BSNL Unveils New Double Data, Talk Time, Roaming Benefits for Prepaid Subscribers

Ever since Reliance Jio has entered the industry, private telecom operators like Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea have reduced their data prices and introduced lucrative offers regularly to keep its customer base from migrating. State run BSNL has also been doing the same, and at the very moment, the telecom provider has a bunch of offers for its subscribers owing to Independence Day, Onam, and more.

As part of its Independence Day offers, BSNL has announced full talk-time on low priced recharges like Rs. 20, Rs. 40, Rs. 60, and Rs. 80. The Rs. 120, Rs. 160, and Rs. 220 recharges will offer Rs. 130, Rs. 180, and Rs. 220 talk-time respectively.

Coming to data, there is a Rs. 78 plan which offers 1GB of data validity for five days. However, that has been doubled to 2GB for now. Similarly, Rs. 198 plan that offered 1GB of data for 28 days will now offer 2GB of data. The Rs. 291 plan will now offer double data at 4.4GB, and the Rs. 561 plan will now offer 10GB of data with a validity of 60 days. All of these offers will last till August 20 and are applicable for prepaid subscribers only.

These benefits and all other voice/SMS, Special Tariff Voucher (STV) and Combo Voucher benefits through different plans are applicable to the user even when they are on national roaming moving forward. This was also announced by BSNL as part of its Independence Day offers, and went into effect from August 15 in all areas where BSNL operates. R.K.Mittal, Director (CM) BSNL Board said in a statement, “Armed force personnel, professionals, business person, and students all will get more benefit from this scheme.”

BSNL Unveils New Double Data, Talk Time, Roaming Benefits for Prepaid SubscribersSeparately, a limited period offer to celebrate Onam has also been launched. This plan is called the Onam Plan and it is applicable only for Kerala subscribers. The plan is priced at Rs. 44 and offers 500MB data benefits, 5 paise per minute for BSNL to BSNL calls (10 paise for BSNL to other network calls) for the first 30 days to its new customers only, talk value of Rs. 20, and a validity of 365 days. After you finish the prescribed data, additional data will be charged at 10 paise per MB (Rs. 100/GB). After the 30-day call subsidy, all calls under the Onam Plan, “from anywhere to any network in India,” will be charged at one paisa per second.

There’s also the option to add four numbers of friends and family who will also enjoy calls at 10 paise per minute to BSNL numbers and 20 paise per minute to other networks. A BSNL subscriber with this plan activated can add four members by SMSing FFE<>10 digit mobile number/LL to 123. To migrate from other plans, Kerala customers need to send an SMS to mobile number 123 in the format ‘PLAN < space > ONAM’. New subscribers get a free SIM when activating this plan.

Apart from all these offers, BSNL also has a ‘Sixer’ or ‘666’ plan which offers unlimited voice calls to any network, 2GB per day data, and comes with 60 day validity.

Ericsson Could Shed 25,000 Jobs in Cost-Cutting Drive: Report

Mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson may lay off around 25,000 employees outside Sweden as part of its savings programme, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported on Thursday, citing unidentified sources at the company.

Ericsson said in July it would accelerate measures to meet a target of doubling its 2016 underlying operating margin of 6 percent and that it aimed to reach an annual cost reduction run rate of at least SEK 10 billion ($1.2 billion) by mid-2018.

Ericsson has said actions will be taken primarily in service delivery and common costs while research and development would be largely unaffected.

Ericsson Could Shed 25,000 Jobs in Cost-Cutting Drive: ReportThe company faces mounting competition from China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia as well as weak emerging markets and falling spending by telecom operators with demand for next-generation 5G technology still years away.

Svenska Dagbladet said it was not clear whether the planned layoffs included employees within its media operations, which are up for strategic review and seen by analysts as likely to be sold by the group.

“Ericsson has not communicated which specific units or countries could be affected. It is too early to talk about specific measures or exclude any country,” Ericsson said in a statement on its website.

Ericsson has around 109,000 employees.

BSNL, MobiKwik Partner to Launch Co-Branded Mobile Wallet

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) on Thursday launched a mobile wallet that would enable its existing 100 million customers to make bill payments and transact on e-commerce platforms.

The wallet has been developed and issued by MobiKwik on behalf of BSNL.

“With this co-branded wallet, the ease of payment will be extended to all the customers while equally strengthening financial inclusion in the rural hinterlands, which often get neglected. Going digital is the need of an hour for both urban and rural areas, and this partnership is definitely a step in right direction,” said Communications Minister Manoj Sinha.

BSNL, MobiKwik Partner to Launch Co-Branded Mobile WalletThe wallet app enables fast online recharges, bill payments, shopping and bus booking, among many other activities.

“Through this strategic partnership between BSNL and MobiKwik, we are taking another important milestone in achieving PM Modi’s vision of enabling and making India a less-cash society based on his grand vision of digital India. We at BSNL are proud to be part of this programme and will ensure that all our 100 million BSNL customers will be able to seamlessly and conveniently transact and pay mobile and other financial payments through the co-branded MobiKwik wallet,” said Anupam Srivastava, Chairman cum Managing Director, BSNL.

