Archive for the ‘tech news’ Category

>Mobile number portability opens war for Post paid users mainly

January 20, 2011

> Profitability of Indian cellular service providers is likely to be squeezed further following mobile number portability (MNP), triggering a short-term spike in subscribers switching service providers, which will force operators to spend more on attracting and retaining customers, say analysts.

Analysts estimate the rate of subscriber churn at 6-8% among pre-paid subscribers, who make up nearly 95% of India’s 700 million mobile phone connections, and 1-3% among post-paid subscribers.

The 5% subscriber base of post-paid subscribers contributes about 20% of revenues for larger telecom players. That’s the prize money various mobile operators are going to fight over — to win the post-paid subscribers.

Some operators such as Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications (RCom) are at particular risk of losing subscribers as they still operate a CDMA technology-based network, though both the players also operate GSM networks.
The only other CDMA operator in the country is MTS India, a new operator.

In India, GSM is the mainstream technology platform for mobile telephony, with nearly 85% of subscribers being on GSM networks.
At the time of going to the press, DNA was yet to get responses from RCom.

A spokesperson for Tata Tele did not respond to calls and messages.

For the 109 million or so CDMA subscribers in India, the incentive to move to GSM comes from a wider choice of handsets as well as service providers.

Given the smaller CDMA subscriber population, the choice of handsets available here is very limited.

Mobile number portability will “expose it (Reliance Communications) to the risk of losing CDMA subscribers, who so far had limited options,” Rajiv Sharma and Harbhajan Singh, analysts with HSBC Securities and Capital Markets, said in a January 11 note.

Goldman Sachs also believes Tata Tele and RCom are at risk of losing their CDMA subscribers once MNP is implemented nationally.

Along with mass market ad campaigns, some large operators are learnt to have launched targeted strategies to poach high value corporate customers from rivals.

“We expect a near-term increase in S&M (sales and marketing) costs, network expenses, and churn rates. We do not expect a meaningful proportion of corporate subscribers moving from incumbents to new entrants,” Goldman Sachs analysts Sachin Salgaonkar, Piyush Mubayi and Paras Mehta wrote in a January 18 note to clients.

Operators are likely to respond by bringing down post-paid tariffs, which are currently about 25% higher than pre-paid call rates.
According to the Goldman Sachs analysts, such post-paid tariff reduction could put “5%-8% of Bharti’s (Airtel) earnings at risk.”

Besides the revenue loss from lower tariffs, mobile service providers will also be forced to spend more to stay in the race, in a market that is not only among the fastest growing telecom markets in the world, but also the most competitive one, with at least 10 operators slugging it out in every telecom circle.

“We expect MNP to increase the cost structure of all the players as they will need to spend more on improving their quality of service and customer care,” said Amit K Khire of Ambit Capital.

Pan-India operators such as Idea Cellular and Vodafone Essar have already started advertising and marketing campaign to educate potential subscribers about number portability and hopefully woo them over to their own networks.

The boldest move yet has came from Loop Mobile, a regional operator in Mumbai, that went beyond the talk by offering to compensate subscribers for every dropped call.

“We declare that for every Call Drop that subscribers experience, we at Loop Mobile shall compensate them,” the company said in statement on Wednesday.

“For every confirmed call drop, we will reimburse the customer 50 paise,” S Mahadevan, chief operating officer for Loop Mobile told DNA.

Being one of the oldest operators in Mumbai circle – the only circle where Loop Mobile operates – the company’s legacy high end customers is an obvious prey for larger national operators.

Such measures, to both attract customers and retain customers take its toll on profitability according to rating agency ICRA Ltd, especially given that tariff levels are already extremely low.

“Higher customer acquisition and retention costs coupled with declining tariffs is likely to affect the profitability of telecom operators post implementation of MNP,” ICRA said in a client note on Tuesday.

“Under such a scenario, telecom operators with stronger financial profile would be better placed to cope with the increasing competitive intensity.”

>Top telecom companies in india

January 20, 2011

>List of telecom comanies in india

Top teleecom comapnies as per market cap

Bharti Airtel is one of the most valued company of India. It is also the leading telecom provider in India.  Reliance Communications follows Airtel in market capitalization. Interestingly the same order holds good for the total number of subscribers these telecom companies has.

