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Airtel Reappoints Gopal Vittal As MD & CEO For Another 5 Years

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Bharti Airtel, the largest operator in the country, has reappointed Gopal Vittal as Managing Director and CEO of its India and South Asia operations for another 5 years. Vittal currently holds the same position and his renewed service would start from February 1, 2018.

Bharti Airtel announced this during the company’s AGM yesterday, on 24 July.

Vittal joined Airtel as its CEO and MD in March 2013. He has been instrumental in taking Airtel out from the stormy financial situations the company was prior to that period.

When Vittal took over, Airtel already had witnessed net loss for eight straight quarters or exactly two years, and the company was sitting on a debt of over $2 billion. This, can never be a sign of a healthy company.

However, after Gopal’s joining the firm at its helm, the company, through various remedial measures, came back to make profits, that too consistently.

The company is going to announce its 2nd quarter results today, on 25 July, and we will apprise you of it at the due time.

He was previously with Bharti Enterprises where he was the Group Director, Special Projects (April 2012- Feb 2013). In this capacity, he worked towards formulating and supporting Airtel’s international strategy and data expansion.

Prior to this Gopal Vittal was with Hindustan Unilever where he headed the $3.5 billion Home and Personal Care division.

As Director, Marketing at Bharti Airtel from 2006 to 2008, he made significant contributions towards driving revenue growth, market leadership and building Airtel as an iconic brand.

Gopal Vittal is an alumnus of Madras Christian College and has completed his MBA at IIM, Kolkata.

 

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Full Speech Of Mukesh Ambani On RIL 40th AGM And Jio Phone Launch

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RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani on 21 July addressed the shareholders during the company’s 40th AGM. In RIL 40th AGM, the company also made a revolutionary announcement to bring the over 50 crore 2G phone users to a smartphone era and said how they can be a part of India’s digital revolution. Ambani also launched a 4G feature phone – Jio Phone – eyeing the 50 crore plus Indian 2G users.

Here, we bring you the complete speech delivered by Mukesh Ambani at the RIL 40th AGM.

Dear Friends,
Let me begin with Reliance Jio. It has been only 10 months since the launch of Jio. And what an incredible journey it has been! It has broken one world record after another.

First, nobody believed that we could acquire customers fast enough to justify our Rs 200,000 crore investment in the world’s largest greenfield 4G LTE all-IP network. Team Jio stunned the world. They over-delivered on the 100 million target that I had set for them at our last AGM. In less than 170 days, more than 100 million customers signed up for our services. On an average, we added 7 customers per second every single day. This was the fastest adoption of any technology service, anywhere in the world. Faster than even Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype.This is a testament to the unwavering trust that Indians have placed in us and their love for the brand.

Today, Jio has over 125 million customers. I sincerely thank each and every one of our customers. Aap Sab Ko, Main, Mere Dil Se, Dhanyavaad Deta Hoon !

Second, before the launch of Jio, sceptics said that Voice over LTE is a globally unproven technology. But, we proved them wrong! We enabled Jio users to make unlimited voice calls from anywhere to everywhere in India – absolutely free. Jio users consistently make more than 250 crore minutes of voice and video calls every single day. We are grateful to our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s Digital India vision, which allows the benefits of technology to be passed on, directly to Indian customers.

Third, many analysts believed that India can never be the largest mobile data market in the world. Again, Jio proved them wrong.

In just 6 months of Jio’s launch, data consumption in India went from 20 crore GB to 120 crore GB per month and has been multiplying ever since. Now, Jio customers alone are consuming over 125 crore GB of data every month, including 165 crore hours of high-speed video every month, making Jio the largest mobile video network. Indeed, India has overtaken USA and China in mobile data usage. Before Jio’s launch, India was 155th in the world in mobile broadband penetration. Now India is number 1 in mobile data consumption and well on its way to becoming number 1 in mobile broadband penetration, in the coming months.

Fourth, sceptics said India being India, free users will never convert to paid users. Once again, Jio’s customers proved them wrong. Starting March of this year, Jio successfully undertook the largest migration from free to paid services in history. And we have converted majority of our free customers to paid customers.

Today, Jio has more than 100 million paying Jio Prime customers. Most of them have recharged on Jio’s Rs 309 or higher plans. Jio Prime members will continue to get tariff benefits with Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan and Every Day More Value plans. Additionally, they will get many attractive surprises.

