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After Amazon, Walmart’s Flipkart challenges India antitrust probe

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NEW DELHI: Walmart’s Flipkart has filed a legal challenge against an antitrust investigation ordered against the company in India, a court filing seen by Reuters showed, following a similar petition by its rival Amazon.com Inc.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in January ordered a probe into alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices by the two e-commerce giants, but a state court put the investigation on hold last week following a challenge by Amazon.

Flipkart’s legal filing was aimed at signalling the company is aggrieved by the CCI’s probe order, a person familiar with the matter said.

The filing comes days ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India, and amid U.S. concerns about India’s tightening of foreign investment rules for the ecommerce sector.

In its Feb. 18 court filing in southern Bengaluru city, which is not public, Flipkart argues the CCI ordered its probe without initial evidence that the company’s practices were harming competition.

Flipkart said the CCI order was “perverse (and) passed without any application of mind”.

“Such an order exposes responsible corporate entities … to the rigors of an intrusive investigation prejudicially affecting not only its credibility and reputation, but also its commercial prospects,” said Flipkart, urging the court to quash the probe.

A spokesman for Flipkart did not comment on the contents of the filing, saying it was a “procedural matter”. The case is likely to be heard next week.

The CCI did not respond to a request for comment.

Amazon and Flipkart have faced criticism from Indian retailers which accuse them of violating local laws by racking up billions of dollars of losses to fund deep discounts and discriminating against small sellers.

The companies deny the allegations.

The antitrust probe was ordered after a New Delhi-based trader group complained that the e-commerce giants were promoting select sellers and in turn hurting business for other smaller players.

Flipkart in its filing said the CCI had “failed in its duty” to close the frivolous complaint and an investigation would harm the company’s reputation, lead to significant managerial time loss and legal costs.

Source: Reuters

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STL’s revenues up 30%; strengthens presence in UK, Europe and US

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NEW DELHI: STL, an industry leading integrator of digital networks today reported a robust 30% YoY revenue growth in its financial results for the second quarter ended September 30, 2021. STL recorded Rs 15.08 billion in revenues with ~43% coming in from the EMEA region and ~12% from Americas, demonstrating increased global traction for its integrated digital network solutions.

The world is witnessing massive network creation in the areas of 5G, FTTx and Open RAN with an increased focus on optical connectivity. This has led to rapid growth in fibre demand and a buoyant long term outlook. With its global footprint, fibre capacity of 50 million fibre kilometers and planned cable capacities of 42 million fibre kilometers, STL is very well positioned to lead in this decade of network creation.

Delivering on the strategic roadmap
Over the past few quarters, STL has taken a series of strategic steps to deliver on its global plans through the company’s three growth levers – Grow optical business, Globalise system integration, and Build disruptive wireless solutions. This focused strategy is now yielding results.

Optical Networking – STL is ready for the next phase of growth with global solution centres and burgeoning demand for its technology oriented optical interconnect portfolio. Focusing on advanced optical technologies, STL also announced general availability of its pFTTx offering
System Integration – With its field-to-factory expertise, the company announced 2 top tier wins to the tune of GBP 42 million in the UK
Wireless Solutions – This quarter, STL launched Accellus, its flagship solution for 5G-ready, open and programmable networks. With its disruptive efforts in this area, STL has built formidable intellectual property with 54 patents as of Q2 FY’22
Accelerated technology innovation
The company continued to focus heavily on technology innovation, taking big steps like investing ~3.5% of its revenues in R&D and announcing a 5G R&D lab in the UK. STL further strengthened its patent portfolio in Q2 FY’22, taking the total patent count to 636. 5G wireless solutions and optical interconnect – STL’s strategic growth areas, contributed to more than 50% of IP filings in the current quarter. As a result of some path breaking innovations on the software front, STL was awarded the TMForum Catalyst award for its significant contributions to the acceleration of digital transformation in the telecom industry.

ESG focus at the core
While focusing on technology innovation and global expansion, STL moved forward on its ESG goals with full vigour. The company built water resilience in 12 villages and impacted 2.1 Lakh lives. With these efforts, STL won 7 awards in India and internationally, including the prestigious Energy and Environment Foundation (EEF) global WasteMet and Sustainability awards.

inancial highlights (Rs billion)

P&L (Rs. Bn) Q2′ FY22 Q2’FY21 YoY growth H1’FY22 H1’FY21 Half year growth
Revenue 15.08 11.60 30% 28.17 20.36 38%
EBITDA 2.69 2.12 27% 5.08 3.43 48%
PAT 1.06 0.58 81% 2.22 0.64 244%

Elaborating on these achievements, Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, STL  remarked, “With our eyes on the future, we have been taking some formative steps over the past few quarters. We have elevated our global leadership team, executed strategic M&A and launched disruptive solutions for programmable, optical and wireless networks. These steps are now translating into revenue growth. With our robust optical, wireless and system integration capabilities, we are all set to deliver on the new architecture of digital networks and take the power of connectivity to billions across the globe.”

