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Sunil Mittal hints at mobile services rate hike

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal has hinted at an increase in mobile services prices in the next six months, saying that data at low rates is not sustainable for the telecom industry.

He said that 16 GB data consumption a month for Rs 160 is a tragedy.

“You either consume 1.6 GB of capacity per month either at this price point or you may prepare to pay a lot more. We are not wanting USD 50-60 like the US or Europe but certainly USD 2 for 16 GB a month is not sustainable,” Mittal said at an event.

Mittal also said that the average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to cross Rs 200 in six months on digital content consumption. ARPU is the measure of revenue generated per user for a telco.

“We need a Rs 300 ARPU in which you will still have lower end at Rs 100 a month with decent amount of data. But if your consumption is largely around watching TV, movies, entertainment and depriving other vital special services networks, then you need to pay for that,” Mittal said at the launch of a book written by Bharti Enterprises executive Akhil Gupta.

Airtel reported an increase in the ARPU to Rs 157 in the first quarter ended June 30, 2020. The rise in ARPU came after the tariff hike by Bharti Airtel in December 2019.

Mittal said that while telecom operators have served the nation during the difficult times, the industry needs to invest in 5G, more optical fibres, submarine cables etc.

“Businesses which are not in telecom, also need to adopt digital. You should see solid ARPUs building up in the next 5-6 months for the industry to be sustainable. We are down to 2-3 players now. India is a very price conscious market. In six months time we should be crossing the mark of Rs 200 for sure and Rs 250 would be ideal,” Mittal said.

Source: Press Trust of India

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India approves upgradation of 2G mobile sites to 4G at security sites in LWE areas

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NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) project for upgrading 2G mobile services to 4G at security sites in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas

The Project envisages upgrading2,343 left Wing Extremism Phase-I sites from 2G to 4G mobile services at an estimated cost of Rs.1,884.59 crore (Excluding taxes and levies). This includes O&M for five years. However, BSNL will maintain the sites for another five years at its own cost. The work will be awarded to BSNL because these sites belong to BSNL.

The Cabinet also approved funding of operations and maintenance cost of LWE Phase-I 2G sites by BSNL for an extended period beyond the contractual period of five years at an estimated cost of Rs.541.80 crore. The extension will be up to 12 months from the date of approval by the Cabinet or commissioning of 4G sites, whichever is earlier.

Government chose BSNL for a prestigious project to indigenous 4G telecom equipment so as to achieve self-reliance in the telecom gear segment to fulfil domestic market needs apart from exporting to other markets. This 4G equipment will be deployed in this project also.

The upgradation will enable better internet and data services in these LSW areas. It meets the requirements of Ministry of Home Affairs and the state governments. It shall also fulfil the communication needs of the security personnel deployed in these areas. The proposal is in line with the goal of providing mobile connectivity in rural areas. In addition, delivery of various e-governance services, banking services, tele-medicine; tele-education etc. through mobile broadband shall be possible in these areas.

 

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Jio’s IAX and IEX projects to address region’s data revolution

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NEW DELHI: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (Jio), India’s leading 4G and mobile broadband digital service provider, is constructing the largest international submarine cable system centered on India. Jio, in conjunction with several key global partners and world-class submarine cable supplier SubCom, is currently deploying two next generation cables to support the extraordinary growth in data demand across the region.

The India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) system connects India eastbound to Singapore and beyond, while the India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) system connects India westbound to the Middle East and Europe. The systems will seamlessly interconnect as well as connect to the world’s top interexchange points and content hubs for extension of service globally. IAX and IEX will enhance the ability for consumer and enterprise users to access content and cloud services in and out of India.

For the first time in the history of fiber optic submarine telecommunications, these systems place India at the center of the international network map, recognizing India’s increased importance, staggering growth, and the quantum shift in data use since the launch of Jio services in 2016.

These high capacity and high-speed systems will provide more than 200Tbps of capacity spanning over 16,000 kilometers. Employing open system technology and the latest wavelength switched RoADM/branching units ensures rapid upgrade deployment and the ultimate flexibility to add/drop waves across multiple locations.

“Jio is at the forefront of India’s explosive growth in digital services and data consumption. To meet the demands of Streaming Video, Remote Workforce, 5G, IoT, and beyond, Jio is taking a leadership role in the construction of the first of its kind, India-centric IAX and IEX subsea systems,” said Mathew Oommen, President, Reliance Jio.

“Implementing these critical initiatives in the shadow of a global pandemic is a challenge, but the ongoing pandemic has only accelerated the digital transformation and the necessity of high-performance global connectivity for the delivery of a richer experience to enterprises and consumers,” he added.

The IAX system connects India, the world’s fastest growing economy, to Asia Pacific markets with express connectivity from Mumbai and Chennai to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. The IEX system extends India’s connectivity to Italy, landing in Savona, and additional landings in the Middle East and North Africa.

Apart from the seamless connection of the IAX and IEX sub-sea systems, the two systems are also connected to the Reliance Jio Global Fiber Network beyond Asia Pacific and Europe, connecting to both the east and west coast of the USA. IAX is expected to be ready for service mid-2023, while IEX will be ready for service in early 2024.

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Spectrum Auction 2021: Telecom Department assigns frequencies to successful bidders

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NEW DELHI: Department of Telecom (DoT) today (16.04.2021) successfully completed the assignment of frequencies to successful bidders of the Spectrum Auction, 2021. Frequency assignment letters were issued to successful bidders today.

The frequency assignment was accompanied by a frequency harmonization exercise, whereby spectrum blocks assigned to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in the current spectrum auction have been made contiguous with the spectrum blocks already held by them, wherever possible, in various bands in different Licensed Service Areas (LSAs).

The harmonization of spectrum was accomplished in 19 LSAs in 800 MHz band, 8 LSAs in 900 MHz band, 21 LSAs in 1800 MHz band, 3 LSAs in 2100 MHz band, and 16 LSAs in 2300 MHz band.The harmonization exercise facilitates more efficient utilization of spectrum held by TSPs, leading to improved Quality of Service for consumers.

As a part of the frequency assignment, the Government has also accepted the request of two TSPs – M/S Bharti and M/S Reliance Jio, for assignment of immediately available unsold spectrum blocks in place of spectrum blocks in the same band and LSA assigned to them from later dates. An amount of Rs. 2306.97 crore (Rs. 157.38 crore from M/s Bharti and Rs. 2149.59 crore from M/s Reliance Jio) has been received immediately by the Government, rather than in August/ September, 2021.

It may be recalled that a total quantity of 855.60 MHz of spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands was acquired by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in the Spectrum Auction, 2021, conducted on 1st and 2nd March, 2021.

The total amount payable by the successful bidders for the total quantity of spectrum acquired is Rs 77820.81 crore.

Of this, an amount of Rs 21918.47 crore was received as upfront payment from the TSPs on 18th March, 2021, as per terms and conditions of the Notice Inviting Applications.

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