TCS of Canada - India - Telecommunications


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TCS of Canada - India - Telecommunications

  1. 1. April 2012 Contact: india.commerce@international.gc.caTelecom panel allows VoIP under National Telecom On 6 March, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of IndiaPolicy (Trai), in its final recommendations on NTP, suggestedThe Mint that VoIP be fully allowed in the country.March 27, 2012 “There is a convergence of technologies happening. TheIndia’s Telecom Commission has approved allowing NTP also talks of separating the network providers fromvoice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services under the the service providers. In such a scenario, it makes senseNational Telecom Policy (NTP), 2012, in a move that is for us to allow this,” said a senior DoT official, who did notaimed at making telecom services more affordable and want to be identified.which will also benefit companies such as RelianceIndustries Ltd (RIL) that have plans, licences and “Earlier there were many other issues and (it) did notspectrum to offer wireless mobile broadband services. make sense. Many of the operators and other stakeholders opposed it, saying that India was not readyAn internal department of telecommunications (DoT) note for it. Now we feel the technology should be allowed,”reviewed by Mint says the commission, the country’s added this person, explaining why India was far behindapex telecom policymaking body, has done this “to the rest of the world in the adoption of VoIP.enhance affordability to consumers”. To offer voice calls between a computer and a phoneThe decision will come into effect next month. within India, the service provider has to have a telecom licence or UASL (universal access service licence) andAn RIL spokesperson did not respond to phone calls, and follow Trai’s mandated interconnection and text messages seeking comment on thedevelopment. Once the new norms come into place, phone users, too, can use their handsets to call other phone users throughMedia reports say RIL, the only company to have a pan- the Internet, provided the handsets are compliant with theIndia licence to offer mobile broadband services, is technology.preparing for launch and is in the process of pickingdevices and services (including telephony and content). Analysts say the move will benefit customers.India is a latecomer to the VoIP revolution. Currently, “Doing this will allow more flexibility and new competitionIndian laws only allow VoIP calls to a telephone in India to emerge through non-facilities based providers,” saidunder strict conditions. However, they allow such calls Kunal Bajaj, partner-director (India) at Analysys Masonbetween computers within the country’s borders and (India) Ltd, a technology consulting firm. “It shouldbetween a computer in India and a telephone (fixed or hopefully also allow for a wholesale market to emerge,wireless) outside India. which does not really completely exist today. So this should be good for consumers, and for innovation.”
  2. 2. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service Everywhere You Do Business Indus - a joint venture between mobile service providersAnalysts also add that the full adoption of VoIP will not Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular - isaffect tariffs. The prospect of tariffs going lower than the pitching Indus green city as an example of itspresent 40-70 paise per minute is remote, they say. environment stewardship.They also foresee some challenges. Apart from policy, "We, as a company, are dedicated to an ecofriendlythe biggest challenge is security. “Allowing VoIP means India," says BS Shantharaju, CEO of Indus Towers. Butbringing the problems of the Internet to the mobile in full Indus initiative, as well as similar moves by other towerforce,” said Hemant Joshi, a partner at consultancy companies, is as much about business compulsion as itDeloitte Haskins and Sells. is about a good practice, if not more. , the Telecom Commission has reiterated Dismissing the Rs. 19,000-crore tower industrys claim ofthe targets that were set out in the NTP, 2012. TRAI had a change of heart, Hemant Joshi, partner, Deloitteremoved many of the targets, though some of them were Haskins & Sells, says its an act of "self-preservation". Heretained, including those relating to manufacturing, says tower companies are simply responding to dieselbroadband and spectrum availability. “The Telecom being stolen by people who man these towers. "There areCommission, after due deliberation, reiterated the need some pretty horrific stories of pilferage and the cost offor retaining the targets as they represent quantified running these towers is not feasible given the rentalarticulation of the objectives underpinning the policy rates," says Joshi.intent of the government,” the minutes of the TelecomCommission meeting held on 7 March and reviewed by "Green is a collateral benefit." According to AT Kearney,Mint said. a consultancy, the Indian tower industry has about 3,50,000 towers and spends Rs 8,500 crore a year onThe targets reiterated by the commission include diesel. Officials at Indus and Viom Networks say, on theincreasing rural teledensity from the current level of 37% condition of anonymity, that 15% of the diesel they payto 70% by 2017 and 100% by 2020. Another target for is stolen. That works out to Rs 1,275 crore.reiterated by the commission refers to provision of high-speed and high-quality broadband access to all Diesel is also an ongoing source of friction between towerpanchayats (village councils) by 2014 and to all villages companies and their clients, mobile service providers, asand habitations by 2020. some agreements put the onus of fuel payments on the latter. But mobile service providers often decline to payTCS Insight: In India, VoIP has been