India

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Motorola launches Milestone

Motorola has introduced Milestone, the first Android 2.1-powered phone for India. Powered by Android 2.1, it offers the ability to use multiple applications at once and one of the world’s thinnest Qwerty sliders. Milestone also boasts a hi-resolution, pinch and zoom display. A suite of Google mobile applications including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube are also integrated onto the device. Plus users have access to thousands of apps and widgets from android market.

--Financial Chronicle

India is where the US was a decade ago in retail and internet products

He is one of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capitalists finding mention in the Forbes Midas List of top investors for nine years in succession. In India, Promod Haque has led investments in over half-a-dozen India-based start-ups, including software product company Persistent Systems, travel portal Yatra, classifieds company Sulekha and Appnomic Systems. Earlier on Wednesday, Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), the 49-year-old investment firm, in which Haque is a managing partner, made the lead investment in a $6-million round of funding in internet classifieds company Quikr.

India to switch cell phone towers from diesel to solar

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India is set to create a mandate that all telecom operators power their cell phone towers with solar panels, instead of the diesel generators currently being used.

The new mandate is likely to be incorporated into India’s National Solar Mission which aims at setting up 20,000MW of solar power capacity by 2022.

Such a move would not only help the government achieve this ambitious goal but would also allow the ministry to get subsidies for the telecom and tower operators for installation of solar power systems.

Airtel to launch 3G services by year-end

Country's leading telecom service provider Bharti Airtel will launch the 3G services by the year-end.

"Our core network is 3G ready, billing, application and content ready. Once bids are through services will take six to eight months after that," Bharti Airtel CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor said while launching a HTC smartphone exclusively on Airtel network.

Bharti shares edge up on expected Zain deal signing

Shares in top Indian mobile firm Bharti Airtel edged higher Tuesday on reports it will sign a 10.7-billion-dollar deal to acquire the African telecom assets of Kuwait's Zain later in the day.

Officials at New Delhi-based firm declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules, but Kuwait's Al-Watan daily reported the signing would take place Tuesday at the headquarters of Zain Africa in Amsterdam.

Shares of Bharti Airtel rose nearly one percent to 313.75 rupees on the Mumbai stock exchange at midday, outpacing an overall weaker market, on the back of the reports.

Teledensity in India touches 51.05 percent

India's telecom density has risen to 51.05 percent after 18.76 million new phone connections were added in February this year, the telecom regulator said here Monday.

In January, the teledensity was 49.50 percent.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in the statement that the number of telephone connections reached 600.69 million in February from 581.97 million a month before.

'With this, the overall tele-density in India reached 51.05 percent,' TRAI said.

Wireless broadbank bids may hit Rs. 5500 crore

With 11 companies filing for pre-qualification in the auction of the only two available slots of broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in each circle, the price bids could see stiff contest.

According to an ABN Amro equity research report, “Participation by global players like Qualcomm could intensify the BWA bidding. The higher competition could drive the BWA bid price to $1.2 billion (Rs 5,500 crore).” This will be way above the reserve price of Rs 1,750 crore that the government has fixed.

RCom to offer free talktime on March 28

Telecom major Reliance Communications (RCom) will offer free local and STD calling on its network on March 28 as it celebrates the 100-million subscriber base.

As part of the offer, RCom customers would be able to avail 24 hours of free local and STD calling across the Reliance network on March 28, RCom said in a statement today.

The one-day offer will be available to all new and existing Reliance customers across CDMA, GSM and Hello (fixed wireless) services, it added.

Vodafone India launches IPhone 3GS in India

Telecom major Vodafone Essar said on 26 March it will launch Apple iPhone 3GS in the country beginning, priced at Rs 29,500 onwards. The handset also provides access to Apple’s App Store, which has more than 1.5 lakh applications ranging from games to social networking.

Vodafone Essar will offer three plans - a prepaid plan of Rs100 and two post paid plans with Rs 799 and Rs 999 as rental respectively

Execution risk looms large for Bharti in Africa

Now comes the hard part for Bharti Airtel. On its third attempt in two years, Bharti is poised to become No. 2 in Africa. Bharti's management and finances will be stretched.

At 10 times enterprise value to EBITDA Bharti is paying a rich price for a group of loss-making assets on a continent full of operational challenges, from corruption and political instability to inadequate electricity and theft of equipment.

Global Telco Vendors must hire Indians

Global telecom gear makers like Nokia Siemens, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and others, which maintain and manage mobile networks of cellphone companies here, must only employ Indian engineers, a government directive said.

“The operation and maintenance of telecom networks should be entirely by Indian engineers and dependence on foreign engineers should be minimal or nil within a period of two years,” the communications ministry said in a notification posted on its website. The government said it would amend licence conditions soon to add the new norms.

Airtel may take 2 years to turn Zain Africa profitable

The entry of India’s largest service provider Bharti Airtel in the African mobile market is likely to be marked with a number of challenges. Analysts say Bharti may take 15-24 months to turn around the loss-making operations of Zain Africa, apart from tackling the regulatory hurdles that may come across while operating in the African countries.
-- Business Standard

Due diligence on Zain assets over, says Bharti

India’s biggest telecom services provider Bharti Airtel Ltd said on Thursday that it had completed due diligence on the African assets of Kuwait-based Mobile Telecommunications Co. KSC, better known as Zain.

“Bharti is now working with Zain towards finalizing the definitive agreements, which will address all key terms and findings arising out of the due diligence,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement. “Definitive agreements are expected to be signed soon. Upon signing, the parties will move towards obtaining any required approvals.”

Tata Quippo to sell 10 percent for Rs. 1500 crore

Tata-Quippo, the world’s largest independent tower firm, is looking at bringing a financial partner into the firm. The financial partner will get around 10 percent in the Tata-Quippo combine for around Rs 1,500 crore, Sunil Kanoria, MD of Quippo, said while adding that the deal will be completed within the next two months. In an interaction, Kanoria also said that the tower company Quippo-WTTIL (Wireless TT Info Services) was looking at listing on the bourses within a year.

Rcom touches 100M subscriber base

Six months after joining the tariff war and seven years after its entry into India’s telecom market, Anil Ambani promoted Reliance Communications Ltd (Rcom) has crossed the 100 million mark in terms of number of subscribers on its wireless network. The telco is the second after Bharti Airtel to hit this mark. Bharti Airtel launched its services in 1994.

The firm aims to cross the next 100 million subscribers within the next three years

Scrap double tax on foreign carriers

A Department of Telecom committee has recommended that the communications ministry should scrap the double taxation structure on foreign carriers operating in India such as AT&T, BT, Verizon, Orange and Cable & Wireless among others

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