Jio Prime members have a special place in our hearts. We thank them for their trust in Jio and I want to commit that Jio is a customer-obsessed organization and will always walk the extra mile in serving them every single day.

Dear Shareholders,
There are 78 crore mobile phones in India. However, let us not forget that in this 78 crore, there are more than 50 crore feature phone users who have been left out of the digital revolution. They cannot avail any benefits of a smart phone, much less the benefits of a 4G LTE smartphone. They can neither afford the cheapest 4G LTE smartphone, nor the exorbitant cost of data charged by existing 2G operators.

At last year’s AGM, I had said that data is the oxygen of digital life, and no Indian should suffer because of data scarcity and unaffordability. Sadly, a vast majority of mobile users in India are starved of data. This digital disempowerment and unfairness must end.

Jio is committing to end it today. We shall achieve this in three ways – Connectivity, Data Affordability and Device Affordability.

First, connectivity:
Jio is a data strong network built for the internet from the ground up with the highest speeds and the best coverage. This is a significant advantage we have over all other Indian operators. For the past 5 months, the TRAI SpeedTest portal, which officially monitors the quality of telecom networks in India, has consistently ranked Jio as the clear 4G network leader in coverage, usage and data speeds. 

Our network continues to rapidly expand across the country. And in the next 12 months, Jio services will cover 99% of our country’s population. Because of Jio, India’s 4G coverage will be more than its 2G coverage. It took 25 years for our competitors to build their 2G network. Jio will have created a larger 4G network in just three years.

To support the enhanced coverage, we are also expanding our physical distribution network across India. We will soon have over 10,000 Jio offices, across every city and tehsil town of India. These offices will service our sales channel partners and over ten lakh physical retail outlets that sell Jio services. In addition we will integrate with all major e-commerce platforms.

Second, Data Affordability:
Friends,
It is both unjust and ironic that 50 crore Indians who have feature phones pay more for voice calls and sms than those with smartphones. They end up spending their entire month’s telecom budget of Rs 150 – 200 only to get 150 minutes of voice – while their smartphone counterparts on Jio network get voice for free.

Even today, they have to pay between Rs 4,000 to 8,000 for every GB of data – while their smartphone counterparts on Jio get data for Rs 10 to 20 per GB. If these feature phone users were to consume a similar quantity of data as smartphone users, they would spend over ` 4000 per month at the prevailing 2G data rates.

This makes it impossible for them to even think of using data, let alone avail advanced data services like video calling, mobile video and mobile applications.

Third, device affordability:
Even an entry-level smart phone costs between Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500 making it unaffordable for feature phone users to upgrade to a smartphone. We simply cannot idly stand by when such a large proportion of our fellow citizens are unable to participate in the digital revolution sweeping the nation. This is the most critical problem in bridging the digital divide.

And I had challenged our young engineers at Jio to find a disruptive Indian solution to this problem. What they came up with, stunned me. And it will stun you.

Today, Jio is going to reinvent the conventional feature phone. With a revolutionary device, an unmatched Indian innovation, Made in India, by young Indians and for all Indians.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me introduce India ka Intelligent SmartPhone – Presenting Jio Phone. As you just saw, JioPhone is a truly revolutionary phone that will transform the lives of 50 Cr feature phone users.

Now, let me announce the tariffs for the JioPhone.

First,
On the JioPhone, voice will ALWAYS be free. Currently, the 50 Cr feature phone users are charged Re 1.2 to 1.5 per min for basic voice calling. They end up spending their entire month’s telecom budget of ` 150 – 200 only to get 150 minutes of basic voice.

With Jio’s network coverage reaching 99% of India’s population, and by making voice calls free, this potentially empowers each and every Indian to make FREE VOICE CALLS… to any operator… anywhere in India…

Second,
The 50 Cr feature phone users don’t even have access to basic internet and apps. To enable a Digital Life, they need access to DATA at affordable rates. Starting 15th of August this year, I am declaring DIGITAL FREEDOM for all feature phone users. Jio will give them access to UNLIMITED DATA on the JioPhone.

If these feature phone users were to consume a similar quantity of data on other operator’s network, they would spend over Rs 4,000 – 5,000 per month at prevailing 2G data rates. Jio will provide this at ONLY Rs 153 per month..that is one-thirtieth the price.

