Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

SK Telecom and Bharti Airtel form Strategic Partnership

SK Telecom, Korea’s largest telecommunications company, and Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecommunications services provider, announced a strategic partnership under which Airtel will leverage SK Telecom’s expertise to build the most advanced telecom network in India.

Areas of collaboration include bespoke software to dramatically improve network experience, leveraging advanced digital tools including machine learning, big data and building customized tools to improve network planning based on every customer’s device experience. The two companies will also collaborate to evolve standards for 5G, NFV, SDN and IoT. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT), and jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context.

“SK Telecom is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with Bharti Airtel, a global leading mobile operator,” said Park Jung-ho, the President and CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will work closely with Bharti to achieve new network innovations so as to deliver a greater value to Bharti’s customers.”

“We are extremely delighted to announce this partnership with the world’s leading operator when it comes to technology understanding and expertise. This partnership will bring a dramatically improved experience to Airtel customers in India by leveraging the expertise of a company that has built one of the best mobile broadband networks in the world,” Said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel.

http://www.globalskt.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

Market Update for India

India's mobile market continues to be the most dynamic worldwide thanks to Reliance Jio's entrance nine months ago. Mobile data traffic is booming, total subscriber count continues to rise, and rumours continue to swirl about consolidation of the 12 players into perhaps just a handful. Wireline subscription continue to drop rapidly at a monthly decline rate of 0.57% as mobile coverage, services, and offers proliferate.

New figures released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last week show that total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA and LTE) increased from 1,174.60 million at the end of Apr-17 to 1,180.82 million at the end of May-17, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.53%. Adding in fixed line subscribers, the number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,198.89 million at the end of April to 1,204.98 million at the end of May, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.51%. The monthly growth rate was stronger in rural areas (1.00% ) than in cities (0.15%), which indicates that finally many villages are getting connected. Rural tele-density increased from 57.02 at the end of April to 57.55 at the end of May, compared to urban tele-density of 172.28 at the end of May. Amazingly, Delhi now has a tele-density of 260%, while the state of Bihar in east India has a tele-density of 62%.

The Wireless Tele-density (%) in India increased from 91.34 at the end of April to 91.74 at the end of May. The Urban Wireless Tele-density increased slightly from 167.21 at the end of April to 167.24 at the end of May, and Rural Wireless Tele-density increased from 56.59 to 57.12 during the same period. The share of urban and rural wireless subscribers in total number of wireless subscribers was 57.30% and 42.70% respectively, at the end of May 2017.

In broadband, the number of subscribers increased from 284.23 million at the end of April to 291.61 million at the end of May with a monthly growth rate of 2.60%. The market is moving rapidly to mobile at the expense of DSL and fixed wireless. This breaks down as follows.

Broadband subscribers:

·         Wired subscribers - 18.23 million, for a -0.14% monthly growth rate.

·         Mobile devices users (phones and dongles) - 272.85 million, for a 2.80% monthly growth rate.

·         Fixed wireless subscribers (WiFi, WiMax, point-to-point radio and VSAT) - 0.53 million, -3.04% monthly growth rate.

·         The top five broadband service providers are Reliance Jio Infocom (117.34 million), Bharti Airtel (53.30 million), Vodafone (40.43 million), Idea Cellular (24.63 million) and BSNL (21.59 million). For wired broadband service providers, the top five were BSNL (9.80 million), Bharti Airtel (2.09 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.20 million), MTNL (0.99 million) and YOU Broadband (0.64 million).

TRAI monthly figures by mobile operator






Friday, July 28, 2017

NTT Com launches international network services, build 2 data centres in India

NTT Communications (NTT Com), the ICT solutions and international communications business within the NTT Group, announced the launch of international data network services in India through its affiliate NTT Communications India Network Services (NTTCINS).

NTT Com stated that the acquisition of its licence in India follows the launch of construction of two new Indian data centres in Mumbai and Bangalore, through subsidiary Netmagic, a provider of managed hosting and cloud services in India. As a result, NTTCINS will be able to offer infrastructure services and management and security services designed to meet companies ICT outsourcing needs.

NTT Com plans to invest $160 million in building the two data centres, which are scheduled to become operational by April 2018. The new data centres will add nearly 500,000 sq feet of gross floor space at full build out, increasing NTT Com's total gross footprint in India to 1,100,000 sq feet. The new data centres in Mumbai and Bangalore will accommodate 2,750 racks with 22 MW of power and 1,500 racks with 15 MW of power, respectively.

NTT Com noted that it became the first Japanese service provider to be awarded a Virtual Network Operator - International Long Distance (VNO-ILD) network licence for India in March. In addition, NTT Com provides Arcstar Universal One international network services in partnership with local carriers. The company also implements value-added services such as network virtualisation functions (NVF) utilising the infrastructure of its partner carriers in India.

Netmagic provides colocation service via a global network of data centres operated by NTT Com under the Nexcenter brand, as well as managed hosting, cloud, network, managed security, disaster recovery and software-defined storage services. NTT Com leverages global network infrastructure including its Tier-1 IP network, the Arcstar Universal One VPN network that reaches 196 countries/regions, and 140 secure data centres.


Commenting on the launch, NTT Com president and CEO Tetsuya Shoji said, "India has been a key strategic market for NTT Com with the accelerating shift of IT services from traditional enterprise data centres into the cloud-based services… for the past few years the business in India has consistently grown over 35% annually… with the expansion of the data centre foot print and new international data network services NTT Com aims to meet the growing market needs for mobility, e-commerce, IoT, cloud and big data".


