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Google Targets Lucrative India Phone Market

With the mobile market in developed economies nearing saturation point, technology giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon are turning to large and fast-growing markets in Asia and Africa.

India is especially prized, simultaneously home to the second-largest number of smartphones in the world – more than 330m in circulation – and the world’s largest offline population: more than 1 billion people in 2016, according to the World Bank.

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India telecoms price war for data services

Things in India are now getting serious amongst the competing networks, as each of them have slashed the costs of their data services in order to drive new customers and growth. With the pending implementation of 4G and adoption of 3G, networks are keen to ensure the prices for each service are separated, creating a “superior” service feel for their premium products.

As of July 1st 2013, DoCoMo will be reducing the prices of both their 2G and 3G services by 90%. This has been in response to Bharti Airtel’s move to cut the rates on their 4G service and Vodafone reducing 2G service rates by 80% from 10p per KB of data to just 2p.

Analyst for Gartner, Kamlesh Bhartia commented “The idea is to start getting some momentum on the data side and building some top line growth with respect to data. They expect that 3G data will pick up and they want to create price differentiation between 2G and 3G, which is then positioned as a slightly more premium offering – until LTE [4G] comes along that is”.

These moves have started to occur in light of reports that the growth in voice traffic is slowing. As of March 31st 2013, voice traffic only grew by 9%. This is compared to 15% and 24% in the previous two years. As this market starts to plateau, the networks are seeking alternative services to sign customers up to – with data being amongst the fastest growing uses worldwide.

The winners of the price war for the time being will be the customers who sign up to these services, however do expect prices hikes at the end of the year in regards to data usage.


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Telecoms – Bringing Brothers Back Together

The world’s richest brothers, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, have joined forces for the first time in nearly a decade since their fathers death, seeing them join separate telecoms businesses to share 4G speeds. The deal is said to be worth $200m and will be focused on the India telecoms market.

The Ambani brothers are both billionaires through their separate businesses, both building on the substantial wealth left to them when their father, Dhirubhai died in 2002. However, their father hadn’t left a will, so the brothers were left to battle it out with one another to see who got what from the Reliance empire.

Ever since, the brothers have feuded with one another, with an agreement restricting one another from entering each others markets. However, in 2010 that agreement was abolished, opening up speculation that relations between the brothers had worsened further.

Therefore, it is somewhat surprising news that the brothers have now come together in a deal which not only see’s them in the same industry, but sharing resources with each other to grow their own respective businesses. It also highlights just how important the companies value 4G and the opportunities it can present.

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Tata Telecommunications set to leave Kashmir

Tata Docomo, the company behind Tata Telecommunications has been forced to withdraw their service from the Indian-controlled area of Kashmir, after it was discovered that the airwaves the company were using were sold illegally.

The decision to ban the service came after India’s Supreme Court ruled that 122 2G services that were issued in 2008 were done so illegally. This means that Tata Communications, who provide their service on one of their frequencies, must halt their service in the area until they are re-auctioned. This means that many thousands of customers that live in the area will be without a service, until the situation is resolved.

This news has been filtered through to the customers in a company newsletter that read “Tata Teleservices is constrained to withdraw from Jammu and Kashmir with effect from Jan 18th, 2013 and as a result your (the customers) connection will be deactivated post Jan 18th 2013”.

Initially, when the Supreme Court had made the decision to withdraw the airwaves back in Feb 2012, Tata had instantly applied to have the service resumed. However, the company then withdraw their approach in Nov, leaving over 115,000 customers not knowing what service they should subscribe to next.

The matter of the airwaves is now set to be resolved by the Indian government.