I am putting an end to UNAFFORDABLE DATA, with this ALL UNLIMITED, Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan plan of ` 153 per month for the JioPhone! There will be a fair usage policy of half a GB per day, to ensure that bandwidth is fairly apportioned for every user.

Third,
Many JioPhone users might like to view their favorite content such as live TV, movies, education on the big screen of their television sets. This is especially true in many remote parts of India where even cable TV and high speed internet have not reached.

Our young Jio engineers have created an innovation to help them — a special and affordable “JioPhone TV cable” that connects JioPhone with any TV, not just a smart TV, so that all JioPhone users can enjoy viewing on the big screen of their existing television sets. Along with this accessory, users can opt for the existing Jio Dhan Dhan Dhan Rs 309 pack that would allow users to watch almost 3-4 hours of videos daily, of their choice, on a large screen.

Fourth,
We are well aware that many of these users find it difficult to commit Rs 153 upfront. In order to fit every pocket, we are also introducing 2 sachets – a weekly plan for Rs 53 and a 2-day plan for Rs 24, that provide similar value.

Friends,
To sum it up, this breakthrough and revolutionary device named JioPhone along with Jio’s disruptive tariff will unleash the power of Digital Life in the hands of 1.3 billion citizens of the largest democracy in the world.

Now, let’s do a quick recap of today’s highlights:
1. Jio redefined technology service adoption and became the fastest growing company in the world, with more than 125 million customers.
2. Jio revolutionized data consumption and made India the number 1 data-consuming nation, globally 3. In terms of Jio’s network rollout, Jio will ensure that India’s 4G coverage will be more than its 2G coverage in the next 12 months
4. Jio reinvented the conventional feature phone and launched a breakthrough device called the JioPhone that will unleash a Digital Life for every Indian.
5. Jio once again disrupted market tariffs by:
A. Making voice free for 50 Cr feature phone users
B. Introducing an unlimited data plan for JioPhone users at only ` 153 per month
C. Introducing an innovative JioPhone TV-Cable to help connect the JioPhone to ANY TV for watching your favorite internet content
D. Announcing affordable ALL UNLIMITED sachets at ` 53 for a week and ` 23 for 2 days
These are truly five path-breaking and revolutionary announcements from Jio.
But that’s not all. There is ONE MORE THING.

You may want to know how much the JioPhone cost.
Remember that even an entry-level 4G smart phone will cost between Rs 3,000 – 4,500. Today, I am delighted to announce that JioPhone will be available to all Indians for an effective price of – Rs 0.
Yes, you have heard it right …for an effective price of Rs 0! JioPhone is effectively free for Jio customers. We know that anything free can potentially be misused. To protect against misuse of the free JioPhone offer, we plan to collect a fully refundable, one-time, security deposit of ` 1,500 with every JioPhone.

A JioPhone user can use the JioPhone for 36 months, and can get a full refund of the security deposit of ` 1,500 by returning the used JioPhone. Net-net, you pay nothing for the JioPhone. It is free!!

Dear Shareowners,
All Indians – without exception – will not only be free from voice charges, from SMS charges, from extortionist data charges. From 15th August, 2017, they will have access to the highest quality, highest quantity, most affordable and unlimited data. This is how Jio will end the digital exclusion in India. And this is what I call true digital freedom.

Reliance dedicates JioPhone to the nation on the joyous occasion of [email protected] – the 70th anniversary of India’s Freedom and offers it to over 50 crore data-deprived mobile feature phone users in India.

Digital Life will no longer be the privilege of the affluent few. This is the most powerful digital tool ever created in India to empower every Indian. Technological limitations and inefficiencies of some operators will no longer become an excuse to perpetuate digital deprivation to over 50 crore Indians. Reliance democratized the equity culture in the past.

Now, Jio will democratize the digital culture in India.

Jio will be the greatest accelerator of the Bharat-India connectivity. Indians even in the remotest villages will now have the same access to digital entertainment, digital learning, e- Healthcare, e-banking, e-Governance and real-time information that is enjoyed by those in cities like Mumbai or Delhi.

The launch of the JioPhone will fulfill the dream of our Founder, Shri. Dhirubhai Ambani and the Digital India vision of our Prime Minister Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi.

Friends,
So… when will the JioPhone be available? The JioPhone will be available for user testing in beta from 15th August and for pre-booking from 24th August. And JioPhone will be physically available to those who have pre-booked, on a first come first serve basis, September onwards.

