Jio Prime May Get Extension Due To Lukewarm Response In The Current Drive


Reliance Jio’s Jio Prime registration deadline may get extended as the ongoing membership drive did not get the expected results with around 22-27 million users converted for the program so far, sources in the company hoped.

“It may get another months extension, may be till April 30,” a source at the company said. “But, nothing has been finalised yet,” the source moderated the information. The source also added that the company has achieved 50% of its target of Jio Prime numbers. However, the source declined to specify the target number or the achieved number.

Of its over 100 million customers, our information from insiders as well as industry sources estimate, Jio has garnered around 22-27 million users as its Prime customers with just a weeks time left for the scheme to end.

However, this is an unverified data. Interestingly, a recent survey by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch found that 84% of Jio customers want to convert to Prime program. The sample size of this survey was just one thousand users.

Jio Prime that asks for a onetime registration fee for Rs 99, offers all those services provided by the company during its free offer period. Once a user becomes a Prime customer, he or she can get all these services for a monthly recharge of Rs 303. The Jio prime offer included free calls, 1 GB of 4G data per day and other content related service free as was offered during the trial period.

The Jio Prime offer was made open from March 1 and runs till 31, however, the company is witnessing a lukewarm response on the membership. This, perhaps, is prompting the newest 4G operator to extend the deadline beyond 31st March.

Of its over 100 million customers, our information from insiders as well as industry sources estimate, Jio has garnered around 22-27 million users as its Prime customers with just a weeks time left for the scheme to end.

When announced Jio Prime membership was offered for Rs 99 but it is believed that when the company did not get the desired results in the first 15 days, it started offering new schemes to subsidize this.

A week back Jio Prime was offered on Mobikwik digital wallet platform for Rs 49 as the wallet company offered Rs 50 as cash back. When that seemed not to be enough, the operator is now offering Rs 100 cash back if payment is made through Jio Money for the membership as well as a recharge of Rs 303.

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Autoplay Video Consumes 40% Of Users’ Data : Report


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.

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.

subrat kar-vidooly
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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Airtel To Launch VoLTE Soon, Nothing Unique Left For Jio

VOLTE airtel

The only area Airtel was lagging behind Reliance Jio in providing all round 4G experience to its customers was VoLTE but the operator is all set to plug that gap too, and that too very soon.

The Airtel 4G is soon coming with VoLTE support, and with multiple handset brands, sources informed.

Sources informed that the required technology and infrastructure is ready to be rolled out on Airtel’s network but the company is conducting some ‘last minute’ testings on compatible devices.

At present the operator is conducting trials on multiple smartphones and one of the smartphone brands that has successfully passed the tests was Gionee, sources at both the firms informed. Multiple models of Gionee including its first VoLTE phone P7 are now compatible with Airtel VoLTE.

At present Reliance Jio is the only operator in the country that offers VoLTE or voice over LTE networks. Because VoLTE is offered on the data network and calls are made over IP, operators incur very less cost providing the service. Primarily that was the reason why Reliance Jio is offering voice calls free to its subscribers. And this ‘free’ stuff is snatching away customers from incumbent operators including Airtel.

In November last year Airtel had contracted Nokia in a Rs 402 crore deal to deploy VoLTE infrastructure for its pan India network and the company has been working in this regard since the launch of Jio that offered VoLTE facility to its customers.

While Airtel boasts of its robust 4G network and claims to have the ‘smart’ as well as ‘fastest’ network in the country, Jio boasts of its all-IP network and dirt cheap offerings on data, and free voice service. With the launch of VoLTE, Airtel too would be in a position to free voice calling services to its customers too.

Since the entry of Reliance Jio to the telecom arena, the operator has developed a rivalry with the incumbent operators, especially with Airtel, to acquire the market of 4G customers. While the early fights between Airtel and Jio was around PoI (points of interconnect) where the new operator was blaming the incumbents of unfair practice, and the incumbents like Airtel putting the blame back on Jio saying its network is faulty, the latest was between the two was around Airtel’s claim of having the fastest network.

While the war is in its full steam, Jio is busy acquiring new customers and Airtel is busy in steadily plugging all the gaps to retain its supremacy in the Indian telecom market. The VoLTE offering was one such big gap.

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Nokia Bags Deal From Jio For 100G Optical Core Deployment


Nokia has bagged a contract to deploy 100G optical core network for India’s newest 4G player Reliance Jio to sustain its pan-India 4G-LTE network. Besides, the Finnish telecom gear maker also deploys metro solution for Jio, which, in combination with the optical core network which will complement Jio’s network in its drive for massive traffic growth.

Spanning 90,000 km in one of the biggest 100G deployments in the world, the Nokia transport network allows Jio to offer innovative, high-capacity services to underserved regions in India as well as a nationwide long-distance (NLD) service.

