Cisco India earmarks Rs 63.5 crore to provide financial support to staff amid Covid-19 crisis

US-based networking solutions provider Cisco is making a "one-off payment" of about Rs 63.5 crore towards supporting staff in India during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. A Cisco India employee shared a post on LinkedIn saying the company is providing a 'crisis financial assistance' under which employees in the country are being given Rs 50,000 each. The company is also offering additional paid leaves for volunteering work, vaccination cost coverage, and salary advances to support its staff in the country, the post said. When contacted, Cisco - in an emailed statement said - the company continues to explore new ways to expand the resources available to its employees and their families.

(ET, May 12, 2021)

AI analog chip startup Mythic raises $70 Million

Mythic, a startup making artificial intelligence chips for use in gadgets such as smart home devices or security cameras, on Tuesday said it raised $70 million in its latest round of funding. The Redwood City, California-based chip maker started in 2012, uses analog technology for its chips rather than digital. Digital chips store and process data in 1s and 0s, while analog chips can process wave forms such as speech or video and are used to digitize speech and video into 1s and 0s. "What it really does is allows us to get essentially GPU levels of performance - those big book sized cards burning one hundred watts and costing $4,000 dollars," said Mike Henry, co-founder and CEO of Mythic.

(ET, May 11, 2021)

Twitter donates $15 mn to 3 different NGOs for COVID-19 relief in India

Microblogging giant Twitter has donated USD 15 million to help address the COVID-19 crisis in India which is battling the unprecedented second wave of the deadly pandemic. Twitter CEO Jack Patrick Dorsey on Monday tweeted that the amount has been donated to three non-governmental organisations - Care, Aid India and Sewa International USA. While CARE has been given USD 10 million, Aid India and Sewa International USA have received USD 2.5 million each. "Sewa International is a Hindu faith-based, humanitarian, non-profit service organisation.

(ET, May 11, 2021)

Telecom secretary puts on hold 5G trial spectrum allotment to Saankhya Labs, IISc Bengaluru

Telecom secretaryAnshu Prakash has put on hold the recent allocation of 5G trial spectrum to homegrown semiconductor chipset maker Saankhya Labs and IISc Bengaluru. The development has brought to the fore divergent views of two key wings of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the experimental 5G airwaves allocation process. Government and industry insiders said the allocations have been held in abeyance as Saankhya and IISc apparently did not follow the mandated process of seeking such experimental 5G spectrum. Instead of directly applying online to the mandated Wireless Planning & Coordination (WPC) wing, they chose to involve DoT’s Standards, R&D & Innovation (SRI) division in the applications process, a person with direct knowledge said.

(ET, May 11, 2021)

Foxconn iPhone India output drops 50% amid COVID surge: Sources

Production of the Apple iPhone 12 at a Foxconn factory in India has slumped by more than 50% because workers infected with COVID-19 have had to leave their posts, two sources told Reuters. The Foxconn facility in the southern state of Tamil Nadu produces iPhones specifically for India, the world's No.2 smartphone market. Tamil Nadu is one of the worst hit states in the second coronavirus wave engulfing India. Officials imposed a full lockdown in the state from Monday, closing public transport and shuttering shops, to try slow surging infections.

(ET., May 11, 2021)

Electronics, handset cos slash production

Several electronics manufacturers including Lava International, Transsion Holdings, MCM Telecom Equipment, Videotex International and Veira Electronics are cutting production by up to 50%, as the raging second Covid-19 wave hits demand and due to a shortage of components and factory workers. Some component and device makers such as TMB Battery, Khy Electronics, Salcomp, Jabil, Sunwoda Electronics, JSP electronics, Hong Guang De Technology, Rashmi Rare Earth, Sahasra Electronics and VVDN have shut factories for 7-10 days or reduced shifts to curb the virus spread, several industry executives told ET. They have also prioritised arrangements for staff ’s health. 

(ET, May 05, 2021)

Aarogya Setu app to display vaccine status soon

The Aarogya Setucontact tracing app may soon become a tool to quickly access a person's vaccination status. The government is working on a feature where a blue tick will appear against their names once people take one dose of the vaccine. If they have taken both the doses, then two blue ticks will be displayed. The new functionality is expected to be rolled out in the next one or two weeks, government officials who are privy to the development told ET.

(ET, May 05, 2021)

France' STMicro sees no reason to take part in EU chip alliance

Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics sees no reason to join a potential European Unionsemiconductors alliance, its chief executive said on Tuesday, as the European Commission is seeking to boost Europe's independence in microchips. CEO Jean-Marc Chery told BFM Business that the Commission's initiative is a positive development but added that his firm had no interest in taking part. Chery said he expects the chip shortage is not about to end. "The imbalance between demand and capacity is such that this will last at least a year," he said. STMicro produces a wide range of chips, from low-margin microcontrollers to more sophisticated sensors used in smartphones and autonomous vehicles.

(ET, May 05, 2021)

Chipmaker TSMC eyeing expansion of planned Arizona plant: Sources

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) is planning to build several more chipmaking factories in the U.S. state of Arizona beyond the one currently planned, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, announced in May 2020 it would build a $12 billion factory in Arizona, an apparent win by the Trump administration in its push to wrestle global tech supply chains back from China. TSMC is setting up a 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in Phoenix, and the facility is expected to start volume production in 2024, Taiwan's investment commission of the ministry of economic affairs, which approved the investment, said in December.        

(ET, May 04, 2021)

German chipmaker Infineon raises revenue, margin guidance on chip boom

German chipmaker Infineon raised its guidance on Tuesday for revenue and margins in the current fiscal year, saying that demand was greatly exceeding supply and it continued to invest in additional capacity. Munich-based Infineon, the leading semiconductor supplier to the car industry, lifted its revenue forecast for the year to Sept. 30 to a midpoint of 11 billion euros ($13.2 billion) from 10.8 billion. It now expects a profit margin of 18%, up from an earlier view of 17.8%. "The semiconductor market is booming," Chief Executive Reinhard Ploss said, adding that demand greatly exceeded supply in most areas. "Infineon's manufacturing facilities are running at full speed and we continue to invest in additional capacity."

(ET, May 04, 2021)

Samsung, Vivo pledge funds for Covid fight

Electronics major Samsung and smartphone brand Vivo have pledged to contribute Rs 37 crore and Rs 10 crore for the fight against Covid. Samsung said it has pledged USD 5 million (Rs 37 crore) out of which USD 3 million will be donated to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu while USD 2 million will be provided for medical supplies, including 100 Oxygen Concentrators, 3,000 Oxygen Cylinders and one million LDS syringes. LDS or Low Dead Space syringes minimize the amount of drug left in the device after injection, optimizing vaccine usage. Existing products have a large amount of the vaccine remaining in the syringe after use..

(ET, May 04, 2021)

Singapore cyber protection firm Acronis receives $250 mln investment for global expansion, including in India

Singapore's cyber protection company Acronis has received USD 250 million investment from Luxembourg-headquartered CVC Capital Partners, supporting its global expansion including the setting up of a cloud data centre and acquisition of companies in India. The USD 250 million investment has put the company's value over USD 2.5 billion, up from USD 1 billion in 2019, Rustom Hiramaneck, General Manager for South Asia at Acronis International Pte Ltd, said on Tuesday, announcing the CVC Capital investment. "India is a top-tier country for us this year and a part of the Asia Pacific and Japan which are one of our fastest growing markets. We have big plans for the adoption of cyber protection vision in India in the next few years," he said.

(ET, May 04, 2021)

Include low bitrate satellite services in licensing framework: SIA-India to Trai

SIA-India said the existing licensing framework should include low bitrate satellite services, and terminal-by-terminal fees should be relaxed, especially in the case of Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure success in the country. “Individual terminal-by-terminal fees should be avoided when dealing with a number of ubiquitous user terminals with similar technical and operational characteristics (in other words, a “blanket license” approach would be more suitable),” Anil Prakash – Director-General, SIA-India said, in response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) consultation paper on ‘licensing framework for satellite-based connectivity for low bit-rate applications’.

(ET, Apr 23, 2021)

MeitY launches new initiatives to increase IPv6 adoption in India

Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) launched three new initiatives--IP Guru, NIXI Academy, and NIXI-IP-Index to help Indian entities migrate and adopt Internet Protocol version IPv6. These initiatives were launched by Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Friday. The IP Guru group will hire an agency that will work with end customers to provide them with the necessary technical support to adopt IPv6. This expert group will additionally guide all such Indian entities and help in increasing IPv6 adoption.

(ET, Apr  16, 2021)

Paytm inspired Harvard team creating similar app for Americans

The success of Vijay Shekhar Sharma-run digital payments leader Paytm in India has reached the US, and a team from Harvard Business School, led by a US Army veteran, is currently working on a similar app for a wider launch later this spring. Called Flash Cash, the QR code-based digital payments platform aims to create a "Paytm-like service to provide better value to merchants and a better experience for customers" in the US. According to CEO Chuck Nadd, a US Army veteran, who flew Black Hawk helicopters and coordinated military operations worldwide, felt that QR codes had not yet been widely adopted as a payment solution in the American market.

(ET, Apr 05, 2021)

Used-phone seller Cashify raises $15 million from Olympus Capital

Cashify, a re-commerce marketplace that sells and buys used smartphones and other electronic gadgets, has raised $15 million from Olympus Capital Asia. Olympus Capital will make the investment through Asia Environmental Partners (AEP), its clean energy and sustainability platform.  “We are looking forward to accelerating our investment in the electronics reuse and recycling sector and thereby enabling OEMs and consumers to materially reduce their carbon footprint," said Mandeep Manocha, founder and CEO of Cashify. Founded in 2015 by Manocha, Nakul Kumar, and Amit Sethi, Cashify is an online platform to sell used mobile phones for instant cash and offers free home-pickups. The start-up plans to use these funds to expand its footprint in India, through offline retail expansion. “We plan to grow our offline stores from 60 to 150 over the next one and one-and-a-half years, as people like to touch and feel the phone before buying," said Manocha, adding that the pandemic has boosted demand for second-hand smartphones and laptops because of online learning and work from home.  From selling 80,000 devices per month in September 2020, Cashify today sells more than 125,000 devices a month and is looking at achieving profitability in the next 6 months.

(LiveMint, Mar 04, 2021)

BlueStacks to revolutionise mobile gaming in India: CEO

BlueStacks, the world's largest Android gaming platform for PCs and Macs, is bullish on India and with over 2 million games across numerous developers, the company is revolutionising the way Android gaming is taking shape in the country, a top executive said on Monday. BlueStacks has over 500 million users globally across more than 200 locations. "India is an extremely large mobile gaming market for us. Last year, the pandemic drove a surge of gamers across the world, including India, which saw a near 100 per cent jump in user base," Rosen Sharma, CEO BlueStacks, told IANS in an interview.  A typical BlueStacks user is spending an average of 5 hours playing mobile games every day. According to Sharma, the gaming eco-system in India is majorly driven by mobile games. "With developers coming out with bigger and heavier games, more mobile gamers will play in interruption-free environments and migrate to PC-based platforms. Mobile games are not designed for long gameplay," he noted. The new BlueStacks 5 (Beta), which will support ARM devices, offers significantly faster boot, install and launch times and core gamers can look forward to better gameplay experiences.

(ET, Feb 22, 2021)

Mobile users spend 3 crore hours on Covid message, which holds up distress calls: Consumer Group

India’s billion-plus mobile users spend a whopping 3 crore hours a day listening to a 30-second Covid19 message Kolkata. When’s the last time India wanted to tune out after Amitabh Bachchan started speaking? But when India’s billion-plus mobile users spend hours every day for months listening to 30-second covid messages, then even the famous baritone of the iconic actor, who lends his voice to one of the message variants, can’t prevent fatigue. Voiceover artist Jasleen Bhalla lent her voice to another variant of the covid pre-call announcement. Lately, there's a third variant that starts with a man coughing. Consumer groups say those pre-call covid messages are hugely problematic. They say the message being played across networks is estimated to be causing a wastage of around 1.3 crore man-hours a day, and invariably holds up or delays distress calls from going through during emergencies. Also, it eats up precious bandwidth resources. A leading consumer association has dialed communications and consumer affairs ministries respectively, and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman P D Vaghela, saying the repetitive nature of the pandemic-related messaging has outlived its relevance. And that it has become a source of annoyance, and that mobile users largely ignore it because people are already aware of the criticality of social distancing protocols and usage of masks.

(ET, Jan 15, 2021)

Optic fibre makes a major part of telecom carriers digital infrastructure spend

Optic-fibre cable or OFC contributes a major pie of the Indian telecom carriers expenditure on creating digital infrastructure which is also a backbone to achieve Centre's ambitious Digital India vision, an executive of the country's top fibre maker said. "Telcos are making aggressive investments in digital network infrastructure, and optic-fibre cable holds a major share of telcos’ overall digital infrastructure investment," Anand Agarwal, group chief executive Sterlite Technologies Limited (STL) told ETTelecom. Following the demand triggered by service providers' aggressive Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) strategy, and upcoming fifth generation (5G) networks, the Pune-based predominant optic-fibre producer is planning to invest Rs 300-crore to boost its production capacity, while the second-largest HFCL Limited is also eyeing to increase production capability by at least 33%. "Optical fibre infrastructure is the cornerstone for achieving the goals of Digital India vision. Fibre networks are at the core to address the digital divide in the country," Agarwal added. India's top fibre manufacturers -- Sterlite Technologies and HFCL Limited -- are banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's prestigious Digital India umbrella program that aims to achieve 100% tele-density, broadband for all, and fibre-based national backbone called BharatNet for seamless delivery of public services.

(ET, Jan 14, 2021)

Stars aligned for India’s Internet cos to create value in next 10 years: BofA Securities

The COVID-19 pandemic may have propelled India’s Internet sector into a phase of hyper growth that will result in staggering value creation in the next decade, brokerage house BofA Securities said in a note on Thursday. “We consider the India internet sector to be at an inflection point to witness hyper-growth in the coming years as we see tech companies steadily disrupting the traditional services by eliminating ‘middle men’, delivering faster, cheaper and more convenient products & services,” the brokerage said. The brokerage firm credits the rollout of 4G telecom services by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries in 2017 for the mass adoption of the Internet in India, and believes COVID-19 has accelerated the path towards profitability. A supportive government, tech-savvy young population given more than 60 per cent of Indians are aged below 35 years, ongoing digitization of small businesses and a well-funded private equity ecosystem, suggest that the stars are aligned to create investor value in the coming decade, the brokerage said. BofA Securities is of the view that Reliance Industries remains the best play on the Internet ecosystem as it will garner over 500 million users over the next 3-5 years, offer broadband services to 20-25 million households and cater to 12-15 million small businesses. “RIL’s approach of owning the “pipe” as well as the “services” offered on the pipe should help it earn incremental digital revenues,” the brokerage noted.

(ET, Jan 14, 2021)

IMC 2020: Mukesh Ambani calls for urgent steps for 5G, hints at 5G rollout in second half of 2021

Reliance Industries (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani has called for "urgent policy steps" to ensure availability of 5G technology and affordable smartphones in India. Ambani said RIL unit Reliance Jio will also pioneer the 5G revolution in the second half of 2021 to ensure India maintains its lead in digital connectivity. "In order to maintain this lead, policy steps are needed to accelerate early rollout of 5G, and to make it affordable and available everywhere. I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G Revolution in India in the second half of 2021. It will be powered by indigenous-developed network, hardware and technology components," said Ambani said at the India Mobile Congress. RIL unit Reliance Jio is now the only Indian company which has claimed that it has grown its own 5G ecosystem and can become a vendor to global firms in the next generation of technology. These comments come at a time when spectrum for 5G is yet to be auctioned and has been categorised as expensive by all three major telcos-Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea. Ambani said that the advent of 5G will add to the "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" and will enable India to not just participate in the fourth industrial revolution but lead it from the front. The chairman said Jio with 20 startups under it has the capability to build " world class capabilities in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data and machine learning, Internet of Things, virtual reality, compelling homegrown solutions in education, healthcare" amongst other areas.

(ET, Dec 08, 2020)

India Will Need To Carefully China-Proof Telecom Sector

India has slowly but indeed started moving towards building an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant nation), following up a production-linked incentive scheme for making mobile phones and electronics earlier this year with similar programmes recently for 10 other critical sectors. Simultaneously, it has banned 43 more Chinese phone apps this week, following up on a similar action previously to bring the total number to more than 200.  Though a military standoff at the borders is yet to find a conclusion, India has been scrutinising imports of Chinese equipment into the country, Recently, the government has deliberately steered clear of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), known as the world's largest trade partner. This act could be the result of an apprehension of a flood of imports in specific sectors like telecom, where it is already facing massive penetration in hardware and software products.

Consequently, Indian companies have struggled to compete, unable to match the cost advantage that Chinese companies offer due to their sheer scale as well as government subsidies. Given the border tensions and recent Covid-induced supply disruptions, it is not surprising that India is keen to ensure that critical sectors like telecom shift away from Chinese influence, and build up local capability.   


Airtel CEO Vittal calls on government to keep 5G spectrum prices affordable

Bharti Airtel chief executive Gopal Vittal has called on the government to keep spectrum prices affordable to give telcos the financial headroom to invest meaningfully in 5G networks. He also underlined the need for strong collaboration between the government, private sector and academia to leverage the power of the next-gen fast broadband technology and building a vibrant 5G ecosystem, spanning devices, networks, apps and services. “One of the critical enablers for Digital India is affordable spectrum so that we can invest in building networks rather than spending money on just airwaves," Vittal said at a Ficci event Thursday. His comments come at a time when the government plans to hold a 4G airwaves sale in early-2021, which may be followed by a sale of 5G airwaves later next year. Vittal, in fact, had recently said the Sunil Mittal-led telco would give 5G airwaves a miss if auctioned at the reserve prices set by the sector regulator, that it feels are unaffordable. Fifth-generation wireless broadband technology, he said, is all about building the ecosystem, and for that to happen there is a need for very strong collaboration between academia, government and the private sector that not only includes telecom, but digital players, manufacturing players, banks and IT companies. 

(ET, Nov 27, 2020)

Samsung To Invest Rs 5,000 Crore to Expand Noida Smartphone Display Manufacturing Facility

According to a report by the Business Standard, Samsung will invest nearly Rs 5,000 crore in a smartphone display manufacturing facility in Noida. It added that the export-oriented unit (EOU) is expected to be ready by January-February 2021. It will attain commercial production by April 2021. The report added that UP industrial development minister Satish Mahana said that so far, the company has already invested about Rs 1,500 crore in the greenfield plant. He added that once the unit is operational, India would become only the third country in the world having Samsung’s smartphone display manufacturing facility. He also claimed that the plant was among the big projects, which had shifted to India post covid-19 outbreak in China. He added that the project is expected to create nearly 1,500 jobs. Samsung Display Noida was incorporated for the business of manufacturing, assembling, processing and sales of displays.


Lava begins manufacturing Nokia smartphones; in talks with telcos

Lava International is in advanced talks with one of the top Indian telcos to make co-branded smartphones, which will be subsidized by the operator, pulling the cost sharply down for the 4G device. It has already started making Nokia branded smartphones and is in talks with Motorola for similar tie-ups, people familiar with the matter said. “Lava has reached an advanced level of talks with one of the telcos. Phones will be co-branded but will be subsidized by the telco,” a person said, adding that the company is in talks with all three telecom operators for design and manufacturing of smartphones. Reliance Jio has been getting its devices – JioPhone series - made mainly by Flex, and plans to bring out low cost 4G devices in a tie up with Google. ET reported that Bharti Airtel is believed to be also talking to handset vendors to develop and sell low cost 4G smartphones under the carrier subsidy model. Airtel officially has said it is exploring its device options. “Lava also has plans to partner with companies that can share supply chains. It is already making smartphones for Nokia [HMD Global]. It is looking to combine forces on the supply chain front,” the person added. “Lava wants to work with important companies that are from outside of the ecosystem in India so that their supply chain can be combined."

(ET, Nov 23, 2020)

Google, Walmart hit by India's move to limit some digital payments players

Global tech giant Google on Friday criticised India's move to cap the share of transactions some companies within the country's digital payments space can account for, saying it would hinder the nation's burgeoning digital payments economy. Google's criticism came after India's flagship payments processor the National Payments Corp of India (NPCI) on Thursday said third-party payments apps, from Jan. 1, will not be allowed to process more than 30% of the total volume of transactions on state-backed United Payments Interface (UPI) framework, which facilitates seamless peer-to-peer money transfers. The move will likely stymie the growth of payments services offered by Facebook, Alphabet's Google and Walmart, while boosting the likes of Reliance's Jio Payments Bank and SoftBank-backed Paytm, which are armed with bank permits. More than 2.07 billion UPI transactions were processed in October, according to NPCI, with Walmart's PhonePe accounting for just over 40% of those transactions. Google Pay was a close second, with rivals like Paytm and dozens of others splitting the remaining 20% share.

(ET, Nov 07, 2020)

Apple sets a new sales record in India: Tim Cook

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook on Friday said the iPhone maker has set a new September quarter sales record in India due to strong response of its company-owned online store in the country. In its July-September earnings call, Cook said: “Geographically, we set September quarter records in the Americas, Europe and Rest of Asia Pacific. We also set a September quarter record in India, thanks in part to a very strong reception to this quarter’s launch of our online store in the country.” While Cook did not elaborate further, industry executives said strong sales of iPhones especially of the iPhone SE and 11 series, iPads and Mac computers further fueled sales in India as consumers preferred to buy Apple devices as India continues work and education from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

(ET, Oct 30, 2020)

Tata Group to invest Rs.5,000 cr to set up phone component plant for Apple

The Tata Group is investing ₹5,000 crore to set up a phone component manufacturing plant at the industrial complex in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. The new company, Tata Electronics, has been allotted 500 acres by TIDCO(Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation), and the bhoomi puja was performed on Tuesday. The investment will be scaled up depending on the level of sourcing from the facility and could even touch ₹8,000 crore. Neither the Tata Group nor the Tamil Nadu government confirm the development, but reliable sources said the unit will be manufacturing components for Apple, which is looking to diversify its sourcing base from China. Foxconn is already manufacturing handsets, including iPhone 11, for Apple at its facility in Sriperumbudur, outside Chennai. Titan Co Ltd’s precision engineering division, Titan Engineering and Automation Ltd (TEAL), will provide the expertise for this project. The new unit will have a staff strength of 18,000 by October 2021 and 90 per cent of it will be women. The Tata Group, it appears, is taking advantage of the productivity-linked incentive scheme that the Modi government has announced to deepen India’s electronics manufacturing base including achieving self-sufficiency in manufacturing of mobile handsets.