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Monthly update on the Indian telecommunications market - Part 4

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Preamble - note on RJIO coverage, update on BharatNet and the DTH market

It will be noted that while in Parts 2 and 3 a fair amount of detail was provided on the complex, wholesale restructuring of the Indian mobile communications market for three out of the four main groups - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and RCOM - RJIO was covered somewhat peripherally in terms of its actual and potential relationship to RCOM, and there are several reasons for that. Firstly, RJIO is not being restructured, secondly its structure and situation and offer so far are all dramatic but not that complicated, thirdly, the company has been covered in detail from its first moves in 2010 and more specifically over the last 18 months, both in quasi-monthly updates on the market and in at least one dedicated series. In addition, it should be noted that however glorious its future may eventually turn out to be, the current situation is that RJIO is still very much a work in progress with as yet almost no revenue, no meaningful customer service history and no base of committed customers.

While India's mobile market is by far the largest part of its communications systems and OND normally focuses on this currently turbulent sector, the country looks poised for real economic lift-off, and could manage to double its wealth each decade, so that many of its smaller markets will start to be of greater interest.

BharatNet - India's National Optical Fibre Network

This project, launched by the Indian government in October 2011 at a proposed cost of INR 20,000 crore, as the National Optical Fibre Network, to link 250,000 small and medium-sized villages (gram panchayats) to a national fibre backbone and thus bring India's still huge unconnected rural population into one national digital internet community via fixed broadband rates of under INR 150 per month, has constantly missed connectivity targets set for it. This is largely due to difficulties of obtaining rights of way to lay the fibre. As of late February 2015, only 5,000 villages had been connected. In early April 2015, when 20,000 villages were reported to have been connected, the project, expected to cost INR 72,000 crore, was re-launched under the name BharatNet, with a target of completing the 250,000 connections by the end of 2016.

At the end of May 2015 at a meeting in New Delhi of representatives of the majority of Indian states, chaired by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, it was revealed that several states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha. Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, all said to be dissatisfied with the rate of progress of implementation of the network (nominally being carried out under the management of SPV Bharat Broadband Network Limited and executed by CPSUs BSNL, RailTel and Powergrid) were considering, had proposed or were already engaged in implementing independent state versions of the network.

Specifically, in mid-January 2015 India's Economic Times had reported that the state government of Andhra Pradesh (with a population of over 53 million, or 4.0% of the national total) planned to provide broadband connections with speeds of up to 15 Mbit/s to 12 million households for a monthly fee of INR150 in the first stage of a local INR 50 billion optical fibre deployment project, and had requested India's federal government hand over its share of funds from the NOFN. Also, in mid-October 2016 the first minister of the State of Maharashtra (population - 121 million, or 9.29% of the national total) Defendra Fadnavis, was quoted by numerous sources as saying that the Maharashtra government was investing around INR 5,000 crore in the Digital Maharashtra project, which in the first phase would digitally connect 29,000 gram panchayats across the state under a program called MahaNet, described as part of BharatNet and designed to ensure education, healthcare, better access to government services and markets.

Similarly, in mid September 2015 NDTV reported that the government of the state of Tamil Nadu (population 78 million, or about 6.0% of the national total) would, using an ISP license obtained from India's Ministry of Communications and an investment of about $452 million, provide Internet services including IPTV via the state-owned CATV operator Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation and implement BharatNet linking over 12,500 local rural bodies in the state. TACTV has signed a pact with RailTel to provide high speed broadband services and 552 local cable operators have been selected for this operation so far. The broadband will be provided by a newly formed company, the Tamil Nadu Fibernet Corporation, which may later offer VoD services as well.

Meanwhile, on February 1, 2017 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government would allocate INR 10,000 crore ($1.6 billion) to expand the BharatNet project in fiscal 2018. Jaitley added that high-speed broadband over fibre would be available in over 1.5 lakh gram panchayats with hotspots and access to digital services at low tariffs by the end of 2017-18.

Commercial DTH market with 62.65m active subscribers

Since its introduction in 2003, Indian DTH service has displayed a phenomenal growth. DTH has attained a registered pay subscriber base of around 97.05 million (including 62.65 million active subscribers). As on December 2016 there were 6 pay DTH service providers, aside from viewership of the free DTH services of state-owned Doordarshan.

These six private DTH firms are Dish TV, Reliance BIG TV, Tata Sky, Videocon d2h, Sun Direct TV and Bharti Telemedia. State broadcaster Doordarshan also runs a DTH platform for free-to-air channels called DD Free Dish, which some sources claim has around 20-22 million users. Of the pay TV vendors, Dish TV is the market leader with a 25% share, followed by Tata Sky with a 23%, according to data for September 2016 from TRAI. Videocon d2h and Bharti Telemedia have 20% market share each.

In November 2016 Zee Entertainment Enterprises-owned DTH platform Dish TV and the DTH arm of Videocon Industries announced plans to merge into a new 55/45% entity to be renamed as Dish TV Videocon, which based on the most recent TRAI data above would have a 45% market share and serve 27.6 million customers within an overall market of 175 million TV households. Meanwhile, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has asked TRAI to assess whether this merger will violate any anti-trust laws.

Although the DTH market in India continued to grow during 2026 there is evidence that it is coming under pressure at the top end from OTT services from companies such as Amazon and Netflix, and at the bottom end from Doordarshan, which is believed to have gained customers recently partly due to the impact of India's demonetisation drive on rural populations.

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NTT Com Acquires International LD License in India

NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced that it recently acquired a Virtual Network Operator - International Long Distance (VNO-ILD) license in India through its local affiliate NTT Communications India Network Services (NTTCINS).