Over the last six months, Jio has clocked unprecedented subscriber growth as a result of its plan to bring India into the top ten broadband countries in the world. With broadband penetration at less than 20%, according to the International Telecommunications Union, most of India’s population is still underserved. Recognizing this massive growth potential, Jio deployed Nokia’s high-capacity transport network to offer high-bandwidth services such as video streaming, multimedia content distribution and cloud and business services to its rapidly increasing subscriber base.

Nokia’s optical solution provides a scalable and resilient transport network to offer reliable high-speed broadband connectivity and communication services for both fixed and wireless users. Jio has deployed Nokia’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch including 100G Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) capabilities enhanced with Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) intelligence to support capacity management and restoration. The new transport network supports the rapid deployment of new services as network demand increases.

“In only 170 days, Jio has signed on 100 million new users. With growth rates of this magnitude we had to ensure we deployed the highest capacity, most resilient transport network to build out the 4G network. Nokia’s next-generation DWDM portfolio provides the ability to scale easily as Jio continues to expand the network to reach the underserved areas of India with digital services in key areas such as communication, education, healthcare, payments and multi-media entertainment,” Reliance Jio President Jyotindra Thacker said in a statement.

“The government’s vision for digitization across the country, combined with Jio’s goal of making broadband a basic service for all citizens, means broadband penetration will grow quickly in India. The Nokia solution not only provides the speed and capacity necessary for this growth, but it also ensures a more reliable service for the customers. This deployment strengthens Nokia’s presence in India’s optical market where our foothold spans from metro to backbone networks,” said Sam Bucci, head of Nokia’s Optical Business in the joint statement.

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SamsungPay comes To India, Here’s How It Works


Samsung finally launched its digital payment platform SamsungPay in India today in collaboration with multiple financial partners including Visa, American Express, MasterCard, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, Standard Chartered and PayTm. In the next phase SamsungPay will also include UPI and BHIM app.

With SamsungPay, users can use this platform to digitally make their payments at merchants through their PoS (point of sale) machines. So, next time you purchase something, you may like to keep your cards, cash at home and pay through SamsungPay.

So, how does SamsungPay Works?
To enable this platform Samsung has partnered with all those that are required to make a payment happen at a merchant’s place. The payment platform integrates with banks like SBI, ICICI Bank etc, payment enablers like American Express, Visa and MasterCard, mobile wallets like PayTm and PoS enablers like Pine Labs.

A user needs to link his or her debit cards, credit cards or mobile wallets to the SamsungPay app. To enable the payment, the user needs to select his prefer card or wallet, authenticate it with fingerprint or PIN and take it closer to the PoS terminal. Then, the user needs to enter the transaction value or amount and enter the card PIN to complete the transaction. The whole process takes few seconds.

Samsung Pay works with Samsung’s patented Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology as well as with Near Field Communication (NFC). MST replicates a card swipe by wirelessly transmitting magnetic waves from the supported Samsung device to a standard card reader. Through MST, Samsung pay will work seamlessly on a majority of Point of Sale terminals in India.

Is it safe?
Samsung vouches for the security architecture of the payment platform.

“Samsung Pay is a highly secure platform as it works with three levels of security—fingerprint authentication, card tokenization and Samsung’s defense-grade mobile security platform Samsung KNOX,” the company said.

Samsung Pay provides a mobile payment option built natively on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), a payment system launched by the National Payments Corporation of India. The Samsung Pay UPI solution is powered by Axis Bank and facilitates peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer of funds between bank accounts on a mobile platform instantly. This is an upcoming feature within Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay also allows Indian consumers to integrate their Paytm accounts into Samsung Pay, enabling them to pay by scanning QR codes securely, generating one-time codes for merchant payments and also do peer to peer money transfers.

However, the payment platform is only available on Samsung smartphones. Samsung Pay is currently available on Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S7, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy A5 (2016), Galaxy A7 (2016), Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017). Samsung Pay will also be available on the Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch shortly, allowing users to pay through their wearable device.

Since its launch in July 2015, Samsung Pay has rapidly expanded its service by supporting additional value-added features in multiple markets worldwide. With its launch in India, Samsung Pay is fully available in 12 global markets, including South Korea, the US, China, Spain, Singapore, Australia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Russia, Thailand and Malaysia.

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Ookla Tries To Settle Airtel-Jio Speedtest Dispute, Jio Pokes Them Again


Ookla on Wednesday morning made an official statement on the ongoing Reliance Jio-Airtel conflict over the later’s claim of having the fastest network in the country. This is the first time the data speed firm made an official statement on the said controversy.

“Data accuracy and neutrality is of the utmost importance to Ookla and the company goes to great lengths to ensure that the information collected on any Speedtest internet test is verifiably correct,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier Jio had claimed that Ookla’s speedtest methodologies are flawed and does not offer the exact value of the data speeds on dual SIM phones.