(BusinessLine, Oct 28, 2020)

Oppo, OnePlus, Realme aim larger IoT, smart TV play in India

BBK Electronics-owned smartphone makers Realme, Oppo and OnePlus are preparing to increase their focus on their respective connected devices businesses in India, especially the growing smart TV segment, which is currently led by Xiaomi. Oppo will soon enter new product categories such as smart TVs, having forayed into wearable space. It last week unveiled its broader IoT strategy in China under which it is focusing on personal entertainment, home appliances and fitness. Realme, which launched its smart TVs in the entry and affordable segment, is now planning to enter the mid and premium range with various sizes. OnePlus, on the other hand, is focusing heavily on the affordable segment for its smart TV business to drive volumes. “India is one of the key markets for us and we are constantly working towards introducing new affordable products which are essential for Indian consumers. We are accelerating into the era of the Internet of Things by actively expanding a richer IoT product portfolio,” an Oppo India spokesperson told ET. Oppo spokesperson said that the company is aiming to build a 360-degree ecosystem for various IoT enabled products in India.

(ET, Oct 27, 2020)

Sahasra to invest Rs 350 crore over 4 Years

Indian electronics parts maker Sahasra has earmarked an investment of Rs 350 crore over the next four years for assembling mobile phone memory chipsets, laptop hard drives and motherboards in India with two new manufacturing facilities coming up in Rajasthan and UP. The integrated circuit (IC) packaging plant for memory, which is being set up in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan will entail an investment of Rs 140 crore to produce 40 million ICs annually and is approved to receive incentives by the central government under the production-linked incentive scheme, Sahasra group managing director Amrit Manwani told ET exclusively. Until now this was the domain of US, Japan and Taiwan where fabs would make semiconductor wafers, which would be packaged by the packaging companies,” he said. “We are getting into the packaging business. Once we have this ecosystem in the country, the next step would be to set up a fab factory in India.” The company is aiming to scale up to 100 million IC units annually, Manwani said, and is already in dialogue with major handset manufacturers including Foxconn, Wistron, Lava, Dixon, Micromax and Reliance Jio for supplying memory.

(ET, Oct 26, 2020)

Micromax announces new sub-brand ‘in’ to realize vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat

Making a comeback in the smartphone segment, Indian consumer electronics brand Micromax has unveiled a new sub-brand ‘in’ — riding on the Prime Minister’s call to realize an Atmanirbhar Bharat and close on the heels of the PLI approvals accorded by the Government of India. Highlighting its ‘Indian’ quotient, Rahul Sharma, Co-founder, Micromax, launched the ‘in’ brand over Twitter and the company’s other digital handles on Friday, October 16. With the ‘in’ brand of mobiles, the company wants to give a legit Indian option to consumers in the mobile phone industry. Micromax was a leading brand in the Indian mobile phone space until it lost the race to Chinese brands. The new avatar is inspired by the fun-filled, bold and aspirational Indian millennials, who are looking for performance-oriented products for their digital journey on the go and are set to drive India’s success story. Sharma said, “We are delighted to make a comeback in the India market with our sub-brand ‘in’. When you have the word India or ‘in’ on you, it gives a sense of responsibility, the weight of a billion hopes. But bigger than anything is the pride it gives. Our endeavour is to bring India on the global smartphones' map again with 'in' mobiles.”

(Best Media Info, Oct 19, 2020)

India is the battleground country for Samsung and Apple

Samsung Electronics and Apple are doing everything they can to capture India, with 1.4 billion potential customers and the world’s second-largest market.. They are competitively opening stores, upping the marketing and introducing affordable smartphone models in a race to be the pioneers in the country.  The company plans to open an offline store in Mumbai, India, next year. Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted the U.S. smartphone maker will “connect and expand support in India.”.   Samsung, which opened its first physical store in India in September 2018, recently rehired Sumit Walia from India’s smartphone maker Oppo as the head of marketing for the India division. He is now Samsung India's marketing head, mobile division. Sumit built his career at various smartphone manufacturing companies, such as Huawei and LG Electronics, and worked for nine years at Samsung India before heading to the homegrown company. He was largely responsible for Oppo’s remarkable success in the past year. Oppo was the fifth-largest smartphone brand in India in the first quarter of this year and outperformed Realme in the next quarter to reach fourth place.

(Korea JoongAng Daily, Sep 27, 2020)

What is the PLI scheme and why is this particularly crucial for promoting mobile phone manufacturing in India?

Currently, the mobile manufacturing industry receives semi-knocked-down (SKD) units of mobile phones in India and assembles them locally, availing duty benefits. However, under this scheme proposed by the Modi-led government, completely-knocked-down (CKD) units can be brought down, boosting the growth of domestic manufacturing. American chipmaker Qualcomm’s President, Jim Cathey, has remarked that India has a large pool of skilled and unskilled workers which could prove to benefit large-scale manufacturing and is at a geographical advantage as supply chain management would be feasible. He also said that the timing of the PLI scheme is very smart as it comes at a time amid trading tensions between China and other countries and growing conflicts between India and China. At a summit organised by the USIBC, PM Narendra Modi urged US companies to come forward and invest in the Indian industry, claiming that it would be very timely. As part of the vision of the National Policy on Electronics 2019, and in a strategic effort to promote India as a global hub for ESDM ( Electronics System Design and Manufacturing) by strengthening the nation’s capabilities of developing key components, and enabling competence in the industry, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology introduced PLI or Production Linked Incentive Scheme on April 1st. The scheme was open for application from the 3rd of June and closed with the deadline of July 31st.

(The Mobile Indian, Sept 09, 2020)

India, US, Israel collaborating in 5G tech: Official

India, Israel and the United States have begun collaboration in developmental area, and in next generation of emerging technologies, including a transparent, open, reliable and secure 5G communication network, a top official has said. The branching out of this trilateral initiative in development and technological arena is a result of the people-to-people collaboration, in particular those by Indian diaspora in the US and Israel, that was initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his historic visit to Israel three years ago in July 2017, community leaders said. A collaboration in 5G is a just tip of the iceberg and a first step, according to US Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick. "Because we'll collaborate in science and research and development in coming up with the next generations of technologies, things that the likes of you and the rest of us on the phone can't even imagine what they might be. But by partnering by officially, affirming the importance of this relationship, we'll advance it," Glick told in an interview after the US-India-Israel forum featuring discussions on strategic, tech and development/water cooperation held last week. "We are thrilled to work with these partners to solve the world's development challenges," she said in her keynote address to the virtual US-India-Israel summit that focused on trilateral partnerships in the strategic, technology and development arenas. The summit was also addressed by Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka and his counterpart Sanjeev Singla.

(ET, Sep 08, 2020)

Samsung India expects online business to grow over 35% in 2020

Tech giant Samsung on Monday said it expects its online business in India to grow 35% in 2020 over the last year, driven by strong overall demand and success of its M series of devices. The company, which had introduced its M series of smartphones in February last year for online channels, said it expects the cumulative sales from this range to cross $3.5 billion by the end of 2020. "Business, on the other side of lockdown, has been rapid and resurgent and that's an ode to the fact that mobile phones are a huge part of consumers' lives and there was a pent-up demand," Samsung India Senior Vice President Asim Warsi told. He added that while the industry, as per various analyst reports, could be dipping 5-10% or more on the full-year basis, Samsung's online business is expected to post over 35% growth in value terms. He added that the company has had a slew of launches - eight smartphones straddling across different price points, tablets and wearables in the post-lockdown period. He noted that the company will launch a new smartphone under the M series later this month - M51 - featuring 7,000-mAh battery, 6.7-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor, 64MP quad rear camera setup and 32MP front camera. Warsi said the company sees its online business in India to be more than double in the second half of 2020 versus the year-ago period.

(ET, Sep 08, 2020)

Vodafone Idea needs to back up rebranding with up to $2 bln network investments: Analysts

Vodafone Idea's rebranding exercise has to be backed by an annual capital expenditure of around $2 billion to bolster its 4G network, if the telco is to arrest customer losses and grow revenue market share, say analysts and experts. A refreshed brand alone, they said, would not help the company retain customers or attract new ones, if the telco’s network was weak and its products and services weren’t competitive or comparable with those of Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. Nitin Soni, a senior director at global ratings firm Fitch, said: “Rebranding alone won’t stop subscriber losses at VIL … that can happen only when the telco invests at least $1.5-2 billion annually in network-related capex and makes its 4G experience comparable with Airtel and Jio.”  Vodafone Idea's rebranding exercise has to be backed by an annual capital expenditure of around $2 billion to bolster its 4G network, if the telco is to arrest customer losses and grow revenue market share, say analysts and experts. A refreshed brand alone, they said, would not help the company retain customers or attract new ones, if the telco’s network was weak and its products and services weren’t competitive or comparable with those of Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. Nitin Soni, a senior director at global ratings firm Fitch, said: “Rebranding alone won’t stop subscriber losses at VIL … that can happen only when the telco invests at least $1.5-2 billion annually in network-related capex and makes its 4G experience comparable with Airtel and Jio.”

(ET, Sep 07, 2020)

Jio, Airtel rule Covid-time war for India's smartphone, TV public square

Sushant Singh Rajput wasn't a big star until June 14 when he died. Certainly no Amitabh Bachchan of India's audiences that he seems today if we just returned from the moon.Credit SSR's acting, propelled by the tailwinds of controversy. His "Dil Bechara", unveiled 6 weeks later by Disney Plus and Hotstar on July 24, sits in the same slot as Amazon Prime Video's "Gulabo Sitabo" anchored by the great Bachchan in the immediately preceding period.  The review of a 67-page deck by Nielsen and Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in its 10th edition, mapped with an 81-page edition No.11 presented by BARC chief Sunil Lulla on August 27, shows that Bachchan's "Gulabo..." and Rajput's "Dil Bechara" were the respective numero uno of direct-to-digital movies of the lockdown period between June 6-July 3 and July 1-August 20.

(ET, Aug 31, 2020)

Apple's 'Assembled in India' iPhone 11 reach retail stores

Commerce and Industry Minister PiyushGoyal on Friday said that Apple has started manufacturing its highest-selling model iPhone 11 in India which is a significant boost to the Make in India initiative.In a tweet, the minister said: "Significant boost to Make in India! Apple has started manufacturing iPhone 11 in India, bringing a top-of-the-line model for the first time in the country". Retail sources told IANS on Friday that there are few 'Assembled in India' units that have reached their stores. According to them, lockdown delayed the assembled iPhone 11 units to reach the market but now, there has been an increase in the supply. However, there is no price cut and the MRP on locally assembled iPhone 11s remains the same as earlier, they added. Currently, iPhone XR and iPhone 11 are being assembled by Foxconn at its Chennai manufacturing plant while iPhone 7 is being assembled by Wistron in Bengaluru. Original iPhone SE and iPhone 6s were assembled by Wistron but those were discontinued in 2019.Apple is also reportedly planning to assemble its new iPhone SE in India. The iPhone maker has already asked one of its suppliers in China to start shipping components for the iPhone SE 2020 to its manufacturing partner Wistron in India, reports Apple Insider.

(ET, July 26, 2020)

Xiaomi Ninebot C30: An electric scooter that’s cheaper than a One Plus Nord smartphone!

Yes, dirt cheap electric scooters have been rolling out in the Chinese market for quite some time now and this time Xiaomi has done it yet again! The electronics major has introduced a new electric scooter by the name Ninebot C30 and the same was priced at even lesser than aOnePlus Nord smartphone that has been launched in India recently. In order to be precise, the Xiaomi Ninebot C30 electric scooter was priced at an introductory figure of 2,000 yuan that translates to close to Rs 21,000 as per the Indian currency keeping in mind the current exchange rates. However, since the time of the launch of this electric scooter, the prices have been raised to 3,599 yuan or close to Rs 38,000. Needless to say, the solid price point will certainly work in the Chinese market and hence, should attract a lot of customers. Now, coming to the specifications and performance figures of the Xiaomi Ninebot electric scooter. The EV can reach a top speed of 25 kmph and the owner doesn’t require a license to ride it. When it comes to range, the electric scooter can cover a total of 35 km on a single full charge.

(FE, July 24, 2020)

Chinese smartphone makers tweak strategy to project products as Indian brands:

Chinese handset makers who command around 70 per cent of the market share in India are projecting themselves as Indian brands and selling made-in-India products to ward off any possible backlash on their sales after the Galwan violence. Korean brand Samsung, which is a major competitor, stands to gain if consumers switch their choice on nationalistic grounds. There have been protests by the people in various parts of the country after the face-off at Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed by the PLA of China on June 15. The strategy is likely to be replicated by many handset makers of all major Chinese brands who have their own manufacturing lines in India or outsource from third party vendor in India. The localization level is already at least 60-70 per cent for several handset makers, market observers said. We have decided to highlight Made-in-India in our packaging more prominently now onwards, a Tecno Mobile official told on Thursday. Realmes India CEO Madhav Seth, CEO in a YouTube series said I can proudly say that Realme is an Indian startup, which is now a global multinational company".  Realme is one of the brand controlled by BBK Electronics of China. It has other brands like Techno, Transsion, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus. There has been no visible change among the consumers for Chinese products - either for mobile or any other white goods.

(ET, June 18, 2020)

LG sees 'window of opportunity' to come back into Indian smartphone market

South Korean electronics major LG is planning to use the “window of opportunity” provided by the anti-China mood in India currently to stage a comeback in smartphones, targeting the sub-Rs 15,000 segment to claw back its way back in an industry now dominated by brands from across the Great Wall. The company is seeking to scale up local manufacturing by 15 times until Diwali and expand distribution.  In an interview with ET, Advait Vaidya, business head - mobile communications at LG Electronics, said the brand has seen 10 times increased sales of smartphones in the past two months due to the anti-China sentiment. “The short-term window of opportunity is big enough for us to enter the space and achieve scale,” he said. Diverging from its global portfolio, this year, LG is building an ‘India specific and India first’ product portfolio to cater to unique consumer demands here, Vaidya said. “So, this year, starting August, we will be launching six phones across all segments - starting from the sub-Rs 10,000 category up to the flagship segment. We are ramping up distribution across channels, online and offline,” he said. The company is also targeting corporate sales and foraying into the tablet market by year end.

(ET. July 05, 2020)

Apple wants to make India iPhone export hub, charmed by Modi’s scheme for mobile phone companies

India is set to become a major production hub for exporting mobile phones going by the way global major Apple has reacted to the government’s Rs 41,000-crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, applications for which were invited from beginning this month. Sources said that both Foxconn and Wistron, the global contract manufacturers for Apple have applied for the scheme. Among the local players, Lava, Dixon Technologies, and Karbonn have applied so far. South Korean major, Samsung and Flextronics are also expected to submit their applications shortly. Firms can apply till July 31 and by early August, the selected companies will be announced. Initially, five global and five local companies will be selected to avail of the scheme. Both Foxconn and Wistron are already present in India, with the former’s factory in Chennai and the latter’s in Bangalore. While Foxconn makes phones for Apple as well as several other firms also, Wistron makes exclusively for Apple. Foxconn’s Indian plant’s turnover in FY19 was around Rs 35,000 crore.

(FE, June 25, 2020)

After smartphones, Samsung consumer electronics are now available at Benow

Strengthening its online to offline (O2O) strategy to push sales amid the coronavirus pandemic, Samsung has expanded its partnership with Benow to sell its consumer electronics. The South Korean electronics initially partnered with the digital payments platform to sell its Galaxy smartphones -- Benow digital platform allows consumers to buy online from neighbourhood stores. Now, besides smartphones, customers would be able to buy Samsung products like televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. "The current O2O model that we rolled out last month has been truly successful. We are now extending O2O to new platforms with our partnership with Benow," Samsung India Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Business Raju Pullan said. "It will allow local retailers sell Samsung consumer electronics products online and go completely contactless, without making any upfront investment. Consumers, on the other hand, will be able to buy Samsung consumer electronics products online, from the safety and comfort of their homes, and make payments online through the method of their choice cash on delivery, credit card, debit card, easy EMI, etc - without any contact," he added.

(BS, May 28, 2020)

Airtel, NODWIN team up to accelerate e-sports growth in India

Bharti Airtel Thursday entered into a partnership with NODWIN to accelerate the growth of e-sports in India. Bharti Airtel has launched a first-of-its-kind Airtel India Esports Tour and introduced a national ranking and awarding system for Indian esports players which will take into account the players’ year-long performance across various tournaments to create a points table for all participants. “Airtel India Esports Tour will initially cover all NODWIN tournaments across gaming titles of PUBG Mobile, CS:GO, Clash of Clans, FIFA, etc,” it said in a statement. Airtel added the coverage will extend to NODWIN tournaments such as the India Premiership by NODWIN, Dreamhack India, The Northeast Cup, KO Fight Nights, and PAN Fest and will also cover NODWIN operated tournaments such as the PUBG Mobile Pro League in India. Once the annual tour has been concluded, a leaderboard across games will be presented to recognize and reward the winner at an awards show. The telco added the coverage will be broadcast on its digital platforms. The telco said that NODWIN would initially seed the e-sports tour but will aspire to be a platform where tournaments will carry equal significance, independent of the organiser. “Gaming is the next frontier of entertainment and it gives us great pleasure to announce our partnership with NODWIN to unlock the potential of e-sports in India,” Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said.

(ET, May 28, 2020)

Nokia secures Rs 7,500 crore deal from Bharti Airtel to deploy 4G network solution

Telecom gear maker Nokia has bagged around Rs 7,500-crore deal from Bharti Airtel to deploy 4G network solution across nine circles, that will help boost network capacity and customer experience. Bharti Airtel announced a multi-year agreement to deploy Nokia's Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) solution across nine circles in India, helping Airtel to enhance the network capacity of its networks, in particular 4G, and improve customer experience. According to sources the deal size is around Rs 7,500 crore. "The rollout, which will also lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future, will see approximately 300,000 radio units deployed across several spectrum bands, including 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz and 2300 Mhz, and is expected to be completed by 2022," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

(Business Today, Apr 28, 2020)

Vivo overtakes Samsung in Indian smart phone sales

Vivo shipped more smart phones in India than Samsung for the first time ever last quarter, according to data from Canalys. The company’s sales to vendors nearly doubled year-on-year to 6.7 million units, almost 20 percent of the market, securing it second place behind Xiaomi’s 10.3 million units and 31-percent share. Samsung’s shipments slid 14 percent to 6.3 million units, making it the third-biggest brand ahead of Realme and Oppo. Overall, the Indian market grew 12 percent year-on-year despite the country going into lockdown in late March. It’s worth pointing out that Vivo is a BBK Electronics brand alongside Realme and Oppo. If the sales of all three were combined, the huge Chinese conglomerate — which also owns OnePlus — would easily take the number one spot with more than 40 percent market share. Canalys analyst Madhumita Chaudhary, however, calls Vivo’s victory “bittersweet.”

(The verge, Apr 27, 2020)

Lockdown 2.0: Telcos won't need major overhaul for on-ground services, says COAI

The telecom sector does not foresee any major changes required for on-ground approvals to carry out services during the extended phase of lockdown, industry body COAI said on Tuesday. "Any issues that may crop up will be discussed with the Dapartment of Telecom (DoT) for expeditious resolution," Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews said. Asked if he anticipated job losses in the sector in coming weeks, Mathews said, "at present, our members have not indicated to us any plans to reduce headcount." On whether the industry would extend benefits that had been announced recently for low-income prepaid users, such as validity extension and talktime credit, Mathews said, "no decision has been made on what the industry expects to do on that front during the next quarantine period. As soon as any decision is made, members will let us know".

(Business Today, Apr 14, 2020)

Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea seek subsidy for additional benefits to prepaid users

Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have suggested the sector regulator that the government should provide funds to offer more benefits to prepaid subscribers if needed since telecom connectivity has become an essential service in the wake of current nationwide lockdown. In a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) secretary Sunil K Gupta dated April 8, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that if the regulator or the government feels a need to provide further benefit, then it should be provided in the form of a subsidy to the telecom sector like many other essential services. COAI represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. Such a move, according to the Delhi-based group could be adequately compensated from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in which more than Rs 51,500 crore is being lying unutilised. USOF is a pool formed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to bridge the digital divide. In separate letters to telecom companies, Trai blamed them for selectively extending the validity of prepaid users during the Covid-19 lockdown, saying many 2G prepaid users across the country still remain without connectivity and were unable to recharge.

(ET, Apr 09, 2020)

India's mean mobile download speed declines in March: Ookla

India's mean mobile download speed saw a dip from 11.83 Mbps in February to 10.15 Mbps in March 2020, while mean download speeds on fixed broadband have also decreased from 39.65 Mbps in February to 35.98 Mbps in March, Ookla said on Thursday. The mean fixed broadband speed in India has been declining since the beginning of 2020 - from 41.48 Mbps in January to 35.98 Mbps in March, a drop by 5.5 Mbps. "When networks are under usage strain like they are in this unprecedented time of lockdown in India due to COVID-19, it is natural that they experience some level of slowdown," said Doug Suttles, CEO of Ookla. "It is important to note that while the internet itself should handle elevated usage, there may be impacts to speed as people continue to move their daily activities increasingly online. While the core of the internet remains stable, some ISP networks may struggle to keep up,” he added. As of March, the Index ranks India at 130 spot for mobile, 2 spots down compared to February 2020. India also dropped two spots on fixed broadband and is now ranked 71st globally in that category.

(ET, Apr 09, 2020)

Covid 19: Foxconn’s Sales Down by 7.7 Per cent in March 2020

Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) has witnessed a downfall in its sales during March 2020. A report published in the Reuters pointed out that Foxconn’s sales were down by 7.7 per cent during the month. The company had also reported a fall in its profit figures during last three months of 2019. Citing Covid 19 pandemic, Foxconn had reported 23.7 per cent fall in its profit figures. Company’s annual revenue figures for the last fiscal stood at T$347.7 billion (approximately $11.50 billion). These figures, in comparison to 2018 fiscal, were down by almost T$ 29 billion. It is to be noted here that Foxconn is one of the largest conntract manufacturing partner of Apple. In fact, Foxconn is counted as one among the largest contract manufacturers in the world. The China-headquartered company has told its investors that it can still get 5G smartphones ready for launch before the end of 2020. Foxconn cited Covid 19 outbreak and restrictions laid by governments around the world as reasons behind the slowdown. Interestingly, much of Apple’s 5G iPhone launch, at the moment, depends on Foxconn’s capability to manufacture and suply these. Apple’s competitiors, including Samsung, have already launched 5G smartphones in global markets. Another report published by South China Morning Post pointed out that Foxconn has raised signing bonuses to attract new workers. Foxconn had to delay manufacturing plans as thousands of contract workers were unable to join its facilities due to Coronavirus outbreak.

