Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Reliance ties up with China Telecom

We have always wondered what is Reliance Infocomm planning to do with its FLAG subsidiary. We have our answer. According to Reuters, RIL is close to signing a connectivity deal with China's top fixed-line carrier, China Telecom. Calls from India to China no longer have to traverse the US or Europe. As a result, tariffs are expected to fall by as much as 55% to Rs. 8 per minute. For more details, read on . . .

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Motorola finally decides to manufacture in India

Well, it finally had to bite the bullet. With Nokia and Ericsson putting local manufacturing plans in motion, Motorola had to respond in like to compete on an equal footing.

Last week, Motorola announced plans to manufacture handsets locally as part of a three-pronged strategy. The plan calls for introducing its "ultra-sleek and ultra-chic" L6 mobile handset in India.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Why is broadband uptake in India is low?

A recent report has revealed that broadband penetration in India is only 610,000 subscribers against a stated policy target of 3 million subscribers by end of 2005. Broadband access charges are pretty reasonable (Rs. 200 - Rs. 250 per month) so the question remains ...

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is speculating that the government refusal to unbundle local access may be one reason.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

TRAI comes down on BSNL

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is finally coming down on BSNL for delaying interconnection to other private operators and causing congestion, especially in mobile networks. While all operators are faulted for network congestion, TRAI reveals that BSNL is the majority culprit. Hopefully, BSNL addresses this issue pretty quickly - otherwise, a growth rate of 3 million subscriber additions per month is just going to make the problem worse!

Did Vodafone get a cheap deal?

The Vodafone deal with Bharti is being parsed and analyzed by the news media. The conclusion is that Vodafone may have gotten a good deal - up to four times cheaper - compared to its deal with China Mobile in 2000. Numbers reveal that the price per subscriber that Vodafone paid for Bharti subscribers is even cheaper than the recent Telefonica - O2 transaction

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Vodafone's Indian dreams

Speculation is rife that Arun Sarin (the Indian-American CEO of Vodafone Global) is not going to be content with the 10% equity Vodafone has in Bharti - just a matter of time before VF snags Singtel's ownership stake as well. It adopted a similar strategy in Japan and telecom insiders in India will not be surprised if the same act plays out in India as well.

Bharti's stock should see a upside when this happens. Should also provide an opportunity to vendors other than Ericsson to play a role in Vodafone Globals' network transformation strategy when Vodafone ends up owning majority stake in Bharti.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

BSNL threatens Huawei

Lightreading is reporting that BSNL has threatened Huawei that the latter may be excluded from all future contracts - fixed and wireless - because of its non-delivery of CDMA2000 systems. Huawei has alleged that HFCL - it local OEM partner is to blame for the non-delivery while HFCL (which does not have the best reputation in India) is pointing fingers at Huawei.

Huawei just announced setting up of a manufacturing plant in Bangalore to manufacture 3G equipment, fixed wireless terminals etc. in an attempt to adhere to local manufacturing requirements laid down by Mr. Maran. In spite of that, Huawei is getting into a lot of problems recently with BSNL - India's PTT - and the reasons behind the recent events are not clear. Sources allege that Huawei wants to bid direct (HFCL is just a middleman here adding no value) but for obvious reasons, the BSNL honchos do not like the direct approach. Come on, guys, they have to eat too!

Vodafone comes to India (finally)

Vodafone has finally decided to invest in an Indian mobile company. Vodafone Group, the world's biggest mobile phone company, has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Indian firm Bharti Tele-Ventures for $1.5bn. Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone will buy 4.4% from Bharti Enterprises and 5.6% from investment firm Warburg Pincus.

India has more than 66 million mobile subscibers and the market is expanding by 2.5 million users a month. Bharti had more than 14 million mobile phone users at the end of September. Can we expect Bharti to introduce cool mobile services available in the other Vodafone OpCos? Remains to be seen if VF will take an operating role in BTV.

Sachin, Shah Rukh in Vodafone spots, anyone :-)

Monday, October 24, 2005

What exactly is Reliance doing with FLAG?

Remember, a while back when RIL was still under Mukesh, it acquired FLAG Telecom for $210 million. What exactly is it doing with FLAG? At that time, there were these supposed synergies and how Reliance Telecom (which acquired a license to offer telecommunication services in the US) will fill those empty undersea submarine pipes with a lot of traffic. Things have changed since - a family squabble, a new CEO - but the pipes are still empty!