The company, in its statement said it ‘fully stands behind the accuracy and reliability of the methodology used to designate Airtel as ‘India’s Fastest Mobile Network’.

“Much of the commentary has focused on dual SIM devices. The carrier displayed in the Speedtest Android application is based on the “Active Carrier” value returned by the device,” the company’s spokesperson Adriane Holter said.

Holter further stated that ‘due to limitations of the Android platform, the “Active Carrier” does not always indicate the actual data provider in devices with multiple SIMs.

“In these situations, Ookla applies additional data sources and mechanisms during postprocessing to help determine the actual data carrier being tested. For example, Ookla matches the connection IP address recorded during the test to known carrier IP blocks,” he added.

“This enables Ookla to determine the actual data carrier with a high degree of confidence. Airtel’s margin of victory increased when the complete analysis was performed,” he concluded.

However, Jio hit back at Ookla on the said statement and derived its own interpretation of the same.

“With reference to the issue of the fundamental flaw in Ookla’s Speedtest methodology which Jio has pointed out repeatedly, we note that Ookla has now admitted to ‘limitations’ in its application, and that it “does not always indicate the actual data provider in devices with multiple SIMs,” Jio said in a late afternoon statement.

“This admission by Ookla reinforces Jio’s submission that there is a clear contamination in primary data collected by Ookla in India, where nearly 90 percent of smartphones are dual SIM devices. Any results that are based on incorrect and contaminated primary data cannot be definitive, only probabilistic. It is a travesty that such results are being passed off as “official” results by a market-leading operator,” it further added.

The new 4G operator, that seems to be disturbed by Airtel’s ‘misleading’ ad also added that it will continue to ‘expose such misleading practices and raise it at suitable forums.’

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Airtel Teases Jio Again With ‘Fastest Network’ Ad Campaign


Airtel on Wednesday morning teased Reliance Jio once again with its ‘Ookla-certified fastest network in the country’ ad campaign. Though Jio had earlier approached advertising watchdog ASCI over this and sought withdrawal of the said advertisement, Airtel, it seems, is in no mood to back down.

The Sunil Mittal-led telecom firm painted the city red with full-spread ads in major national dailies that shouted out the same ‘India’s Fastest Network’. We’re sure this will not go well with Reliance Jio which must be mulling its next move by now.

Both the firms are involved in a bitter spar over last couple of days over Airtel’s claim to be the fastest network in India that was certified by data speed expert Ookla.

When the Airtel TVCs were out with this claim, Reliance Jio cried foul and approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) seeking withdrawal of this ad saying the same is misleading and Ookla’s speedtest was based on a ‘flawed’ technology. Jio claimed that Airtel’s use of ‘Officially Fastest Network’ is misleading as Ookla is not affiliated to Indian Government in any way. The new operator has also sent a legal notice to Ookla LLC through its legal firm Khaitan & Co seeking a reply.

To support its claim, Airtel on Tuesday showcased the certificate offered by Ookla and its official statement quoting the speedtest firm’s COO Jamie Steven.

Jio was also not to sit back. By evening the 4G operator also hit back at Airtel saying the operator is misleading the public with the ad and it may go to any forum to take proper action on the misleading nature of the advertisement.

“We will initiate actions as we deem fit at appropriate forums. The public should not be misled by these false claims based on the Ookla results,” a Jio spokesperson said.

“The core issue is that the speedtest results are attributed to the primary sim even though the sim for which the data speedtest is conducted is the secondary sim in the case of dual-sim phones. In India, more than 90% of 4G phones are dual-sim. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the speed which is attributed to Airtel is of the Airtel data network. We are surprised that Ookla in its press release has not talked about this issue even though they had acknowledged the blunder to us earlier. Ookla has baldly stated that they stand by their results and has skirted the main issue,” it added.

And in the morning, Airtel published full-spread advertisements in major newspapers claiming to have the fastest network in the country, though not forgetting to remove the word ‘official’ from it.


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Nokia, Facebook Trial Undersea Spectral Efficiency With Amazing Success


Nokia and Facebook have collaborated to do spectral efficiency test of their undersea fiber network and the results were very encouraging. During the field trials the team witnessed 2.5 times more capacity than the traditional optical transmission technology.

Both the companies conducted this trial over a 5,500 km submarine cable between New York and Ireland using new optical digital processing technologies.

To increase the capacity capabilities of subsea fiber, Nokia and Facebook tested Nokia Bell Labs’ new probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) technology. The test showed an increase of almost 2.5x more capacity than the stated optical transmission capacity of the system, demonstrating the feasibility of the technology across a challenging real-world fiber-optic network.

