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Telcos’ gross revenues dip 1.36% in July-September 2021 to Rs 67k crore, AGR up 17%

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NEW DELHI: Telecom service providers’ gross revenue declined by 1.36 per cent on a year-on-year basis to Rs 67,300 crore in the July-September 2021 quarter, according to a Trai report released on Monday.

Telecom service providers (TSPs) had posted gross revenue of Rs 68,228 crore in the same quarter a year ago, according to the Trai’s performance indicator report for the July-September 2021 quarter.

The adjusted gross revenue (AGR) component of the telecom operators, on which the government levies charges, increased by 17.07 per cent to Rs 53,510 crore during the reported quarter from Rs 45,707 crore in the corresponding period of 2020.

Access service providers like Bharti Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea who provide services to end consumers accounted for 78 per cent of gross revenue and 79 per cent of AGR.

Reliance Jio reported highest AGR of Rs 18,467.47 crore during the reported quarter. It was followed by Bharti Airtel (Rs 14,730.85 crore), Vodafone Idea (Rs 6,337.58 crore), BSNL (Rs 1,934.73 crore), Tata Teleservices (Rs 554.33 crore), MTNL (Rs 331.56 crore) and Reliance Communications (Rs 53.4 crore).

Government’s revenue from telecom services in the form of licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC) increased by 16.8 per cent and 19.99 per cent respectively on an annual basis.

Government revenue collection in the form of licence fee was Rs 4,271 crore and SUC was Rs 1,741 crore during July-September 2021, compared to Rs 3,656 crore and Rs 1,451 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2020, as per the report.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Manufacturing

Foxconn to resume operations at Tamil Nadu plant; facility under probation by Apple

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NEW DELHI: Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group on Monday said it has implemented a range of corrective actions and will start bringing back team members gradually to the Sriperumbudur factory, which was shut down last month following a mass food-poisoning incident at the plant’s offsite dormitory facility.

The factory located on the outskirts of Chennai in Tamil Nadu was shut down on December 18 after workers’ protests on the back of a mass-food poisoning incident at the offsite dormitory facility.

“We have been working on a series of improvements to fix issues we found at the offsite dormitory facilities at Sriperumbudur and to enhance the services we provide to our employees. We have implemented a range of corrective actions to ensure this cannot happen again and a rigorous monitoring system to ensure workers can raise any concerns they may have, including anonymously,” Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) said in a statement.

The company also said it will “gradually begin to welcome back team members as each offsite dormitory becomes ready and is approved”.

According to sources, operations will be gradually resumed at the factory as hostels and dormitories get ready and certified as per local requirements by the government and Apple’s audits.

An Apple spokesperson said the Sriperumbudur facility continues to be on probation and that the company is closely monitoring the situation.

“For the past several weeks teams from Apple, along with independent auditors, have been working with Foxconn to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective actions are implemented in the offsite accommodations and dining rooms at Sriperumbudur,” the spokesperson said.

Workers will start to return gradually as soon as Apple is certain its standards are being met in every dormitory and dining area, the spokesperson emphasised.

Apple had put the Sriperumbudur factory of the iPhone assembler Foxconn on ‘probation’ following worker protests and an assessment that revealed substandard living conditions, saying it will ensure strict standards are met before the unit reopens.

While the companies did not comment on the expected timelines for full resumption of operations, the sources said full resumption of operations at the plant will take more time and workers will only be brought back in a phased manner over the next few months.

The factory has more than 15,000 people working on production of Apple products.

According to the sources, there has also been a management change at Foxconn India with a change of guard locally and introduction of new systems to better manage the factory and employee facilities.

The commercial production of the newly-launched iPhone 13 series was reportedly expected to start at the Foxconn plant by February. It is unclear if Apple’s probation would affect these plans.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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5g

Vi Partners with Nokia for 5G Trials

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NEW DELHI: Leading telecom operator, Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) along with its technology partner, Nokia, today announced that it has successfully conducted a 5G trial. The trial utilized 5G in the 3.5GHz spectrum band allocated by the Government for 5G trials, to provide rural broadband connectivity in Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Using Nokia’s solution, Vi successfully trialed providing 5G connectivity across an area covering 17.1 km while delivering speeds of more than 100Mbps.

This 5G trial by Vi along with Nokia, supports the Indian government’s Digital India vision of providing reliable and high-speed connectivity in rural areas.

Vi is using Nokia’s AirScale radio portfolio and Microwave E-band solution for the trial that support enterprises, both large and small and medium businesses with reliable connectivity.