(Electronics, Apr 08, 2020)

5G spectrum auction likely to be delayed in India amid COVID-19 pandemic: Report

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to push spectrum auctions to October-December quarter of the current fiscal due to the Covid-19 or coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown in the country, Telegraph India reported on Monday.  The auctions, including the 5G airwaves, were previously scheduled to be held in the June quarter. A new schedule could be announced later this month, the publication said citing its sources who added that the ‘earliest possible date’ of 5G rollout for 5G network is likely to be 2021-22. The government is planning to sell 8303.05 MHz of 4G and 5G spectrum which will raise approximately Rs 5.23 lakh crore even after selling the airwaves at their base price. Axis Capital, in its latest report, had also suggested that India's 5G auctions were unlikely to be held before August 2020 after DoT was forced to postpone the sale scheduled for April 2020 because of the sector's financial difficulties. 5G spectrum auction has been pushed forward in many countries due to COVID-19 related concerns. In India, delayed 5G auction will defer 5G related capex and may hit Sterlite Tech and Tejas Network, the brokerage said.

(ET, Apr 06, 2020)

DoT taking a call on relief in AGR issue: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is taking a call on relief to telcos in respect of the payment towards AGR dues. "Meetings have taken place. DoT is taking a call. We will have to wait for Department to take the call," she said at an event where she met PSU bank chiefs. Telecom companies chiefs -- Sunil Mittal of Airtel and Kumar Mangalam Birla of Vodafone idea have met the Minister recently seeking relief for the sector as a whole and Vodafone Idea is also seeking various measures explicitly on AGR dues related payments.

(ET, Feb 26, 2020)

Samsung Galaxy M21 to Launch in India on Wednesday: Expected Price, Specifications

Samsung Galaxy M21 will be launched in India on Wednesday, the latest offering in the company's Galaxy M-series of smartphones aimed at the younger demographic. The smartphone has appeared in numerous leaks over the past few months, but last week, Samsung revealed it would launch in India on Monday, March 16. The South Korean electronics giant isn't holding a press event for the launch, but stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the latest launch information to emerge on Wednesday, including the Samsung Galaxy M21 price in India, specifications, release date, and more. The Samsung Galaxy M21 can be expected to be priced around the Galaxy M20 (Review), which was launched in January last year starting at Rs. 10,990. The smartphone will be sold via Amazon INdia as well as the Samsung India website. Unfortunately, as we mentioned, there is no launch event for the Samsung Galaxy M21. But, do stay tuned to Gadgets 360, and we will bring you all the details you need as soon as Samsung announces them. Thus far, Samsung has teased that the Galaxy M21 will feature a vertically stacked triple rear camera setup, helmed by a 48-megapixel main camera. There is no information on the other two cameras, but one of them is most likely a wide-angle shooter while the other one might be depth sensor.

(Gadgets, Mar 16, 2020)

Mobile phones to become costlier as government hikes GST rate

Mobile phones in the Indian market could become costlier soon as the GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has decided to increase Goods and Services Tax (GST) on mobiles phones and allied parts from 12 percent to 18 percent. This increased GST is set to go in effect from 1st April 2020. This development comes at a time when the Indian rupee is depreciating against the US dollar. The consumer electronics market, especially the smartphone manufacturers are also facing a touch situation as the product and supply chain has been disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak. Soon after the announcement from the GST Council, Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi India MD and Global Vice President, took to Twitter to oppose the move from the government. In his tweet, he said that the GST increase will crumble the smartphone industry which is already struggling with profitability. He also said that the move will force companies to increase prices which will weaken the the Make in India program. Manu Kumar Jain has requested Prime Minister and Finance Minister to reconsider this decision, at least for the devices priced under ₹15,000. Xiaomi managed to become the dominating smartphone brand in the Indian market through budget devices and a 6 percent increase in the GST fees is a major blow that could affect the potential of the world’s one of the fastest growing smartphone market. And it’s not just Xiaomi, most of the smartphone brands in India focus on the budget segment, given that India is a price conscious market. The likes of Realme, Vivo, and OPPO also managed to grow their share with budget and mid-range devices while Samsung is also doing the same with its newly revamped Galaxy A-series and the Galaxy M-series of smartphones.

(Mobigyaan, Mar 15, 2020)

Walmart to name Sameer Aggarwal CEO of India unit

Walmart India is elevating Sameer Aggarwal as head of its India operations in April, replacing Krish Iyer, the veteran who has been at the helm in the country for more than six years, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Iyer, currently president and CEO of Walmart India, will move to an advisory role within the company as his contract with the US giant is set to expire only next year, two people said. A Walmart India spokesperson declined to comment on the changes.  This is the third promotion for Aggarwal since he was hired in April 2018 as chief strategy and administrative officer at Walmart India. He previously worked at Yum! Brands in Thailand and UK retailer Sainsbury's in London. Aggarwal was promoted to deputy CEO of Walmart India, which operates 28 Best Price cash-and-carry stores, in January. Walmart also owns Flipkart, India's biggest online retailing platform.

(ET, Mar 13, 2020)

IT Act needs rejig to keep up with times: Ravi Shankar Prasad

The government will revamp the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The rejig will include new provisions – including ones to check rising cybercrime and frauds in digital payment – that reflect changes in technology adoption in the country over the last 20 years. When the Act was first drafted, platforms such as the Unified Payments Interface or the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) did not exist. Mobile phones and social media were also not very popular, Prasad said. An expert committee will be constituted to suggest a new framework, he said, adding that inputs will be sought from the industry and experts. A thinking is going on in the department to revisit the IT Act… it has been in place for the last 20 years and the IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition (in that time),” said Prasad.

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Vodafone Idea asks DoT for 15 years to pay AGR dues

Vodafone Idea has called on the government to allow it to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues over 15 years. The telecom company has also asked for a tax refund, cuts in licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC) and the establishment of a floor for tariffs among measures to help remain viable. In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications, the finance ministry and Niti Ayog, the telco, which has over 300 million subscribers, said it needs help from the government to stay in business. The letter was sent a day ahead of a meeting of Digital Communications Commission (DCC) – the highest decision-making body of DoT – which may discuss some steps on providing relief to stressed telcos such as Vodafone Idea. In its letter, the operator sought a goods and services tax (GST) refund of Rs 8,000 crore, which can be adjusted against its AGR dues, and the option of paying the remaining amount in a staggered manner — over 15 years — after an initial moratorium of three years.

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Apple to open first retail store in India next year, Tim Cook says

Apple Inc will open its first physical retail store in India in 2021, Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Wednesday. Responding to a question from a shareholder at Apple's annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California about the company's plans for India, Cook said Apple would start selling its products online in the country this year and will open its first Apple-branded store there next year. "We needed to get approval from the government to go in there ourselves" rather than with a domestic partner, Cook said. "I don't want somebody else to run the brand for us."

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Coronavirus clouds Apple's timeline for new iPhones

Travel restrictions to China because of the coronavirus have come just as Apple Inc's engineers usually jet off to Asia to perfect the production of this fall's new iPhones, former employees and supply chain experts told Reuters. High-volume manufacturing is not scheduled until summer, but the first months of the year are when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co's Foxconn, two former Apple employees said. "They probably have one assembly line they're trying things out on," said one of the former employees who asked not to be named discussing production matters. "Are Apple's engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they're probably making progress. But if they're not, if they're quarantined, that could be bad." While Apple uses other contract manufacturers such as Wistron Corp to make some iPhones, Taiwan's Foxconn tends to handle the introduction of new models because its capabilities are the most advanced, supply chain experts said. Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker, delayed reopening key iPhone factories in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou after the Lunar New Year holiday but hopes to resume half of its Chinese production by the end of February.

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Don’t rush to buy 5G phone, there’s no network yet

The race to 5G has been expected to reach its fruition in 2020. India isn’t ready but smartphone makers are, with the first two 5G phones in India being launched this week. What does a 5G phone really mean for you? Mint takes a look.  Realme and iQoo are the first companies to launch 5G-ready smartphones in India. Interestingly, both the companies are owned by BBK Electronics of China. The smartphones, Realme x50 Pro and iQoo 3, start at ₹37,999 and ₹36,999, respectively. Realme had started off as a sub-brand of Oppo and later became independent, while iQoo is a sub-brand of Vivo now. Oppo and Vivo are also owned by BBK Electronics. All three—Oppo, Vivo and Realme—rank among the top five smartphone sellers in India at present, according to market research firm Counterpoint Research.  Absolutely not. India doesn’t have 5G networks and won’t have them at least before the next year. Union telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said in September that the government planned to begin 5G spectrum auctions by the end of this year or early next year. Even if we assume that telecom service providers are ready to buy spectrum and then spend a few more months on final tests, it’s unlikely that 5G networks will be live in India before mid-2021. So, the fact that a phone supports 5G networks shouldn’t factor into your buying decision right now, especially if you have to pay a premium for it.

(Live Mint, Feb 27, 2020)

Sansung Mobile crowned as India's most desired brand: TRA

Samsung Mobile is the most desired brand in India followed by Apple iPhone, according to a report released by TRA Research on Wednesday. This is the fourth time Samsung Mobile has been crowned the most desired brand after it topped the list in 2013, 2015 and 2018.Further, the diversified brand of Samsung features at third rank in the consumer electronics category. Sony TV, the general entertainment channel, has entered the top 10 brands for the first time and is placed fourth. Automobile major Maruti Suzuki took the fifth spot followed by technology major Dell in the sixth rank. Indian brands dominate the top 100 of India's Most Desired list featuring 42 brands, followed by 15 American, 12 Japanese and 11 South Korean brands. 6 German brands also feature of which three luxury car brands dominate the list. 4 UK brands make it to top 100, and and the three Chinese brands which are included in the list are from the mobile phone category," the report said.

(LiveMint, Feb 26, 2020)

Top government officials urge Trai to fix floor tariffs soon

Officials at the highest levels of the government have nudged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to expedite fixing of a floor of tariffs, a move considered crucial by all operators for restoring the long-term viability of the telecom sector. “The regulator is being pushed to soon come out with a floor price, once the consultation completes this month,” a senior government official told ET. Prodded by the sector and the government to come up with a floor price, a reluctant Trai in December floated a consultation paper to fix a floor price for voice and data services on telecom networks. It, however, warned that such an exercise has historically been termed ‘market distorting’ by economists. It also called the move “anti-consumer”. The deadline for filing comments and counter comments has been extended till February 28 and March 13, respectively. Telcos like Bharti Airtel have said that average revenue per user (ARPU) needs to go up initially to Rs 200, and eventually to Rs 300, for which a floor price was needed. Telcos and experts say setting a floor price is expected to hasten revenue recovery at the sector, thus giving confidence to lenders and investors of the sector’s viability, say experts.

(ET, Feb 25, 2020)

Airtel calls for relook at net neutrality rules with 5G; telcos urge light touch TMP rules

Telecom carriers and content/technology companies have sparred over tighter enforcement of net neutrality rules, with the likes of Bharti Airtel calling on the government to reorient its position about the open internet with the advent of 5G, and urged application of net neutrality rules on content providers such as Netflix. In their submissions to the telecom regulator on contours of reasonable internet traffic management practices, content players and technology companies backed an independent and powerful multi-stakeholder body (MSB) that can work closely with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in monitoring the application of net neutrality regulations. Telcos, by contrast, want light touch regulation, with Reliance Jio Infocomm backing Bharti Airtel in saying there’s no real need to establish an MSB as net neutrality rules are part of licensing conditions enforced by DoT. “A one size fits all approach has become obsolete in the 5G context, and the policy on net neutrality needs to be reconsidered and aligned with the principles and standards of 5G,” Airtel said in its submissions to Trai.

(ET, Feb 24, 2020)

Realme to launch 5G phones across price points: Madhav Sheth, India CEO

Chinese handset maker Realme said that it is planning to launch 5G smartphones across price points for the Indian market, having launched India's first commercial 5G smartphone, 'X50 Pro 5G', starting from Rs 37,999. "There's a vision to bring 5G at all price points. We will also launch the most affordable 5G later on. There's a vision to it. We are still looking to working on it. There are more chipsets for 5G, but for the first phone, we wanted to start with the flagship chipset to offer the best experience," Realme's vice president and India CEO Madhav Sheth told ET. Sheth said that the handset maker isn't aiming for volumes with its latest 5G phone, rather will look at getting feedback from tech-savvy customers. "We want all tech enthusiasts to experience the chipset capability. We are not expecting volumes. The segment is just 3% of the overall smartphone market," he added. iQOO, formerly a sub-brand of Vivo, will also launch its first 5G smartphone this week in Mumbai, which will be available commercially within this week.

(ET, Feb 24, 2020)

Xiaomi pips Samsung to become India's number 1 handset brand

Chinese phonemaker Xiaomi has become India’s number one handset brand for the first time, including smartphones and featurephones, replacing Korea’s Samsung which had been holding the position for several years, as per October-December data of IDC.  For the fourth quarter, Xiaomi topped the market with a 16% share, trailed by Samsung and Reliance Retail, which sells the JioPhone, IDC said. It didn’t give the figures for the No. 2 and 3 players. Xiaomi India head and global vice president Manu Jain told ET that Xiaomi smartphones will be enough to surpass Samsung and Reliance Retail’s feature phones and smartphones put together. Xiaomi also emerged as the market leader registering annual shipments of 43.6 million units in 2019, the highest ever smartphone shipments made by any brand in a year, with a growth of 9.2% on year, IDC said. Samsung, on the other hand fell 2.8% on-year, leaving it with a market share of 20.3% versus Xiaomi’s 28.6%, for 2019.

(ET, Feb 08, 2020

Mobile retailers decide to boycott Samsung in India

In a bold crusade against Korean phonemaker Samsung, brick-and-mortar mobile retailers have decided to boycott the sale of Samsung devices for three business days pan-India. "We will be showing our protest through digital posts, covering Samsung branding with a black cloth on in our stores, and not doing business with Samsung distributors for three days," Arvinder Khurana, President of AIMRA told ET. Khurana also added that despite several communications sent to country heads of Samsung in the last five years, "they have not had the time to meet AIMRA leaders" and have neither acknowledged nor replied to emails sent by the offline retailer community. AIMRA, along with other trader associations have been campaigning to end exclusive deal between phone brands and e-commerce platforms, deep discounting and cash back offers. Post multiple grievances submitted to mobile manufacturers, Vivo, Oppo and Realme have assured their retail partners that they will simultaneously launch products, variants at the same price across channels.

(ET, Feb 08, 2020)

This upcoming C-Band spectrum could be the secret weapon for 5G in the US : FCC

Chairman Ajit Pai has given the talking points of the commission's plan for its auction of a portion of the C-band — the 4Ghz to 8GHz radio frequencies used mostly for consumer satellite transmissions — for general (read: mostly 5G broadband) use. The FCC wants to auction off the bottom 280MHz (the 3.7 - 4.2Ghz range) of the C-band and reserve 20Mhz of the band above that threshold for further needs. Both the FCC and current satellite operators say this will still leave enough spectrums for the operators to provide the same level of service that we have today. But like most things about wireless, there are some extra complications to work out — and of course, fees.

(Androidcentral, Feb 07, 2020)

OnePlus data breach: Cyber law expert says non-reporting of breach to CERT-IN an offence

Chinese handset maker OnePlus has said it is working with relevant authorities to further investigate the system breach, which resulted in unauthorized access to certain information of users such as names, contact numbers, email and shipping addresses. In a statement to ET, India’s leading premium segment smartphone player, however, said “all payment information, passwords, and accounts are safe”. “OnePlus has notified impacted users that we have discovered that some of their order information was accessed by an unauthorized party. We took immediate steps to stop the intruder and reinforce security. Before making this public, we informed our impacted users by email,” the company said. It added that it will work to prevent such incidents in the future. Vikas Agarwal, general manager at OnePlus India, told ET the company is in the process of shifting its data to Amazon Web Services (AWS) India servers from Singapore. He, however, did not offer comments if Indian authorities have been informed about the breach or the quantum of users affected in India. Cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said once the company finds a cyber-security breach, it is mandated under the Indian law to report such breach to CERT-IN, India’s nodal agency for cyber security.

(ET, Nov 26, 2019)

iPhone-maker Foxconn awaits clarity on RoDTEP scheme; may extend capabilities to make ecosystem devices in India

iPhone maker Foxconn said that it may look at extending its manufacturing capabilities to make more ecosystem devices in India for domestic and global needs and is currently awaiting clarity from the government on the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme, which will allow the company to drive ‘mobile plus’ capacity. “Foxconn makes anything and within reason, we will look at all possible opportunities to support our customers. Foxconn committed to making in India has been very consistent. We will continue to look at evaluating various options as we move forward,” Foxconn India MD and country head Josh Foulger, told ET. Foulger said that the next 36 months will be crucial for the country in terms of technology with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and Artificial Intelligence. “Mobile phones and all ecosystem products will be propelled by 5G.” On the proposed RoDTEP scheme, he said that the government is proactively seeking inputs from the industry, and Foxconn has already provided its inputs through the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association of India (ICEA), which represents major players like Apple and Xiaomi.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

Salcomp to revive defunct Nokia handset factory: Ravi Shankar Prasad

The world's largest mobile phone charger maker Salcomp will revive the defunct factory of Nokia, located in the special economic zone in Sriperumbudur near Chennai, telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday. The Finnish company which is one of the leading suppliers to Apple, will begin next financial year. It will invest Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years. "Salcomp , the world's largest manufacturer and supplier of Apple has taken over the entire Nokia facility, it is going to start from March 2020," Prasad said. "This big SEZ of Nokia which was closed for 10 years will now start again. 10, 000 will get direct jobs and 50,000 indirect jobs," Prasad added. He added 70% products will be exported including to China which lead to a lot of value addition. The minister added that Apple has started manufacturing the iPhone XR, through contract manufacturer Foxconn in Chennai, which is now being sold in the Indian market. "Welcome to Apple and expand your manufacturing in India," the minister said. "India will have the most favourable regime to become a big centre for mobile manufacturing," he said. While emphasizing on the results on the National Policy on Electronics which came into effect in February this year, the minister added that exports of mobile phones from India has risen from $200 million in 2017-18, to $1.6 bn in 2018-19. Exports this year 2019-20 will be $1.6 billion from mobile phones and $1.6 billion from electronic components.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

Indian telecom carriers likely to push back 5G rollouts to 2025

The Indian telecom carriers are expected to push back the ambitious fifth generation or 5G network deployments by at least five years on the back of exorbitant pricing, insufficient spectrum, and unavailability of newer bands, according to an industry group. “We will push out 5G for at least five years. That's the operator perspective,” Rajan S Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) told ETT, and added that first, there was a pricing problem, and now the quantum issue has surfaced leading to a delay in 5G commercial rollouts. Delhi-based COAI represents incumbents— Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea as well as gear makers such as Huawei, Ericsson, Cisco and Ciena. “Pricing originally started off as a problem for the industry. With the Rs 492 crore for 1 MHz, most operators said it was not a viable proposition given the debt and international prices,” Mathews said. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended radio waves in the block of 20 MHz, and for a purchase of 100 Mhz of volume, an operator would need to pay at least Rs 50,000 crore.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

Over 92,000 employees of BSNL, MTNL opt for VRS scheme

Over 92,000 employees of state-run BSNL and MTNL have so far opted for the recently announced VRS scheme, according to a government source. The source said the scheme and the strong response it has generated marks the biggest milestone in the history of these state-owned corporations. Over 92,000 employees of BSNL and MTNL have opted for the scheme so far, the source added. Nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) out of its total staff strength of about 1.50 lakh. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is January 31, 2020.  The 'BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019', that was rolled out recently, will remain open till December 3. BSNL is looking at savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill, if 70,000-80,000 personnel opt for the scheme. According to the plan, all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisations or posted outside the corporation on deputation basis, who attended the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under the scheme. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

BBK Electronics revenue shows demand intact for Chinese handsets

High sales growth of China’s leading smartphone group BBK Electronics in the Indian market in the first half of this fiscal suggests that the economic slowdown has had no impact on smartphone consumption or nor was there any shift in Indian consumers’ preference for Chinese handsets. BBK’s two leading brands - Oppo and Vivo have doubled their combined India revenue between April and September this year to Rs 34,500 crore, according to their latest regulatory filings. These two brands are now within touching distance of their Rs 38,726 crore combined sales in 2018-19 when they had grown business by 67% over FY18. Both brands have reduced losses in first half of this fiscal. BBK's two other brands, premium OnePlus and online-focussed realme, too have continued to gain revenue.  Realme India told ET its revenue from sales of handsets is accrued under books of Oppo India which produces and sells its products, though developed by realme. Oppo did not respond to a query sent on this. Realme India has separately filed regulatory disclosure indicating it will achieve Rs 723 crore sales in current fiscal from services. Samsung and Xiaomi are yet to file their financials for 2018-19 and current fiscal.

(ET, Nov 21, 2019)

China’s Vivo evaluating exports from India; sets up a new manufacturing unit in Greater Noida

Chinese handset maker Vivo is evaluating the prospects of starting exports from its Indian facilities, having kicked off a new unit in Greater Noida under the first phase of its broader Rs 7500 crore investment plan for India. “We are open to that [exports] and are waiting for the right time. Exploring the possibility of it is an ongoing thing. We didn't have the capacity for domestic need and the focus is to increase capacity for the same,” Nipun Marya, Director-Brand Strategy of Vivo India told ET. “Rs 7500 crore investment will be made over a longer time frame,” he said. He, however, didn’t share the exact timeframe for the investment.  With the new facility, the brand will now be able to produce 33.4 million devices annually, up from 25 million previously, generating 2000 new jobs to locals in the state. With the new manufacturing facility located at WTC Tech zone, Greater Noida, the BBK Electronic-owned company now provides employment in manufacturing to 10,000 people, and plans to provide 5000 new jobs under the phase two of manufacturing expansion, which will start soon.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

BSNL rolls out VRS scheme; expects 70,000-80,000 employees to avail it

Within days of government approving a relief package for the ailing corporation, state-owned BSNL has rolled out a voluntary retirement scheme for its employees, and said it expects 70,000-80,000 personnel to opt for it leading to savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill. BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar told PTI that the scheme will be open between November 4 and December 3, and that instructions have already been given to field units to inform employees about the VRS offering. In all, nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the VRS out of its total staff strength of 1.50 lakh.  "This is the best VRS given by the government and BSNL employees should see it in a positive frame of mind," Purwar said. He said the corporation expects 70,000-80,000 employees to opt for the scheme, and added that saving in wage bill is expected to be about Rs 7,000 crore with those numbers. According to `BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019' all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisation or posted outside BSNL on deputation basis, who attended the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under the scheme. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Won’t accept attempt to create data monopoly: Ravi Shankar Prasad

India will not accept any attempt to create monopoly on data by a few companies or countries, and “data imperialism”, Union law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said. “In India, we view privacy seriously and informational privacy is also integral to that. It means a person must have control over his data and its commercial usage,” Prasad told a Commonwealth Law Ministers Conference in Colombo on Wednesday. His comment comes at a time when a major WhatsApp data-protection failure and privacy breach has spurred public outrage and debate over data protection in the country. Prasad said the government plans to soon introduce the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 in Parliament after public consultations. Any data protection law should be “technology agnostic, must be based upon element of free consent, no abuse of consent beyond the permissible limits, requisite data protection authorities, and a fair mechanism for data processing”, he said. “Equally there is a need to balance innovation (and) enterprise in data, but with due regard to privacy.”