So, I encourage all of you to pre-book a JioPhone as quickly as possible, starting 24th August. And from the last quarter of this year, all JioPhones will be made in India. We are targeting to have 5 million JioPhones available every week.

Dear Shareholders,
I have always set impossible goals and targets for my colleagues at Jio. And they have unfailingly made the impossible, possible. Today, I am mandating the Jio Team to help a majority of feature phone users in India to migrate to JioPhone. JioPhone will make the 2G feature phone obsolete. With this, I am sure Jio will set a new world record.

Friends,
Creating fixed-line high-speed broadband services is the next leap forward for our country. Jio remains well on track to bring world-class optic-fiber connectivity to enterprises, small businesses, homes and public spaces. Most of Jio’s infrastructure for providing these services is already in place. This is the next big monetization opportunity for us. I will regularly apprise you of the progress we make in each of these areas.

Friends,
Our motto is that while we are the best today we will strive to be better tomorrow. Once again, I thank you for being a part of our growing Jio family! We are grateful for your trust, and we are obsessed, 24×7, with providing you a superior customer and service experience.
It is an honor for me to be a part of this amazing journey… I am confident that with Jio and on this fortieth anniversary of Reliance…

Your LIFE IS DIGITAL. And your LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.

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AI Startup Halli Labs Becomes First Indian Acquisition For Google

HALLI labs

Four month old startup, Halli labs, which works in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI) has been acquired by Global internet giant Google. It is Google’s first acquisition in India.

Halli Labs, wrote in their blog “Today, we are thrilled to share the news that the Halli Labs team is joining Google. As we wrote in our introductory blog post, Halli Labs was founded with the goal of applying modern AI and ML techniques to old problems and domains — in order to help technology enable people to do whatever it is that they want to do, easier and better. Well, what better place than Google to help us achieve this goal. We will be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get more technology and information into more people’s hands around the world”.
It did not disclose the value of the deal. Halli (village in Kannada) Labs was founded by Pankaj Gupta four months ago soon after he left the now-defunct local Airbnb rival Stayzilla. Gupta has a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University.

“Welcome @Pankaj and the team at @halli_labs to Google. Looking forward to building some cool stuff together,” said Caesar Sengupta, vice-president, product management, Google.

India has emerged as one of the biggest markets for internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple for talent as well as business. The increasing number of start-ups, built by former employees of these and other multinational firms, has helped focus on building products that solve problems of consumers, both in India and abroad.

In the past many startups have been acquired by companies like Facebook, Twitter and Apple. While Facebook bought Little Eye Labs, a startup that tracks and optimises the performance of Android-based mobile apps in January 2014, Twitter acquired another Bengaluru-based startup ZipDial, which built a business through India’s habit of missed calls to connect with others. In 2016, Apple acquired Hyderabad-based AI start-up Tuplejump.

AI and MI are touted as the next big thing in the IT and Telecom space, the next version of Android is going to feature several AI enabled features and similarly action is hotting up in Autonomous car space which uses these two technologies extensively.

 

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Airtel To Invest Rs 2000 Crore to Improve Customer Experience

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Telecom major Bharti Airtel has announced plans to invest Rs 2,000 crore over three years under ‘Project Next’ which is aimed at revamp customer touch points and enhancing customer experience.

Under Project Next, Airtel will spruce up its stores, launch mobile handset protection schemes, allow transfer of unused mobile data to next month for postpaid users and pooling of postpaid plan within a family.

On the rollout of VoLTE (Voice over LTE), Bharti Airtel MD and CEO (South Asia) Gopal Vittal said “it is in the works and the company is conducting trials in five cities. He added that the company will be “able to take VoLTE” everywhere in the country in later part of the year.

One of the standout features the project brings in is Airtel’s Postpaid Promise. Under this new programme, Airtel post-paid users will be now able to carry forward unused data after the billing cycle ends. In total they will be able to accumulate up to 200GB as part of the Airtel Promise.

In other words, you have have been alloted 10GB for a month and you managed to consume just 2GB, next month you will have 18GB of data to use.

Last year, Airtel invested 6000 crore to improve its network and now Airtel claims that Project next is aimed at taking the enhanced network and delivering Airtel’s services like Postpaid, Prepaid, Wynk, Airtel TV and Payments Bank across all its touch points – stores, airtel app, airtel.in, call centre and retailers – seamlessly .