Bharti has a subscriber base of 91.1 million and added 2.7 million subscribers in Feb 2009. Reliance added 3.3 million new subscribers in FEB 2009 to take the airtel total to 69.6 million. Reliance rolled out its GSM operations late last year following which there was a surge in the number of new subscribers. It also added more subscribers than Airtel in a month.
Following MTNL is the list of other telecom providers in infrastructure, equipment and value added services. Vodafone-Essar which has 66 million subscribers is not listed on the Indian Bourses.
BSNL is also not listed and that is the reason why it is not in the list. If listed it could be one of the top companies. There is a lot of things happening around BSNL’s IPO even before the recession started. Now, that the recession has started the IPO plans were postponed. But, BSNL will dilute 10% stake sooner than later.
*Market valuations as on 20 MAR 2009. Source (ETIG)
List of top 30 Telecom companies in India :

Company Name Market Cap in Crores
Bharti Airtel 108066.23
Reliance Communications 32683.44
Idea Cellular 14368.92
Tata Communications 13181.25
Tata Teleservices 4393.06
Spice Communications 4136.13
MTNL 4044.6
GTL 2475.12
GTL Infrastructure 2210.49
OnMobile Global 1403.52
HFCL Infotel 457.73
ITI 413.28
Him.Fut.Comm 386.99
Astra Microwave 241.88
Gemini Communications 125.71
Avaya Global 118.54
Shyam Telecom 64.58
Nelco 63.55
XL Telecom & Energy Limited 55.96
Goldstone Infratech Ltd 52.6
Nu Tek 48.16
Kavveri Telecom 26.51
Krone Communications 24.52
Mobile Telecommunications Ltd 17.37
Valiant Communications 16.58
Pun.Communi. 16.19
Nettlinx 12.68
Aishwarya Telecom Ltd 9.86
Interg.Digit 3.15
Vital Communications 2.81

>Number portability from today

January 20, 2011

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will formally announce a nationwide roll-out of the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service on Thursday. This facility will allow mobile subscribers to switch operators without changing their phone numbers, thus forcing telecom companies to improve efficiency of their networks, offer competitive tariffs and more value-added services.
“I think it is a great step forward for the consumer, as it enhances choice and brings in more competition, because the more efficient you are as a service provider, the more likely that consumers will choose you,” Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists here on Wednesday.
Due to technical reasons and laxity on the part of telecom operators, the MNP missed at least three deadlines last year. However, it was introduced in Haryana as a test case in November 2010. In the meantime, private operators had already begun a major marketing campaign, creating awareness of the service in order to woo mobile users.
How much churning will happen in the mobile space due to MNP, only time will tell; but it will definitely put pressure on mobile operators to offer better and more value-added services not only to woo customers but also to retain their existing customers. Some operators could further slash their tariffs to attract customers. Mobile operators such as Idea Cellular, Vodafone Essar, Uninor, Reliance Communications, Airtel and Aircel are all geared to introduce the MNP to give a boost to their subscriber base.
“Idea is ready to enable the MNP on its network and has made substantial investment in network, technology and processes to allow mobile subscribers to switch network and move to Idea, post MNP. Idea has also launched an MNP helpline to guide mobile subscribers on various aspects and procedures of number portability. The mobile users across all 22 circles can call up the toll-free number and register their requests for porting on the Idea network,” Idea Cellular said in a statement.
According to CDMA operator Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL) president and Chief Executive Officer Vsevolod Rozanov: “I think tariffs will go down further especially if we speak about the post-paid customer base, where we are likely to see the average revenue per user going down. In the pre-paid segment, I doubt a significant change in their tariffs or profitability.” The SSTL offers services under the brand MTS.

>Airtel joins tata sky and gives alacarte option for DTH TV services

January 20, 2011

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Bharti Airtel’s DTH service, airtel digital TV on Tuesday said it will offer its subscribers the option to pick and choose channels they wish to watch.
“The initiative will empower the Airtel digital TV customers to create their own channel packages, with cost of individual channels starting from Rs. 3 onwards,” the company said in a statement.
It, however, added if a customer opts for the a la carte option, there would be a minimum charge of Rs. 150 plus service tax or actuals whichever is higher.
“The early introduction of our a la carte offerings enhances choice and convenience for our customers who can now either go in for a la carte or choose from our wide range of monthly base packs, or have a mix of other channel packs on a base pack,” Bharti Airtel Director and CEO (DTH Services) Ajai Puri said.
The company said it has announced the a la carte pricing of all the 198 linear channels available on its platform, effective January 1, 2011.
Currently, rival TataSky offers the a la carte option.
Airtel digital TV has over 4.9 million customers and is one of the leading national level DTH service in the country.
It launched its services in October 2008.