The new license for India will enable NTT Com to add Arcstar Universal One International Network Services to its existing portfolio of services in India. At present, in India NTT Com provides national long distance (NLD) network services through affiliate NTTCINS, as well as colocation, managed hosting, cloud and ICT management services via affiliate company Netmagic.

Following the award of the virtual network operator license, from July of this year NTT Com plans to leverage its portfolio of ICT solutions to help enterprise customers build ICT environments to support their business operations in India. NTT Com will specifically offer ICT solutions including WAN, LAN, data centre and associated value added services to Indian businesses and multinational corporations.

In addition, NTT Com plans to enhance its network services via the addition of Internet access options and to improve service quality through expanded relationships with local carriers.

NTTCINS launched operations in India in 2003 and has established nodes in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi in cooperation with local carrier Tata Communications. The operator operates a backbone network with diverse routes and has offices in major cities across India.

Netmagic, based in Mumbai, is a major managed hosting and cloud service provider in India, with 9 carrier-neutral data centres. The company claims more than 2,000 enterprises customers worldwide. Netmagic also delivers remote infrastructure management (RIM) services to enterprise customers globally, including NTT Com customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Monthly update on the Indian telecommunications market - Part 2

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Update on consolidation of the 12-operator telecom market to four groups

Group 1 - Bharti Airtel plus Telenor

Bharti Airtel to acquire Augere Wireless, Telenor India and possibly some spectrum from Tikona

On February 17th Bharti Airtel, the current Indian telecom market leader, which as of December 2016 served 23.57% of Indian mobile subscriptions, closed the acquisition of Augere Wireless, a company which holds 20 MHz of spectrum in the 2,300 MHz band spectrum in the Madhya Pradesh circle.

Also, as previously reported by OND, on February 23rd Bharti Airtel and Norwegian multinational operator Telenor, whose Indian subsidiary at the end of 2016 served 4.83% of mobile subscriptions,
announced an agreement whereby Bharti Airtel would acquire most of the assets of Telenor India, including access to 44 million customers (nominally increasing its user base to over 320 million, though the final figure is likely to be less), 43.4 MHz of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band and 20,000 base stations. The cashless deal, which is expected to close in April 2018, will include Airtel acquiring Telenor India's running operations in seven circles: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam.

On March 24th persons familiar with the matter told the LiveMint news-source that Bharti Airtel was in the final stages of talks with Tikona Digital Networks of Mumbai to buy the latter's 4G spectrum in a transaction which could be worth in the range of INR 800-1,000 crore (excluding debt, which Airtel would assume, raising the total value to INR 1,500-1,700 crore). Tikona's 4G spectrum consists of 20 MHz in the 2,300 MHz band in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Rajasthan, which would be particularly useful for Airtel in UP (East), UP (West) and Rajasthan, where it has no airwaves in the 2,300 MHz band, and in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where it has only 10 MHz each. The arrangement would not include Tikona' wireless broadband business, Tikona WiBro, which it would continue to run independently.

On March 28th Bharti Airtel said it had sold a 10.3% stake in its tower company, Bharti Infratel, to a
consortium of funds (including private equity firm KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investments Board (CPPIB)) to raise INR 6,193.9 crore. The company said it would us the proceeds of the sale to further pay down its corporate debt, which as of the end of September 2016 stood at INR 98,813.50 crore.
As a result of all these moves, Bharti Airtel will end up with an important increase in its share of subscriptions which, based on the December 2016 numbers, would be 28.40%, with a significant improvement in its 4G spectrum holdings and slightly stronger financial position.

Group2 - Vodafone plus Idea Cellular

$23bn merger of India's No. 2 and 3 operators to create world's second largest company by mobile subscriptions

As previously reported, Vodafone India, the country's second largest operator which as of the end of 2016 served 18.16% of Indian mobile subscriptions, and third-ranked Idea Cellular, with a 16.90% share, announced they were in merger talks. For some time Vodafone, which has had continuous problems locally for many years including poor profitability and major taxation disputes with the Indian government, had made it clear it was interested in modifying its position in India. Idea Cellular is currently owned 49.05% by the $41 billion sales level Indian conglomerate group Aditya Birla (chaired by Kumar Mangalam Birla) and 19.96% by the Axiata Group of Malaysia, and for its 2016 financial year reported revenue of INR 394 billion.

On March 21st it was announced that the boards of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India had approved a $23 billion merger (excluding the latter's 42% stake in Indus Towers), which if completed in FY 2018 would, based on the latest TRAI numbers, become India's largest telecom company with a pro forma mobile wireless subscriptions market share of around 35.06%, revenue share of the Indian communications market of around 41%, and about 395 million actual mobile subscriptions, making it the second largest company in the world after China Mobile.

The new company's pro forma revenue would be around INR 81,600 crore and it with operating profit of INR 24,400 crore and combined debt of INR 1.08 trillion. The mechanics of the merger, which is expected to take about 24 months to complete, will be evolutionary as outlined in the following from LiveMint:

- 'The deal will see Aditya Birla Group, the promoters of Idea, gradually raising its stake in the combined entity while Vodafone Group will reduce its own, with the aim of both holding equal stakes over a period of time'.

- 'As a first step, the Aditya Birla Group will acquire 4.9% from Vodafone for INR 3,874 crore, or INR 108 a share, to take its stake to 26% with Vodafone holding 45.1%, while AB Group will have the right to buy another 9.5% from Vodafone at INR 130 a share or the prevailing market price, in the combined entity over four years'.