Under the project Next Airtel will revamp its stores and create new flagships stores, which are designed by the same people who designed Apple Stores (8 inc). These stores are divided into three zones – share zone, create zone and experience zone. Airtel plans to revamp 2,500 stores over the course of the next three years. First two redisigned stores are already live in Gurugram.

Airtel Mobile App also gets a new version. The new app allows real time, change of plans to real time notifications and self-care.

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TRAI plans Nationwide WiFi hotspot network

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TRAI, Telecom regulatory body of India, has invited businesses both small and big to become part of Pilot of what it calls PDO (Public Data Office), Network. PDO is essentially WiFi hotspot, but these will part of a wider network which will take care of authentication and payment, this will allow users to make single payment and authentication to use a network of WiFi hotspots.

Regulator has devised a framework under which these PDOs will operate, it is called WiFi Access Network Interface (WANI). This interface will allow business to easily setup public WiFi hotspots without bothering about setting up payment and authentication systems and allow users one click payment and authentication and usage of one or more hotspot in a single session.

TRAI wants prices to be available in small sachet of Rs 2 to Rs 20 per session, it also wants the Public Wi-Fi Hotspots to store community interest data locally, and allow access to it through negligible costs.

In this WiFi Hotspot Network three entities will be involved, first being Public Data Office Provider/Aggregator, it will provide one or more WiFi hotspots to the public on free or paid model, second will be App provider whose role will be to manage user’s KYC (mobile or Aadhaar) backed profile, allow all digital payment methods, and allow users to easily connect to hotspots. and Third and final part will be played by Hardware, software and service provider they will form the back end of the network.

TRAI will release WANI technology Architecture Document in next couple of days for the entities which wants to participate in the Pilot project.

TRAI has said “This Pilot aims to demonstrate that un-bundling of services reduces rework, speeds up development and hence is the most effective way to tackle this complex problem”.

It goes on to add “PDOs will be akin to the PCOs that connected all of India, even when tele-density was less than 7 telephones per 100 people. It is also suggested that the Public Wi-Fi Hotspots store community interest data locally, and allow access to it through negligible costs. Overall, these suggestions encourage the PDOs to become bustling centers of economic activity, where consumption of data for the average Indian becomes as common as consuming a cup of hot chai”.

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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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Samsung To Invest Rs 4915 Cr In Noida Manufacturing Plant

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Samsung Wednesday said it will invest close to Rs 5000 crore in its manufacturing plant in Noida which the company expects will generate thousands of jobs and transform the facility as a major production hub.

The Noida manufacturing plant manufactures smartphones, refrigerators and flat panel televisions for the company and will see investment of Rs 4915 crore.

“The investment reaffirms Samsung’s commitment to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for India’ and to the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Noida plant is the Company’s first of two manufacturing units in India and was set up in 1996,” the company said in a statement.

The investment will go in to expansion of the plant on an additional 35 acres of land adjacent to the current facility and will double the production capacity of both mobile phones and refrigerators. The investment proposal was recently approved by the Uttar Pradesh government under its Mega Policy.

Samsung’s Noida plant was one of the first electronics manufacturing facilities set up in India in the early 1990s. The plant started with the manufacture of televisions in 1997. The current mobile phone manufacturing unit was added in 2005.

Samsung said the expansion of the plant will act as a catalyst for the development of a robust electronics manufacturing ecosystem and is expected to generate thousands of new jobs, both direct and indirect, across the country.

“Samsung prides itself in being a key pillar of the Government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives,” the company said.

“This new investment of Rs 4,915 crore is a testament to our continuing commitment to ‘Make in India’ and to Uttar Pradesh, which has been our partner right from the day Samsung’s journey in India began. Steadfast support from the state and local authorities in Noida has helped make our vision of ‘Make for India’ a reality,” said HC Hong, President and CEO, Samsung Southwest Asia.

Samsung, at present, has two factories—in Noida and Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, five R&D centres and one design centre in Noida, employing over 70,000 people and expanding its network to over 1.5 lakh retail outlets.

It has also launched service vans to provide timely customer service to consumers across rural India, expanding its network to over 3,000 service points, self-claimed to be the largest by any company in the country.

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Apple, Nokia Bury All Hatchets; Join Hands For Business Collaboration

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Now this is interesting. Tech giants Nokia and Apple, who mostly used to meet in courts, now have settled all their past disputes and litigation, and joined hands to work together in the areas of technology as well as business.