PCS, an area of active Nokia Bell Labs research, is a novel technique that uses ‘shaped’ quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) formats to flexibly adjust transmission capacity to near the physical limits of a given fiber-optic link. In this first-of-its-kind experiment for an installed submarine link, conceived and planned by Facebook, PCS based on 64 QAM, combined with digital nonlinearity compensation and low-linewidth lasers, achieved a record spectral efficiency of 7.46 b/s/Hz, indicating the potential to upgrade this cable to 32 Tb/s per fiber in the future.

“Facebook wants to increase the pace of innovation and adoption of next-generation optical technologies. This field trial with Nokia demonstrates that the scalable optical technology of PCS together with narrow linewidth laser sources can achieve capacities extremely close to the Shannon limit. This ensures that we are both maximizing our investment in submarine cable systems, as well as continuing to drive the cost per bit of submarine transport lower,” said Dr. Stephen Grubb, global optical network architect at Facebook.

Transmission tests based on the commercially available Nokia Photonic Service Engine 2 (PSE-2) validated the successful transmission of 8-QAM wavelengths running at 200 Gb/s and 16-QAM wavelengths running at 250 Gb/s – a first for transatlantic transmission. 200G 8-QAM wavelengths supported a spectral efficiency of 4 b/s/Hz while exhibiting sufficient performance margin to support reliable, commercial operation.

“We are thrilled to partner with Facebook to promote our common commitment to accelerating innovation in optical transmission. By demonstrating promising areas of Nokia Bell Labs research such as PCS, as well as coherent technologies available today, we hope to chart a path forward for the industry towards higher capacities, greater reach, and more network flexibility,” said Sam Bucci, head of optical networking at Nokia.

The results of the trial will be presented in a post-deadline paper at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC), March 21-23 in Los Angeles, CA.

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Update On Jio-Airtel Spar Over Ookla Speedtest Claim


After a heated trial in media over Airtel’s claim of being the fastest network in India and the followed complaint by Reliance Jio to advertising council – ASCI – of the said ad’s misleading nature, Ookla today made a statement standing by its Speedtest methodologies and the resultant outcome.

“Ookla named Airtel as the “Fastest Mobile Network” in India based on data from Q3 and Q4 of 2016. When analyzing markets, like India, we take many factors into consideration, including dual SIM devices, network technology, device types, and more. In addition to what the user sees on their mobile application as they take a test in real-time, we apply a rigorous methodology when aggregating the data which uses a variety of internal data sources that control for potential variability in the market.

We are always improving how additional information is collected and analyzed through our Speedtest applications to allow Ookla to accurately reflect internet performance. We have taken dual SIM information into consideration and fully stand behind Airtel being named “India’s Fastest Mobile Network”. India is a dynamic market with a rapidly changing mobile landscape and we look forward to seeing how the market develops.”

Jamie Steven, COO, Speedtest by Ookla

Statement from Airtel
Airtel is one of the most trusted and admired brands in India. We also pride ourselves in maintaining the highest standards of governance and transparency and have been recognized by globally reputed institutions like Transparency International.

Our latest advertising campaign is based on the findings by Ookla, the global leader in Speed test and internet diagnostics. Ookla’s findings are based on rigorous and extensive testing across millions of devices and employs the best of data analytics.

We are rather amused by the allegations being made against our campaign. We believe that this is a deliberate attempt to malign our brand and misguide customers through a campaign of misinformation, which is something we now come across on a regular basis, in particular, on social media platforms.
-Rajiv Mathrani, Chief Brand Officer, Bharti Airtel

On March 20, it was reported that Reliance Jio had reached out to Advertising Council of India complaining about the ‘misleading’ nature of the Airtel ad where the operators claims to have the fastest network in the country.

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Airtel-Jio Spar Over ‘Misleading’ Ookla Speedtest Advertisement


While its known that business conflicts between Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio will remain an eternal affair, the interesting element to watch out for is on what front they keep it going. The latest being the claim by Airtel as India’s fastest network and Jio contesting it at the sector regulator – ASCI.

In a recent letter to advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India, Reliance Jio has said Airtel’s claim and the related advertisement that its the fastest telecom network in India is misleading and incorrect. The new operator has also asked ASCI to consider withdrawal of the said ad.

Airtel had recently said world’s leading data network testing organisation Ookla certified Airtel of having the fastest network in the country. After a media statement in this regard, the Sunil Mittal-owned telecom firm also went on to run advertisements on various platforms like TV claiming the same. This made Reliance Jio jittery and that led the firm to reach out to ASCI.


Airtel, however, came out its defense making available the certificate offered by Ookla and issuing a press statement.

“Airtel has been rated as India’s fastest mobile network by Ookla…this is clearly mentioned in the ad. Ookla’s findings are based on analysis of millions of internet speed tests logged on ‘modern devices’ by mobile customers across India using its popular speedtest app. The results include all mobile tests, regardless of connection technology,” Airtel said in a statement.

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