Jagbir Singh, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Idea Limited, said: “Accelerated digitalisation over the last two years has led to growing dependency on high-speed broadband and an urgency to connect the unconnected. Vi GIGAnet, India’s fastest network, is enabling users in urban and rural areas, and enterprises, to stay ahead in this digital era. With our 5G ready network and our partner Nokia’s, field-proven solution, we are now working on providing solutions and use cases based on high-speed 5G coverage in rural areas.”

Sanjay Malik, Senior Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia, said: “Our Fixed Wireless Access 5G solution is enabling service providers, like Vodafone Idea, to extend 5G coverage to remote areas, plug coverage gaps and increase service levels in rural areas. Vodafone Idea is our long-standing partner and we are pleased to support them in successfully testing 5G for delivering high-speed connectivity in rural areas.”

Nokia’s high gain FWA CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) enables operators to extend ultra-high-speed and low latency 5G connectivity to remote and rural areas.

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JioPhone Next, co-developed with Google, to be most affordable smartphone globally: Mukesh Ambani

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NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday said Jio and Google have jointly developed Made for India ‘JioPhone Next’, a power-packed and affordable smartphone that will be available from September 10.
Ambani promised that JioPhone Next will be the most-affordable smartphone, not just in India but globally, although the pricing was not disclosed.
The companies have also expanded their partnership, wherein Jio and Google Cloud will collaborate on 5G technology.
Speaking at RIL’s 44th annual general meeting, Ambani asserted that an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone is essential to make India ‘2G-mukt’ (free of 2G). India still has nearly 300 million mobile users who are unable to escape from inefficient and exorbitant 2G services since most basic 4G smartphones remain unaffordable, he added.
“I am pleased to announce that Google and Jio teams have jointly developed a truly breakthrough smartphone that we are calling, JioPhone Next that has been jointly developed by Jio and Google especially for the Indian market,” he said.
To be available from September 10 on Ganesh Chaturthi, JioPhone Next packs a punch with cutting-edge features including voice assistant, language translation, automatic read-aloud of screen text, and smart camera with augmented reality filters and security updates.
“As you have come to expect from Jio, it is my promise that JioPhone Next will be, by far, the most-affordable smartphone not just in India but globally,” Ambani said.
Last year, Google had announced an investment of Rs 33,737 crore for a 7.7 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ technology venture Jio Platforms. The tech giant had teamed up on technology initiatives, including development of affordable smartphones for the price-sensitive yet tech-savvy Indian market.
The fully-featured smartphones will support the entire gamut of applications from both Google and Jio, as well as Android PlayStore through which users will have access to the full universe of Android apps.
“This is a testimony to a global technology giant and a national technology champion working jointly to make a breakthrough product… that can be first introduced in India and then taken to the rest of the world,” Ambani said.
Jio has democratised digital connectivity in India, offering the highest quality, most affordable 4G broadband services in the world, he added.
“Sundar (Google CEO Sundar Pichai) and I had talked about Google and Jio co-developing a next-generation, feature-rich, but extremely affordable smartphone aimed at providing first-time internet access for 2G users,” Ambani said while making the JioPhone Next announcement on Thursday.
Pichai said an optimised version of the Android OS has been developed especially for this device.
“It’s built for India and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users, who will experience the internet for the first time,” he said.
Pichai said Google’s vision is to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India’s unique needs, and empower businesses with technology.
The smartphone is built for India and will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time, he added.
For users who might not be able to read content in their language, the phone will allow users to translate what’s on their screen with a tap of a button, and even have it read back to them in their own language.
‘Read Aloud’ and ‘Translate Now’ are now operating system (OS)-wide features that will work with any text on users’ phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos.
The smartphone comes equipped with a fast, high-quality camera that will yield clearer photos at night and in low-light situations. Google has also partnered with Snap (parent company of photo sharing app Snapchat) to integrate India-specific Snapchat Lenses directly into the phone’s camera.
Rival Bharti Airtel, meanwhile, welcomed the low-end smartphone initiative announced by Reliance Jio and Google.
“We support every effort that triggers the upgradation of feature phones to smartphones so as to bring more Indians online,” it said in an e-mail response claiming that as customers with entry-level devices upgrade to quality smartphones (priced over Rs 7,000), they demonstrate a strong preference for Airtel.
India is among the biggest smartphone markets globally with devices under Rs 10,000 accounting for a significant share. According to Counterpoint Research, India’s smartphone shipments grew 23 per cent year-on-year to reach over 38 million units in the March 2021 quarter, the highest-ever first quarter shipments.
New product launches, promotions and financial schemes, as well as higher demand on account of work and study from home amid the pandemic have been strong drivers for the market in the last few quarters. The top-five players in the Indian market include Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo and Realme.

The feature phone market registered a 14 per cent y-o-y growth during the quarter driven by strong shipments of JioPhone under its new model and subsequent promotions, as per Counterpoint.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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