- 'Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the chairman of the new entity, Vodafone will name the CFO, while the two companies will jointly name the CEO and operations head before the closure of merger, expected within 24 months. The new entity will remain listed and be renamed at a later stage, with the promoters of Idea and Vodafone having the right to nominate three members each on the board, which will have 12 directors, six of whom will be independent'.

Interim comment on the risky nature of the above merger

Although LiveMint reported very thoroughly and professionally with minimum comment on the terms and mechanics of the proposed Vodafone/Idea merger on March 21st, it swiftly followed up on March 22nd with an extremely acerbic article by consulting editor Sundeep Khanna (entitled A crown of thorns awaits the Vodafone-Idea merged entity), who left few doubts about how negative he felt about the deal, pointing out that:

• Mergers of equal-sized companies were typically disastrous (because of constant turf squabbles), and the way the top jobs were due to be filled looked messy.
• Both brands would continue to be promoted in parallel making this an inorganic, i.e. incomplete,
merger.
• Mergers generated in a panic as a reaction to threatening outside events (in this case the massive
disruptive incursion of RJIO) were often put together very badly.
• Despite the aggressive public language about the new JV setting out to dominate the Indian
communications market, he felt that Idea had settled for 'bronze position' and that Vodafone's real focus was now on consolidating its position in Europe as the leader in fully converged communications and that it was no longer committed to the Indian market, noting that 10 years after it first entered the Indian market with its acquisition of Hutchison Telecommunications International stake in Hutchison Essar Vodafone seemed ready to get off the roller-coaster ride that has witnessed two write-downs, an aborted IPO and a pending $2.5 billion retrospective tax charge with little to show in terms of profits.

Nonetheless, as a coda to the above its worth noting that on March 24th India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) announced that as of February 21, 2017 in its 243rd meeting it had retrospectively approved the acquisition by Vodafone India of 100% of the stock of YOU Broadband, an Indian cable operator with 600,000 customers. So perhaps Vodafone still sees a long term opportunity for its Indian operations.

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monthly update on the Indian telecommunications market - Part 1

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

Preamble 

The Indian telecommunications market continues to go through tremendous changes which, though occurring in parallel with have been largely independent of, were already happening well before the more general national level social and economic changes instigated (or accelerated) by the reformist government of Narendra Modi.

According to data assembled by the World Bank, in 2014 India with a monthly ARPU of $2.80 was the sixth cheapest nation in the world for phone charges after Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan and Nepal, and in that year its people spent only 2.14% of their average income on mobile phone costs. However, since the dramatic full commercial entry into the Indian mobile broadband market in September 2016 of the Mukesh Ambani-led RJIO operator, whose level of initial investment in its national 4G network, content and services is reported as being around a staggering $20 billion, mobile rates have fallen even further and the absolute value of the market has declined.

According to the Indian Telecommunication Services Indicators Report published by the Indian regulator TRAI for the October to December quarter of 2016 (published April 7th), despite a steep sequential quarter on quarter rise of 7.22% in fixed and wireless subscriptions, from 1,074.24 million to 1,151.78 million as of December 31, 2016, total services revenue for the quarter fell 6.79% to INR 66,532 crore ($9.688 billion). The major factor in that was an amazing decline in monthly ARPU for GSM service (including LTE) of 14.10% from INR 121 in the quarter ended September 2016 to INR 104 ($1.50) in the quarter ended December 2016. On a year-on-year basis monthly ARPU for GSM service (including LTE) declined by 15.32% in the fourth quarter.

Despite radical restructuring and temporary decline of telecoms market, Indian economy beginning to develop long term momentum Despite these surprising local fluctuations in the telecoms sector the national level changes referred to in the first paragraph are still important because they directly and indirectly support a high economic growth rate in India, currently predicated by the IMF at 7.2% in 2017 and 7.7% in 2018. This is a longer-term sustaining platform for further growth in the telecommunications sectors. Macroscopic economic programs include:

Agreement for the implementation of an uniform Goods and Services Tax across all the states; this will to some extent help to support a single integrated national market, which is a crucial advantage for technological development and catch-up, and is supposed to be implemented across India by July 2017.

The effective introduction, by administrative organisation the Unique Identification Authority of India, of the Aadhaar biometric personal identity card, carrying a unique 12 digit number, for well over 1.133 billion Indian citizens as of March 31, 2017. Although more than 150 million Indian citizens are still excluded from the system these are mostly infants. Although this project was initiated in 2010 well before Modi was elected his government has fully supported the program and claims to have already saved around $8 billion through more accurate distribution of food and fuel support to impoverished families.

The energetic pursuit and rooting out of 'black money', which has included Mod's controversial national removal and replacement of high value currency.

Key infrastructure programs including the National Optical Fibre Network (or BharatNet), designed to link 250,000 small villages to the national network, 100 smart cities and high speed rail programmes including the Diamond Quadrilateral project to connect the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. In February India announced record spending of INR 3.96 trillion ($59 billion) to build and modernise its railways, airports and roads in a drive to upgrade the strained infrastructure in Asia’s third-largest economy; already under way is the construction of the 1,500 km Mumbai-Delhi Industrial Corridor which includes 24 industrial regions, eight smart cities, two airports, five power projects, two mass rapid transit systems, and two logistical hubs and has an initial budget of $90 billion.

Numerous other less specific programs including national self-sufficiency, morale and capability strengthening programs such as Make in India, the Clean India initiative, the drive to improve the technical competence of the Indian workforce (Skill India), the People’s Bank Plan the Crop Insurance Program.