allowed the stated amount, citing pilferage. "A dispute on thatin restricted manner, where a user can either make calls creates a cash drain," says a senior official at a leadingfrom his computer outside India or receive calls on tower company, not wanting to be named.Computer. Internet calls cannot be terminated on alandline or a mobile phone. Once the VoIP services are A 32% increase in the price of diesel in the past twoimplemented, the voice call rates are expected to drop years and large-scale theft of the fuel are further blows tofurther. Given that local mobile or landline calls are an industry that has slid from promise to pain in just threealready fairly cheap in India, those rates may not see years. Tower companies like Indus, Viom Networks andmuch of a change. This move will also help some Internet GTL Infrastructure had expanded aggressively aftercompanies offering voice and data services (although, 2008, when mobile licences were given to eight newthey will need to tie-up with licensed telecom operators to players. But the new business never materialised in theoffer those services) to join the bandwagon. Overall, VoIP volume envisaged.approval will help Indian users as well astelcos tremendously in bringing down the cost. First, the slowdown in 2008-09 crippled the world economy. And then, in 2010, a legal taint fell over theMobile tower companies go green licences, because of which mobile companies held backThe Times of India their rollouts.March 21, 2012 Now, profitability of tower companies is under pressureOn March 14, Indus Towers, the worlds largest telecom- and costs hurt like never before. "Reducing thetower company, said it would replace diesel generators consumption of diesel and its pilferage is critical from thewith batteries on 20,000 of its 1,10,000 towers by next perspective of creating a profitable, efficient andyear with the objective of reducing its carbon footprint. environment-friendly telecom industry," says Manoj Tirodkar, chairman of GTL Infrastructure.It added it had already stopped using diesel - anenvironment-unfriendly fuel - as the power back-up in In its presentation, however, Indus makes no mention5,000 towers, saving 3.6 million litres of the fuel a year. of diesel pilferage. But company officials who did not want to be identified admit this is the main driver to
  3. 3. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service Everywhere You Do Businessshift from diesel generators to batteries as the power camera with burst mode, front camera, NFC, HDMI andback up. HSPA+ support. Mr. Vishal Sehgal, Co-founder and Director, Lava, whoThe motive and pitch aside, tower companies are actively was present during Intel’s press conference at MWC saidexploring options to reduce dependence on diesel that the phone will hit the Indian market in the secondgenerators, but there are issues attached with each quarter of this alternative. TCS Insight: India is adding an average of 8 mnAccording to AT Kearney, of the 70,000 towers that are subscribers per month and to this an average 4 mnnot connected to the grid, 5,000 have solar-power units handsets are sold every month. Statistics point out that(see graphic). But their initial capital is high: the upto 50% of the phones sold in urban metros and citiesconsultancy estimates a capital cost of Rs 10 lakh per are smartphones (1 mn smartphones sold in last monthtower to go solar. "Its an expensive proposition as a with the last three month seeing as many as 23 newback-up for grid electricity," says Sairam Prasad, chief smartphone launches) and this has prompted many of thetechnical officer of Bharti Infratel, which owns 33,000 Indian mobile phone manufacturers like Lava, Micromax,towers. Spice etc. to start their own facilities to compete with Samsung and IPhones. Canadian companies with successful mobile handset technologies from chips"The cost can go as high as Rs 40 a unit for a remote- design to software plug ins (messaging solutions, securitytower site powered by solar energy compared with Rs 6 etc.) would find opportunities with mobile manufactures.per unit for grid electricity. This cost is unsustainable." Airtel launches mobile money service across IndiaBharti Infratel is, instead, using more efficient generators The Economic Timesand alternative cooling solutions to reduce its diesel February 23, 2012consumption. Elsewhere, Indus is using a battery bank toreplace diesel generators on its sites. Battery installationcosts Rs 1.2-1.5 lakh per site and the return on Bharti Airtel has launched Airtel Money, a mobile walletinvestment is three years, says a company presentation. service, across India. The Airtel Money service, is now available across 300 key cities in India, and will allows its users to load cash on their mobile devices and spend it toSo far, Indus has largely done this in areas like Mumbai, pay utility bills and recharges, shop at 7,000+ merchantwhere there is a good supply of power on the energy grid. outlets, transact online etc. Apart from serving as an easy alternative to cash / cardTCS Insight: With unstable electricity, the cost of diesel payment options, Airtel Money also offers customers theincreasing and operators penetrating deep into rural convenience of instant money transfer from an AirtelIndia, companies are looking at alternative power Money wallet to another Airtel Money wallet and banksolutions and technologies to run telecom towers. This accounts. With this, customers can now use Airtel Moneynot only brings down the cost of operations but also helps to make payments and transfer money across thecompanies get carbon credits for their operations. country.Canadian companies with innovative telecom powersolutions would have a significant traction for theirsolutions with Indian tower companies. Commenting on the rollout, Sanjay Kapoor, chief executive officer - India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel said, "While an estimated 240 million people across India holdLava to manufacture first Intel-powered smartphone bank accounts, more than 90 per cent of countrysin India population uses cash to pay for its daily needs.The Hindu Business Line Additionally, a majority of customers continue to rely onFebruary 28, 2012 traditional or time consuming methods like money orders and cheque remittances when it comes to transferringBarcelona: Indian start-up Lava announced its funds. On the other hand, the penetration of mobilepartnership with Intel at Mobile World Congress on telephony currently enriches the lives of over 900 millionMonday with the launch of the first Intel-powered people in our country and can facilitate a paradigm shift insmartphone in India, the Xolo X900. Lava, which has so the way India transacts."far focused on budget phones, will manufacturesmartphones under the Xolo brandname. We see the national rollout of Airtel Money playing aAt MWC, Intel announced two Medfield processors, which pivotal role in accelerating mobile based commerce ininclude the budget Atom Z200, but the X900 will ship with India and look forward to further extending thethe more high-end 1.6 GHz Z2460 with a 400 MHz GPU, availability of this service in deeper pockets of theIntel Hyper threading technology and the Intel XMM 6260 country in weeks to come," he added.platform.The phone will run on Android Gingerbread v2.3 andfeature a 4.03-inch LCD display, 8-megapixel rear There are two types of accounts under the Airtel
  4. 4. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service Everywhere You Do BusinessMoney service - express account and power account. deploy a consistent experience, look, and feel acrossUsers can dial *400# from their Airtel mobile phones or their product offerings. Opera Mini helps drive data traffic,sign up for the service by walking into any of the 15,000 increases the average revenue per user (ARPU) andplus Airtel Money outlets across the top 300 cities of India claims to provide the best user experience on any phone.and submitting the required KYC documents.Under the Express service, Airtel users can enjoy Idea customers will be able to download this co-brandedservices like paying utility bills like electricity, mobile version of Opera Mini on their devices from the end-recharge, gas etc. Users of this service can spend up to March 2012. "In emerging markets like India, the mobileRs 10,000 daily by uploading cash on their Airtel Money phone will soon become the primary way of accessing theaccount. Internet.Airtel Money Power Accounts offers lot many services We are arming ourselves with the best-in-class solutionsthan the Express account. Users with Power accounts for catering to this data-hungry population," said Ideascan apart from paying utility bills can use their mobile to chief marketing officer Shashi Shankar. "Operators suchshop at merchant outlets. as Idea Cellular are driving mass awareness about mobile Internet in the country," adds Lars Boilesen, CEO"Airtel Money will work as a convenient payment of Opera Software.alternative to debit and credit cards in days to come foronline transactions on popular websites like Flipkart, "Opera Mini is the ideal enabler for the Web on all mobileYatra, Letsbuy and even," Airtel said in a phones, bringing the full Internet to all devices, regardlesspress release. of device constraints and platform. As the mobile landscape in India grows and changes, we hope to workThe mobile wallets are generally very secure even in together with Idea Cellular and continue building value."case users miss place their handset. Airtel mobile walletservice can be used by any Airtel customer with any As consumers expect more functionality from theirhandset. mobile-browsing experiences, technology will have to advance to meet these demands. Mobile networks willTCS Insight: Indian Mobile operators have been have to accommodate more types of content; they havestruggling for long to successfully find an m-payment already advanced to handle, for example, streamingsolution. Vodafone’s experiment with HDFC and Airtel’s media and video, entertainment, navigation and gaming,latest attempt (Airtel Money) are all initiatives to revive among other uses.this. Increased awareness and penetration of mobileservices, adoption of smartphones and 3G, a tested and TCS Insight: With 3G finally tiding over teething troublessuccessful Africa model (probably the first best practice and finding acceptance within the mobile community,which any operator has adopted into it’s Indian network operators are now looking at increasing its penetrationfrom an overseas operation) and overcoming fears on through innovative products and increase their VASmobile security might make these projects successful, at (value added service) revenue. This will help Canadianleast that’s what initial reviews of Airtel Money suggest. telecom companies providing successful 3G applications,Canadian companies offering financial solutions content and technologies in Canada/US to better positionespecially micro financing/para banking should find their products and services to mobile operators.opportunities in the Indian market with mobile operators ___________________________________________and/or financial institutions.Idea Cellular inks pact with Opera Software toprovide super mobile browsing experienceThe Economic TimesFebruary 02, 2012Idea Cellular, the countrys third largest mobile phonecompany, has inked a deal with Opera Software to offer acustomised Opera Mini mobile web browser tosubscribers. Opera Mini is a mass-market web browserproviding a rich web experience for smartphone users.With Operas cross-platform UI framework, operators can
  5. 5. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service Everywhere You Do Business