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Oppo, Vivo sales jump 67% in FY19

Chinese  smartphone makers, Oppo and Vivo continued their scorching pace of growth in the Indian market in FY19, with both the brands together pushing parent BBK Electronics Corp’s India revenue near the Rs 40,000 crore milestone in their fifth year of operation. As per latest filings made by Oppo and Vivo, the combined sales of these two brands grew by 67% to Rs 38,726 crore in the fiscal ending March 2019 on a relatively higher base. On a standalone basis, Oppo’s sales went up by 80% at Rs 21,524.6 crore, while Vivo grew by 54% at Rs 17,201.79 crore in 2018-19. BBK Electronics also owns OnePlus and Realme smartphone brands whose India sales for FY19 are still not available. In 2017-18, their combined revenue was Rs 23,148 crore whereby BBK Electronics had become the second largest smartphone maker in India marginally ahead of ace rival Xiaomi which was at Rs 23,060 crore.  However, BBK Electronics is still not making money in India with both Oppo and Vivo yet to break even. As per the filings, combined losses of Oppo and Vivo went up in FY19 by 47% to Rs 707 crore. While Oppo’s net losses went up by 93% to ₹688 crore in last fiscal, Vivo managed to reduce net losses to ₹19.1 crore from ₹124.3 crore. In contrast, Xiaomi and Samsung were profitable in FY18.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Infosys to hire more freshers, targets $150 million in cost savings

Infosys is looking to cut costs by $100-$150 million this financial year, as it hires freshers to reduce employee costs and rejigs roles for middle and senior management, a top company executive said at an analyst meet. The company’s margins have dropped significantly under CEO Salil Parekh, as it boosted investments to drive growth. The company is, however, now looking at greater cost savings, since a major chunk of its investments has been completed. “There are 21 tracks we are looking at for cost-optimisation. We are targeting $100-$150 million in cost savings as the year goes on,” chief financial officer Nilanjan Roy said on Wednesday. Roy said the firm was focused on improving the bottom-end of its pyramid, which had become more barrel-shaped, by hiring freshers. It was also looking to recreate the pyramid onsite through fresher hiring, he added. Infosys has hired 1,700 freshers in the US and Europe in the past year. Roy said the company would move to an asset-lite model for new infrastructure.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Xiaomi confirms plans to enter Japan in 2020

Wang Xiang, head of Xiaomi's international operations, disclosed the company is set to enter Japan next year with high-performance smartphones offering at lower prices. Wang said Xiaomi eventually hopes to partner with wireless carriers, the main distributors for phones in Japan, though he did not mention any specific names, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday. Initially the products will be available exclusively through the company's own sales channels, including online.  During the interactive media session, Wang also tried address data-privacy concerns surrounding Chinese companies. "We cooperate with Google. We have a track record of respecting personal data protection rules in Europe, and we'll do the same in Japan", he said. Additionally, Xiaomi is also set to make its debut in Sweden soon. The smartphone player will hold an event in central Stockholm, Sweden, on November 13, which will kick off at 1 p.m. (local time).

(ET, Nov 06, 2019)

India to see M&A deals worth $52 bn in 2019

India is expected to see M&A deals of over USD 52 billion in 2019 as mergers and acquisitions in the country are expected to remain stable despite global headwinds, according to a new report by Baker McKenzie. "Despite the global headwinds, India M&A is expected to remain stable in the next few years, with private investments reviving against the backdrop of a more favourable business environment," it said. The firm's fifth annual Global Transactions Forecast, jointly released with Oxford Economics, predicts India's GDP will grow by close to 7 per cent through 2019-2022, ahead of the global GDP average growth rate of 2.8 per cent for the same period. In IPOs, total proceeds (which will be predominantly from domestic IPOs) is forecasted to dip from USD 3.4 billion in 2019 to USD 2.7 billion in 2020, before picking up again in 2021 to USD 4.3 billion. India M&A to remain stable despite a slowdown, it said. "India deal making activity is expected to revert to the 'normal' level in 2019, with total M&A reaching USD 52.1 billion."

(ET, Nov 05, 2019)

After Supreme Court's order, Airtel, Vodafone Idea ready strategy

Top Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea executives spent the Diwali weekend scrambling to draft a response after the Supreme Court ordered telecom companies to pay dues that could be in excess of a cumulative Rs 1.3 lakh crore. Executives of the companies plan to meet top government officials starting today on strategies, said people with knowledge of the matter. The two carriers have less than three months to pay what could add up to more than Rs 80,000 crore in licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC), following the Supreme Court order broadening the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) to include non-core items. Officials said the two are combing through the judgment and planning a financial and legal plan to raise funds that will allow them to stay viable. “When the industry is under a death sentence, tomorrow looks like the least of your worries,” said Rajan Mathews, director general of lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). “Certainly, 5G will be under the cloud of the ability of operators to continue their operations with any reasonable expectations of proper returns on their investment.”. He said the industry’s survival would depend on what the government did next. India’s telecom industry comprises three private companies—Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and two PSUs— Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam. The latter two are on life support with the government announcing a plan last week to try and revive them. Given the situation, 5G trials and auctions are the furthest thing on the mind, said the people cited above.

(ET, Oct 29, 2019)

Consultation on TV tariffs transparent, criticism is ridiculous: RS Sharma, Trai Chief

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman RS Sharma described criticism of the consultation process on the new broadcast tariff framework, which is currently underway, as “ridiculous” and “arbitrary.” “We invited comments and counter comments; we organised an open house discussion and took every stakeholders’ view,” Sharma told ET. “A transparent process like this should not be criticised.”  The regulator is in the process of finalising its stance on the issue, he said. Sharma said the authority issued a consultation paper in August as part of this transparent process. Trai initiated a review of the new regulatory framework for the broadcasting sector on August 16. It issued a consultation paper seeking stakeholders’ responses on 30 questions covering aspects related to the new tariff order that came into force on February 1. Broadcasters questioned Trai’s intentions and priorities and timing of the review. Sharma clarified that the motive behind the consultation paper was not to review the entire framework, but iron out wrinkles. “We are looking at some aspects so as to fine-tune the framework for better transparency,” Sharma said. “Our main motive is to put the consumer in the centre. She should be empowered and allowed to exercise her option of choice. Unlike what the industry thinks, we are not against anyone. We have allowed enough freedom to broadcasters and distribution platform operators.”  He wanted to dispel misconceptions in the industry that Trai wanted consumers to pay less or that it’s only in favour of a-la-carte channels and against bouquets.

“We as regulators are not in favour or against anyone,” he said. “We want to bring transparency to the entire system. If consumers want to select all channels, they will pay more. If they select less, they will pay less. My only point is, let the consumer decide. Don’t confuse the consumer by giving false options.” Trai had alleged broadcasters have misused the flexibility on bouquet discounts to throttle market discovery of channel prices. In its consultation paper, Trai had said that broadcasters are offering bouquets at a discount of up to 70% of the sum of a-la-carte rates of pay channels constituting those groupings.

(ET, Oct 28, 2019)

Apple starts selling iPhone XR assembled in Foxconn's Chennai unit

Apple has finally started selling its top-end iPhone model iPhone XR, launched last year near Chennai, through the unit of Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The development comes at a time when growing tension in US-China trade ties is forcing companies to explore alternative manufacturing sites in order to derisk operations. While there has been considerable speculation that manufacturing locally might reduce the cost of production and bring down prices, an expert said since this is only an assembly unit and the components are still being imported, costs will not come down significantly. Josh Foulger, managing director, Foxconn India and Apple spokesperson did not offer any comment. Sources said Foxconn, which already makes mobile phones for Xiaomi, has invested over Rs 2,500 crore in Tamil Nadu for manufacturing electronic products, including mobile phones at Sriperumbudur near Chennai. Apple started assembling iPhone SE in 2017 and iPhone 6S in 2018 at Taiwanese firm Wistron's Bengaluru plant and early this year it started manufacturing iPhone 7 at the Foxconn unit. iPhone SE is no longer assembled in India, but the other two models continue to be. The news comes as a big boost for Tamil Nadu, once the global hub of erstwhile mobile phone major Nokia, whose feature phones were manufactured in Sriperumbudur. The SEZ, which also had various component makers including Foxconn, ran into trouble after the Income Tax Department slapped a demand of Rs 21,000 crore on Nokia, the main unit in the zone. The tax dispute, along with sale of its global mobile phone business to Microsoft, forced Nokia to suspend operations at the factory. Around 8,000 direct employees, of whom about 60 per cent were women, and 21,000 indirect employees lost their jobs.

(BS, Oct 22, 2019)

Smartphone makers, electronics companies to offer exta margins to retailers

Consumer electronics and smartphone makers will give retailers huge margins during the Diwali-Navratri season to boost sales, according to a report in The Economic Times. Top brands such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and Xiaomi have increased the festive season trade margin this year, executives told the publication.  Brands have passed on 4-6 percentage points of extra margin to retailers starting from Ganesh Chaturthi, the chief at a major retailer told the paper. The extra margin offered is usually 2-3 percent. The margins are likely to translate into discounts, which will help push sales amid the backdrop of weak consumer sentiment. Consumer confidence has been low lately due to fears of an economic slowdown. Consumer confidence slipped to 95.7 in July from 97.3 in May and 104.6 in March, according to a Reserve Bank of India survey. Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.

Money Control : 04-09-2019

Chinese  smartphone makers ringing in more investments into India

Chinese phone makers that have tasted blood with deep discounts, flashy ads and online offers in India are thirsting for more, as record shipments and rising price points prompt them to pump up investments. Smartphones have stood out as one of the rare bright spots in India’s economy that has seen cooling demand for automobiles and fast moving consumer goods in a prolonged slowdown. And Chinese firms are cashing in. As of June-end, out of the top five smartphone sellers in India, four are headquartered in China—Xiaomi (28.3%), Vivo (15.1%), Oppo (9.7%) and Realme (7.7%). South Korea’s Samsung has a 25.3% share of the Indian market. Market leader Xiaomi, which had one manufacturing unit in India in 2015, now operates seven facilities. Last year, the company also hosted global component suppliers for a three-day tour of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to explore investment opportunities and to set up a local components ecosystem.

(LiveMint, Aug 29, 2019)

Government looks to develop electronics component manufacturing base in India: MeiTY Secy

The government is now working on policies to develop electronic components manufacturing base in the country and encourage exports, secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and IT Ajay Prakash Sawhney said.  "From near assembly, we are right now moving in that direction seriously with policies to bringing sub-assemblies..., component manufacturing in India," Sawhney said at the Digital Governance Tech Summit. Once printed circuit board (PCB or the motherboard) assembly takes off in India, it will not only cater to the mobile phone segment, but also other major electronic devices, he added. The last five years, the MeiTY secretary said, witnessed a resurgence of manufacturing in India, starting with assembling of mobile phones. "From around 6 crore mobile phones that were being assembled in 2014-15, we closed the last financial year with assembly of 29 crore mobile phones within the country. Our entire consumption for the country is about 33-34 crore a year," Sawhney said.

(ET, Aug 28, 2019)

Government wants feedback on draft Ecomm guidelines:

The government is seeking feedback on draft guidelines that seek to protect consumers who shop online. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs introduced the draft ecommerce guidelines for consumer protection in a notification on Friday. The proposed rules are aimed at curbing the sale of counterfeit goods, streamlining returns and refunds, and delineating the liabilities of sellers and online marketplaces. The draft guidelines are “principles for ecommerce business for preventing fraud, unfair trade practices and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers,” the ministry said on its website. The ministry has sought comments from stakeholders and the deadline for submitting is September 16. “We are evaluating the draft guidelines…and we look forward to participating in the deliberations to help finalize an operating framework,” a spokesperson for ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal said. Under the proposed rules, only entities registered in India will be able to carry out ecommerce businesses, a likely roadblock for cross border ecommerce websites, especially Chinese owned ones. It also makes it mandatory for ecommerce marketplaces to display the legal name, address, website, email address and other contact details of sellers, something ecommerce marketplaces have not complied with so far. It also reiterates that ecommerce entities will not be allowed to influence prices of products sold on their websites directly or indirectly, something that has already been a part of FDI rules for ecommerce.

(ET, Aug 06, 2019

MSMEs file 668 plaints against BSNL to recover dues

As many as 668 complaints have been filed by the micro, small and medium businesses (MSME) against the state-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a highest for any Central public sector enterprise, to recover their outstanding, following government’s non-clearance of Rs 3,300 credit to the telco. Of the 668 grievances, only one has been resolved so far while 27 of them have been rejected, according to the MSME Samadhaan, a delayed payment monitoring system maintained by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  The state-owned operator, which is seeing squeezed cash flow over the last few months on the back of non-availability of competitive fourth-generation or 4Gservices and stalled government-funded programs have so far not received sanction for Rs 3,300 crore worth loan from the government. In addition, BSNL had sought Rs 2,400 crore as interest on the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and Rs 2,300 crore as excess sum taken by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards pension contribution from 2007 onwards which has also been dragged despite the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) intervention.(ET, June 24, 2019)

Huawei offers to sign 'no-backdoor' pact with India govt, telcos to underline security commitment: CEO

Huawei has offered to sign a ‘no-backdoor agreement’, which will stipulate that it will not allow any snooping on its network or handing over of data, with the Indian government and mobile phone companies and has urged its rivals such as Nokia and Ericsson from Europe to follow the same approach. “I would like to propose to the industry, no matter which country you are from, let's sign the ‘no backdoor agreements’ with our customers and the Indian government to give the commitment, confidence and trust. We encourage other vendors and OEMs (original equipment makers) to sign these pacts,” Huawei India Chief Executive Jay Chen told ET. “I am ready to sign one today.” Last month Huawei chairman Liang Hua had said his company was willing to sign ‘no spy agreements’ with governments to meet the no spy, no backdoor standard. There have been widespread concerns that the Chinese government can misuse the company’s products and equipment for surveillance and espionage, a charge the company has repeatedly denied.

(ET, June 24, 2019)

Trai seeks views on allotting 700 Mhz to railways; DoT says will cost govt. over Rs.1 lakh cr

The telecom regulator has sought stakeholder views on the pros and cons of allotting a chunk of valuable spectrum in the 700 Mhz band for free to the railwaysfor passenger safety and security applications. The government though believes such a move could potentially rob the central exchequer of an over Rs 1 lakh-crore revenue opportunity as it braces to auction these premium airwaves later this year for 4G and 5G services. The railways has urged the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to reserve a total 15 units of 700 Mhz spectrum, and initially allot 10 units free of cost, on grounds that such 4G-LTE airwaves are required for passenger security and safety in public interest. DoT, on its part, referred the matter to the telecom regulator in February, but said if the railways’ request is heeded; the residual quantum of airwaves in the 700 Mhz band could prove insufficient for 4G and 5G services, and further jack up the price of this expensive spectrum.

(ET, June 24, 2019)

Xiaomi component supplier, Holitech, to invest $200 mn in country over 3 years

Expanding its manufacturing base in India, Xiaomi on Saturday announced that Holitech Technology, a global component supplier, has inaugurated its first component manufacturing plant in India. Holitech Technology has established its operations in Greater Noida and was first invited by Xiaomi in Q1 2018 to investigate local manufacturing opportunities during its ‘Supplier Investment Summit’. Holitech Technology is to invest nearly $200 million over three years in the country and would manufacture Compact Camera Modules (CCM), Capacitive Touch Screen modules (CTP), Thin Film Transistors (TFT), Flexible Printed Circuits (FPC), and fingerprint modules, locally. The local manufacturing plant is ready and would commence production within Q3, 2019 and it aims to generate 6,000 jobs in three years. The component manufacturing plant is spread across four factories and spans over 25,000 sq m in Greater Noida and will start mass production with a capacity of over 300 million components annually. The plant also boasts of class 1000 and class 100 clean rooms, an industry first. A clean room is a contained space where provisions are made to reduce particulate contamination and control other environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and pressure.

(BusinessLine, June 15, 2019)

Modi govt pursuing bold strategies for universal Internet access by 2022: Ajit Pai

India is pursuing bold strategies to achieve the ambitious goal of universal Internet access by 2022, a top American official has said, highlighting the challenges in building broadband networks in rural areas. "I commend Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government for their ambitious goals of universal Internet access by 2022 and fixed broadband access to 50 per cent of households by 2022," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said at the India Ideas summit of US-India Business Council here on Wednesday. "To meet these targets, they're pursuing bold strategies such as installing two million public Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas and redesigning and expanding the Universal Service Obligation Fund," he said.  Pai said despite the good news, millions of Indians and Americans still live in rural areas where there is currently no case for the private sector alone to build broadband networks. 

(ET, June 13, 2019).

Telecom dept, telcos conduct raids across Delhi-NCR to take down illegal mobile signal repeaters

Indian telecom operators and the telecom department conducted raids on several locations across Delhi to take down illegal mobile signal repeaters installed by individuals. With this exercise in Delhi, 32 illegal repeaters were removed and 46 notices were given to remove the identified ones with immediate effect. According to a statement by the COAI, the DoT along with the authorities have served notices and may impose heavy fines on owners of several premises. Raids were also conducted in Karol Bagh where such illegal equipment is being sold, according to an official statement. The department may also decide to impose heavy penalties on sellers of this illegal equipment. Recently, on the request of the COAI, several e-commerce players stopped the sale of such illegal network boosters on their platforms. These locations included both residential and commercial establishments in Laxmi Nagar, Paharganj, Greater Kailash, Inderpuri, Adarsh Nagar, Model Town, Patel Nagar, South Extension, Chandni Chowk, Rohini, Sant Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Civil Lines, Ashok Vihar and Rajendra Nagar. The identified locations also include NCR region, i.e. Gurugram and Noida.  COAI said that illegal mobile signal repeaters have become a major nuisance and are one of the biggest reasons for customers facing network issues like call drops and low data speeds. 

(ET, June 13, 2019)

DoT may prohibit BSNL from LWE-II connectivity program

The Department of Telecom(DoT) is expected to prohibit state-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in the ambitious Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) - II program, despite telco's lowest proposal and completion of the earlier phase in record time.  "The specifications of BSNL proposal are very different from the Cabinet-approved proposal for LWE-II and hence cost of BSNL proposal cannot be used for benchmarking the bid document," according to a telecom department note, seen by ETT said. The fourth-largest telco has submitted a proposal to deploy 4.072 towers, at a cost nearly 40% lower than the originally conceived but the note prepared by the department's finance branch, apparently overlooked it, saying, "BSNL proposal will entail a lower grade of service with deficiencies." However, BSNL has led the previous leg or LWE-I to deploy 2,500 mobile towers to boost telephony in the Red Corridor, with completing the initiative in a lesser time than anticipated in 2016.

(ET, June 13, 2019)

Vodafone Idea, Airtel in talks with Samsung for 4G and 5G amid uncertainty over Huawei's future

Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtelhave initiated separate exploratory talks with Korean telecom gear maker Samsung for supplying equipment for their respective 4Gand futuristic 5G networks even as uncertainty looms over the future of Huawei in India, after a US ban on the Chinese vendor. Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India don't want to get stuck with just two vendors — Ericsson and Nokia — in case of a ban on Huawei, as there could be demand and supply issues as well in such an eventuality, a person familiar with the strategy of one of the two telecom companies said. "They want to keep their options open with Samsung. ZTE is there but the telcos wouldn’t want to go big with it...telcos want to diversify when it comes to vendors," the person said. A second person said that Samsung is already getting “feelers” from telcos in India for both 4G and 5G technologies. “There are feelers on 5G. But, there are many steps required, including trials in India since commercial deployment has some time to start in the country. Even on 4G, Samsung is getting feelers from the two telcos”.

(ET, June 12, 2019)

India remains second largest region of internet users in the world: Mary Meeker report

India has the second largest internet user base in the world constituting 12% of the total 3.8 billion global user base, where China has the largest internet user base making 21% of the total base, according to the Mary Meeker’s 2019 internet trends report. Previously, India had beaten United States to become the second largest market of internet users. As per the latest report, United States remains at the third spot constituting 8% of the global internet user base. Moreover, Asia Pacific region leads with 53% of the global internet users coming from the region. However, the internet penetration in the region is 48% which is significantly lower than that of North America and Europe, 89% and 78% respectively.

(ET, June 12, 2019)

Oppo leads Apple, Samsung in race to win over youngsters in India

Apple and Samsung, the flag bearers of innovation in the consumer technology space for years, may be losing the trust of young Indian consumers to a Chinese rival. Oppo Mobile India, the local subsidiary of China’s BBK Electronics, has emerged as the most-preferred innovative handset brand in the premium segment, as per an independent study conducted by the analyst firm Cyber Media Research (CMR). Conducted among consumers, born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, in the survey, Oppo scored 78 per cent. While Samsung, at the second spot, scored 74 per cent, Apple stood at the third spot with a 71 per cent score.  The findings are surprising, to say the least, given that Oppo does not feature among the most-selling premium smartphone brands in the country. While Samsung now tops the chart, in terms of volume of premium devices shipped, Chinese brand OnePlus is the second-largest player in the Rs 25,000-to-Rs 50,000 price band, followed by Apple. However, the young consumers said that Oppo’s constant focus on camera prowess and its long-lasting batteries remained at the top of their mind. According to Prabhu Ram, head-industry intelligence group, CMR, innovations introduced by Oppo in selfie cameras at an early stage that, along with Vivo, transformed the smartphone market in India and helped it gain consumers’ attention. “The Gen Z clearly identifies with Oppo as an innovation trailblazer that offers a premium experience to them, with industry-leading innovations, whether it be in camera or battery charging,” he said.

(BS, May 28, 2019)

India keeps out Chinese gear-makers from 5G trials on security concerns

India will keep out Chinese vendors from its 5G trials expected to start next month, though this may be reviewed later, said officials. A telecom ministry panel has recommended spectrum tests for telecom firms that wish to bring in this next generation network technology. 5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections. Analysts expect 5G network to help power a surge in use of Internet of Things technology enabling smartphones to be used to connect and run most electronic devices. Officials said the ministry has recommended 5G spectrum tests for Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio initially for three months, which can be scaled up to one year in case they need more time for network stabilisation. These firms will be using three equipment vendors: Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson, they said. The allocations are expected to be done within the next fortnight, so that trials can start from June. Officials said at a later stage, they could give Huawei an opportunity to test its 5G equipments. India imports telecom gear worth about $22 billion annually, much of which is from Chinese firms such as ZTE, Huawei, Dongfang and Cosco. Electronics are the third top import item for India.

