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Jio inks pact with Airtel to buy some spectrum in 800 MHz band

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NEW DELHI: Reliance Jio has signed an agreement with Bharti Airtel to acquire a portion of spectrum in 800 MHz band for Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai circles at an aggregate value of Rs 1,497 crore — marking the first such deal between the two telecom giants.

With this spectrum trading agreement, Airtel will receive a consideration of Rs 1,037.6 crore from Jio for the proposed transfer.

In addition, Jio will assume future liabilities of Rs 459 crore relating to the spectrum, Bharti Airtel said in a separate statement.

“Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Bharti Airtel for the acquisition of the right to use spectrum in the 800MHz band in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai circles through spectrum trading,” Jio statement said.

Given the enhanced spectrum footprint, especially contiguous spectrum, and superior infrastructure deployed, Jio said it has further increased its network capacity.

With this trading of right to use spectrum, Jio will have 2X15 MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band in Mumbai circle and 2X10 MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band in Andhra Pradesh and Delhi circles, thereby further consolidating its spectrum footprint in these locations.

Reliance Jio has acquired ‘Right to Use’ of 800 MHz spectrum in Andhra Pradesh (3.75 MHz), Delhi (1.25 MHz) and Mumbai (2.50 MHz) — in all adding up to 7.50 MHz. This marks the first such deal between the two telecom giants.

Airwaves come in different bands which support different propagation characteristics for the transmission of voice and data. For instance, lower bands like 800 MHz and 900 MHz support good indoor coverage while higher bands like 2300 MHz have a good carrying capacity. The airwaves are also sold in quantities measured as MHz.

The trading agreement is in accordance with the spectrum trading guidelines issued by the Department of Telecommunications and is subject to the requisite regulatory and statutory approvals.

Commenting on the development, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said: “The sale of the 800 MHz blocks in these three circles has enabled us to unlock value from the spectrum that was unutilised. This is aligned to our overall network strategy”.

The sold spectrum had come to Airtel following the Tata Teleservices merger, sources said.

As per the latest data by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the mobile subscriber base of Reliance Jio stood at 410.7 million in January 2021, as the operator added 1.9 million users in the month.

Airtel, India’s second-largest telecom player, had 344.6 million subscribers as of January 2021, having gained 5.8 million users during the month.

With the subscriber base of the Indian telecom market swelling and data usage touching new highs, the outcome of spectrum auctions held recently had surpassed original estimates.

Spectrum auctions, last month, had raked-in winning bids of over Rs 77,800 crore for 855.6 MHz of spectrum. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio spent the most in the auction, picking up 488.35 MHz spectrum in bands such as 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz for over Rs 57,100 crore.

In the auction, Bharti Airtel won the right to use spectrum, the total value of which is about Rs 18,700 crore. For Vodafone Idea, the value of spectrum bought in auctions was pegged at Rs 1,993.4 crore.

There were no takers for spectrum in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands in the latest auctions.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Mobile Services

Airtel joins hands Tech Mahindra

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel (Airtel), India’s premier communications solutions provider, and Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions, today announced a strategic partnership to build and market innovative solutions for India’s digital economy by bringing together their core strengths.

Airtel and Tech Mahindra will co-develop and market 5G use cases in India. Airtel has been spearheading 5G demos and testing in India while Tech Mahindra has developed world-class 5G applications and platforms. Airtel and Tech Mahindra will set up a joint 5G innovation lab for developing Make in India use cases for the Indian and global markets.

The two companies will also bring to market customized Enterprise Grade Private Networks, which will be at the core of the digital economy. These solutions will focus on combining Airtel’s industry leading integrated connectivity portfolio of 5G ready mobile network, Fiber, SDWAN, and IoT along with Tech Mahindra’s proven system integration capabilities. The companies will initially focus on segments such as Automobiles, Aviation, Ports, Utilities, Chemicals, Oil & Gas and expand to other industries going forward.

Airtel and Tech Mahindra will also offer secure Cloud and Content Delivery Network (CDN) solutions to businesses. With enterprises rapidly moving to cloud based platforms as part of their digital transformation journeys, Airtel has built a formidable Hybrid Cloud portfolio with Airtel Cloud, Airtel IQ (CPaaS) alongside CDN offerings. Further, the two companies will explore leveraging Tech Mahindra’s technological expertise to support Airtel in Cloud Engineering, implementation of tools for Cloud Orchestration.

Ganesh Lakshminarayanan, CEO-Enterprise Business, Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel and Tech Mahindra have a shared vision of supporting the growth of India’s digital ecosystem. We are delighted to join forces with Tech Mahindra to bring to market a range of cutting-edge digital solutions for the emerging requirements of enterprises. With proven technology capabilities and deep customer trust enjoyed by the two brands, we believe this is a win-win partnership.”

Manish Vyas, President, Communications, Media and Entertainment Business, and CEO, Network Services, Tech Mahindra, said: “5G ecosystem will unlock immense opportunities for industries across sectors to improve productivity and enhance customer experience through digitally powered new-age platforms and solutions. We are excited to partner with Airtel to provide innovative and cutting-edge solutions for enterprise customers. In line with Tech Mahindra’s NXT.NOWTM framework, this collaboration is focused on offering next-generation services to the Indian market by enabling transformation via network, cloud engineering and customer experience.”

As part of NXT.NOWTM framework, which aims to provide ‘Seamless Customer Experience’, Tech Mahindra focuses on investing in emerging technologies and solutions that enable digital transformation and meet the evolving needs of changing customers.

