Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Had Ulterior Motive To Stifle Competition : TRAI


Sector regulator TRAI, in a letter to Department of Telecom, had said that incumbent operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had ulterior motive to stifle competition and wilfully denied PoIs to Reliance Jio.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said this while standing by its earlier recommendation on imposing penalty of Rs 3050 crore on these three operators for not providing enough PoIs (points of interconnect) to Jio that led to massive call failures. The penalty break up for Airtel and Vodafone is Rs 1050 crore each and Rs 950 crore for Idea Cellular.

“..not only the steps taken by Airtel were insufficient to bring down the POI congestion to the desired level of 0.5% in most of the LSAs but also that Airtel appeared to have ulterior motive to stifle competition,” TRAI said in the letter. The regulator said the same thing for Vodafone and Idea.

The regulator said these operators, after repeated requests by Reliance Jio, and intervention by TRAI, have failed to provision sufficient PoIs to the new 4G operator which created quality of issue for consumers, which amounts to cancellation of license.

“The recommendations were framed only after observing a continued violation of QoS Regulations and license conditions by Airtel and (Vodafone and Idea),” TRAI said in a point-by-point response to DoT.

The regulator in the letter said the incumbent operators were capable to provide the required PoIs to Reliance Jio in order to enable a congestion free service but the operators denied and delayed the same deliberately.

“After intervention of the Authority, Airtel has provided POI capacity at much shorter notices (in some 7 instances within 2-3 days) implying that it was capable of providing such POIs without any delay,” TRAi said. “In this context, the denial and delay in providing POIs when the QoS parameters were not being met cannot be explained in any other manner but wilful.

TRAI, in October 2016, had asked the DoT to impose penalties of Rs 3050 crore on these three operators, but the DoT had asked the regulator for more clarification and to reconsider its recommendations.

TRAI, in response, offered clarification in a point-to-point manner to the department that was hitherto unseen in the Indian telecom industry.

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Rs 400 Cr Loss To Govt Due To Short Payment of License Fee By Incumbents : Jio


Reliance Jio has said incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have paid less to the government that they are supposed to pay in terms of license fee for the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2017.

This short payment, Jio accuses, could be more than Rs 400 crore and is a violation of the UASL license agreement. The new 4G operator has sought strict action against the incumbent operators.

Jio in a letter dated 15 May 2017 wrote to DoT that the incumbent operators have made ‘short payment’ of their supposed license fee to the government for the Q4 of 2017.

According to the UASL license agreement, each telecom operator has to pay license fee basis their revenue in four installments for each financial year. While the installments for first three quarters are paid within 15 days of end of each quarter, the license fee for the last quarter is paid by 25 March of the same year.

The license condition also says that the license fee for the last quarter should be made basis the expected revenue of that quarter which should not be less than the license fee paid in the previous quarter.

However, in this case, Jio accused that incumbents like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have made less payments than the third quarter which is a violation of the license agreement.

“The said act of the incumbent TSPs has caused potential financial loss amounting to over Rs 400 crore to the government exchequer and in any event has caused a revenue shortfall of the said amount in FY 2016-17,” Jio wrote in that letter.

For the record, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have paid license fees of Rs 950 crore, Rs 550 crore and Rs 550 crore respectively for the lasst quarter whereas for the third quarter they had paid Rs 1099.5 crore, Rs 746.8 crore and Rs 609.4 crore, as license fees.

In total, in Q3 these operators have paid a license fee of Rs 2455.7 crore whereas in the last quarter they have paid Rs 2050 crore.

This means these three operators have paid over Rs 400 crore less than they were supposed to pay as license fees in the last quarter.

Jio also said that these operators have made this ‘short payment’, basis a letter written by COAI to the DoT seeking this type of relief in the wake of the financial health of the telecom industry and continuous revenue fall of the incumbents due to the predatory pricing by a new operator.

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Despite Jio Havoc, Airtel Continues To Be On Firm Footing : UBS


Research and business analytics firm UBs today said country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel is still on a strong footing and may continue to do so in coming times despite the disruptive entry of Reliance Jio in Indian mobile services market.

The report also said that net subscriber addition of Jio has also slowed down. Taking sector regulator TRAI data as the basis, UBS said it is ‘surprised to see lack of acceleration’ in March. In the said month Jo added 5.8 million new customers compared to 12.2 million in February.

UBS, some how, tried to link Jio’s Prime membership scheme to its slowing down as the scheme was announced in March and april was the first month of its paid service.

For the month of March, new subscribers for Airtel, Idea and Vodafone are reported to be at 3 million, 2.1 million and 1.8 million vs. 1.2 million, 1.2 million and 0.8 million in Feb as all incumbents countered Jio’s prices.

As per TRAI data, subscriber market share of Jio has increased to 9.3% in March compared to 8.8% in February.

