q3 2017 rose marginally to post Rs 18013 crore, an increment of 1.8% over Rs 17694 crore posted in the same period previous year. The company said the slowdown in mobile revenue growth primarily due to free voice and data offering by a new operator.

On Voice :During ths quarter Airtel’s ARPU hs comedown to Rs 172 compared Rs 188 a quarter ago. Like Idea the operator has also reduced its voice rates and offers it at 29.42 paisa per minute in Q3 compared to 32.42 paisa during the previous quarter.

On Data :In Data business also, the firm saw a hit because of free offerings from Reliance Jio. Total data consumers saw a decline of 12.4% during this period and data ARPU has come down to Rs 175 in Q3 from RS 201 a quarter back. The Jio effect has also forced Airtel to drop its data rates during the qarter. By end of December Airtel’s data rate per MB was 17.97 paisa compared to 20.08 paisa at the end of September.

Telecom operators, all big three, as well as industry watchers believe the Reliance Jio impact on the financial health of these firms in Q3 is the beginning – Q4 could be worse. These operators fear, if Reliance Jio continue to extend its free offerings beyond March 31 of 2017, as there are rumors doing the round, the industry would see more bloodshed, though from one side, in coming days.

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Airtel FIR : Guess Who’s Behind The ‘Malicious Campaign’

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Country’s largest operator Bharti Airtel has filed an FIR (first information report) against unknown persons for running a malicious and fraudulent campaign against it. The Airtel FIR seeks immediate action from the authority.

The police complaint filed by the operator said it received an email from a person named ‘Santosh Chaturvedi’ with a subject line ‘Oppose Airtel from misleading consumers’ on 1 February. Subsequently the operator received around 3000 such mails from an email ID ([email protected]) asking people to avoid Airtel.

“As a responsible and reputable organisation since the email was received by one of our employees, the matter was reported internally for preliminary investigation,” Airtel wrote in the police complaint.

Both documents, the FIR and the Email, were reviewed by TeleAnalysis.

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The email, asking to sign a petition, appeals the readers to ‘Avoid AVoId’ where the ‘AVoId’ stands ‘Airtel(A), Vodafone(Vo) and Idea(Id)’. In the content of the email, the email sender, subtly suggests these three operators are fleecing it whereas he feels empowered by Reliance Jio.

airtel_FIR_petitio_change

On clicking the ‘sign the petition’, the link takes to a page of of Change.org and it shows one ‘Santosh Chaturvedi’ has started the campaign to avoid these operators. The petition at the Change.org site also talks about how operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are ‘misleading the Indian consumers’ and ‘keeping India and Indians in the dark ages and slowing down the growth of knowledge in this country’.

At the same time the petition says ‘Jio jas started a free voice movement’ in India and operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea (AVoId) are ‘pressurizing regulatory authorities like TRAI to stop this movement for the growth of India.

“And all this because they have not invested in upgrading their networks. For years, they have been making crores by charging for calls and not allowing rural India to access the internet by keeping the costs high. Now when there is a new entrant ready to change the industry, these companies, instead of competing, are calling the cheaper offers predatory. They first formed a cartel and tried to block voice calls from and to their networks, trying to make the consumers who could have got free calls, pay,” the petition says.

The petitioner Santosh Chaturvedi claims to be a ‘journalist and average Indian’ and his Twitter account says he is an HR professional.

The email Id from which he has sent the email to Airtel reveals that this ‘Santosh Chaturvedi’ is associated with two seemingly news portals – www.techaajkal.com and www.nesroompost.com.

Airtel-FIR_Email_snapshot

TeleAnalysis failed to reach him as he was not in his office by the time we went online.

In an interesting coincidence, the Airtel FIR also says that the domain name of the email ID, ([email protected]) has a digital certificate registered in the name of ‘[email protected] and this email ID is also linked to another domain name (mail.jiohomedelivery.com).

Airtel, in its own internal investigation, found that this email ID belongs to one Shailendra Jha, who also linked to (mail.jiohomedelivery.com) is sending these malicious mails and is involved in ‘illegal, dishonest, unlawful and fraudulent activities.’