7-8% growth rate insufficient to prevent India continuing to fall further behind China 

These programs, not all of which are fully funded and active, are all aimed at increasing India's capacity for economic growth, which as noted earlier is currently in the range 7% to 8%. This is a fast rate, around twice the global rate of 3.5%, however, looking back over the last 30 or more years of Chinese economic expansion, when China was at the same economic level as India is now it was growing well over 10% for a decade or more. Over the 28 years from 1989 until 2017 China has grown an average of 9.74% a year, reaching an all time high of 15.40% in the first quarter of 1993

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vodafone and Idea to Merge and Create Largest Operator in India

Vodafone India and Idea have agreed to merge to create the largest telecoms operator in India. The transaction is to be implemented as a merger of equals that will result in joint control of the combined company between Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vodafone will combine its subsidiary Vodafone India (excluding its 42% stake in Indus Towers) with Idea, an Indian stock exchange-listed company. Vodafone stated that the merger ratio is in line with recommendations from independent valuers, with an implied enterprise value of INR828 billion ($12.4 billion) for Vodafone India and INR722 billion ($10.8 billion) for Idea, excluding its stake in Indus Towers.

On completion of the transaction, Vodafone will own 45.1% of the combined company, after transferring a stake of 4.9% to the Aditya Birla Group for approximately INR39 billion ($579 million) in cash, concurrent with completion of the merger. The Aditya Birla Group will own 26.0% of the new company, with the right to acquire additional shares from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism, with a view to eventually equalising the shareholdings over a period of 4 years.

Vodafone stated that the transaction will establish a complementary combination that will be India's largest telecoms operator with the most extensive mobile network and a commitment to support the Indian government's Digital India initiative. The combination will result in an operator serving approximately 400 million customers, with a 35% market share in terms of subscribers and a 41% share in terms of revenue. The combined company will hold 1850 MHz of spectrum, including around 1645 MHz of liberalised spectrum acquired through auctions

The combination is expected to enable significant cost and capex synergies with an estimated net present value of approximately INR670 billion ($10 billion) after integration costs and spectrum liberalisation payments, with estimated run-rate savings of INR140 billion ($2.1 billion) on an annualised basis by the fourth full year after completion of the transaction.

Completion of the transaction, which is subject to approvals from relevant regulatory authorities, other customary closing conditions and approval by Idea shareholders, is expected in the 2018 calendar year. After closing, Vodafone India will be deconsolidated by Vodafone, reducing the group's net debt by approximately $8.2 billion.

http://www.vodafone.com/content/index/media/vodafone-group-releases/2017/merger-vodafone-india-idea.html

Friday, March 24, 2017

Nokia delivers 100G Core and Metro for Jio in India

Nokia announced it has provided optical core and metro solution for Reliance Jio Infocomm's (Jio) pan-India 4G LTE network to support traffic growth created by the operator's initiative to deliver broadband connectivity for all of India.

Jio is engaged in rolling out a national mobile broadband network in India and began offering services in September 2016. As part of this deployment, Nokia is providing a 100 Gbit/s transport network that spans 90,000 km designed to enable Jio to offer high-capacity broadband services to underserved regions throughout India, as well as support nationwide long-distance (NLD) service.
Nokia noted that over the past six months, Jio has achieved rapid subscriber growth as part of its plan to transform India into one of the top ten broadband countries globally. With broadband penetration currently at less than 20%, according to ITU data, the majority of the country's population is underserved and as part of its effort to change this Jio is deploying Nokia's transport network to support high bandwidth services such as video streaming, multimedia content distribution and cloud
and business services.

Through the agreement, Nokia is supplying an optical solution designed to provide a scalable, resilient transport network that can meet the connectivity and communication needs for both fixed and wireless users. Jio has deployed the 1830 Photonic Service Switch, including wavelength routing technology and 100 Gbit/s DWDM capabilities, enhanced with GMPLS functionality to enable capacity management and restoration and allow the rapid deployment of new services.

Previously, in late February Jio and Cisco announced a collaboration to expand Jio's multi-terabit capacity, all-IP converged network based on Cisco's Open Network Architecture and cloud-scale networking technologies offering support for IP/MPLS and encompassing data centre, WiFi, security and contact centre solutions. It was noted that as part of its network roll-out Jio had installed over 300,000 km of fibre, and built India's largest cloud data centre.

http://www.nokia.com

  • In early March, Ericsson announced that it was providing its OSS fulfilment suite as part of Jio's broadband network deployment.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tata Power selects Nokia IP/MPLS network in Delhi

Nokia announced that it has provided major Indian power utility Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TATA Power-DDL) with an advanced IP/MPLS network to support the management of its electrical grid in its area of operation across north and north-west Delhi.

The deployment is designed to enable TATA Power-DDL to support both mission-critical operational services and traditional business and IT services leveraging a single communications network. Leveraging the new IP/MPLS network, TATA Power-DDL can support most of its operational and business services using a single network for enhanced operational efficiency.

The IP/MPLS network features Nokia's 7210 Service Access Switch and 7705 Service Aggregation Router portfolios and is designed to support the applications required by utilities, for example Asymmetric Delay Control, a feature developed by Nokia to help ensure network stability for critical teleprotection services. The network is managed by Nokia's 5620 Service Aware Manager system.

For the project, Nokia also provided professional services including network design, installation, commissioning and integration, and will provide ongoing maintenance services and support.

Nokia noted that TATA Power-DDL is the first power utility in India to implement teleprotection service utilising Line-Differential Relay (LDR) over an IP/MPLS network. This capability is a key requirement for operating and maintaining a reliable and safe electric grid. Teleprotection enables fault detection and trip breakers for isolation of specific sections of the grid to contain the affects of a fault to a localised region.