>Verizon iPad On The Way Though no date or price yet specified

January 12, 2011

>AT&T officially lost their exclusive rights to the iPhone earlier today, and it looks like the same fate awaits their exclusive HSDPA-embedded iPad arrangement. According to Bloomberg News, Verizon will soon sell a version of the iPad with an embedded chip allowing the device to connect directly to the Verizon network. Previously, Verizon only sold the iPad with a bundled MiFi hotspot for between $629.99 and $829.99. Speaking to Bloomberg, Verizon CFO Francis Shammo confirmed the device was coming to Verizon, but didn’t specify a price or date. Bloomberg also doesn’t specify whether the device will be CDMA/EVDO only, EVDO/LTE dual mode, or LTE only. Verizon’s upcoming version of the iPhone will be CDMA only, something Apple says is because an LTE version would “force some design compromises that we wouldn’t make.”

>Apple iPad facing stiff competion from Android

November 20, 2010

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Tablet computers using Google Inc’s Android-based system will steal some sales from Apple Inc’s iPad and hold 15.2 per cent of the market in 2011, industry tracker IMS Research said.

The firm said in a report that over 15 suppliers will sell Android-based tablets by mid-2011, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Acer Inc, Cisco Systems Inc and Dell Inc.

On the strength of those devices, IMS projected that Android will command 15.2 per cent of the tablet market in 2011. And that will grow to 28.4 per cent in 2015, IMS said.

Samsung has said it plans to sell 1 million of its Galaxy Tab tablets this year, according to Nikkei business daily.

“The availability of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet via mobile carriers such as AT&T in the US will quickly boost Google Android’s presence in the tablet market,” Anna Hunt, the IMS report author and principal analyst, said in a statement.

Research firm iSuppli expects 15.6 million tablets to ship this year, with 13.8 million of those being iPads, which got a head start on the competition with a launch in April.

Next year, 57.3 million tablets are expected to ship with the iPad making up 43.7 million of those units, iSuppli said. Companies competing against the iPad by bringing out a new tablet must contend with the fact many application developers are gearing their products to the iPad’s specifications, said Rhoda Alexander, an analyst with iSuppli.

The IMS Research report also notes that technology companies Research in Motion Ltd and Hewlett Packard Co have invested in operating system technology for tablets. As a result, IMS forecasts that, in 2011, 7.8 per cent of tablets shipped will run on operating systems other than Apple OS, Android or Microsoft Corp’s Windows.

>IT news:Promoters may exit Patni

November 20, 2010

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The promoters of Patni Computer Systems and a private equity investor have revived attempts to sell their over-60 % stake in the country's sixth-largest software exporter after scaling down expectation of a price per share far above the current one, two people with independent knowledge of this deal said.

A mix of private equity firms and so-called strategic buyers have evinced interest in buying the holdings of the owners of Patni, three brothers—Ashok, Gajendra and Narendra Patni—and General Atlantic, the private equity investor. Three PE funds, Apax Partners, Carlyle Group and Advent Advisors are in the fray while Japanese firm, Hitachi, and two European firms are the strategic bidders, a term often used to distinguish companies from private equity or other financial investors.

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>Google coming up with Instant previews feature soon

November 11, 2010

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People searching on Google will soon be able to see previews of websites before clicking on them.

The “Instant Previews” feature is meant to help people bypass websites that are either irrelevant or simply too visually cluttered for their tastes. It works for Google Web searches, as well as searches for news, video and local businesses.

After clicking on an icon of a magnifying glass, people will see a picture of the website in the white space to the right of the search results within a tenth of a second. Although the preview photo will vary in size, just as Google Inc’s image results do, Google designed the previews so that they’ll never eclipse the search results and clutter the page.

Google will also show a box above the picture zooming in on the section of the website where the search terms appear. The search terms will be highlighted in that box.

While someone looks at a picture of a website, Google will load visual previews for other search results in the background so that people can quickly compare websites by rolling the cursor over the results on the page.

The feature is a follow-up to Instant Search, a feature Google unveiled in September that updates search results as people continue typing. Last week, Google said that people who own an iPhone or a smartphone running Google’s Android software can use Instant Search too.

Google said it is introducing visual previews because word-based search results can only tell someone so much about what a website holds in store. People who use Google can already read short snippets from a site before they click on it, as well as, say, the date a news story or article was published.

All told, Google claims that people who use Instant Previews are 5 per cent more likely to feel satisfied with the website they chose.

Google will roll out Instant Previews in 40 languages over the coming days.