No one picked up the phone when TeleAnalysis called the number mentioned in the Airtel FIR associated with Shailendra S Jha

“In view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances we strongly believe that Shailendra S Jha in collusion with unknown persons deliberately with ulterior motives for maligning the brand name of Bharti Airtel indulged in illegal activities to cause wrongful loss to our organisation and at the same time wrongfully gain by knowingly and intentionally causing harm to our reputation, malign and damage the reputation of our brand for benefiting our competitor in the Telecom industry,” the Airtel FIR states.

The Airtel FIR demanded a fair investigation and has requested the police department to take appropriate action on the concerned person on immediate basis.

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AnalysisWireless

Unlicensed Broadband Radios And The Market Dynamics

unlicensed spectrum band

 

With the rising adoption of smartphones in India and subsequent consumption of data on these devices, the country stares at a herculean task of providing high speed quality service to its consumers. The future of mobile broadband, solely based on currently allocated licensed spectrum, looks bleak. Utilising the potential of unlicensed spectrum holds the key here.

All wireless communication technologies require some kind of airwaves to send and receive data, however not all airwave bands are licensed, thus allowing the operator and others to deploy equipment in such spectrum without having to go through regulatory approvals and pay any license fee for its usage.

In India, among the available unlicensed spectrum bands, the Wireless Planning and Coordination wing (WPC) of Indian government under the ministry of telecom has notified 5.825-5.875 GHz band for outdoor use. However, industry bodies have consistently been demanding the government to release more unlicensed spectrum bands to enable bigger data network deployments offering higher capacities, as the currently available spectrum is too low to enable the Digital India Initiatives or reach the rural hinterland in a cost effective manner.

The Use Case

As broadband becomes ubiquitous and demands rise to be always-connected, telecom service providers go the extra mile to provide their users the best possible experience. Earlier the demand to remain connected was the preserve of some enterprises but with the Indian Government’s Digital India Programme to ensure that Government services are made available to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology, using available wireless technologies has become critical for service providers. Indian government’s ambitious project Bharat Net or NOFN also looks a using the unlicensed airwaves to complement the existing fibre network. These airwaves come handy, particularly, in cases like difficult and hilly terrains, where it becomes difficult to lay fibre.

Wi-Fi hotspots in commercial as well as urban areas to cater to the ever increasing data requirements requires unlicensed spectrum and related equipments or UBRs, as it is difficult for telecom operators and ISPs to deploy more cellular infrastructure due to cost and spectrum resources.

Smart Cities project is one more area where unlicensed spectrum are expected to see demand. A smart city, will be based on the success of internet of things (IOT) as multiple components like utilities, smart parking, lighting, surveillance etc will be done automatically through the help of thousands of sensors. A robust network architecture is required to connect all building blocks of a smart city; and it just can’t solely rely on cellular or 4G network as in emergency situations these tend to be jammed. Backhaul through small cells will form the backbone of the network.

Equipments and radios that work on these unlicensed spectrum bands are called UBRs or unlicensed broadband radios.

Benefits of UBR

Broadband Radio units offer reliable, high-speed and secure wireless connectivity between multiple remote locations through high-capacity wireless point to point and point to multipoint configurations. Radios based on sub 6GHz bands can cover long distance and are also suitable for urban deployments providing non line of sight capabilities. Some vendors provide carrier grade performance with a high data rate which is both stable & reliable. As these radios work in unlicensed spectrum bands, they need to conform to regulatory requirements of governments; In India it is WPC, part of DOT which is responsible for the regulation.

Besides, having smaller footprints to conventional microwave radios, they are easy to deploy and mostly operate on plug & play model. The radios, in most cases, can be deployed within hours and, if required, can be dismantled easily and be redeployed somewhere else with no or little tweaks in the configuration.

The UBRs are being used by government agencies and enterprises for connecting multiple locations with head offices within a secured environment both in private network mode as well as extension of large VPN networks. ISPs and carriers use UBRs to offer high-speed wireless broadband access to their customers where it is not feasible to lay fibre. It is perhaps the most cost effective last mile access technology for broadband.

