3G Auction Delayed Yet Again

It’s time that we should really stop hoping for 3G auction to be ever held in this fiscal at least. Thanks to the yet unsolved rift’ between the Defence Ministry and DoT, 3G auction might not be held during this fiscal. Department of Telecommunication (DoT) had promised that they would not further delay the 3G auction but promises are made to be broken and DoT takes it very seriously.

DoT approached the Defence Ministry to review the new 3G policies and the deal is just stuck there ever since. The difference between the defence ministry and DoT occur in not one, not two but as much as three issues regarding number of blocks to auction, the band allotted to BSNL and MTNL and the speed of the project to set up an alternate cable network for the Defence forces.

The DoT has sufficient airwaves to sell two 3G slots while the defence ministry has enough for two more. But the defence ministry has said it cannot vacate the airwaves until an optical fibre cable network is built to connect key defence locations and this would certainly take some time. These differences doesn’t look like would be solved quickly and might push the 3G auction to August-September, which is definitely not this fiscal as promised by DoT.

Indian Telecom Weekly Roundup 3

We yet haven’t heard about the next 3G auction date. As a matter of fact, in a public poll many voters suggested that the government should drop the 3G auction and concentrate on bringing in the 4G technology in India, so by the next 2-3 years we could actually use 4G connection and we could cope up with the latest technology. And to think of it, by that time I am sure everyone would also be flaunting a 4G mobile device with them.

While we talk about 3G and 4G, Airtel has launched an interesting GPRS plan for prepaid customers. With a recharge of 98 INR you will now be able to get 2GB free data usage plan and with multiple recharge you can extend the limit in multiples of 2. To counter attack BSNL launched five new plans with an unlimited download plan. The coming week, I expect Vodafone, Aircel and others to join the flame. It’s always better to have options.

As if caller tune was enough irritating on wireless connections, Airtel wants to cash on its 2.9 million fixed line connections with similar service. Airtel has launched a new service called Family Namewhere you can set your Family Name as caller tune for Rs.15 one time download and Rs.30 monthly subscription. Thousands of standard’ family names are available and more would be added soon.

Last week, we saw some astonishing figures and statics. Indian operators collectively signing up 19.1 million new subscribers for wireless services in December 2009. This is the highest figure so far for new subscribers in a month. India’s mobile subscriber base now touches 525.15 million. So by March 10 we could definitely cross the predicted 529 million subscribers. With this we have achieved the overall tele-density of 47.89. Take a look at the Net addition of wireless connection in the month of December 2010 in percentage.

 

Dec 2010 wireless addition statics

Apart from that, we saw the launch of three new handsets last week. RIM introduced Blackberry BOLD 9700 in the Indian market with the price tag of 31,990 INR. It will be available on Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Idea Cellular, Loop Mobile, MTNL, Reliance, Tata and Vodafone. Acer introduced it’s first Android based phone: Acer Liquid. This touch screen handset is priced at 24,990 INR. Nokia, launched Nokia 5233 a cheaper version of it touch screen Nokia 5230, just without 3G. Nokia 5233 will be available for 7500 INR which is almost 1000 INR cheaper than Nokia 5230.

That’s all for this week. See you Next week and Enjoy the weekend.

MTNL Delhi Launches Vidyarthi Plan

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MTNL Delhi, today announced the launch of new Trump Vidyarthi Plan offering Free unlimited intranet local calls and SMSes, free 3G service. This plan can be availed by all new and existing subscribers.

Plan Details:

Voucher: Rs.350/- for New subscribers and Rs.310/- for existing subscribers
Validity: 30 days
Benefits: Local calls to other networks will be charged 50 paise per minute while STD calls will be charged 75 paise per minute. Local video calls will be charged 20 paise per minute while STD video calls to be charged 75 paise per minute. It also offers Rs 106, free 100 local video calls and 100 MB GPRS/3G data usage
Circle: Delhi

Indian Telecom Weekly Roundup 1

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Here I will post weekly roundup of the happenings in the Indian Telecom Industry. I will try to do this a weekly thing as much as possible in coming weeks. 

Call Rates

With Tata Docomo entering the Indian market with its per second billing scheme, it was inevitable for other telecom operators to ignore Tata Docomos success. Not only has it introduced healthy competition but also has helped in to the reduce costs of SMS, calls and other services. Aircel and Vodafone launched new voucher schemes with call rates as cheap as 10p to 50p.

3G Technology

3G auctions were to be held on 15th Jan 2010, which yet again got delayed cause of the differences between the Defence Forces and the Communications Ministry are again coming in the way of arrival of 3G. A meeting Between the Defense communication professionals and Communications Minister didn’t really bring the desired outcome. The chairman will make certain decision or another round of consultations may be held. So, expect 3G auctions to be delayed for few more weeks now.

Though, 3G auction is getting delayed endlessly, the good news is Telecom operators are preparing themselves for the 3G technology. If all the telecom operators become technically ready to accommodate 3G, they might help in bringing the new technology soon (??).

Customer Serivce

With Telecommunication industry growing at more than 100% every month, the customers never really had a better customer service experience. Tata teleservices introduced a new initiative where in user can Call and Buy Photon Plus on a toll free number 1800 420 8282 1800 420 8282. We hope they continue to provide such service even after getting the connection.

The next roundups will include more detailed analysis.

Is Aircel Getting Ready For 3G?

As we are already aware of the fact that 3G auctions in India have experienced numerous delays, the government has yet again  given out official date for the auctions this month. This might get delayed again, but we are pretty sure that 3G auctions are going to be held very soon. You may ask, how? Well, Aircel has now offloaded its towers to GTL, an Indian communications infrastructure operator, for around $1.84bn.

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GTL will take over 17,500 existing towers and will take over rights to roll out 20,000 more. We are pretty sure that this move by Aircel might be replicated by various other operators. It is good to see that operators have finally started taking few steps towards the launch of 3G network in India. Aircel has around 30 million subscribers to its base which might soon enjoy the 3G speed.

Not only has Aircel sold its towers but also is getting ready with its own app store. Infosys, India’s second-largest IT company will be developing this app store which will use its white label app store platform Flypp to power the shop front. However, it is to be soon how does this app store fairs before and after the launch of 3G.