(Indian Express, May 10, 2019)

Karbonn to relaunch Sansui brand in India

Home-grown mobile phone maker Karbonn Mobiles has acquired the brand licence of Japanese consumer electronics brand Sansui for the Indian market, marking its entry into the television and white goods segment and mirroring the strategy of its domestic peers Micromax and Intex, who have been squeezed out of the mobile phone market by Chinese players, said two industry executives.  The licensing arrangement with Karbonn Mobiles’ holding company Jaina India is for five years and the Sansui brand will be relaunched in the country in July with products in categories such as LED television, home audio, refrigerator, washing machine, split air-conditioner and small kitchen appliances, the executives told ET on condition of anonymity. The Sansui brand was earlier licensed to Videocon for 17 years but after the expiry of the licence in 2018 post Diwali, the owners of Sansui — Hong Kong-listed Nimble Holdings Company — did not want to renew the licence owing to the financial crisis at Videocon.  Emails sent to Jaina Group MD Pardeep Jain and Nimble Holdings did not elicit any response till press time on Tuesday. Karbonn Mobiles will sell Sansui through bricks-and-mortar stores and Flipkart, pricing the products on a par  with Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and TCL, said the executives cited earlier. They said the company also had plans to set up a plant for manufacturing of televisions and appliances at an outlay of Rs 300 crore, although initially the products would be contract manufactured in India. 

(ET, May 08, 2019)

India may reject US demand for outright ban on Huawei

Pointing out countries such as the UK and Germany that are "pushing back" the US pressure on barring Huawei from 5G network deployments, India may join these developed countries in rejecting Washington’s insistence of an outright ban on the Chinese network equipment maker despite real security concerns. “We are seeing that the UK has decided to use Huawei equipment in some non-core areas, also, Germany is pushing back on the US pressure, since it is unfair to deprive telcos of end-to-end technology at a lower cost which the Chinese company offers,” a senior government official told ET. Another official said that there were security concerns in using Chinese equipment, but added that each country needs to address this issue in “a carefully structured and customized method, thus selectively crafting its strategy rather than completely banning of Huawei equipment. It could become a trade-off between not allowing a newer technology versus security concerns.” Huawei, on its part, feels confident that the company will, along with rest of the industry, be allowed to participate in the 5G trials but expects a decision only after the ongoing general elections, results of which are slated for May 23, is over. Stakeholders are currently awaiting allotment of 5G trial spectrum from the Indian government. Huawei competes mainly with European vendors Nokia and Ericsson besides Chinese rival ZTE for the global telecom gear contracts.

(ET, May 07, 2019)

Foxconn's Terry Gou wants to be peacemaker between US, China and Taiwan

The chairman of Apple supplier Foxconn said on Monday he told U.S. President Donald Trump that he wanted to be the peacemaker between the United States, China and self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own. Billionaire Terry Gou, who said last month he would run for president of Taiwan in 2020, met Trump last week to discuss the status of the Taiwan Company’s planned investment in Wisconsin. Using Taiwan's official name, Gou also said Beijing needed to acknowledge the existence of the "Republic of China". Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province, part of "one China", and has not renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. The United States acknowledges that China takes the position that there is one China and Taiwan is part of it. But it also Taiwan's biggest ally and arms supplier and is duty-bound by legislation to help the island defend itself.

(ET, May 06, 2019)

Amazon beefs up cloud business, data centre infrastructure in India

Amazon is beefing up its data centre infrastructure and cloud services business in India as the clamour around data localisation grows louder every day. The Seattle-headquartered company has infused around Rs 1,380 crore into its local data centre arm, Amazon Data Services India (ADSIPL), documents sourced from business intelligence platform showed. Apart from its online retail business, Amazon operates ADSIPL and Amazon Internet Services (AISPL). The latter undertakes the resale and marketing of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in India and directly competes with its Chinese rival Alibaba's cloud services business. Cloud services platforms such as AWS offer data storage, computing power and other functionalities to startups, large businesses and government organizations for a fee. The recent fund infusion could help Amazon take on the dual responsibilities of strengthening its data centre infrastructure and compete against the growing clout of Alibaba Cloud in the Asia-Pacific region, including India. "My bet is on Amazon seeing a massive opportunity that only it can effectively leverage with the new data localization norms in India. One can expect to see new data centre locations coming up alongside India-specific localization solutions," said founder Vivek Durai. An Amazon India spokesperson did not reply to an email from TOI.

(ET, May 06, 2019)

Major display issues bug Samsung’s Galaxy Fold phone

Ahead of its public release scheduled for April 26, U.S.-based tech reviewers who were testing the $2,000 worth ‘Galaxy Fold’ encountered and reported major display and screen-related issues within just two days of using the phone. Tech reviewers from renowned media brands like The Verge and CNBC noted issues like screen flickering, display distortion and unexplainable buldges bugging the industry-first device, ABC News reported on Thursday. Subtitling the review “Yikes”, The Verge said that the flaws were “distressing to be discovered just two days after receiving the review unit”. “A review unit given to CNBC by Samsung is completely unusable after just two days of use,” the report quoted CNBC reviewer Todd Haselton as saying. Defending its devices just days before its roll-out, a Samsung spokesperson assured that the South-Korean giant would “thoroughly inspect” the units. “A limited number of early ‘Galaxy Fold’ samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” the ABC News report quoted a Samsung spokesperson as saying.

(The Hindu, Apr 19, 2019)

Retail, Telecom to Support RIL’s Journey on Bourses

The muted earnings growth from Reliance Industries’ core energy vertical in the quarter ended March may narrow the performance gap between the company’s stock and the Nifty 50 index. The Reliance stock has outperformed the Nifty by 15% in the past three months and contributed to about 25% of the index’s gains. Profit in the quarter was better than the Bloomberg consensus estimate, but the quality of earnings may weigh on investor sentiment as it was driven by higher other income and lower tax rates. The company’s capital expenditure was almost Rs 1.32 lakh crore in FY19 as it continued to invest in Reliance Jio Infocomm, its digital business unit, and Reliance Retail, its organised retail venture. As a result, the company’s debt increased by over 30% to Rs 2.87 lakh crore at the end of FY19.

(ET, April 19 2019)

Micromax Founder Rahul Sharma to Venture into Electric Mobility Space

When one thinks of Micromax, the first thing that comes to mind is smartphones. Micromax also manufactures and sells tablets, air conditioners, LED TVs, laptops, power bands and sound bars. It's safe to say then that Indian company has most of the angles covered as far as electronics are concerned. However, Micromax has now decided to venture into the mobility space and hence provide personal mobility solutions. The company says that Rahul Sharma's next entrepreneurial venture will transform the mobility industry and will also be for the greater good of the environment. This is also because of the specific nature of mobility space the Indian electronics giant is planning to enter - the e-mobility space. We'll have more details on this development after tomorrow's announcement by Micromax Informatics. Micromax had started selling mobile phones back in 2008. In 2015, Micromax had vaulted past Samsung Electronics to become India's leading smartphone brand. According to a media report, the company had the policy to identify with all sections of society. The company is believed to have broken the norm by producing products which matched the fit and finish of international rivals. Micromax is also known to have made mobile phones with unique features like dual/SIM standby, 30-day battery backup, universal remote controls and more.

(News18, Apr 03, 2019)

Apple Starts iPhone 7 Manufacture In India

Giving an impetus to its India manufacturing plans, Apple has started the assembling of iPhone 7 at its supplier Wistron's facility in Bengaluru. Taiwanese industrial major Wistron already assembles iPhone 6S in the country. "We are proud to be producing iPhone 7 in Bengaluru for our local customers furthering our long-term commitment in India," Apple told IANS on Tuesday. The assembling of iPhone 7 began last month. Mr Wistron, which last year announced plans to invest Rs. 3,000 crore in the Narasupra industrial sector in Karnataka's Kolar district, started Apple operations with assembling low-end iPhone SE and later iPhone 6S. According to Wistron India head Gururaj A, the company would set up an iPhone making unit in the 43 acres of land allotted to it, with employment potential of over 10,000 people. The new Wistron facility is also set to manufacture a wider range of Apple's devices.  Apple is slowly but steadily strategizing its plans to make deeper inroads in a country where over 450 million people use smartphones, and assembling iPhone 7 is another step towards gaining more ground. According to Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, the Indian electronics market is growing fast and has gained a significant advantage on some of the competing countries. "I think to start with, it makes sense for Apple to localize assembling of models that have the potential to scale up and then slowly expands it to entire portfolio," Mr Pathak told IANS.

(NDTV, Apr 02, 2019)

In a first, Apple starts iPhone 7 production in India

Giving an impetus to its India manufacturing plans, Apple has started the assembling of iPhone 7 at its supplier Wistron's facility in Bengaluru. Taiwanese industrial major Wistron already assembles iPhone 6S in the country. "We are proud to be producing iPhone 7 in Bengaluru for our local customers furthering our long-term commitment in India," an Apple spokesperson told IANS on Tuesday. The assembling of iPhone 7 began last month. Wistron, which announced last year plans to invest Rs 3,000 crore in the Narasupra industrial sector in Karnataka's Kolar district, started Apple operations with assembling low-end iPhone SE and later iPhone 6S. According to Wistron India head Gururaj A, the company would set up an iPhone making unit in the 43 acres of land allotted to it, with employment potential of over 10,000 people. The new Wistron facility is also set to manufacture a wider range of Apple's devices. Apple is slowly but steadily strategising its plans to make deeper inroads in a country where over 450 million people use smartphones, and assembling iPhone 7 is another step towards gaining more ground.

(TimesNow, Apr 02, 2019)

UK ban on Huawei's 5G to cost millions of pounds, says Vodafone

Vodafone said any move by Britain to bar equipment made by China's Huawei from all parts of new 5G networks would cost it hundreds of millions of pounds and "very significantly" slow down the deployment of the new technology. The United States has asked allies not to use Huawei's technology because it could be a vehicle for Chinese spy operations, an accusation denied by the company. Vodafone said last month it had paused the use of Huawei components in its core networks in Europe until governments had assessed the risks. The group's UK chief technology officer Scott Petty said on Thursday that Huawei radio equipment was used in nearly a third of the company's 18,000 UK base stations - a part of the network it gauged to be very low risk. It would also be part of the foundation for 5G technology.

(ET, Mar 07, 2019)

Vodafone bringing 5G in 19 UK cities by end of 2019

Vodafone will offer 5G in 19 cities across the UK by year's end, the carrier said Thursday. Vodafone is keen to preserve its lead in 5G, after activating the UK's first 5G network in Salford, Greater Manchester, in October. The company has now extended coverage to Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool and is currently preparing equipment in Birmingham, Glasgow and London. 5G, the next generation of mobile network technology, promises to boost data speeds to up to 10 times what we're currently used to, as well as making connections more stable and offering more bandwidth for other technologies such as virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and the internet of things. Even though the first 5G networks were switched on last year, it's only been in the last couple of weeks that 5G has truly become a reality. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Samsung's Unpacked event in San Francisco, the first few phones that can connect to 5G networks were unveiled. The race to be first to 5G hasn't been as aggressive in the UK as in the US and South Korea, But over the past year or so, two of the UK's big four operators have significantly stepped up their game. In December at a Qualcomm summit in Hawaii, carrier EE announced it would bring 5G connectivity to 16 UK cities in 2019. Vodafone previously announced it would launch 5G in seven cities this year. But in a bid to outdo EE, Vodafone on Thursday added another 12 to its list: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

(C-Net, Mar 07, 2019)

Telecom department reshuffles officers to fast-track connectivity programs

The department of telecom (DoT) has reconstituted the group of officers assigned to operationalize some of the ambitious mobile connectivity programs such as mega BharatNet-II, Wi-Fi pilots, Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-II and Northeast, including strategic areas along Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. In an internal notification dated March 5, seen by ETT, the department has assigned BharatNet deployment, Wi-Fi pilot initiatives and other common service centers or CSC-related projects to joint administrator Ranjan Ghosh who was earlier responsible for the provision of mobile services in Northeast region. The Narendra Modi government has concluded BharatNet-I in December 2018, making as many as 1.25 lakh gram panchayats or village blocks connected with optic fiber-based network, capable to offer high-speed Internet services for the delivery of citizen-centric public services.

(ET, Mar 07, 2019)

Samsung President on India visit for launch of latest Galaxy S10 series

The President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics DJ Koh will be visiting India to unveil the latest edition of the tenth iteration of its flagship Galaxy device series in the country on March 6, 2019. Koh, who earlier visited India six months ago to launch another flagship device – Samsung Galaxy Note9, has stated immense admiration for the country’s culture, cuisine and entertainment. India currently ranks the highest in the world in terms of volume shipments for Samsung and is a crucial market for the company’s growth. The South Korean electronics giant is also likely to showcase all the three variants of the Galaxy S10 series including Galaxy S10, S10+, S10e and its entire wearables line up.

(The Statesman, Mar 06, 2019)

We’re sending a message that we must be paid for services: Ericsson CEO

Ericsson’s successful legal action against Reliance Communications NSE -0.83 % (RCom) over unpaid bills showed the Swedish gear maker’s determination to ensure that service providers get what’s due to them. “We were sending a strong message that if we are providing services, we should get paid,” CEO Börje Ekholm said. “If we just fold over, it has implications for others that maybe we don’t need to pay these guys because they will not do anything anyway. We are satisfied that that Indian courts look at it this way as well.”  On February 20, India’s Supreme Court upheld a contempt petition filed by Ericsson against RCom chairman Anil Ambani for not paying the Swedish company, despite having the money to do so. The court threatened to send the businessman to jail for three months if he didn’t cough up what was owed in four weeks.  Ekholm however said it wasn’t time to break out the “champagne” as it hasn’t received the remaining. `453 crore from the Indian telco. He told ET that he had “never been through anything like it.” Ericsson has already got the Rs 118 crore that RCom had previously deposited with the top court. Since the amount to be paid has been calculated at Rs 571crore, along with interest, the amount due in four weeks is Rs 453 crore. RCom has said it will abide by the ruling. Its operational creditor Ericsson had filed three contempt pleas to press for its dues. 

(ET, Mar 01, 2019)

Xiaomi ShareSave E-Commerce Platform Launched In India To Enable Ordering Products From China

Xiaomi, the Chinese mobile and electronics manufacturing behemoth, has launched its own e-commerce platform ShareSave in India. It will feature as an app on the Google Playstore and enable Android users from India to order Chinese products that are currently not available in India and will have to be procured from outside. The social e-commerce platform will be the key element of this mobile app. The social e-commerce platform enables users to purchase apps in an instant or club with their friends and family to purchase the same and get discounts. While the ShareSave app is available on Android, the company is yet to disclose if it will release an iOS version or a web-based version of the app. Xiaomi posted about this new launch on its official blog. The idea of the platform is to enable its large Indian audience base to purchase its products as soon as they are launched in its home country China. Xiaomi has conveyed that ShareSave is a global initiative, but it has chosen India to be the launch market for the platform. In its blog post, Xiaomi said, “Xiaomi strongly believes in the power of communities and Mi Fans, and the social aspect of ShareSave is a perfect reflection of this. ShareSave allows for a place where Mi Fans connect, enjoy and share a unique #SharetoSave shopping experience. It also serves as a testing ground for key markets, allowing Xiaomi to learn more about the local demand for various types of product.”

(Versus, Jan 26, 2019)

Spec-packed budget phone Samsung Galaxy M to hit India in Feb

Samsung Electronics Co will launch spec-packed budget smartphone series Galaxy M in India for the first time in the world in efforts to keep lead in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market against threatening Chinese competition. The Galaxy M series is the latest of the South Korean tech giant’s entry-level smartphone lineup specifically tailored for emerging markets. Galaxy M10 and M20 will go on sale in India from Feb. 5, according to the company. The Galaxy M10 is powered by the Exynos 7870 processor and comes in a 6.22-inch screen. The Galaxy M20 features a dual camera setup with 13 megapixel and 5 megapixel configuration. It is also backed by a 5,000 milliampere-hour (mAh) battery, larger than the high-end model Galaxy Note 9 with 4,000 mAh, as well as biometrics options including fingerprint scanner and facial unlocking.   Despite the high-spec and upgraded design compared to the current budget line Galaxy J series, the Galaxy M10 will be priced at 7,990 rupees ($112) - 8,990 rupees and Galaxy M20 at 10,990 rupees – 12,990 rupees. Budget phones dominate the Indian smartphone market, and those priced at around 10,000 rupees sell most. 

(Pulse, Jan 30, 2019)

Handset body demands a special package for Indian companies

India's top handset body has called on the government to create a special package to help revive local handset makers who have been pushed to the fringes of the market dominated by Chinese players besides Samsung on one hand, and Reliance Retail’s JioPhone on the other. "There is a compelling need for making a comprehensive strategic support framework for building large domestic companies to have the desired level of control on technology in the strategic areas," Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman at India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), said in a statement issued Monday. The special package would help Indian companies tap the $250-billion global opportunities in the entry-level smartphone segment, he said, adding that they will help create "champion" companies in India similar to what the US, China, and South Korea did with their domestic companies. 

(ET, Jan 29, 2019)

Handset body demands a special package for Indian companies

India's top handset body has called on the government to create a special package to help revive local handset makers who have been pushed to the fringes of the market dominated by Chinese players besides Samsung on one hand, and Reliance Retail’s Jio Phone on the other. "There is a compelling need for making a comprehensive strategic support framework for building large domestic companies to have the desired level of control on technology in the strategic areas," Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman at India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), said in a statement issued Monday. The special package would help Indian companies tap the $250-billion global opportunities in the entry-level smartphone segment, he said, adding that they will help create "champion" companies in India similar to what the US, China, and South Korea did with their domestic companies. 

(ET, Jan 29, 2019)

Pegatron planning expansion outside of China as Apple looks to make flagship iPhones in India

Following Foxconn’s decision to expand its reach beyond China, Apple’s other contract manufacturer now plans to do the same. The Financial Times reports this morning that Pegatron will build production capacity in three new countries: India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  Currently, Pegatron accounts for about 30 percent of Apple’s assembly orders. The company thus far has relied almost entirely on China, but it now intends to change that with its expansion to Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. Regarding the expansion beyond China, Pegatron president SJ Liao said the company will announce more details soon. The rate of expansion, however, will depend on the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, he added. Pegatron made no mention of Apple in its announcement, but it is hard to ignore the connection between Pegatron and Foxconn’s plans, and reports suggesting high-end iPhone assembly will soon commence in India. Further, the Chinese smartphone and consumer electronics markets have slowed recently, causing companies to focus on other large markets like India

(9T05 Mac, Jan 27, 2019)

Smartphone makers seek export incentives to grow India production

Smartphone makers in India are calling for export credits on devices and tariff cuts on machinery imports as part of measures they say will make Asia's third-biggest economy a global smartphone manufacturing hub. The Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), whose members include some of the industry's biggest names including Apple Inc, made the proposals in a 174-page document reviewed by Reuters and submitted to the government ahead of its annual budget announcement next week. "As the country is nearing to achieve saturation point... without an export take off manufacturing growth cannot be sustained and accelerated," the ICEA said in the document. The ICEA confirmed it submitted the document. The finance and technology ministries did not respond to requests for comment.  The government's 'Make in India' campaign beginning 2014 and gradual tax increases on imports of mobile phone components have spurred the creation of more than 260 manufacturing unit .

(ET, Jan 25, 2019)

Bihar Government Reaches Out To Electronics, Telecom Firms For Skilling, Employing States Youth

The Bihar government reached out to electronics and telecom companies and industry bodies for skilling of youths of the state and providing them employment opportunities. “We have been running ”recruit, train and deploy” programme for the last 2 years. Now we want electronics and telecom companies to be part of it. Under which, the Bihar government will meet the training and recruitment related costs for youth to make them employable in companies,” Dipak Kumar Singh, principal secretary, Labour Resources and CEO, Bihar Skill Development Mission (BSDM), said after a meeting with industry players here. Mr Singh said the state government has no shortage of funds for skilling youth in the state. “Our Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar) wants youth to get jobs. There will be no cap on the number of youth that can be trained for employment in electronics and mobile phone companies,” the official said at the Mobile Manufacturers Conclave organized by the BSDM.

(Communications Today, Jan 08, 2019)

Foxconn to assemble top-end Apple iPhones in India

Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn will invest well over $350 million (Rs 2,500 crore) to have new production lines to manufacture certain iPhone models in its factory in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, said a recent Reuters report.Titled Project Fruit, the plan to expand the Sriperumbudur unit of Taiwanese phone manufacturer Foxconn to make smartphones including the coveted iPhone has been in the works for over a year. “It has been a work in progress for over a year,” said a person directly involved in the project to manufacture iPhones from Tamil Nadu. Apple is expected to assemble top-end iPhones in India as early as 2019. This would be the first time the Taiwanese contract manufacturer will have made the product in the country. Importantly, Foxconn will be assembling the most expensive models, such as devices in the flagship iPhone X family, the source said, potentially taking Apple's business in India to a new level. Currently, Apple phones such as the iPhone 6S and SE models are made by another Taiwanese phone maker, Wistron, in Bengaluru in Karnataka.

(EET India, Jan 07, 2019)

Samsung reports increase in revenue as profits fall in India

South Korean smartphone and electronics giant Samsung has just revealed information about the performance of the company as part of its Regulatory filings to the Registrar of Companies (RoC). As part of the filing, the company has revealed a number of important facts about the performance of the company in 2018. Taking a closer look at the numbers shared as part of the regulatory filing, the company stated a 10 percent increase in the annual revenue of the company and an 11 percent loss in net profit of the company. Overall, the company crossed the Rs 60,000 crore marker in terms of the annual revenue. According to an in-depth report by The Economic Times, aggressive pricing of the devices to compete with Chinese smartphone makers including Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, and Vivo have been the result of decreasing net profit. Focusing on the specifics, the company touched Rs 61,065.6 as the annual income in 2017-18 from the Rs 55,511.9 crore in 2016-17. In terms of the profit, the company saw a dip of 10.7 percent to reduce its profit to Rs 3,712.2 crore.

(BGR, Jan 02, 2019)

RJio creates two subsidiaries for fibre, towers

Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), is craving out its fibre and tower assets into two separate companies that will provide it the flexibility to lease out the assets at a later point in time. Further to the creation of two separate companies, RJio will continue to function as a telecom service provider. The two new companies – names of which are yet to be decided – will operate as wholly-owned subsidiaries of RJio, sources, who requested anonymity, said. On Tuesday, RJio got board approval for the demerger, while the decision is subject to further regulatory and shareholders’ approvals, the company said in a regulatory filing. “This move will enable the companies to work as separate infrastructure providers (IP), a company offering independent tower services and another leasing out optical fibre to other telecom players and internet companies. The split will enable the companies the flexibility to offer their services separately,” a source close to the development said.    