 

 

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5g

3 Scandinavia expands 5G footprint with Enea’s policy control technology

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NEW DELHI: 3 Scandinavia, a leading provider of voice and broadband services, has deployed Enea’s 5G policy control solution as it continues to expand its 5G footprint. The solution will allow 3 Scandinavia to effectively launch, manage, and monetize new services in Sweden and Denmark.

Enea’s powerful policy platform will allow the Nordic network provider to differentiate services and ensure that all subscribers benefit from a consistent quality of service to match their chosen pricing plans.

Enea’s policy management platform, a fully virtualized, multi-vendor solution, has provided 4G policy control functionality for 3 Scandinavia since 2008. As the operator looked to scale its capabilities with virtualized architecture, it turned to Enea for 5G policy control. Enea’s platform delivers robust connectivity and cost-effective service management while bringing operational agility through its tight integration with provisioning systems. It is also vendor agnostic, which means that the operator has the freedom to work with any network access provider and can configure new types of 4G and 5G services in a matter of minutes.

“We are always striving to offer innovative services that appeal to our growing base of subscribers,” says Per Stigenberg, CTO at 3 Scandinavia. “In today’s world of stream-based entertainment and hybrid working, this means taking full advantage of everything 5G has to offer. Enea has demonstrated a thorough understanding of our needs and with their flexible product approach we are now able to deliver a next-generation connectivity experience for all our subscribers in Sweden and Denmark”

The solution from Enea also enables the operator to effectively manage several of its virtual Policy Control Functions (PCFs) across two physical locations in Scandinavia. With Enea’s platform deployed, 3 Scandinavia can efficiently support fully redundant 5G voice and data services throughout both Sweden and Denmark, allowing the operator to seamlessly control policies as subscribers move between 4G and 5G, and across their networks.

“Policy control is very much the brains of the operation when it comes to providing cellular services to millions of subscribers,” says Jonas Jacobsson, Senior Vice President of Service Provider Sales at Enea. “Without it, there is simply no way to differentiate service in terms of data allowance or speed, particularly with 5G where these configurations become even more granular.”

A report from Deloitte found that the number of 5G subscribers in Scandinavia has more than doubled in the past two years. As networks grow, policy plays a critical role to help operators scale and monetize 5G.

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Broadband

Broadband will not only provide facilities but will also create a big pool of skilled youth in Indian villages

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NEW DELHI: Rural digital connectivity is no longer mere aspiration but has become a necessity, said Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi while addressing a post-budget webinar on the recently announced Union Budget 2022.

The theme of the webinar ‘Leaving No Citizen Behind’ was aimed at bringing industry leaders, policymakers and government officials together to deliberate upon the positive impact of the budget and identify sector specific actionable strategies to collectively work towards furthering the common goal of upliftment of everyone with saturation of each household and village, leaving no one behind.

Speaking at the webinar, Prime Minister said that Broadband will not only provide facilities in the villages but will also create a big pool of skilled youth in the village economy. He further emphasized that Broadband, will enable expanding the service sector to rural areas and help in boosting the economy. He stressed the need for a saturation approach to provision of basic infrastructure, especially in aspirational districts. He also emphasized the need for spreading awareness about the use of such connectivity and healthy competition between villages in achieving targets.

The Union Budget 2022-23 has provided an impetus to the telecom sector through a budget announcement which proposes to allocate 5% of annual collections under the USOF to promote R&D and commercialisation of technologies and solutions in order to enable affordable broadband and mobile services proliferation in rural and remote areas. In addition it has also been proposed to cover all villages on optical fiber network by 2025.

In order to carry forward and sustain the momentum of budget and to create a sense of ownership in budget implementation by all relevant stakeholders, a series of webinars were organised through various Ministries and Departments. One such post-budget webinar was organised by Department of Rural Development on the theme “Leaving No Citizen Behind”. One of the break-away session was on “Road & Info way to all rural habitations”. This session was moderated by K. Rajaraman, Secretary(T), Department of Telecommunications, and was co-moderated by Dr. Ashish Kumar Goel, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development.

In this session various eminent speakers such as P.K. Purwar, CMD, BSNL, Gopal Vittal, CEO, Bharti Airtel, Manoj Kumar Singh, ACS, Rural Development, Uttar Pradesh, Prof. A. Veeraraghavan, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, and V. Sriniwas, CEO, Vishwa Samudra Engineering, Hyderabad talked about various aspects of broadband connectivity and development in rural roads sector.

It was felt that digital saturation is the foundation for the achieving all facets of development including financial, social or economic development especially in rural and remote areas.

For achieving 100% saturation, it was indicated that convergence of all stakeholders is required to provide cost and technology efficient services which is also part of GatiShakti program of the Government of India. BharatNet shall be leveraged for the same and utilised for early saturation of all rural and remote areas including ensuring uptime and SLA as per norms for better demand.

A need was felt that Outcome Focus shall be the main objective in all government programs and schemes. Innovation conferences may be one of the activities to ensure new development of technologies apart from focussed development of rural specific content.

Based on discussion and inputs of stakeholders, RoW issues were identified as key challenges and efforts need to be made to mobilise the State government departments including creation of National Portal for early resolution through Single window clearance.

Industry experts also indicated the need for focus on supply side and demand side constraints including power requirement of telecom, focus on green telecom and reduction in tax and fees structure and regulatory fees for the services etc. The implementation strategy of the Department for rollout of broadband in rural areas will include this valuable feedback and inputs from various stakeholders.

 

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