In broadband space also, the research firm said Airtel is gaining ground.

By end of March country’s overall broadband penetration increased to 22.1% from 20.9% in February. In terms of new subscriber addition in broadband,Vodafone gained market share with net addition of 5.7 million. Airtel’s pace of broadband net addition also increased to 2.4 million in March vs. 1.1 million in February. Idea reported increase in broadband subs to 24.7m (+0.4m net adds) reversing the trend of decline in January and February.

The analytics firm also suggested that in the long run Airtel may emerge as the winner. “Airtel’s scale and ability to invest makes it a long term winner in our view,” it said.

UBS also said that while the data for April and May will be more significant given Jio has started charging since April, overall trends suggest Airtel continues to hold a firm footing in the Indian mobile market with key operating metrics outperforming peers.

Vodafone and Idea have also shown recovery in March after under performing Airtel in Jan and Feb, with smaller operators continuing to lose share at a rapid pace.

UBS also offered a ‘Buy’ rating for Airtel and said the stock remains its preferred pick among Indian telcos.

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India Has More Gigabit Internet Users Than China


Though China is the world’s largest internet market with more than 750 million users, more than double that of India, in terms of high speed broadband, India has more Gigabit internet users than China.

India has a total of 9.5 million Gigabit internet users or those who use broadband speed of more than 1000 Mbps compared to China’s 7.9 million such users. In terms of population coverage, India’s Gigabit internet users represent 0.7% of the country where as the same for China is at 0.5%.

The top three broadband providers that offer internet at Gbps speed in India are Spectranet with 6 million customers, ACT Fibernet with 3 million customers and Hayai Broadband with 10,000 customers, according to Viavi Gigabit Monitor.

This data is revealed by test and measurement company Viavi’s upgraded Gigabit Monitor portal that tracks the world’s Gigabit internet users as well as the service providers.

According to this portal 219 million people globally now have gigabit internet available to them, representing roughly 3 percent of the global population. There are currently 603 gigabit internet implementations, a jump of 72 percent since June 2016.

The United States has the highest number of people with access to gigabit internet (56.4 million) with a population coverage of 17 percent. Singapore currently has the highest proportion of citizens with gigabit internet availability at 95 percent. South Korea has the second highest number of citizens with gigabit availability (46.7 million), representing 93 percent of its population.

According to its data, a total of 41 countries offer Gigabit broadband to their citizens.

Of the current gigabit installations tracked by Gigabit Monitor, unsurprisingly, 91 percent are based on fiber – with cellular connections accounting for 3.65 percent, HFC accounting for 5.26 percent, and WiFi making up less than 1 percent. However, with many launches of gigabit LTE and 5G expected in the near future, the scale of cellular gigabit connectivity is expected to change significantly. This is reflected in Viavi’s State of 5G Trials, which shows that 25 mobile operators are currently lab-testing 5G, with 12 of those reporting that they have progressed to field trial.

The Gigabit Monitor is a web-based tool intended to showcase the state-of-play of gigabit internet provision across the world, based on publicly available data. The new Gigabit Monitor has been upgraded to display dynamically updated infographics showing the current state of gigabit internet provision in all 41 countries where it is available. Each country’s profile displays the estimated population coverage, global ranking, gigabit launches over time and a listing of local gigabit providers.

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Konkan Railway Opens Free WiFI Facility At 28 Stations


Konkan Railway that connects Maharashtra to Karnataka has started offering free wifi services at 28 stations across the route. This free wifi service was inaugurated by Railways minister Suresh Prabhu on 21 May from Kudal Railway station.

The free wifi facility has been set up by Mumbai based ISP Syscon/Joister. Indian Railways has tied up with the ISP to offer wifi with 2 Mbps data speed  and will be offered completely free.

In line with Government’s Digital India Initiative, Syscon/Joister are providing the JoiSpot brand wifi in Pune & Mumbai educational institutes in Maharashtra state and have now undertaken as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity of providing free wifi bandwidth to the rural area on the Konkan route.

JoiSpot free wifi mobile app provides 2 mbps high speed Wireless internet with unlimited uploads.

Unlimited free wifi facility will be provided at 28 stations from Kolad to Madure in the initial phase with a peer to peer speed of 2 Mbps. The system can provide access to about 300 users at bigger stations and about 100 users at smaller stations.

This facility will help travelling public, commutes & tourists on Indian Railways to access essential information and they could use their time productively while waiting for trains at railway stations. This initiative of corporation is a steps towards making a smarter India.

Konkan Railway always believes in providing better passenger amenities to its passengers for their comfortable journey.