(BusinessLine, Dec 12, 2018)

China-based Meizu makes a comeback in India market with launch of three smartphones

China-based consumer electronics company Meizu has made its comeback in the Indian market with the launch of three smartphones – Meizu M16th,Meizu M6T and Meizu C9 priced at Rs 39999, Rs 7999 and Rs 4999 (introductory price) respectively. The company at its launch event on Wednesday launched the three smartphones out of which Meizu M16th is the company’s flagship device. Also, Meizu M6T is a rebranded variant of the Meizu 6T and the entry-level Meizu C9, and the Meizu M16th are rebranded version of the Meizu 16. While Meizu M6T and M16th were previously unveiled in China, Meizu C9 is a device catering to only the India and Indonesia markets. The company also launched two new Bluetooth-powered earphones for India market.    

(ET, Dec 05, 2018)

VIVO's INR 4,000-crore Investment in India and OPPO's MD Resigns

Chinese companies in India made an advent many years ago. Today, this advent today has transformed into several successful ventures that have changed the form and shape of Chinese business ecosystem in the Indian market. The most successful of this include Xiaomi, VIVO, Oppo etc. It is interesting to see how China is determined to have a positive business relationship with India despite the conflicting bilateral relations. Recently, reports were rife that LiuGong India, a wholly owned subsidiary of China-based Guangxi LiuGong, a heavy equipment maker is planning to invest 2.5 billion in India with the motive of making it a sourcing hub. Although China’s economy is much larger than that of India’s, as two most powerful emerging nations in Asia and in the world, China and India know all too well that they can benefit from each other’s strengths when it comes to business. The politics, of course, can be left to the politicians and other leaders, the businessmen have their way, in this case, of course.    

(Entrepreneur India, Dec 01, 2018)

Smartphones, heavy discounts on e-sales make India fastest growing e-commerce market Report

An increased smartphone penetration, advances in delivery infrastructure and heavy discounts on e-commerce buying are the key reasons behind India being the fastest growing e-commerce market, a new report has revealed. Consumer electronics segment was learnt to be having the highest online penetration, even as currently e-commerce sales of consumer electronics stood at 17 per cent of the total retail sales in the country. It was followed by apparel and footwear (nine per cent), and beauty and personal care (one per cent). With e-sales worth of USD530 billion, the food and grocery segment had one of the lowest online penetration of just 0.1 per cent. It also found that Alibaba and Tencent, both Chinese e-commerce giants, were the best known Asian retail ecosystems. But, India too was witnessing the emergence of retail ecosystems led by Reliance, Flipkart, Walmart, Amazon, and Alibaba, the English daily The Times of India reported yesterday.   

(Borneo Bulletin, Nov 30, 2018)

Competition Commission orders probe against Intel Corp

Fair trade regulator CCI has ordered an investigation against global chip maker Intel Corporation for allegedly abusing its dominant position in Indian market by restricting the production of servers. The direction comes following a complaint by Bangalore-based Velankani Electronics, engaged in the business of design and manufacture of electronic products in India.  Intel is a leading technology company engaged in the designing, manufacturing and distribution of a wide range of IT components as well as electronic devices relating to communications and computing such as processors, chipsets, mother-board/server-board among others. It was alleged that Intel refused to provide complete reference design files to Velankani Electronics and by doing this Intel has successfully prevented and precluded the Bangalore-based from designing/manufacturing its own server-boards. 

(ET, Nov 12, 2018)

Singtel sees telecom sector inching towards stability

Telecommunications, a major shareholder in Bharti AirtelNSE 0.00 %, sees initial green shoots and some stability returning to the Indian telecom industry. “Total telecom industry revenue in India as a whole, for the first time since the entry of Reliance Jio, has been growing by a bit, so there is some stability,” Arthur Lang, CEO (International), Singtel said at an earnings call . The leading Southeast Asian carrier, which owns a shade over 39% in Bharti Airtel, had reported a 77% year-on-year fall in net profit during the July-September period to S$667 million.  India's telecom industry’s adjusted gross revenue (AGR) had grown by 2.4% sequentially during the April-June quarter of 2018-19. Airtel’s consolidated revenue in the September quarter, which fell 6.2% on-year to Rs 20,422 crore, was actually higher than the Rs 20,080 crore reported in the first quarter. Revenue from India operations, which makes up nearly 68% of the total, also fell only 1% sequentially in the second quarter to Rs 14,920 crore. 

(ET, Nov 10, 2018)

India iPhone sales to fall for first time in four years: Report

Apple's iPhone sales are set to dip by around a quarter in India's holiday season fourth quarter, putting them on course for the first full-year fall in four years, industry research firm Counterpoint said on Saturday. The Cupertino, California company's struggle to break through with India's 1.3 billion consumers swung more sharply into focus this week after Apple blamed a disappointing set of sales forecasts on a handful of big emerging markets. Chief Executive Tim Cook said after publishing third quarter results that sales were flat in India in the fourth quarter, which includes a month-long festive season culminating this week in Diwali - a bumper period for electronics sales.

(ET, No 04, 2018)

E-commerce players following predatory pricing, says mobile industry group

Mobile devices industry body ICEA said Thursday that e-commerce companies accounted for 45-50 per cent of handset sales last month allegedly due to predatory pricing.  "In US, the e-commerce sale of mobile phones is probably 2 per cent. In India this month it has hit 45-50 per cent because pricing is extremely predatory. E-commerce are doing something which they are not supposed to do. That is a big challenge," India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo  told reporters while releasing a joint report with McKinsey.  He said that e-commerce is growing very rapidly but if it is at the cost offline retail industry.  "45 thousand retails stores have closed down in the last one year which has created a mayhem. We did a little dipstick in area of Noida. 1,148 stores were there and now there are 950 stores. If you extrapolate this is the kind of stress," Mohindroo said. 

(ET, Nov 01, 2018)

Import of mobile phones fell by half in fiscal 2017-18: Foxconn chief

India currently produces 225 million phones valued at Rs 1,32,000 crore a year, which amounts to 12 phones a second, said Josh Foulger, Country Head & Managing Director, Foxconn International Holding, India. Addressing the Advantage India Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Messe Munchen GmbH, Foulger said: “India today is the second largest producer of mobile phones, a distant second to China, which produces 900 million phones a year.” Elaborating on the growth of the mobile sector in India, Foulger said in financial year 2017-18 the country’s mobile phone imports reduced by more than half and the import of completely-built-units came down from 78 per cent to 18 per cent.

(BS, Sep 26, 2018)

Xiaomi takes retail FDI to next stage in India, sets up company-owned retail store

Chinese smartphone major Xiaomi on Wednesday opened its first company-owned brick-and-mortar Mi Home store in India taking its retail foreign direct investment (FDI) plans to the next stage after started selling directly to consumers from its own app and e-commerce site, The store opened shutters in Bengaluru, Xiaomi India magaing director Manu Kumar Jain tweeted on Wednesday. “Mi Fans can experience vast array of products that we offer globally – smartphones, Mi TVs, Mi Projector, Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Mi Washing Machine, Mi Heater, Mi Bike, Mi Scooter, Mi Ninebot & a lot more. This is a COCO (Co. Owned Co. Operated) store. This is an opportunity to take your valuable feedback about the next cool #Xiaomi product to launch in India,” he tweeted. 

(ET, Sep 26, 2018)

Xiaomi scales up ‘Make in India

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has scaled up manufacturing in India over the last three years. Now it has the capacity to roll out two phones every second, said Raghu Reddy, Head, Category and Online Sales, Xiaomi India. From one factory in 2015, the company has six located across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, he told newspersons at the launch of three new smart phones — Redmi 6, Redmi 6A and Redmi 6 Pro. “This year, we have started making printed circuit boards that account for 50 per cent of the value of the phone. About 50 per cent of the phones that we are shipping come with locally manufactured PCB. We want to be in a place by the end of the year, where 100 per cent of phones that we are shipping out of the country have locally manufactured PCBs,” he said. Xiaomi India is also customising phones for India. This is not about software tweaks but about the phone itself. For instance, the new phones launched today have dual pyrolytic graphite sheets to dissipate heat faster. The sheets help reduce the surface temperature by two degrees. When the ambient temperature is 40-45 degrees, two degrees can hurt the user while speaking. The sheets also increase battery efficiency and battery life, he said.

(BusinessLine, Sep 07, 2018)

Xiaomi Bows to India Security Concerns

Xiaomi Corpis now storing data generated in India on local servers, after the nation’s government indicated that concerns about security breaches may lead to rules mandating domestic data storage for overseas smartphone firms. Since July 1, all new Indian user data have been stored on local servers provided by Inc. and Microsoft Corp., while all existing data will be fully migrated to local servers by mid-September, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone-maker said on its corporate blog Monday, posting a statement dated Friday. Xiaomi said it had previously been storing user data on servers in the U.S. and Singapore.

(Caixin, Sep 03, 2018)

Govt re-skilling IT talent in data analytics space

With IT and telecom industry on the cusp of a data revolution, the need for a skilled workforce, especially in data analytics segment has assumed critical importance.

There is a talent deficit in data/analytics segment, as the education system is yet to adapt to the latest technological shift which will completely alter the landscape of the industry, according to experts. There is a massive flow of data over internet which is expected to increase manifold with the advent of new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), virtual reality, robotic process automation, blockchain amongst others.

With increasing dependency of entities/institutions across sectors on data, there is a greater need for cyber security as data consumption and complexities rise.  Data analytics is fast becoming an integral part of organisations due to factors such as improved efficiencies, greater transparency and speed, and a way of reducing costs. It also enable companies to explore new business/revenue streams with much efficiency.

(DNA, Aug 09, 2018)

Apple set to allow apps to check spam on iPhone

Apple seems to have decided to relent in India and fall in line with telecom regulator Trai’s demand to allow an anti-spam app that tackles the menace of unwanted calls and messages. Sources said the electronics giant has decided to make India-specific changes in its upcoming operating system upgrade — iOS12 — to be launched around September.  The new version will add “certain functionalities” that would make it convenient for users to handle Trai’s D-Not-Disturb (DND 2.0) app effectively and report about spammers promptly.  “It will make it easier to identify the spammers, and will make it smoother for users to report about violators to Trai or any other authority that has been earmarked./  This is not possible at this moment,” sources said.

(TOI, Aug 08, 2018)

Oppo India unveils A3S, a budget smartphone, to attract youngsters

Oppo’s A3s packs an AI-enabled selfie camera and "music party" feature for the price tag of Rs. 10,990, available in red and dark purple colour options. Oppo India on Friday unveiled a new mid-range smartphone Oppo A3sfor a price tag of Rs 10,990, the Firstpost reported. The smartphone gets a dual rear camera setup along with an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled front camera for enhanced selfie experience.  The Chinese phonemaker aims to target the young buyers with this new and affordable model equipped with “music party” feature. This function would allow users to connect multiple smartphones with versions of Oppo’s own Android-based ColorOS 5.1 or above to play the same track using hotspot, eliminating the need for speakers.

(, July 16, 2018)

Reliance Jio says not importing 4G feature phones

Reliance Jio has rubbished allegations that it was trying to evade import duties by taking alternative trade routes to ship in its 4G feature phone JioPhone, saying it manufactures all those handsets in India. 
Jio was responding to allegations by Indian mobile handset companies led by The Mobile Association (TMA) which claimed that Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries NSE -2.15 % was not making the JioPhone locally.  JioPhone devices are not made in India. As per our understanding, JioPhone devices are all imported from China. The telecom service provider (Jio) is now planning to import large volumes via Indonesia to enjoy 0% customs duty,” Bhupesh Raseen, chairman of mobile advisory committee at TMA, told ET. 
(ET, July 16, 2018)

Samsung bet big on winning the Indian smartphone manufacturing race

Samsung on Monday launched what is being touted by the company as “the world's largest phone factory”. To some it may have come as a surprise that the sprawling manufacturing facility is located in Noida, an area not very far away from the bustling Indian capital, New Delhi.

It's a vote of confidence by the South Korean conglomerate in Asia's third-biggest economy and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and South Korean president Moon Jae-in very rightly led the inauguration ceremony to mark the significance of the occasion. The investment of hundreds of millions of dollars by Samsung represents a leap forward for India, which has aspirations to become a global manufacturing hub.

The Samsung smart phone plant, perhaps, is first among many to big-ticket ventures to come to India, which is very keen to boost the foreign direct investments and diversify its largely agrarian economy.

At the event, HC Hong, the chief executive of Samsung India, spoke about the company's “dream of making India a global export hub for mobile phones”.

(The National, July 15, 2018)

Mobile wallet transactions rise 16% in May: RBI's monthly bulletin

Mobile wallet transactions surged in May with a 16 per cent growth in volume and a 22 per cent rise in value over the previous month, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monthly bulletin.

Mobile wallet transactions for May stood at 326.02 million in volume and Rs 142.39 billion in value, against 279.29 million and Rs 116.95 billion respectively in April.

The wallet industry has faced a rocky path during the year due to the rise of United Payments Interface (UPI) as well as stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) rule enforced upon them. This had resulted in a drop in wallet transactions over the past few months.

(BS, July 11, 2018)

Big step for Samsung: Can they take on Chinese Rivals

When Finnish phone-maker Nokia had their big fall from grade, South Korean Samsung Electronics was sitting pretty. The company was proving to be Apple Computer’s biggest competitor in the high-end smartphone space, Samsung’s series of high-end Galaxy S smartphones have been the iPhone’s biggest rivals for years.

In India, Samsung became the top-dog in the smartphone space just as the market boomed. Some Indian firms, such as Micromax also got in the game by importing devices from China, many of them from a company known as BBK Electronics. For a while, these Indian brands were Samsung’s biggest competitors.

But the Chinese firms got wise to Indian importers and entered the Indian market on their own. And today, BBK Electronics’ three brands Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus along with China’s new consumer electronics giant Xiaomi have come to dominate the Indian smartphone market thanks to a combination of huge advertising spending as well as affordability. Xiaomi with their low-cost RedMi brand dominates the Indian smartphone arena today.

 (The Pioneer, July 10, 2018)

Samsung puts Noida on top with world's biggest mobile factory

In front are open fields with grazing cattle, to the left are under-construction residential societies and to the right is its existing facility - this where Samsung has set up what is the world's largest mobile factory.  Not China or South Korea -- and certainly not the US -- the tag of housing the world's largest mobile factory has straight away put Noida on top of the world manufacturing map when it comes to consumer electronics.  The new 35-acre Samsung Electronics facility at Sector 81 in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in landing together at a quickly-prepared helipad adjacent to the factory to officially inaugurate it on Monday.  One of the first electronics manufacturing facilities set up in the country in the early 1990s, the plant started by manufacturing TVs in 1997. The current mobile phone manufacturing unit was added in 2005. 

 (ET, Jul 08, 2018)

Airtel says SC dismisses Reliance Jio plea on IPL ads

Bharti Airtel said the Supreme Court had dismissed Reliance Jio Infocomm’s petition challenging a May 10 Delhi High Court order granting the Sunil Mittal-led carrier a partial reprieve over its Indian Premier League (IPL) multimedia advertising campaign. “The Supreme Court has on Friday dismissed the petition of Reliance Jio, which had filed a special leave petition (SLP) against the order of the division bench of the Delhi High Court, which had set aside the single bench order of the Delhi HC,” Bharti Airtel said in a media statement.

(ET, May 19, 2018)

How India And Ratan Tata Helped Xiaomi Set Up Biggest IPO Since Alibaba

Ratan Tata acquired a tiny stake in Xiaomi Corp. in April 2015 as the smartphone maker, once called Apple of China, was trying to regain ground it had ceded to compatriot brands like Oppo, Vivo and Huawei. Its billionaire co-founder Lei Jun, having launched the first phone in India about a year earlier, was also building operations in Asia’s third-largest economy. Both bets paid off. Xiaomi is now the country’s biggest smartphone maker, and No. 4 globally after Samsung Electronics Co., Apple Inc. and Huawei. India is its biggest market outside China, driving international sales that contribute more than a quarter of its revenue.

India’s biggest role in reviving the fortunes of Xiaomi is that it provided the much-needed momentum, Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, told BloombergQuint over the phone. “In 2015-16 when the market slipped for Xiaomi, it was India which started gaining business because of Redmi 3 and then its momentum was carried by Redmi 4, which in turn helped the company to regain confidence to venture into new countries.”

(Bloomberg, June 19, 2018)

Online platforms capture 38% smartphone sales in India: Counterpoint report

E-commerce platforms captured a record 38% share of the total smartphone channels in India in the first quarter of 2018, driven by exclusive online launches and strong promotions, a new report said.  According to Counterpoint Research's "Market Monitor" service, Flipkart continued its dominance in the online smartphone market with 54% share, with Amazon at second place with 30% followed by with 14% market share. iaomi led online platforms with a share of 57% during Q1 2018, followed by Samsung (14%) and Huawei (Honor) (8%)."The E-commerce segment grew faster than the offline segment during Q1 2018. While the smartphone shipments in offline segment declined by 3%, online segment grew by 4% (Year-on-Year)," said Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint.

(ET, June 16, 2018)

Second year in a row: Most courses discontinued are from telecom engineering

Electronics and telecommunication branch of engineering, also approved as electronics and communication by some universities, continues to witness highest number of discontinued courses across India. As per data available with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), apex body for technical education in the country, around 115 electronics and telecommunication courses will no longer be available to students. These include 40 diploma, 60 degree and 15 post-graduate courses. Last year, 173 courses — 84 degree, 76 diploma and 13 post-graduate — were discontinued.  Electronics and telecommunication engineering comprises designing and manufacturing hardware and software systems that run communication devices such as radio, mobile, television and computer. Computer engineering and its related branches of engineering have witnessed the second highest discontinuation of courses this year. Nearly 21 diploma, 12 degree and 43 post-graduate computer engineering courses, which includes computer science, engineering and technology, were discontinued for 2018-19 academic year.

(HT, June 15, 2018)

Mukesh Ambani's Jio gains to only bring more pain for rivals

India’s older mobile operators Bharti AirtelNSE -0.90 %, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have so far managed to hold on to — and even grow — their subscriber market shares despite new entrant Reliance Jio’s price onslaught, mainly by acquiring customers of smaller exiting telcos. But now they will face a tougher task to protect their turf because most subscribers of smaller players such as Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Telenor India and Aircel — which are being shut down or sold off — have already moved to the larger operators. 
“When the dust settles down and subscribers from beleaguered smaller players have been mopped by the Big Three (Vodafone-Idea combine, Airtel and Jio), the tussle for supremacy will resume,” said Sandip Das, senior advisor at telecom consulting firm Analysys Mason. “With Jio’s ambitions to lead, the market will continue to see aggressive moves,” he said.

(ET, June 08, 2018)

Trai suggests allocation of 10MHz of 4G airwaves for free for use by relief agencies

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended allocation of 10 MHz of 4G airwaves for free to be used in a network to be used in emergency situations like maintenance of law and order, protection of lif and property and disaster relief as part of an upgraded nationwide broadband based system.

The regulator said the proposed next-generation Publi Protection and Disaster Releif (PPDR) communication networks should be funded by the government and created in metros, border districts, disaster-rrprone areas and sensitive regions such as Jammu & Kashmir and the northeast.

(ET, June 05, 2018)

Samsung’s Prashanth Mani likely to join Lenovo-Motorola India replacing Sudhin Mathur

Prashanth Mani is set to join Lenovo-Motorola group’s smartphone business as India country head, replacing veteran Sudhin Mathur who stepped down in April, three senior industry executives said. Mani has put in his papers at Samsung India, where he was vice president of retail and go-to-market for the mobile division. His immediate mandate will be to turn around the Chinese electronics company’s smartphone business in India and bring it back into the top three. Mani, an engineering-MBA graduate, graduate, had a five-year stint in Samsung India, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was previously with Nokia India. 

Mani declined to speak to ET, saying he is not authorized to talk to the media at Samsung. Emails sent to Lenovo-Motorola and Samsung India did not elicit any response till press time. Lenovo-Motorola slipped one spot to the fourth place in October-December 2017, behind Xiaomi, Samsung and Vivo, according to US-based market tracker International Data Corporation. In January-March, it was not among the top five, with Oppo and China’s Transsion Group moving up. 

(ET, June 04, 2018)

Coolpad open to taking Xiaomi to court in India

Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad is open to moving Indian courts against IPO-bound rival Xiaomi over patent infringement, after the company filed seven such cases in China in two different courts since January this year. 

Coolpad’s chief intellectual property officer Nancy Zhang told ET that Indian laws protected patent holders’ interest, which made the South Asian nation’s courts a strong option for litigation, citing the example of Ericsson suing Xiaomi in alocal court which lead to an interim bar on sales of specific Xiaomi phones.  “India is one of the key markets, and India has the reputation for protecting intellectual property rights, has better laws and systems to protect patent holders.  As we saw in the Ericsson-Xiaomi case, we feel that India is a good ground for protecting patents,” Zhang said when asked whether the company would file a lawsuit here. 

(ET, June 01, 2018)

iPhone display makers dip on report Apple will go all-OLED in 2018

Apple Inc has decided to use OLED screens in all three new iPhone models planned for next year, according to South Korea’s Electronic Times – a report that sent shares in Japan Display tumbling 10%.

Japan Display, one of the main suppliers of iPhone liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, has lagged its South Korean rivals in OLED production.  By contrast, shares in LG Display Co. Ltd. Surged.  Apple recently started planning new iPhone models and decided all three models would have organic light-emitting diode panels, the report said, citing multiple unnamed industry sources.

(ET, May 30, 2018)

Reliance Jio 4G struggles in rural markets of India

Reliance Jio, promoted by India’s richest business-man Mukesh Ambani, has enhanced its rural presence with the 4G subscriber base touching 49.734 million in rural areas in March 2018 from 46.606 million in February 2018.  Reliance Jio, the fourth largest telecom operator in India, added 9.429 million 4G users across India during this period. That means Reliance Jio added nearly 6 million 4G customers in non-rural areas as compared with nearly 3 million in rural locations. Jio does not have 2G and 3G presence. It will be launching 5G.  Reliance Jio is the largest 4G operator in India with 186.560 million subscribers on its all-India LTE network.

(Telecomlead, May 27, 2018)

India is at start of e-mobility S Curve: ABB CEO

For e-mobility to happen, you need four building blocks. In India, we have a very strong local value end. In the renewables integration, more than 50% of the solar power is powered up with ABB technology. So, I think we are the ideal partner for India to really drive e-mobility going forward. We are also the ideal partner for car OEMs, to make sure that cars are rolling with the right charging infrastructure that we have. 