Additional mission-critical services supported by the new network include supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), integrated surveillance system, distribution management system and distribution automation. The network will also enable TATA Power-DDL to support emerging smart grid applications such as distributed energy resources, mobile workforce management systems and automated demand response.

In October 2016, Nokia announced it had delivered a solution with IP/MPLS and optical technology to Swiss electricity transmission system operator Swissgrid as part of its Grid Control Network to enable the management of its electricity grid and specifically support monitoring and switching for electricity transmission.

The project included Nokia's 7705 Service Aggregation Router and 7750 Service Router portfolio, with the xWDM network layer based on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cisco Powers Jio's All-IP Platform - Fastest Growing Network in the World

Cisco confirmed that it is working with India's Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) to further expand Jio’s existing multi-terabit capacity, first All-IP converged network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jio's network is the fastest growing in the world.  Within six months of launch, it reached 100 million broadband and VoLTE customers. Since its launch, Jio has accelerated India’s monthly user data consumption 40 times, the highest in the world. With the advanced All-IP network, Jio offers a premium broadband service at U.S. $0.15/GB, making it the most affordable in the world.

The network supports a combination of high-speed data, mobile video, VoLTE, digital commerce, media, cloud, and payment services. The Cisco All-IP network helps Jio to deliver the vision of Digital India and transform the delivery of citizen services from transportation, utilities and financial inclusion to entertainment, agriculture, education, and healthcare in the country.

The Jio All-IP digital platform is built on Cisco’s Open Network Architecture and Cloud Scale Networking technologies featuring IP/MPLS, spanning areas including Data Center, Wi-Fi, Security and Contact Center solutions. Jio has laid more than 185,000 miles (or 300,000 KM) of fiber, and built India’s largest cloud data center to build platforms for applications and vertical solutions.

"We at Jio have been able to fundamentally impact how people leverage technology in their everyday lives by delivering inclusive and affordable broadband across India,” said Mathew Oommen, president, Reliance Jio. “As part of our journey in fulfilling the aspirations of the nation to be a key transformational agent in Digital Adoption and Leadership, Cisco has been a great partner for in building this highly scalable cloud centric All-IP Digital Services Network Platform meeting unprecedented data growth.

“We share the vision with Reliance Jio for an open, programmable infrastructure to simplify, automate and virtualize core network functions in order to digitize faster,” said Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president, general manager, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “This network marks a milestone, transforming the mobility business in India by delivering a broad range of mobile apps and services from one common platform.”

http://www.cisco.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Global Cloud Xchange Announces 100G Rollout in India

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications (RCOM), announced 100G interconnection of facilities across seven capital cities in India, while providing connectivity between the international gateways in Chennai and Mumbai.

The new network will interconnect with RCOM’s established network of data centers, connected by India's largest terrestrial fiber network which connects seamlessly into GCX’s global subsea infrastructure.

“Chennai and Mumbai are both powerhouse cities and gateways for the major tech and financial institutions doing business across the Indian sub-continent,” said Bill Barney, Co-CEO, Reliance Communications and Chairman & CEO, GCX. “The new Cumulous Network will complement our digital backbone as we complete deployment of our Cloud infrastructure across India.”

“The new Cumulous Network will be a vital backbone to meet soaring demands of new applications such as the company’s new initiatives in the Internet of Things, the deployment of Cloud infrastructure as well as the continued expansion of enterprise franchise in India,” said Wilfred Kwan, Chief Operation Officer, Reliance Communications (Enterprise) and GCX.

This announcement comes after the company announced a massive deleveraging of its assets through a wireless merger with Aircel, a tower divestment with Brookfield and most recently the sale of its Yipes business in North America.

http://www.globalcloudxchange.com
http://www.rcom.co.in

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brocade Supplies SDN for Fujitsu Consulting India

Brocade has supplied the SDN infrastructure supporting a new 2,000-seat Global Delivery Center (GDC) for FUJITSU CONSULTING INDIA.  The programmable network has enabled the IT consulting and integration services provider to run a highly dynamic, 24x7 GDC environment designed to meet the most stringent requirements from Fujitsu Consulting's international client base.

The deployment includes BROCADE ICX 7750 SWITCHES for the campus network core at the new Fujitsu GDC, which offer 96 wire-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports per switch and the capability to integrate up to a dozen switches into a high-performance stack. The stack can be managed as a single device delivering up to 5.76 Tbps of aggregated stacking bandwidth. This port density has allowed Fujitsu to dedicate eight 10 GbE links to each of the BROCADE ICX 7250 STACKABLE SWITCHES, which provide wire-speed 1 GbE network access, with power-over-Ethernet to support IP phones, Wi-Fi access points, and other devices. In addition to the campus network infrastructure, Fujitsu has also deployed BROCADE VDX 6740 SWITCHES in the GDC data center. All the Brocade switches at the Fujitsu GDC fully support the OpenFlow SDN protocol.

http://www.brocade.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bharti Airtel Picks Nokia to expand 4G in 9 Circles

Bharti Airtel has signed a new agreement with Nokia to expand its 4G technology in three new circles in addition to six circles it already serves,  The rollout supports new services that started in September. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Specifically, Nokia will deploy its 4G FDD-LTE & TD-LTE technology across nine of Bharti Airtel's circles in India including the regions of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rest of Bengal, Odisha, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Kerala and UP East, serving major cities such as Lucknow, Ahmendabad, Patna and Siliguri. Nokia will also expand the operator's 3G network in eight of the territories as part of this rollout and modernization of legacy 2G BTS.

http://www.nokia.com

Monday, September 5, 2016

Reliance Jio Launches Mobile Digital Price War in India

Reliance Jio Infocomm (“Jio”) is making waves and setting off a price war with the launch of mobile digital services for India.