The free wifi Internet bandwidth is provided at the following Railway stations of Konkan Railway.
The stations are Kolad, Mangaon,Veer,Karanjadi, Vinhere, Diwankhavati, Khed, Anjani, Chiplun, Kamthe, Sawarda, Aravali Road, Sangameshwar, Ukshi, Bhoke, Ratnagiri, Nivasar, Adavali, Vilavade, Rajapur Road, Vaibhavwadi Road, Nandgaon Road, Kankavali, Sindhudurg, Kudal, Zarap, Sawantwadi Road and Madure⁠⁠⁠⁠,

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Ringing Bells Founder Mohit Goel Goes Back Where He Came From – Grocery Business


The name ‘Ringing Bells’ is enough to a ring an alert bell every time one hears that, and this name will keep ringing bells among Indians in coming times too. This is the same company that once woke up India on a lazy morning with its announcement to sell smartphones – Freedom 251 – for a price of Rs 251.

The founder of that company Mohit Goel, after a short scandalous stint with technology, is going back to where he came from – grocery business. The then MD of of Ringing Bells has now founded another company that will be in the business of selling and distributing dry fruits – his family business of three generations.

It can be recalled that Ringing Bells has already been shut down.

The new company is named as ‘Family Of Dry Fruits India Private Limited’ and is incorporated with a share capital of Rs 25 lakh and a paid up capital of Rs 10 lakh. Mohit Kumar (Goel) and Disha Rana are the founders and directors of this company.

Disha Rana is still a director in Ringing Bells where as Mohit Goel had quit the dubious firm in December 2016. The new company – Family of Dry Fruits – was incorporated on 20 December 2016.

The Goel family, Mohit Goel and his father Rajesh Goel, was originally in to the business of aggricultual commodity selling groceries including dry fruits, pulses, spices, sugar and rice. They have been running this business for last three generations from a small village named Garhipukhta in Shamli ditrict of Western UP. The entire family was miles away from technology before Mohit ventured to the smartphone business.

The Scandalous Past

It can be recalled that TeleAnalysis broke the story on 15 December 2016 that Ringing Bells has shut down its smartphone business and its founders have formed another company -MDM Electronics Pvt Ltd – to run some other business.

MDM Electronics Private Limited was founded by Mohit Goel -who was the MD of Ringing Bells, Shashank Goel – also linked to the old company, and Ashok Chaddha – President of the company. In fact Chaddha was the face of Ringing Bells and was the official spokesperson of the company, though he was not a director of Ringing Bells.

In February 2017, we had reported that Ringing Bells founder Mohit Goel, was arrested by UP Police for alleged fraud.

A Ghaziabad based company, Ayam Enterprises, had filed a case against Ringing Bells alleging the later has defrauded it for Rs 16 lakh. Goel had been detained by the Ghaziabad police for interrogation.

According to reports Ayam Enterprise had paied Rs 30 lakh to Ringing Bells to take dealership of its Freedom 251 smartphone, which were priced at Rs 251 per piece. The smartphone company, however, had provided it goods worth Rs 14 lakh and the Rs 16 lakh are, neither returned nor any products supplied for that value.

In February 2016, Ringing Bells had announced to launch a smartphone – Freedom 251, which was then touted as the world’s cheapest smartphone. Though the company launched the phone at the same price, buyers who booked it online by paying the entire amount up front, never received the device. Later the company got embroiled in multiple controversies and was forced to return the money to the buyers.

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Qualcomm Files Case Against 4 iPhone Manufacturers Including Foxconn


San Diego based technology firm Qualcomm has filed a complaint in an United States District Court against four manufacturers of Apple iPhone and iPads for breaching license agreements. These four manufactures include Foxconn Technologies, Pegatron Corporation, Wistron Corporation and Compal Technologies.

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California against these four manufacturers for refusing to pay for use of Qualcomm’s licensed technologies.

In this matter the US based chip maker seeks an order that would require the defendants to comply with their long-standing contractual obligations to Qualcomm, as well as declaratory relief and damages.

The chip maker said despite a long history of consistently paying royalties under their license agreements with Qualcomm, the manufacturers now are refusing to pay royalties on the Apple products they produce.

“It is unfortunate that we must take this action against these long-time licensees to enforce our agreements, but we cannot allow these manufacturers and Apple to use our valuable intellectual property without paying the fair and reasonable royalties to which they have agreed,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm.

Qualcomm said that though the manufacturers are not disputing their contractual obligations to pay for the use of its technologies,but they are following Apple’s instructions not to pay.

The license agreements with the manufacturers in many cases were entered into before Apple sold its first iPhone and Apple is not a party to the agreements. Further, the defendants are continuing to pay Qualcomm royalties for using its technology in non-Apple products, under the very same agreements that apply to the Apple products. Qualcomm has already filed a separate claim against Apple for its unlawful interference with the license agreements between the chipmaker and these manufacturers.