Further, both the companies have signed a multi-year patent license to use each other’s technologies.

“We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

However, the settlement does not come without a price. Apple will give an upfront cash payment to Nokia to settle the litigation that has been running for years now. Besides, the Cupertino based firm will also make additional payments during the term of the agreement.

“This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple,” said Maria Varsellona, Chief Legal Officer at Nokia, responsible for Nokia’s patent licensing business. “It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers.”

Under a business collaboration agreement, Nokia will be providing certain network infrastructure products and services to Apple. Apple will resume carrying Nokia digital health products (formerly under the Withings brand) in Apple retail and online stores, and both the companies are exploring future collaboration in digital health initiatives.

The joint statement also said that both the firms would conduct regular summits between top executives from both the firms to ensure that the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers.

“This agreement will strengthen our collaboration,” said Basil Alwan, President of Nokia’s IP/Optical Networks business.

The value of the agreement will be reflected partially as patent licensing net sales in Nokia Technologies and partially as net sales in other Nokia business groups. The company said it will follow its existing practices for disclosing patent licensing revenue in its quarterly announcements and expects that revenues for the agreement will start to be recognized in the second quarter of 2017, including an element of non-recurring catch-up revenue.

Due to the up-front cash payment from Apple, Nokia intends to provide a comprehensive update of its capital structure optimization program in conjunction with its third quarter 2017 results.

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Telenor Rejigs Top Deck, Restructure Businesses To Four Clusters

telenor office

Telenor Group today announced a change to its organisational structure and its executive management team in order to transition into a more integrated global company and to deliver on its digital strategy. The changes will be effective from 1 March 2017.

“In 2015, we included the business unit CEOs into the Group’s executive management to ensure a closer connection with customers and the development of a unified global strategy. With the changes announced today, we are taking the next step and continue to evolve into a more global company, leveraging economies of scale and driving innovation across Telenor,” says Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group.

Telenor Group’s business units will be organised into four clusters: Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, Emerging Asia and Mature Asia. Each cluster will be led by a Cluster Head, reporting to the Group President and CEO.

The new Services and Operations unit will standardise and consolidate the development and operations of networks, core IT platforms, infrastructure and shared services. The new Products and Customer Interaction unit will focus on improving and scaling customer innovation by working on products, customer journeys and analytics.

The announced changes to the organisation will not impact Telenor Group’s financial reporting structure.

The new executive management team will consist of:
Sigve Brekke, President and Chief Executive Officer (President and CEO)
Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, EVP and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Jon Erik Haug, EVP and Head of People
Wenche Agerup, EVP and Head of Corporate Affairs
Jon Gravråk, EVP and Head of Digital Businesses
Morten Karlsen Sørby, EVP and Head of Transformation
Svein Henning Kirkeng, EVP and Head of Products and Customer Interaction
Ruza Sabanovic, EVP and Head of Services and Operations
Petter-Børre Furberg, EVP and Head of Emerging Asia Cluster
Lars Åke Norling, EVP and Head of Mature Asia Cluster
Alexandra Reich, EVP and Head of Central & Eastern Europe Cluster
Berit Svendsen, EVP and Head of Scandinavian Cluster

Gunnar Sellæg, Patrik Hofbauer, Jesper Hansen, Ingeborg Øfsthus, Michael Foley, Albern Murty, Irfan Wahab Khan, Sharad Mehrotra and Lars Erik Tellmann will step down from Telenor’s Group Executive Management team. The business unit CEOs will continue to be CEOs of their respective business units. The new Cluster Heads will also remain in their position as local CEOs.

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Tencent, Foxconn Invest $175 Mn In Hike Messenger

Hike-Messenger

hike-messengerWhatsApp competitor Hike Messenger Tuesday announced it has secured investment of $175 million from group of investors including Tencent Holdings and Foxconn Technology Group.

This investment raises the valuation of the company to $1.4 billion making it an unicorn in India’s internet space. The series D funding was backed by Tiger Global, Softbank and Bharti enterprises.

“Tencent and Foxconn both have pedigrees that speak for themselves and such an investment especially in today’s market just goes to show the strong foundation on which Hike is being built,’’ Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Hike Messenger, said.

The money raised will be used for foraying into artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and augmented reality.  At present, Hike Messenger, besides the messaging service, offers news, gaming and shopping coupons and exchange more than 40 billion messages every month.

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