The Jio Welcome Offer includes unlimited LTE data and national voice, video and messaging services along with the full bouquet of Jio applications and content, free of cost up to 31 December 2016.

Jio has filed its tariff plans with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”).

Shri Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, said his company is "dedicated to realising the Prime Minister’s inspiring vision of “Digital India” for 1.2 billion Indians.

Ambani outlined five fundamental pillars of the Jio ecosystem: (i) The best quality broadband network with the highest capacity; (ii) A world of affordable, cutting-edge devices; (iii) Compelling applications and content; (iv) Superior digital service experiences; and
(v) Affordable and simple tariffs.

Some highlights of the announcement:

  • Domestic voice calls to any network across the country would be free for Jio subscribers even beyond the Jio Welcome Offer. 
  • Domestic roaming services would also not be charged separately.  
  • Average data prices would be around Rs. 50/ GB, which would be amongst the lowest in the world.
  • Leveraging its all-IP network, Jio will also offer end-to-end solutions that address the entire value chain across various digital services in key domains such as education, healthcare, security, communication, financial services, government-citizen interfaces and entertainment.
  • Jio is also launching a Digital India Start-up Fund, promising to invest Rs. 5,000 crores in start-ups over the next 5 years.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Is the Axiata Group of Malaysia just a smaller version of Singtel? - Part 2

 Foreword: -- Is the Axiata Group of Malaysia just a smaller version of Singtel? --Part 2 ------Some further data from the Axiata 2015 AR shows the distribution of revenue by country or group 

In thousands of Malaysian ringgits 

------------------>                    REVENUE.            EBITDA.          PROFIT 
MALAYSIA.                        7,330,177               2,719,163.          1,301,311 
INDONESIA                        6,619,966               2,512,587              (10,932) 
BANGLADESH.                 2,622,844                   944,179.            200,438 
SRI LANKA                        2,081,835.                 684,315.               98,581 
OTHERS.                             1,756,355.                452,831.           1,075,272 
ELIMINATIONS. (527,717). (29,021). (28,602) 
TOTAL 19,883,460. 7,284,054. 2,636,068 

As can be seen Malaysia provides just under 37% of total revenue but almost half total profit; Others are amazingly profitable 
The rest appear in poor shape profit wise. 

Recent news 
--------------------News just in on Axiata merger in Bangladesh 
On September 1st 2016, Axiata Group Bhd and Bharti Airtel Ltd received the approval of Bangladesh's High Court to merge their operations in the country. 

On completion of the merger, Axiata would hold a controlling 68.7% stake in the combined entity, while Bharti would own 25%. The remaining 6.3% would be held by existing shareholder NTT DoCoMo of Japan. Bharti Airtel Bangladesh is reported to have around 17 million mobile customers compared to Axiata Bangladesh's existing 50 million 

However, the merger fee and spectrum charge will come to almost RM320mil in total. Previously the possibility of very high charges had threatened to derail the merger. 

In its statement to the stock exchange on Thursday, Axiata did not say whether it would appeal, or consider to appeal, for a lower amount. 

Axiata had originally targeted to complete the merger transaction in the first half of 2016. In the latest announcement to Bursa Malaysia, it gave the fourth quarter of 2016 as the new deadline. The court in Bangladesh also ruled that spectrums assigned to Robi Axiata and to Airtel Bangladesh respectively prior to the proposed merger would continue to be used by the amalgamated company for the time period stipulated in the letter of assignment or license. 

-------------------Axiata could get control of M1 in Singapore 

In late January 2016, Bloomberg reported that, according to some of its private sources, Temasek Singapore's sovereign wealth fund was considering possible adjustments in their stock holdings by two of Temasek's portfolio companies namely Keppel and Sembcorp Marine, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 maker of oil rigs, of which Temasek owned 21.0% and. 49.5% respectively. 
Orders at Keppel and Sembcorp Marine, had dropped in 2015 to their weakest level in six years as falling crude prices crimped demand for drilling equipment and the two companies also faced cancellation risks from a major client in Brazil. Temasek also did not believe the demand for oil rigs would recover for at least three years. 

According to Bloomberg's informants, Temasek was considering the possibility of Keppel selling its 19.1 percent stake in wireless operator M1 Ltd. and paring its 44.6 percent interest in office landlord Keppel REIT. 
In early March 2016 a report by BMI Research suggested that if Keppel Corporation decided to sell off its 19.08% stake in mobile operator M1, then Temasek and, the Axiata Group which currently held a 28.32%* in M1 would be the most obvious buyers of Keppel’s stake. In Axiata's case acquiring Keppel’s stake would enable Axiata to own a controlling stake in M1, which in turn would give it better control over the telco's business direction and assets. 

Meanwhile, Keppel’s divestment would mean that the Singapore government, which holds stakes in all three operators, would be losing a major stake in the country's smallest operator. 


NB* Shown as 29.12% in Part 1 

----------------------India 

Axiata's subsidiary Idea Cellular has been doing very well in India generally gaining share every month and is definitively the country's third largest operator The company now has a clear 17 % mobile market share only 2.2 pp behind Vodafone 

In early June 2016, Axiata Digital invested $16 million in four years old StoreKing of India which uses modern low-cost technology kiosks equipped with low-cost TV monitors and Android tablets to provide a simple self-service shopping experience to small-town shoppers. 
With presence in over 1,200 towns, StoreKing’s model enables rural retailers to sell over 50,000 products to walk-in customers via the digital kiosks. The retail shop owner helps customers use the mobile kiosk, select products and make cash payment to the retailer. In return, a receipt is given and StoreKing ships the products to the retail store within 24-48 hours. Users then can collect their order from these retail stores. 
Currently, StoreKing operates 16,000 mobile kiosks with a network of local stores across south India. It claims to deliver over 150,000 orders every month from a base of over 1 million. 