“As Apple continues to collect billions of dollars from consumer sales of its Qualcomm-enabled products, it is using its market power as the wealthiest company in the world to try to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm in its global attack on the company. Our license agreements with Apple’s manufacturers remain valid and enforceable. The manufacturers must continue to live up to their obligations under these agreements and Apple should immediately cease its tortious interference,” added Rosenberg.

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Viavi Expands Pune Facility, To Hire Local Talent



T&M firm Viavi Solutions Thursday announced that the company has ramped up operations in its Pune facility to strengthen the company’s delivery capabilities in providing accelerated test solutions for clients across industries and geographies.

Besides, Viavi will be leveraging Pune’s vast pool of highly skilled engineering talent and the new location in Pune will accommodate the addition of professionals who will expedite product development.

“Viavi has followed a strategy of setting up world-class development centres in locations where there is rich local talent as well as the required infrastructure,” said Ranganathan Srinivasan, Sr. Director – IT Operations, Viavi Solutions India. “Pune continues to be a key source for technology innovation, outstanding professional talent and significant business potential,” he added.

The Pune development center is currently engaged in design, implementation, maintenance, support, enhancement of sophisticated database systems and enterprise application technologies.

The growth of Viavi’s presence in India reflects strong demand for the company’s global service and technology capabilities; from deployment and installation to monitoring and optimization and contributes to the success of a wide range of customers – from the world’s largest mobile operators and governmental entities to enterprise networks and application providers.

Viavi Solutions, the T&M firm spun out off JDSU, has some big names in the industry as its global clients. Some of them include AT&T Inc., Bharti Airtel, BT Openreach, Charter Communications, Comcast Corporation, Finisar, FLIR Systems, Integrated Device Technologies, KT, Lockheed Martin, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Oclaro, SICPA, ST Microelectronics, TDC and Verizon Communications Inc. to name a few.

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I/O 2017 : Qualcomm, Google Team Up To Build Daydream VR Headset


Google today said it has partnered with Qualcomm to develop a new standalone Daydream VR head set based on the San Diego based chip maker’s latest mobile platform Snapdragon 835.

This was announced during Google’s annual technology event Google I/O 2017.

Today’s collaboration is an extension of both the firms’ earlier partnership to develop Daydream VR for smartphones. The current collaboration would develop a standalone Daydream VR headset reference design to build more such products.

“We are thrilled to once again work with Google and offer a powerful premium Snapdragon experience for devices on the Daydream platform,” said Keith Kressin, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies.

“Our companies share the same vision: to make it possible for everyone to enjoy rich and immersive VR experiences on a smartphone device or a dedicated VR head-mounted display while being fully mobile, rather than being restricted by cables or limited to predefined rooms setup for outside-in tracking,” added Kressin.

The new Daydream standalone headset reference design includes custom specifications for tracking cameras and other sensors that make the best use of the Tango-based tracking technology Google has placed in the headset.

The first of these headsets are expected to hit shelves later this year.

“The Daydream standalone headset reference design created in close partnership with Qualcomm will enable manufacturers to build a whole new category of VR devices,” said Clay Bavor, vice president, virtual reality, Google.

“These headsets have everything needed for VR, built right into the headset itself and are as easy to use as picking them up. They’ll feature WorldSense for positional tracking right out of the box without any external equipment. We’re thrilled that headsets will begin to hit shelves later this year.”

Today’s announcement is an addition to the Fall 2016 announcement of the Snapdragon 821 and 820 processors supporting Daydream-ready devices. The fruits of this multi-year effort with Google now offers customers choice in Daydream headsets – from smartphone VR to standalone VR.

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BSNL To Provide Backhaul Connectivity To Facebook


State run telecom operator BSNL has signed an agreement with social media major Facebook to provide the much needed backhaul connectivity. With this tie up and enhanced network strength, both the partners would promote internet connectivity in rural areas.

The operator would provide the backhaul connectivity at preferential rate to the social network firm.

BSNL said this partnership would help reduce the digital divide. This initiative, the operator said, is a part of the operator’s way of celebrating World Telecommunications Day.

“BSNL is committed to bridging the digital divide by providing telecommunications facility to the remotest corners of the country, making India truly digital,” the operator said.

The MoU was signed between N K Gupta, Director CFA of BSNL and Facebook Country Head Munish Seth.

Besides Fcebook, the PSU operator today signed agreements with multiple companies to enhance its enterprise product portfolio. It tied up with Data Infosys to offer bulk secured email services to enterprises.

The state run operator also partnered with mobile wallet company MobiKwik. With this partnership, all future BSNL powered mobile handsets will come pre-loaded with MobiKwik wallet app so that customers, mostly in rural areas, do not have to download the app again. This will these customers to experiment with digital transaction.

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