 

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Airtel launches ‘Airtel IQ Video’

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel today announced the launch of its Video Platform as a Service (CPaaS) – ‘Airtel IQ Video’. The solution has been developed by Airtel’s in-house engineering teams.

By leveraging Airtel’s resilient cloud, and cutting edge video technologies, Airtel IQ Video allows businesses to build world-class video streaming products for large and small screens with minimal investment in infrastructure and technology. Airtel IQ Video is an end-to-end managed solution that brings convenience along with cost benefits. It encompasses a variety of features ranging from app development, content hosting, curation and lifecycle management to search and discovery, analytics and monetisation models (advertising, subscriptions, transactions).

Take the example of Raj TV, who have used Airtel IQ Video to take the OTT route to serve increasingly digitally savvy consumers. Says M Raajhendhran, Managing Director at Raj Television Network “We had a content library of over 30,000 hours with some of the best Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films. But most of this content was on tapes/analog formats and audiences also want to access these through OTT. Using Airtel IQ Video, we have been able to digitize our content, host it on Airtel’s cloud platforms and offer it to audiences both in India and across the global through our own OTT app. Importantly, we have been able to achieve this at the fraction of the cost in very quick time with access to the best technology that has ensured the user experience is excellent. We look forward to deeping our relationship with Airtel.”

According to RBSA Advisors, India’s video OTT market is expected to touch USD 12.5 billion by 2030, from USD 1.5 billion, currently. The report also highlighted that the next wave of growth in the OTT landscape will come from tier II, III and IV cities and regional languages at the centre of this growth story. Keeping these changing trends in sight, existing regional OTTs are looking to scale their technology platforms to accommodate the rising number of users. Traditional content providers such as regional TV broadcasters are looking to digitize their content libraries through OTT applications.

Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel IQ Video brings an easy-to-use platform that can enable anyone to quickly build and scale their business in video streaming. This will encourage enterprises to focus on content while Airtel IQ Video anchors the end-to-end technology ensuring a great viewing experience for customers. With Airtel IQ Video, we expect to see more content startups and traditional content companies coming online and directly engaging with consumers digitally.”

During the beta phase, Airtel IQ Video has also been deployed by Eros Now and CG Telecom of Nepal. Airtel is expecting to onboard 50+ brands on the platform in coming year as interest from market has been high.

Niravana Chaudhary, Managing Director, CG Group shares, “We have aspirations to launch a cutting edge IPTV and Video OTT platform as part of our telco offering in Nepal. Airtel’s proven execution in video based offerings with Airtel Xstream and keen understanding of a telecom company paved the way for our partnership. Airtel IQ Video will power both our Video OTT app and IPTV, bringing seamless streaming to our customers in Nepal on devices of their choice.”

Ali Hussein, CEO, Eros Now, says, “We have cherished our partnership with Airtel over the years and are now excited about our technology collaboration. Their robust infrastructure and extensive network coverage has been helping us deliver blockbuster content seamlessly to the end consumers. Airtel’s latest ‘Airtel IQ Video’ platform is an innovative offering that is built to scale and can assist Eros Now in reinforcing its value proposition to the rapidly expanding video subscriber base.”

Airtel IQ, a cloud-based omni-channel communications platform, enables brands to deepen engagement with customers through timely and secure communication. Airtel IQ eliminates the need for multiple communication platforms for different channels. With just a slice of code, businesses can embed communication services such as Voice, SMS, IVR, Video in their applications and digital properties across desktop and mobile, all through a unified platform.

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Nokia selected by T-2 Slovenia in five-year 5G deal as sole supplier

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NEW DELHI: Nokia today announced that it has been selected as the sole vendor by Slovenia’s T-2 in a five-year deal to supply equipment from its comprehensive AirScale 5G portfolio.

The new deal will see Nokia upgrade T-2’s existing Single RAN radio footprint as well as introduce enhanced 5G new radio (NR) services. The project is expected to deliver ultra-fast, low-latency, and high-capacity 5G connectivity delivering superior coverage to businesses and consumers alike.

Nokia will provide equipment from its latest AirScale radio portfolio, all powered by Nokia’s energy-efficient ReefShark System-on-Chip technology. This includes 5G RAN, AirScale base stations, and Nokia AirScale radio access products including its Single RAN portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage. These solutions will offer faster speeds and wider mobile coverage. Nokia will also provide digital design and deployment for a faster time to market as well as optimization and technical support services.

T-2 is one of the largest telecommunications providers in Slovenia and recently secured frequencies in the 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands at Slovenia’s spectrum auction. Nokia is a long-standing provider and key strategic supplier to T-2.

Jozef Zrimsek, CTO at T-2, said: “This important project will enhance the delivery of compelling new 5G services and use cases to our subscribers across the country. We are excited to expand our partnership with Nokia.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “We are proud to expand our partnership with T-2 into the 5G era as their sole vendor. Our latest AirScale portfolio will help support T-2’s ambitious 5G roll-out plans and deliver incredible connectivity experiences across the country.”

 

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