--------------------Need to reduce debt in Indonesia 

At the end of March 2016, PT XL Axiata Tbk, signed an agreement to sell 2,500 of its broadcast towers to tower provider PT Professional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo) for Rp 3.5 trillion (US$267.2 million) in an effort to pay off some of the company’s debt. 
XL Axiata finance director Mohamed Adlan bin Ahmad Tajudin explained that the sale of the towers was part of the company'€™s strategy to reduce its total debt, which stands at Rp 26.9 trillion and is due in 2020. 

Summary 
Axiata and Singtel do appear to be rather closely competitive in Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Singapore. Both companies seem to have similar strategies but Axiata does not seem quite big enough to execute well 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reliance/GCX Launch SD-WAN

Reliance Communications & Global Cloud Xchange are teaming up to offer a global SD-WAN solution for enterprises.  The service delivers enhanced MPLS class VPN connectivity for enterprises, featuring low cost, Cloud-based, secure routing across the world’s largest subsea cable infrastructure.

“In today’s market, it is evident that SD WAN is rapidly gaining momentum as it offers an innovative way to adapt traditional WANs to Cloud services,” said Bill Barney, CEO, RCOM (Enterprise) and GCX. “Cloud X WAN, was developed to address the market, offering an affordable solution which embraces flexibility, scalability and enhanced security.”

RCOM/GCX’s Cloud X WAN will provide cloud-based managed services globally across the company’s proprietary CLOUD X platform; a leading edge Cloud ecosystem and multi-service orchestration platform implemented in key hubs along GCX’s Global subsea network infrastructure.

“Cloud X WAN is an evolution of GCX’s existing hybrid WAN service which already connects more than 20,000 locations to a global MPLS network via the Internet. A simple SD WAN router will form the basic building block, carrying out instructions from a centralized SD WAN controller. This device will perform key routing functions and other virtualized network services as selected in real-time in a portal by the customer” said Braham Singh, SVP, Product Management, RCOM (Enterprise) and GCX.

http://www.globalcloudxchange.com

Friday, August 12, 2016

Nokia Delivers Database for Vodafone India's 200M Subs

Nokia completed the modernization of a Home Location Register (HLR) database for Vodafone India SuperNet. The company described the project as world's largest HLR upgrade, as its consolidated databases across 17 circles covering over 200 million entries. The number of database hosting nodes was also reduced from 46 to 12, improving efficiencies, enhancing performance and optimizing costs.

As part of the project, Nokia implemented its Subscriber Data Management (SDM) solution, which features Nokia's One-NDS (Network Directory Server), thereby consolidating network-related subscriber data into a single unified platform to be shared across multiple applications. Nokia's Systems Integration Services team seamlessly migrated the HLR database without disruption to Vodafone India's network and its 200 million subscribers, efficiently meeting a challenging deadline with the highest quality.

Nokia's SDM technology's geo-redundancy feature ensures that the subscriber database of one location is backed-up in the HLR of another in case of any incident like a network upgrade or natural disaster.

http://www.nokia.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Riverbed Expands R&D in Bangalore

Riverbed Technology opened a new global Research and Development facility in Bangalore, India. The new center will be the largest Riverbed R&D facility outside the U.S..

The company said it intends to expand its engineering team in the region three-fold over the next several years.

The Riverbed India R&D Center will be led by Kartik Subbanna, Vice President of Engineering, reporting to US-based Vineet Abraham, Riverbed’s Senior Vice President of Engineering.

http://www.riverbed.com

Thursday, June 2, 2016

DigitalOcean Opens Bangalore Data Center

DigitalOcean inaugurated a data center in Bangalore, India.  Bangalore will be DigitalOcean’s 8th region globally, following New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Singapore, London, Frankfurt, and Toronto.

DigitalOcean offers SSD-enabled cloud servers starting at US$5 per month, along with simplified pricing for bandwidth, snapshots and additional services.
http://www.digitalocean.com


Digital Ocean Secures $130 Million for Cloud Buildout

DigitalOcean, a start-up based in New York City, secured a $130 million credit facility to continue its mission of building a next generation cloud for scaling startups and software defined businesses.

DigitalOcean offers SSD-enabled cloud servers with simplified pricing tiers.

The company said that over the past two years it has expanded its registered customer base from 253,000 to 708,000 users, who have launched over 13 million cloud servers. The credit facilities will be used to purchase equipment in order to continue its global expansion and support increasing demand.

"We are delighted with the outcome of our credit facility. It complements the $83 million Series B equity financing that we closed in June 2015 and our strong cash flows and balance sheet in pursuing long-term growth opportunities," commented Brian Cohen, Chief Financial Officer of DigitalOcean.

http://www.digitalocean.com


DigitalOcean Raises $83 Million for Cloud Hosting

DigitalOcean, a start-up based in New York City, announced $83 million in Series B funding for its cloud infrastructure for developers of websites and applications.

DigitalOcean offers simple cloud hosting with all servers built on powerful Hex Core machines with dedicated ECC Ram and RAID SSD storage. The company notes that more than 6 million Droplets (cloud servers) have been deployed on DigitalOcean by more than 500,000 developers to date.

The funding round was led by Access Industries, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz.

https://www.digitalocean.com/features/technology/

See also