We will do this as we have done in all the new businesses that we brought in India. First, we will have the pilots and then we will localize the technology, put it into our local value chain, and have full local value and have job creation. Look at solar, we brought in global technology, we localized the technology, we set up a local value chain, invested in manufacturing, and today we are fully integrated. In the rail sector, we have done the same. 

(ET, May 27, 2018)

AI could smoothen your interactions with mobile service providers

If you get frustrated at the very thought of connecting with your mobile service provider for the time it takes to complete an interaction, there is hope. A new Ericsson report on Monday said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation have the potential to solve such issues with minimal effort.

Currently, it takes customers on average 2.2 attempts and 4.1 days to successfully complete an interaction with their mobile service providers, said the Ericsson “Consumer and IndustryLab” report. For the study, titled “Zero Touch Customer Experience”, responses from approximately 7,000 online interviews with smartphone users aged 16 years and over across the globe were analysed.

The results showed that consumers expect telecom service providers to match leading digital consumer experiences.

More than half (56 per cent) of the smartphone users expect operators to anticipate their needs even before they realise what they are, it said.

The new zero-touch methods, such as those used in voice-enabled home assistant devices such as Amazon Alexa, can do away with need of typing, clicking and swiping on our devices.

(Dailyworld, May 14, 2018)

Telecom companies ask TRAI not to penalise them over minor service issues

Telecom companies have asked the sector regulator to take a pragmatic view on levying penalties, especially over marginal deviations from quality of service benchmarks as some of those may have been caused by natural events such as floods or heavy rains.

Carriers have argued that deviations may have been due to unforeseen circumstances, system failures or factors beyond the control of the carriers, for which they should not be penalised, and have sought for individual hearings to explain their stand.

(ET, May 14, 2018)

IIT Madras ropes in Keysight Technologies for 5G test solutions

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has roped in the US-based Keysight Technologies to provide fifth-generation or 5G technology test solutions for government-driven test bed coming up at the southern metropolitan.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is setting up an open test bed at IIT Madras, with the Union Budget allocation of Rs 224 crore towards it to foster innovation, and research and development (R&D) activities in India on a collaborative model. The Narendra Modi-led government is aiming to roll out 5G by 2020, in line with other advanced markets worldwide.

The California-headquartered electronic measurement firm, however, did not reveal the deal size or the revenue opportunity arising out from the new contract it bagged but said that it was a ‘significant milestone’ for it.

(ET, May 08, 2018)

Consulting international agencies, experts on spectrum auction: TRAI chief

Telecom regulator TRAI is in the midst of consulting various international agencies and experts, and hopes to finalize its recommendation on spectrum auction "soon", Chairman R S Sharma has said. Asked about the status of recommendation on spectrum auction, Sharma said that a review meeting on the same was held in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last week.

"There is a lot of work being done. We are consulting international agencies, consultants we well as experts and we will come out with our recommendations soon," Sharma told . But he declined to give a specific timeframe for the finalization of recommendations on the issue. The government is planning to hold the largest-ever spectrum auction of 3,000 MHz radio waves in the upcoming sale.

(PTI, May 06, 2018)

Morgan Stanley says draft of new telecom policy shows fibre is a priority

Brokerage firm, Morgan Stanley says the draft of the new telecom policy has provided for increased fibre roll outs, additional spectrum that will quicken 4G/ 5G spread , simplified regulatory framework , made provisions for local manufacturing and aims bring in comprehensive data protection regime.

The telecom department on Wednesday unveiled the broad contours of the next telecom policy which will aim to attract investments worth $100 billion by 2020 in the digital communications sector, create four million additional jobs and enhance the sector’s contribution to 8% of India’s GDP from about 6% in 2017, while adhering to the principles of net neutrality.

(ET, May 02, 2018)

DoT targets $100 B Investment by 2020

The telecom department (DoT) has unveiled the broad contours of the next policy, which will aim to attract investments worth $100 billion by 2020 in the digital communications sector, create four million additional jobs and enhance the sector’s contribution to 8% of India’s GDP from about 6% in 2017, while adhering to the principles of net neutrality. Under The National Digital Communications Policy 2018, the government plans to optimally price spectrum, review levies such as licence fees and spectrum usage charges as well as M&A rules to ease exits while also taking a fresh look at spectrum sharing, leasing and trading guidelines, as part of its approach that spectrum is a key natural resource to be used for public benefit.

(ET, May 02, 2018)

Govt. may ask firms to set-up servers locally by 2022 under NTP

The government, under new National Telecom Policy, may come up with provisions on data sovereignty and ask all companies hosting data of Indians to set-up servers in the country by 2022, according to official sources aware of the development.

Under the provision of NTP 2018, the draft of which is scheduled to be released on May 1, the government may ask telecom service providers to ensure that messages, emails etc. of Indian citizens are kept within boundaries of the country unless addressed to people staying overseas.

"The NTP is being framed with vision to give access of all services to people at click of a button. For most of the things like education, government services and even health people should not need to visit physically. There will be lot of data generated for all this. Hence, NTP is likely to propose setting up of all servers hosting data of Indian citizens and entities to be kept in local servers by 2022," the source said.

(TOI, Apr 30, 2018)

India mobile manufacturing industry to touch Rs 132000 cr by 2018: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Indian mobile manufacturing industry is expected to touch Rs 1,32,000 crore by end of 2018, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister, of Electronics & Information Technology.

In India, about 110 million mobile phones were manufactured in 2015-16 as compared to 60 million in 2014-15 thereby recording over 90% growth.. Moreover, India’s mobile manufacturing industry produced mobile phones worth Rs 54000 crore in FY15-16 as compared to Rs 18900 crore in FY14-15. By the end of 2017, the number reached Rs 94000 crore.

(ET, Apr 26, 2018)

Nokia focusses on North-East for ‘faster growth

Mobile phone-maker Nokia, which re-entered Indian markets in June last year, is looking at a “faster growth” in the North-East. Apart from leveraging its brand recall, Nokia is ramping up the portfolio spanning all price points (across feature and smartphones) as its USP in the region.

Typically, the North-East includes Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim.

According to Amit Goyal, Business Head, North and East, HMD Global — makers of Nokia phones — the company is already ramping up its distributor network there with focus on smaller towns.

(BusinessLIne, Apr 25, 2018)

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 launched in India: Price, specs and more

Taiwanese electronics company Asus launched a new smartphone in affordable range in India in exclusive partnership with Flipkart.

The smartphone, named Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 will come in three variant. The Zenfone Max Pro has been priced at Rs 10,999 for the 3GB + 32 GB variant. The device with 4GB + 64GB variant will come at Rs12,999, the variant with 6GB + 64GB will come at Rs 14,999.

The phone sports a 5.99-inch FullHD and it will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor.

(Zee Media Bureau, Apr 23, 2018)

Xiaomi, India’s largest smartphone maker cruising along in startup mode

Xiaomi, India’s largest smartphone maker intends to keep its “startup culture” intact even as it expands into new categories such as TVs.

The Chinese company has not defined performance parameters or sales targets for its 400-plus employees in India, making it a one-of-a-kind organization in the Rs 1.5 lakh-crore mobile and consumer electronics industry, where chasing numbers is the norm. Xiaomi entered India four years ago and now counts the country as its second-largest market, after China. It moved into a new office in Bengaluru earlier this week, with a capacity for 750 seats, a likely indicator of plans to ramp up the headcount according to three senior industry executives.

(ET, Apr 20, 2018)

Samsung Electronics Selected as Most Trusted Brand in India

Samsung Electronics has been chosen as the most trusted brand in India, a mega market of 1.2 billion people, for the second consecutive year. LG also ranked third from two years in a row, enhancing its brand value

On April 18, the Economic Times, a major economic daily in India, reported that Samsung Electronics was selected as the most trusted brand in India according to a survey conducted by TRA Research, a market research agency in India. Since being established in Mumbai, India in 2011, TRA Research has conducted a brand survey and announced the results every year.

Samsung, which ranked 18th in 2016, has come in first since last year. Japan's Sony and LG nabbed the second and third spots, respectively. India’s Tata Group placed fourth. Apple sat fifth, one notch down from last year. PC maker Dell came in sixth and Japanese automaker Honda, seventh. Nike, a sportswear maker, climbed by 29 notches to No. 8. PC maker Hewlett-Packard and automaker Maruti Suzuki finished ninth and tenth, respectively. Oppo, China's smartphone maker, landed on 11th place and Google, 18th place.

(Business Korea, Apr 19, 2018)

Make in India: Lemon Mobiles to invest Rs 150 crores in new manufacturing facility

Noida-based Lemon Mobiles will be spending Rs 150 crores in setting up a manufacturing facility for mobile phones and LED televisions, the firm in a statement Wednesday said.

The production unit, according to the company, would be equipped to produce 1 million mobile handsets every month, and is expected to become operational by 2020.

The firm also claimed to hit Rs 1,000 crore top line in next three years, and said that it would also company come up with an R&D and testing lab in Shenzhen, China to design the next-generation mobile handsets.

(ET, Apr 18, 2018)

Intex steps up phone manufacturing investments in India

Nidhi Markanday, director at Intex Technologies, has revealed how some of the latest guidelines in India are encouraging phone companies to step up manufacturing in the country.

Intex, one of the leading device companies in India, is setting up a new manufacturing facility in Kasna, Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh) as part of its strategy to consolidate all the Noida manufacturing capacity at a single location. The Kasna manufacturing unit will have mobile production capacity of 40 million per annum against the current capacity of 2 million per month.

The expansion plans of Intex reflect the consumer demand in India. India’s mobile subscriber base of over 1.05 billion creates enormous opportunities for handset manufacturing companies in India. The Indian electronics industry is anticipated to reach $400 billion in 2022 with projected growth of compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.4 percent during 2012-2020.

(TelecomLead, Mar 19, 2018)

Huawei to expand handset making capacity in India

China’s Huawei Technologies is set to significantly ramp up handset production capacity at its Chennai factory and also increase the number of its original equipment maker (OEM) partners as part of its efforts to boost local smartphone manufacturing in a bid to target a 10%-plus market share in India from the present level of about 2%. 

“We have given a commitment to India’s telecom minister Manoj Sinha to deepen our ‘Make in India’ engagement and build local capacity, and India will play a much bigger role towards our goal of becoming the world’s third-largest smartphone brand in the next five years,” Peter Zhai, president, Huawei India’s Consumer Business Group, told ET on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress 

(ET, Mar 18, 2018)

Apple supplier Wistron to invest Rs 682 crore to set up new manufacturing facility

Wistron, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer that makes iPhones for Apple in India, is set to invest Rs 682 crore on expanding operations, having got approval to acquire additional land near Bengaluru, a senior Karnataka minister said. 

“The industries department had cleared Wistron’s proposal for about 43 acres in the state… they will invest about $100 million,” RV Deshpande, Karnataka’s minister of large, medium industries and infrastructure, told ET. The minister said earlier the company plans to make Apple smartphones in the new facility. 

(ET, Mar 14, 2018)

Trai views on promoting telecom equipment mfg in 1 month

Telecom regulator Trai today said it hopes to finalize in about a month the recommendations on promoting telecom equipment manufacturing in the country. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) held open house discussions with industry representatives on the issue today.

"I think we will take about a month or so to firm up our views on this," Trai Chairman, R S Sharma told reporters after the open house meeting. The deliberations revolved around short to long term policy measures that are required to boost innovation and productivity of local telecom manufacturing.

In its consultation paper issued in September last year, Trai had also asked whether patent laws as also mechanism for certification and testing in India were sufficient to address the issues of local manufacturers.

It had also sought industry's suggestions on fiscal incentives that can propel domestic manufacturing in telecom.

(BS, Mar 14, 2018)

Our focus is to bring exclusive and innovative products to India: Mani Kant Jain,

India is the fastest-growing e-commerce market and is expected to reach US$ 188 billion by 2025. The growth of the online segment can be attributed to our increasing dependency on smartphones for professional networking and personal requirements, easy availability of cost effective handsets, easy and interest free finance options for high cost handset purchase, low cost data and online availability of leading brands across tier 2 and 3 locations. It is estimated that the number of consumers who purchase online will cross 100 million by this year compared to 69 million users making online purchase in 2016.

(Newsbarons, Mar 10, 2018)

Telcos should focus on improving services instead of fighting: Manoj Sinha

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha has asked India’s top carriers to focus on improving services instead of fighting among themselves, especially now that the government has cleared measures for immediate relief, which should drive investments. 

“The most important thing for the telcos to do now is to give good services to consumers,” the minister told ET. He was responding to a question about the bitter fight between Bharti AirtelBSE 0.19 %, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular on one side and Reliance Jio Infocomm on the other on issues including the need for financial relief. 

(ET, Mar 09, 2018)

Government approves relief package for telecom sector

The government on Wednesday cleared a relief package for the debt-ridden telecom sector, giving more time to operators to pay for the spectrum bought in auctions.
It has also relaxed the spectrum holding limit for the telecom operators, according to an official spokesperson.

The package was cleared by the Cabinet today based on the recommendations of the Inter- 

 Ministerial Group (IMG) on the telecom sector.

(TOI, Mar 07, 2018)

Handset makers may invest Rs 6,000 crore for more local inputs

India could see investments of up to $900 million (about Rs 6,000 crore) in the next two years from leading handset makers and global contract manufacturers that are seeking to increase the local content in their instruments by assembling printed circuit boards (PCBs) in the country. 
Industry insiders say that Chinese handset makers such as Vivo, Oppo and OnePlus, besides Indian players including Micromax and Lava, have earmarked higher investments to take advantage of the recently imposed duties on some components and the expected levy on imports of PCBs, which make up 50% of the cost of making a mobile phone. Further investments are also planned by contract manufacturers such as Foxconn and Dixon. 

(ET, Feb 20, 2018)

Import duty may be imposed on mobile phone gear from April 1

The government  is likely to impose basic customs duty on mobile phone components such as populated printed circuit boards (PCBs), camera modules and connectors from April 1, according to senior officials.  These products are currently imported without any levy.

Imported mobile handsets such as the latest iPhones have become costlier after the February 1 budget raised customs duty on the devices to 20% from 125%.  Domestic handset makers had expected the imposition of duty on components too in the budget.  Whether that will also lead to an increase in the price of phones will depend on manufacturers absorbing the levy or passing it on to consumers, experts said.

(ET, Feb 13, 2018)

Trai slams RCom for refusing to refund consumers’ balance

Telecom regulatory Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) slammed Reliance Communications for “usurping” un-spent pre-paid balances and security deposit of its mobile customers after operations were shut down, calling it “unethical, immoral and unjustified”.

(BS, Feb 07, 2018)

Budget Impact: iPhones costlier by up to Rs.3, 200

Apple raised the prices of all its mobile phones, except the iPhone SE, for the second time in two months, after the government increased basic customs duty (BCD), a move which increases pressure on the company to expand local manufacturing to local manufacturing to better compete and grow share in the world’s fastest growing market.

(ET, Feb 06, 2018)

DoT to float draft telecom policy in a week

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to float draft of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018 within a week for public comments, an official source said.

The draft (of the NTP 2018) is very likely to be issued within a week,” the source said.

The NTP 2018 is expected to present a growth road map  of the Indian telecom sector, which is reeling under a severe financial  stress, for a period of next five years.

(BS, Feb 05, 2018)

IPhone sales dip by 9% in India

Apple iPhone sales in India dipped in the October-December quarter.

According to Counterpoint Research, iPhone sales declined by 9 per cent in volume terms and 7 per cent in volume terms and 7 per cent by revenues during the quarter compared to the corresponding quarter last year.

The average selling price of an iPhone, however, went up in India in the quarter because of the launch of its most expensive iPhone X in November.

(BusinessLine, Feb 03, 2018)

Tim Cook stumbles at his specialty, shipping Apple products on time

As Apple Inc.’s longtime chief operating officer, Tim Cook was known for ensuring that new products hit the market on schedule.

With Mr. Cook as CEO, though, Apple’s new gadgets are consistently late, prompting questions among analysts and other close observers about whether the technology giant is losing some of its competitive edge.

Of the three major new products since Mr. Cook became chief executive in 2011, both AirPods earbuds in 2016 and last year’s HomePod speaker missed Apple’s publicly projected shipping dates.  The Apple Watch, promised for early 2015, arrived late that April with lengthy wait times for delivery.  Apple also was delayed in supplying the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, two critical accessories for its iPad Pro.

(BS, Jan 08, 2018)

Four Telcos battle it out for 150mn Mobile Users looking to port numbers

India’s top four telecom services providers are vying to sign up more than 150 million mobile users who may be looking to port their numbers, thanks to a rapid consolidation that has seen reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices exiting the market, and Aircel shrinking operations.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio Infocomm are all coming up with new tariff plans in an effort to attract these customers, while also trying to keep their existing subscribers stick around.

(ET, Jan 08, 2018)

Trai targets $100-bn investment in communications sector

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued a consultation paper seeking views of stakeholders on a New Telecom Policy, which is slated to be announced by March this year.

 Besides, the new telecom policy aims at achieving 900 million broadband connections at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps, develop 10 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in the country and catapult India into the top-50 nations in terms of network readiness.

(, Jan 04, 2018)

India witnessed explosive growth in 4G data usage in 2017

Well, 2017 has been a wild run for telecom operators, experimenting with new data plans and tariffs, trying to retain and at the same time attract new users as well as venturing into the mobile phone segment.

And this was all due to what can be termed as "Jio Effect." Since Reliance Jio was introduced in September last year, the company not only showed tremendous growth by adding over 130 million subscribers but its business strategy also affected how other telecom service providers operated in the market. The company basically altered India's internet and telecom landscape forever.

(Gizbot, Dec 22, 2017)


Smartron invests in MiQasa to bolster IoT play in India

Smartron, the maker of smartphone and Internet of Things (IoT) products, said that it has invested in Hyderabad based IoT startup MiQasathat designs and develops range of smart things for home from smart switches, locks, cameras, lights, appliances and controls for home automation.

Founded in April 2015, MiQasa will now be christened tronX things, a Smartron company, according to an official statement. The team has so far designed and produced smart switchboards that are retrofit table to the existing home power systems and has been selling them across India for more than 6 months

(ET, Dec 21, 2017)

MediaTek announces smartphone design training programme in India

According to IANS, Grant Kuo, Managing Director of MediaTek India, said in a statement “Since opening our Noida office in 2004, we have seen expansive growth in India’s mobile market sparked by incredible talent emerging in the engineering and design fields,”.

The company is introducing three new specialised training modules in 2018 for radio frequency (RF), multimedia and system, respectively. We aim to provide a greater depth of specialisation and customisation to prepare India’s next generation of design engineers,” Kuo added.

The programme prepares design engineers and talented individuals in the mobile industry with tools, insights and expertise. “The impact of this crucial programme will surely continue to be felt across our nation in its second year,” Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, (MeitY) said in a statement. The training programme will kick off on January 19 and end on February 2.

Xiaomi eyes to set up more plants in India to add capacity

The company currently has three manufacturing plants — two for phones in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh and one for power banks in Noida. According to PTI, Xiaomi India,  vice-president Manu Jain said “We are definitely exploring. We want to add more capacity. We want to set up more plants, not just for phones, even for other categories like Mi-band. There are many other categories.

From July 2014 to the beginning of this year, the company has invested more than ₹3,000 crore in the country, Jain said. The company is making fresh investments as more factories, service centres, R&D centre are being set up, he said. The investment figures would be known by this year-end.

Xiaomi claimed it is the number one smartphone vendor in India, as per IDC’s latest Quarterly Smartphone Tracker, Q3 2017. With a market share of 23.5 per cent and having shipped 9.2 million smartphones in the quarter, it has become the fastest growing smartphone brand in India, the company said. Jain, meanwhile, allayed fears over the security of the Xiaomi phones.

“We don’t collect any user data. Not at all. We provide some internet services…which means the user has to say, yes I want to use them. Even when the consumer opting these services, the data is sent to servers, they are fully encrypted. There is no security risk“.

India’s smart city project not moving fast, need to involve enterprises, Nokia global executives

Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia has said that the Indian government’s ambitious Smart City programme is not moving as fast as expected, and suggested the need to involve enterprises to get speed.

“We have learned from other parts of the world that you don't have to go to the mayor or the city council in, but you need to go to the businesses like retail malls, utility companies, parking garages etc,” Rakesh Kushwaha, Global Head of IoT Business Unit, Nokia, told ET in an exclusive interaction with ET.

“When we looked at it from outside, we have been seeing the initiative for some time but it’s not moving as fast as you would expect it to move…so, getting enterprises involved in the city is always helpful,” he added.

(ET, Nov 13, 2017)

Mobile and Sprint work to save merger talks: WSJ

T-Mobile US and Sprint are working to salvage their $74 billion merger and could reach a deal within weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Parent companies Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank reached an impasse last week in their talks as SoftBank directors expressed doubts over giving up control of Sprint, sources told Reuters.

However, the Wall Street Journal said that T-Mobile US has made a revised offer, which Sprint is considering. Terms of the offer were not disclosed.

(TOI, Nov 04, 2017)

TRAI suggests norms for app-based calls

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India proposed that internet telephony calls originating from international out roamers should be routed through the gateway of licenced International Long Distance Operators (ILDOs).  It said international termination charges should be paid to the terminating access service provider.  The recommendations are meant for service providers holding valid telecom licences and exclude calls made from mobile apps such as Whatsapp, Viber and Google Duo.

(Business Line, Oct 25, 2017)

Telecom exposure of Tata group stands at Rs.47,000 crore

After its exit from  the consumer mobile business, the Tata group, which had invested Rs.47,208 crore In  in the past 15 years through equity and debt, would now have two businesses – enterprise business and retail fixed-line and broadband business.  Besides, it would have a 32 per cent stake  in Viom Networks.

Going by the announcement, Bharti Airtel would not take any debt liability of Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (TTML), except for a small spectrum payout liability.

(BS, Oct 13, 2017)

Huwai looks to replicate its global success in India, hikes marketing spend

Chinese handset maker Huawei is aiming to more than double its smartphone sales in India this fiscal year backed by a higher focus on offline retail channel for its Honor brand of devices, and an increased marketing budget, as it aims to replicate its global success in India where it is yet to make a mark.

Allen Wang, director, Product Center at Huawei India Consumer Business Group, took a potshot at the strategy of its Chinese rivals Oppo and Vivo which have been spending top dollars on marketing, including through various sporting events, and paying higher margins fr better store visibilities to boost sales, a move which has helped them break into the top five smartphone brands.


(ET, June 13, 2017)

Panasonic to Exit Low-end Phones Under Chinese Fire

India's mobile-handset market is the latest theatre where East Asian rivalry is getting a vivid play. Such is the Chinese dominance at the bottom of the pyramid that Panasonic India is exiting the value end of the business -and scaling down its market-share goals.