Challenges

Like licensed spectrum, the use of unlicensed airwaves do have their own challenges, the biggest of which is interference. While government policies regulate the unlicensed band, the solution, however, remains with the selection of right kind of RF technology and the reliability and scalability of the network architecture.

Vendors In Fray

There are multiple global vendors offering different products and solutions for the unlicensed airwaves. Among the international companies who present in India with products in the unlicensed bands are Airspan, Alvarion, Cambium Proxim, Radwin and Ubiquity, with HQs  in China, Russia, Israel & United States. There are a handful of Indian companies also viz. Primatel, Maksat and Vihaan Networks offering products in these spectrum.

These technology firms offer different technologies serving different requirements in this arena, from low distance low throughput commercial to high throughput, high SLA enterprise and surveillance requirements, with prices offered based on these matrices.

The requirement of telecom operators for their customers and infrastructure, are generally for high capacity, interference mitigation, high reliability & high MTBF equipment which also provides low operating costs. To fulfill the same, they follow stringent criterion for selection and rely on thorough testing of the equipment before selection.

Snapshot of each of these players in India in the unlicensed bands is provided for the reader’s reference.

Radwin: The Israeli firm has been in India since 2005 and offers a comprehensive suite of sub 6 GHz point-to-point and point-to-multipoint solutions. They also have a wireless product for fast-moving vehicles like trains and Metro Trains. The company is currently the leader in this segment and commands a market share of around 45% in carrier and ISP segment in India, addressing both the backhaul and last mile requirements of all the major operators including Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel, BSNL, Sify and Tikona. The company also boasts of other large customers in segments like railways, defence, airports, mining, city surveillance projects.

Ubiquiti: HQ in USA, started in 2005, it is at number 2 with almost 16% market share in India’s Carrier & ISP Segment. The company boasts of its low priced, commercial market products. Its technology platforms focus on delivering highly advanced and easily deployable solutions. ISPs are the main users for this equipment for achieving low cost last mile access.  Operators like Tikona & Vodafone are their customers, though their main focus remains the campus and commercial market where SLAs are less stringent.

Alvarion: This is another firm based out of Israel. This firm is considered to be a WiMAX & Wi-Fi expert and commands around 9% market share in India Carrier & ISP Segment primarily addressing the point to multi point and licensed bands like 3.3Ghz. The company also offers Wi-Fi solutions for smart cities, enterprises, carriers and ISPs. Some of the Indian operators who use Alvarion WiMAX and Radio products include BSNL, Airtel & Aircel. Indian Armed Forces also has some deployments .

Cambium: Headquartered in USA, with a market share of 8% in Carrier & ISP Segment, Cambium Networks is placed at fourth position among UBR solution providers in India. These firm’s core focus areas include scalable and secure Wi-Fi, fixed wireless broadband, point-to-point (PTP) and point-to-multipoint (PMP) platforms. Its radio solutions are used by telcos like Airtel, Idea Cellular, Telenor, and are deployed for enterprises in the sector of oil and gas, mines, ports and city wide Wi-Fi projects.

Maksat Technologies: This Indian firm gives a tough fight to its global competitors and holds a market share of 7% in Carrier & ISP Segment for enterprise business of UBR market in India. The company has its solutions deployed at Defence and other government agencies, large enterprises, carriers and transport operators like metro trains.

Vihaan Networks: This Indian Firm is a part of Shyam Group of Companies. The company manufactures radios in India and also exports to other parts of world. They hold 5% of market share in Carrier & ISP Segment for Enterprise business of UBR market in India. The company’s solutions has majorly been deployed at BSNL.

PraimaTel – Prima Telecom Limited, an Indian firm is a part of telecom division of Suri Group. The company established in 2000 as a distributor of last mile access products, then extended to recognized R&D setup for product design & development in India. They hold 4% of market share in Carrier & ISP Segment, majorly provided its solution to Airtel, Railtel, Aircel & TTSL.

Source : TeleAnalysis

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