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Supreme Court tells Airtel, Vodafone to give TRAI details of segmented offers

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to disclose details sought by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in connection with segmented offers.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “In the light of the above historical background, what is now sought by TRAI to ensure adherence to the regulatory principles of transparency, non-discrimination and non-predation, cannot be said, at least prima facie to be either illegal or wholly unjustified.”

“Hence the I.A. (intervention application) is allowed and a direction is issued to the respondents to disclose information/details sought by the appellant regarding segmented offers.”

However, the top court said is the duty and responsibility of the TRAI to ensure that such information is kept confidential and is not made available to the competitors or any other person.

In exercise of powers conferred by Section 11(1)(b)(i), read with Section 11(2) of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, the TRAI issued the Telecommunication Tariff (63rd Amendment) Order, 2018 dated February 16, 2018. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea challenged it before the TDSAT.

Primarily, the challenge was to the “Reporting Requirements” and “Significant Market Power” (SMP). Another grievance was about the insistence of the TRAI about the disclosure of segmented discounts.

The TDSAT set aside the Telecom Tariff 63rd Amendment Order in so far as it changes the concepts of SMP, non-predation and the related provisions.

The TRAI filed civil appeals against this order and also filed an intervention application seeking interim direction to the service providers to disclose information sought by it regarding the segmented offers.

In the number of segmented offers provided by telecom service providers (TSPs) during a period of 12 calendar months from January 2019 to December 2019 in various states, the TRAI contended that the details of these offers are not even disclosed to it.

“Therefore, despite being a regulator, TRAI is not in a position to analyse whether the plans are transparent and non-discriminatory and whether predatory pricing is resorted to by TSPs in the garb of segmented offers or not,” it contended.

The TSPs argued that segmented offers, as found by the TDSAT, constitute “confidentially designed trade practices”. Therefore, the TDSAT held that there is no need for reporting.

The TSPs also contended that whenever the TRAI wanted to call for details of segmented offers about which it received complaints, they are ready and willing to furnish the same. However, so far, the TRAI has not received any complaint.

The top court noted that the TDSAT said segmented offers and discounts offered in the ordinary course of business to existing customers without any discrimination within the target segment, do not amount to a tariff plan and that therefore, there is no need for reporting.

“Eventually, the impugned order namely the 63rd amendment order February 16, 2018, was issued. The amended definition of Reporting Requirement makes it clear that the Reporting Requirement is for the information and record of the TRAI,” said the top court.

Source: IANS

Mobile Services

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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Private sector to play prominent role leveraging technologies like 5G and Satellite communication

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NEW DELHI: Private sector to play prominent role leveraging technologies like 5G and Satellite communication to help in reaching the hinterland more effectively and efficiently said Alok Chaturvedi, CEO, CSC Wi-Fi Choupal Service India, MeiTY.

He mentioned that today there are about 3.76 lakh CSC centres in the country covering all Gram Panchayats and important villages run by a village level entrepreneur, a change agent, who could be an individual or an organization promoting rural entrepreneurship and rural employment opportunities. He opined, government has to ensure that quality broadband internet services are availing to the residents in Gram Panchayats and Villages.

Umang Das, Summit Chairman and Chairman, Foreign Investors India Forum in his address said that Govt and the private sector to weave an unpreceded wave of digitisation that will drive Industry 4.0 and significantly improve the day-to-day lives of a billion Indians. The telecom sector is at of the cusp of transformation and Indian tech companies can attract global investors who’ve burnt their hands in Chinese tech companies added by Mr Das.

Peeyush Vaish, Partner & Telecom Leader, Deloitte India in theme introduction mentioned that Convergence amongst the telecom ecosystem with the power of technology will pave the way for bridging the urban−rural divide across sectors, including banking, healthcare and education.

CII -Deloitte paper launched, called “Digital Reset – Touching a billion Indians” aptly highlights the relevance of technological advancements like 5G technology that are poised to act as a key enabler and contributor to the success of the enterprise business and easing the lives of the common man.

In his address, Amit Marwah, Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Nokia India said, 5G will be a huge leap towards a connected digital society adding value beyond connectivity to economy as well as deliver social impact. He also said that the government, regulators and the telecom industry in India need to collaborate on initiatives that will facilitate faster 5G roll-out and adoption, to accelerate socio-economic growth.

Speaking at the conference, P Balaji Summit Co-Chairman and Chief Regulatory & Corporate Affairs Officer, Vodafone India said that with 5G on the anvil, IoT and AI will unleash the next digital revolution helping India meet our trillion dollar digital economy goal in the coming years.

“The telecom sector and our network warriors have catalysed the economy in the last 18 months and has fast-tracked digital adoption at an unprecedented scale, both at individual and organizational level and provided a robust platform for the digital society enabling Healthcare, Education, e-Commerce, Fintech and Manufacturing to deliver services to consumers and enterprises highlighted by Balaji.

Space open for Industry further would excite everyone for the future growth translate the potential of IoT into tangible benefits on the ground said by Dr Rishi M Bhatnagar, President, Aeries communications India in his address. IoT projects through solutions would meet various end uses such as improving supply chain efficiency, enhancing customer experience, tracking and monitoring assets, improving logistics and empowering smart cities through a bouquet of solutions added by Dr Bhatnagar.

Peeyush Vaish, Partner & Telecom Leader, Deloitte India in theme introduction mentioned that “ Convergence amongst the telecom ecosystem with the power of technology will pave the way for bridging the urban−rural divide across sectors, including banking, healthcare, and education. CII-Deloitte paper report launched, called “Digital Reset – Touching a billion Indians” aptly highlights the relevance of technological advancements like 5G technology that are poised to act as a key enabler and contributor to the success of the enterprise business and easing the lives of the common man.

As the industry transcends from ‘digital-first’ to ‘digital-throughout’, technology will play a critical role in creating a ubiquitous presence amongst consumers and diversify revenue streams for enterprises moving “beyond connectivity” built strategically with the strong support and commitment from the GOI towards sustainable growth of the nation”. said by Mr Vaish.

The virtual summit aimed to provide a platform for telecom players to discuss the relevance of technological advancements like 5G technology that are poised to act as a key enabler and contributor to the success of the enterprise. The conference saw speakers from Quadgen, Ericsson,COAI, Bharti Airtel and others.The summit was attended by over 175 participants

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