Japan's Panasonic Corp., about a century-old powerhouse in consumer electronics, wouldn't sell feature-and entry-level smartphones in India any longer because of the intense competition from Chinese brands. In a strategy overhaul, Panasonic would also bring the distribution responsibility in-house, and pare down the market-share targets to about 5% in two years from initial projections running into two digits.

After exiting the price-sensitive value segment, Panasonic will focus on the country's fastest growing handset market where instruments are priced between ` . 14,000, the . 7,000 and ` company's India president Manish Sharma said. Panasonic India has also decided to establish its own distribution, and has ended the tie-up with the Jaina Group, which was tasked with re-selling Panasonic handsets in India for the past four years. Jaina also makes the Karbonn brand of mobile phones.

“We are building a large team for mobile-phone distribution. Jaina will continue as our sourcing partner for the handsets, which are manufactured by third-party manufacturer Dixon Technologies. The change in business strategy is undertaken due to Chinese competition targeting double-digit share. We are happy with 5% share in 2 years from around 2% now,“ said Sharma.

(ET, June 15, 2017)

Tablet sales down on lack of promotional activities

Shipments of tablets to India declined 6% to 7.6 lakh units in the first quarter of 2017 from the previous three-month period, according to a report by research firm CMR.

Canada –headquartered Datawind led the list of manufacturers with a 34% market share, followed by iBall at the second spot with a 16% share and Samsung with 15%.

However, tablets supporting 4G and 3G technologies saw a sequential increase of 15% and 31%, respectively, during the quarter, while 2G and Wi-Fi-based tablets declined 62% and 33%, respectively.


(ET, June 13, 2017)

When Duty Calls: At Least 10% Basic Customs Levy Likely on Smartphones

India is close to imposing basic customs duty (BCD) of at least 10% on smartphones, making imported devices more expensive than locally made ones and bringing relief to the likes of Foxconn and Wistron that have invested heavily in factories in the country . The move is also expected to stimulate investments of more than Rs.1,000 crore that have 1 been on the fence for lack of clarity on price differential incentive as India shifts to goods and services tax (GST) regime. Currently , the duty structure makes imported phones expensive than locally ma de ones, but that difference was set to be evened out under GST.


(ET, June 16, 2017)

Prasad to meet Industry CEOs on June 16

Minister of electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad will hold a high level roundtable on June 16 with chief executives of telecom, IT, banking, fintech and other industries to chart a roadmap of taking the country to a $1-trillion digital economy by 2022.

The IT ministry's meeting comes alongside the telecom ministry's outreach to the telecom industry. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha is expected to meet top telecom leaders on June 22 to discuss the current state of financial stress in the sector.

“The government has partnered with the industry in the design of new services and platforms like MyGov, Digital Locker, Esign, cloud services, Government eMarketplace, eNational Agricultural Markets... It is time to take this partnership to the next level,“ said people aware of intimations sent out by the ministry of electronics & IT (Meity) to key executives.

The government aims to increase the partnership with the private sector to create new business opportunities and jobs, as it takes steps towards use of technology for enlarging the purview of the government's Digital India programme.

Sources aware of the meeting said that the department will take views from heads of various companies across industries to develop a program that will become the blueprint for increasing the use of digital services for multiple purposes including making financial transactions.

Part of the agenda will also be discussions on issues such as concern over jobs in the IT sector, which have been slowing due to shifts in technology, automation and growing protectionism in developed markets. The issue of the US government reviewing the H1-B visa program may also be discussed. The discussions, sources said, will include ways to find solutions to these issues among other things.

In a separate development, the telecom minister Manoj Sinha will hold meeting with telecom leader including Sunil Bharti Mittal, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Anil Ambani, for understanding financial problems being faced by the sector that has a debt of nearly `5 lakh crore.

The meeting will take place after the inter-ministerial group (IMG) ­ created to resolve financial woes of the telecom sector ­ completes its company-wise meetings.

The IMG has called Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Aircel and Sistema Shyam Teleservices for a meeting on June 12. Other major players - Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea -have been asked for a meeting on June 15 by the panel, while state run carriers will be called on June 17, ET had reported previously.


(ET, June 10, 2017)

Chinese Phone Co. iVoomi plans India Unit, may invest Rs.250 crore

Chinese smartphone maker iVoomi plans to make phones in India with initial investment of Rs 250 crore and export handsets to countries like China, Taiwan and Korea.

The company expects to have its manufacturing facility in the country by the first quarter of 2018.

"We are waiting for the day when we will have manufacturing in India and ship (products) to Korea, China and Taiwan. We want to develop environment and infrastructure here where we can deliver product to these countries,"iVoomi India CEO Ashwin Bhandari told.

"In the first quarter of 2018, we plan to have our captive plant," he said. The company plans to invest Rs 250 crore initially in the manufacturing facility, smartphone assembly and product development, he said

"We will initially have our phone assembled at two plants in India. These are third party plants. We are in talks with Foxconn and VSun. Next year, we expect to start our own manufacturing unit," Bhandari said.

The company entered India around March with the launch of its 4G VoLTEsmartphone iV505 for Rs 3,999. iVoomi has plans to sell 4G smartphone in the price range of Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000 a unit.

"This is the segment which has seen the highest growth. We want to provide this segment new products with unique designs and features. We expect to capture 4 per cent market share in Indian smartphone segment by the end of 2018 which should help us in generating revenue of Rs 1,000 crore," Bhandari said.

(ET, June 08, 2017)

Samsung's Make in India ringtone gets louder

Samsung Electronics is investing about  Rs.50000 crore to more than double mobile phone production capacity in Uttar Pradesh by 2020, making it the South Korean company's biggest investment in India, where it's holding on to a lead against increasing threats from Chinese rivals. The total includes nearly Rs.2,000 crore the company had pledged last year.

The No 1 smartphone maker in the world and India intends to make the South Asian nation a manufacturing and export hub, with shipments to Europe, Middle East, Africa and elsewhere expected to kick off in 2020, a senior government official told ET.

(ET, June 06, 2017)

Will Ensure Make in India is Cheaper for Handsets: Secy

The government has assured the handset industry that making phones in India will continue to be incentivised even under the goods and services tax regime. This comes after GST Council fixed rate on handsets at 12%, which meant most locally-made phones would become costlier and come at par with those imported, taking away the advantage of local manufacturing and threatening millions of dollars of investments made under the Make in India push by several manufacturers.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) will push for imposing a basic customs duty (BCD) on top of GST rate on imported devices to ensure that making phones locally would continue to be cheaper for companies compared with imports, Aruna Sundararajan, secretary IT and telecom, told ET.

“Either the existing regime will continue or the new regime with GST plus BCD will come in -so either way the industry will not lose out,“ Sundararajan said.

(ET, May 20, 2017)

Laptops, Desktops to Become Costlier with Entry in 18% Tax Slab

Laptops and desktops are set to become dearer when GST comes into effect, making the industry, which has been arguing for a lower rate of tax to help boost the Digital India drive, to raise concern about the new rates. The GST Council has fixed the rate on laptops and desktops at 18%, compared with the current levy of 14-15%. Related products such as monitors and printers will be taxed at 28%.

The Manufacturers Association for Information Technology had recommended a rate of 12% on PCs, which would have made computers cheaper and helped in increasing IT penetration, Anwar Shirpurwala, the industry body's executive director, told ET. “IT products are the core element of Digital India and the price hike is expected to have a counter effect,“ he added.

The sector has been segregated into two categories: one comprising products such as desktops and laptops, and the other covering items like monitors and printers.

“We want to understand why the same kind of products in a sector have been split into different categories and why there is no synchronisation between them,“ said Shirpurwala. If the PC is taxed at 18% and the monitor at 28%, the impact on the prices on the consumer market will be high, he added.

The industry is also concerned that the inverted duty structure that ma de it cheaper to import than manufacture domestically may return post the GST regime.

Rajeev Jain, director and group chief financial officer at smartphone and IT accessories manufacturer Intex Technologies, said the rates declared were on expected lines except for IT products, which seem to be on the higher side.

“Clarity is awaited on GST on services and treatment of area-based exemptions. Clarity is also required on differential duty on imports and local manufacturing to see the full impact of GST,“ added Jain.

(ET, May 20, 2017)

India made iPhones in market soon

(IT Secretary Sundararajan calls Apple’s move a ‘game changer’ for India’s push to local manufacturing) : Indian consumers could get their hands on made-in-India iPhone SE smartphones as early as this week as Apple has started rolling out the first set of locallymade devices from its contract manufacturer's facility in Bengaluru.

People aware of the manufacturing plans told ET that about 25,000-50,000 units of iPhone SE are being assembled and shipped by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp on a monthly basis, and the devices will be sold across offline and online retail stores.

Trade partners say that the prices of the locally-made phones would initially remain at the current retail prices ­ around `. 25,000, with the company investing the higher margins made from these devices for a more aggressive sales and marketing play .

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the development, but declined to comment on the price, the mar keting strategy or the production le vels. “We are be ginning initial production of a small number of iPhone SE in Bengaluru. We will begin shipstic customers this ping to domestic customers this month,“ the company said. Wistron declined to comment.

IT and telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan termed the development as a “game changer“ for India's push to local manufacturing. “This is one of the biggest moves for `Make in India' because when an iconic company like Apple comes in, it means they bring a huge ecosystem with them,“ Sundararajan told ET. “It's kind of leapfrogging, because the ecosystem reaches a higher level of maturity , as everyone upgrades to the standards a company like Apple represents,“ she said, adding this will inspire other companies to follow.

Karnataka industries and infrastructure minister RV Deshpande told ET that the state had been raising the company's demands with the commerce and finance minister.

“We have given them (Apple) full cooperation and support. Apple was looking at the right place, and it's a proud moment for India, as we're eager to get more investments from them and others,“ he said.

PRICING FACTOR Navkendar Singh, senior analyst at IDC India, said that Apple is unlikely to change its retail prices in a hurry, considering the huge aspirational brand appeal in India for its products and their overall premium positioning.

“Apple might decide to use the saving from differential duties in expanding its presence, increase channel margins and retail-level marketing, while making sure that Apple products are available at more retail points than before, especially in smaller cities and towns,“ he said.

(ET, May 18, 2017)

Vodafone sees sgns of stability as Rel Jio hangs up on freebies

Vodafone sees early signs of stability returning to the Indian telecom market with Reliance Jio Infocomm starting to charge for services from April 1, but cautioned that the industry is still fragile and could again be disrupted by a new promotional offer from the telco.

“I think it is a bit early to call the bottom of the market,“ Vodafone Group chief financial officer Nick Read said during an analyst call after annual results.

“It remains fragile and Jio could always determine a new promotion but we are starting to see stabilisation in important metrics going forward,“ Read said.

Vodafone has seen stability of recharge values and high-value customers as well as a slight uptick in medium value customers, though those in the lower value chain remained vulnerable, when comparing March with January data by segment during the quarter.

The key time frame will be the September quarter when Jio completes a year of entering the market. “We start annualising and that is when you should start to see some improvement in year-over-year performance,“ he said. Jio had started commercial services on September 5, 2016, sparking a brutal price war.

(ET, May 18, 2017)

Telecom Lobbies Team up to Seek Reservation of Airwaves for 5G

Representatives of leading mobile phone and broadband services providers are set to shortly approach a key inter-ministerial panel to persuade Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to reserve efficient sub-1GHz spectrum in the 614-698 MHz frequency band for commercial 5G services.

Two persons aware of the matter told ET that three leading telecom lobby groups -the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), London-based GSMA and Broadband India Forum (BIF) -have teamed up to back reservation of airwaves in the 614-698 MHz frequency band for super-fast 5G mobile broadband networks.

The ITU is scheduled to hold a meeting next month in the United States, where senior officials of the department of telecom will participate to articulate India's position on preferred 5G spectrum bands in the run-up to the next spectrum sale where 5G airwaves are proposed to be auctioned.

The Geneva-based agency deals in spectrum management issues globally. It is a multinational collective effort between governments and private companies to suggest new telecom technologies and standards. Should ITU back India's proposal, device makers are expected to consider mass production of 5G phones that will operate on the cost-efficient 614698 MHz band.

In separate letters, COAI, GSMA and BIF will apprise the inter-ministerial group on the “importance of super-efficient earmarking super-efficient sub-1GHz spectrum for 5G services since airwaves in the 614-698 MHz range have superior propagation features and are exceptionally well suited for extensive and affordable fast mobile broadband coverage“, especially in the rural areas, said one of persons, who did not wish to be identified.

The inter-ministerial panel is headed by a senior official of the Tele com Engineering Centre, the technical wing of the department of telecom, and includes senior representatives from the ministries of defence, telecom, and information and broadcasting, along with the department of space.

At present, these airwaves being sought by telcos for 5G services are with the broadcasting sector, with terrestrial broadcaster Doordarshan being the principal holder of such TV broadcasting spectrum in the 470-698 MHz range.



Accordingly, the three telecom lobby bodies are expected to cite the telecom regulator's January 2017 recommendations on digital terrestrial broadcasting (DTB), where it said, “DTB should be limited and this important spectrum resource should not be kept blocked (for broadcasters alone) but must be used efficiently for international mobile telecommunications (IMT)“.

The COAI represents India's biggest telcos including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm, among others. UK-based GSMA, in turn, represents global mobile operators worldwide while the BIF counts Facebook, Google, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Hughes, Huawei, Ericsson, Intelsat and Intel among its members.

Separately, the COAI and GSMA will also urge the inter-ministerial panel to coax the ITU to earmark airwaves in the 3300-3600 MHz frequency band for international mobile telecommunication services, including 5G.

(ET, May 18, 2017)

Indian smartphone makers routed by Chinese rivals

Indian smartphone makers have lost their significant share in the market in the past year, according to the data released by research firm IDC.

Home-grown companies have been losing market share to their Chinese rivals since 2013.  At the end of March, the cumulative share of local smart phone makers was 13.5 per cent, 27 percentage points lower from 40.5 per cent a year ago.  Shipments of smartphones by Indian vendors dipped 62 per cent, year-on-year, to 3.65 million from 9.52 million in March last year.

Micromax, the largest Indian smartphone vendor, has ended at seventh spot, with a  2.7 per cent  share, was fifth in the market a year ago.  Lava managed to feature on the top 10 list, but Intex, the third largest brand last year, failed to make the list.

The cumulative market share of China-based vendors touched 51.4 per cent in march from 21.2 per cent a year ago, a jump of 143 percent .  Xiaomi and Lenovo cashed in on online sales and Vivo and Oppo grew through retail stores,.  Only Lenovo was among the top five players last year.  South Korean Samsung, too, has improved its market share to 28.1 per cent from 26.6 per cent last year.

Experts said local players could not meet the changing needs of the smartphone market.  Now, growth is increasingly dependent on consumers who are upgrading the smartphones.  As the average selling price of handsets went up the significance o of Indian Vendors’ dominance over the entry-level segment waned, During the past year, the average price of  smartphones rose 18.3 per cent to Rs.10,230 from rs.8,650.

Superior hardware such as better cameras and larger screen sizes, too, played a role.  During the quarter, almost half of the smartphones shipped were equipped with cameras with resolution of 13  megapixels.

(BS, May 17, 2017)

Smartphone market grows 4.7% in Q1 : IDC

 India’s smartphone market seems to have recovered from the impact of demonetization with sales growing  by 4.7% to 27 million units in January-March 2017, compared to the previous quarter, says a report.  The first quarter of the year saw smartphone shipments growing at “healthy” 14.8% over the year-ago period, the report by research firm IDC said.  The government’s move to scrap high denomination notes in November last year had resulted in over 20% fall in shipments in that quarter over the preceding quarter.  However, with digital payment options becoming more mainstay and cash transactions picking up again, smartphone sales in the country have recovered, say industry watchers.

(HT, May 17, 2017)

Telcos now think Like FMCG Cos to stay on growth

Curve (Instead of blanket discounts, they come out with plans targeted at specific groups based on parameters such as usage and spending patterns, location, lifestyle and occupation): India's top telcos Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and new entrant Reliance Jio are aping the FMCG sector as competition hits fever pitch with plans targeted at specific groups instead of blanket discounts as they fight to retain and grow users.

Reliance Jio's free and cheaper offers launched in September 2016 notched up more than 100 million subscribers in 170 days, many from rival networks, unleashing fierce competition in the sector that has seen a consolidation in the wake of the company's entry .

The mobile phone operators are slicing and dicing their subscriber base on parameters such as usage and spending patterns, location, lifestyle and occupation, besides age group and gender, in a bid to offer exactly what a user may want, say experts. This, they say , is quite different from the broad plans offered earlier to all subscribers. The communication will also be now targeted, rather than aimed at all.

“A consumer product, which have reached a saturation point, needs to be bundled with other services or presented with specifications for a niche segment, telecom operators are doing the same for their subscribers,“ said brand expert Harish Bijoor. “This is more so in metros and tier II cities, because there are at least two numbers per person linked with different operators.“

Incumbents have set up teams to study changing patterns of subscriber subsets to beat competition. Analysts say a similar pattern was also seen in the automobile sector where services were offered to consumers to differentiate between products.

“For qualitative consumer understanding, we have set up special consumer panels for as quick as `weekly' researches that is possible all year round. We use tools like smartphone panel studies, brand track reports and net promoter score (NPS) trackers to understand the overall consumer needs and sentiments,“ said Arvind Nevatia, national head, consumer marketing at Vodafone India.

For example, Vodafone's research showed they need to concentrate on youth, which has an “innate fear of missing out.“ Just for this group, it rolled out Vodafone U, with a special friend-to-friend calling offers, data loans to non-telecom lifestyle benefits like special offers on youth brands such as Amazon and Uber. For the segment, the second-largest telco rolled out `experience' offers, too, which included meeting movie stars, trips to the Spanish Tomatino festival and international music fests, entry to exclusive rock concerts, Vodafone said.

A similar service was launched in the rural belt for farmers called Vodafone Kisaan Mitr, where they got real time and customized information on weather and market prices, clubbed with special telecom benefits like free data, which now has two million subscribers.

An Airtel spokesperson said that the market leader leverages “data science and analytics from time to time to create focused propositions for different customer segments“.

Bijoor says communication methods have also changed for operators. “Earlier, it was advertising via regular media channels but now micro segmentation is taking place in retail outlets. There is point of contact method sale in pubs, restaurants depending on consumer profile. There are also teams reaching out to residential welfare associations to spread the word,“ he said.

Jio, for example, is going to schools and colleges to target youth, who are major users of data.

Bharat Bhargava, partner, telecom advisory for EY, said telcos are also increasingly tying up with value added service (VAS) providers to offer content, which relate to categories like lifestyle.

VAS provider Mobclixs Technologies said their telecom clients want more gaming options which the customer can browse for and the operator can offer as part of bundled services.

From pure downloads reduced data rates allows the subscriber to play as he browses, says Dushyant Jani, founder and CEO, Mobclixs. His company is now creating a catalogue of 300-500 virtual games; the next focus for operators as smart phones penetration deepens.

According to a Mobclixs report, the Indian gaming industry is growing at 6.61% annually, while the Indian mobile VAS market is set to touch $15.10 billion in financial year 2017-18.

But there are challenges. Traditionally in markets like US, companies bundle handsets with services. This is less attractive in India, since licence fee is computed as percentage of operator revenues and those from handset sales are not exempt and would therefore mean an additional payment for companies.

Additionally, “the new net neutrality norms further reduce the options for bundling. Therefore, micro segmentation, however attractive, is a bigger challenge in India,“ said Mahesh Uppal, director of Com First (India), a company that specializes in telecom policy and regulation.

(ET, May 16, 2017)

In Telecom with Roaming gone & Consumer is King

In Telecom with Roaming gone & Consumer is King : Mobile phone users, especially those who travel within India, would be greeted with a lower bill for April as India's major telcos - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Aircel --have taken giant steps towards abolishing roaming in their attempt to match Reliance Jio Infocomm's offers. 

Starting April 1, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Aircel have already abolished incoming charges while roaming. Newcomer Reliance Jio has made voice calls free for life, which includes no charges on incoming or outgoing calls while roaming on any network. 

Market leader Airtel has also said it won't charge a premium on outgoing calls while roaming, and others would have no choice but to follow suit, meaning mobile phone users can now carry their mobile numbers anywhere in the country, talk freely and pay home rates, which in turn, would translate into lower monthly phone bills. 

Experts though note that incumbent telcos could see a further dip in voice average revenue per user (ARPUs) in the coming months, starting with the first quarter of this fiscal year which began April 1as roaming accounts for 3 to 4.5% of a telco's revenue, though the fall will partly offset by likely rising call volumes. Nitin Soni, director at ratings agency, Fitch, agreed that consumers would be the "biggest beneficiaries" with the death of domestic roaming as their "bill shocks would end", which in turn, would boost voice usage levels. 

"Domestic roaming as a concept got pretty much killed ever since Jio decided that voice would be perceived as free by consumers," Mayuresh Joshi, fund manager at Angel Broking, told ET. Vodafone and Idea, he said, will have no choice but to respond to the disruptive moves taken by Jio and Airtel on the domestic roaming front, and price their voice and data rates accordingly. 

A top industry expert, who did not wish to be named, backed the view, saying "a complete equilibrium in domestic roaming charges is imminent," especially since all serious telcos are rapidly seeing "India as a single telecom geography and not 22 separate circles." 

Fitch's Soni also feels domestic roaming has rapidly gone out of fashion amid surging data consumption. 

"With consumers increasingly using popular OTT (over-the-top) voice communication apps such as WhatsApp, Skype to FaceBook Messenger for domestic long-distance calls, national roaming as a concept is fast losing relevance," he said. 

He, however, said that there will be some revenue losses in the coming quarters for incumbents.

But the industry executive cited above noted that the fall in roaming revenue could be partially offset by an increase in overall call volumes coupled with a rise in the number of domestic roamers. 
(ET, Apr 15, 2017)

Trai to consider Rel Jio complaint against big three

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will soon examine and settle the complaint made by new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm against incumbent players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular for allegedly violating licensing norms. 

"We receive many plaints. They (Jio) may have written to Trai. We will look into it soon and dispose of the matter," Trai chairman RS Sharma told ET, without specifying any timeframe. 

The telecom arm of the oil-to-logistics conglomerate Reliance Industries (RIL) in a letter to Trai dated April 10 sought the `strongest' possible action and `highest penalty' against market leader Bharti Airtel, Aditya Birla group's Idea Cellular and UK-based Vodafone's India arm for deploying unfair and deceptive ways to retain customers willing to exit their networks. 

"At the outset, we submit that as far as these mobile number portability offers are concerned, these are in gross violation of existing telecom laws including Telecom Tariff Order, 1999," Jio in a letter to the regulator alleged. Sunil Mittal-owned Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India have denied Jio's charges. 
(ET, Apr 15, 2017)