“BSNL wallet will enable masses in paying bills, recharging their phone connections and paying for their daily purchases, within seconds,” said Bipin Preet Singh, founder and CEO, MobiKwik.

Call Drops: TRAI Says Telcos Can Be Fined Up to Rs. 5 Lakhs on Call Drops

The Indian telecom watchdog on Friday announced stricter rules over call drops and said telecom operators who don’t meet the norms can be fined up to Rs. 5 lakhs.

“Graded financial disincentives in case service providers fail to meet the DCR (drop all rates) benchmarks have been introduced, in which amount payable may depend upon the extent of deviation from the benchmarks,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.

It said if the benchmark is not met, the service provider may be fined up to Rs. 5 lakhs against one parameter “depending upon the extent of deviation of performance from the benchmark.

“In case of consecutive contravention of the benchmarks for two quarters, financial disincentive may be up to one and half times and in case of consecutive contravention of the benchmark for more than two quarters, it may be twice the amount,” said the regulator.

Call Drops: TRAI Says Telcos Can Be Fined Up to Rs. 5 Lakhs on Call DropsTRAI said the amended regulation of “Quality of Services” would be effective from October 1.

In the present methodology of assessment of call drops, averaging was being done to evaluate the performance of the network over the entire service area and it was being averaged every month.

The regulator said the averaging in effect hides the poorly performing cells.

“As a result, while service providers were meeting the benchmarks, customers were complaining about the poor quality of service.”

TRAI said the revised methodology would be done on percentile basis.

“It will remove the anomaly which was getting introduced due to averaging of DCR of bad performing cells in the network with good or excellent performing cells.”

Indian Smartphone Market Hit by GST Awareness, Should Bounce Back Next Quarter: IDC

After witnessing slow growth in the first two quarters of this year, the Indian smartphone market is preparing for a bumper period owing to the upcoming festive season, a new report said on Wednesday.

According to market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), 28 million smartphones were shipped to India in Q2 (April-June) – marking just 3.7 percent Quarter-on-Quarter (QoQ) growth and a meagre 1.6 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth. The research firm observes a January-December financial year.

The impact of demonetisation late last year and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 caused weak sell-in shipments in the second quarter as the focus was on clearing the existing inventory.

But as the festive season is approaching, offline channels have cleared old stocks, e-retailers are getting ready for mega online festivals and vendors are set to launch new models in the festive period.

“The sentiment is indeed positive in the market. All the ambiguities have cleared now and vendors are gearing up for the upcoming festival season to recover from the slow start in the first half of this year,” said Jaipal Singh, Senior Analyst, IDC India, in a statement.

Indian Smartphone Market Hit by GST Awareness, Should Bounce Back Next Quarter: IDCIndian vendors registered 18 percent growth (QoQ) in Q2 after continuous decline in previous three quarters but share remains limited to 15 percent of overall smartphone market.

China-based vendors, which registered 9 percent QoQ growth, continue to dominate with 54 per cent market share.

“Indian vendors are putting all their efforts and second half of the year will be crucial. Either it will see a revival of Indian vendors or emergence of new dominance in the sub-$150 segment from China-based vendors,” said Upasana Joshi, Senior Analyst, IDC India.

Despite a decline of 4 percent YoY, Samsung retained the top brand spot with 24 percent market share.

Xiaomi secured the second place with 17 percent market share, a 25 percent increase from previous quarter.

Xiaomi is followed by Vivo (13 percent), Oppo (8 percent) and Lenovo with 7 percent market share.

“Reliance’s 4G JioPhone has created an excitement both in the channel and consumer front. This may stabilise the declining feature phone market in the short term and the year 2017 is expected to end with a similar volume as last year,” noted Navkendar Singh, senior Research Manager, IDC India.

Jio Phone Offline Bookings Begin: Delivery Date, Documents You Need, Price, and More Details

Jio Phone bookings have opened in certain offline retail stores in the Delhi-NCR area, ahead of the scheduled August 24 date that was announced at the Reliance AGM on July 21. If you have such an offline retailer taking Jio Phone bookings right now, you can be ahead of the millions who are expected to buy the handset when bookings officially open. Gadgets 360 spoke to one such retailer to find out the details of the pre-order process, the documents needed, how many units a person can order, delivery date, and when the Rs. 1,500 refundable security deposit needs to be made. Find out everything you need to know about the Jio Phone booking below.

Jio Phone booking with Aadhaar number

To book JioPhone, you will need to submit a copy of your Aadhaar card with the authorised Jio retailer, whether it is a store around the corner or a Reliance Jio outlet. As an individual consumer, you can get only one unit per Aadhaar number across the country, so you will not be able to place orders on different stores in the hopes of getting multiple units. After you submit the Aadhaar number, your details will be uploaded into centralised software that will assign you a token number, which you need to cite while picking up the phone.

Jio Phone price

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced at the July 21 event that the JioPhone will effectively be free, with an upfront, refundable security deposit of Rs. 1,500. Now, while making the JioPhone booking offline, you will not have to pay anything when you submit your Aadhaar number. The Rs. 1,500 payment will have to be made only when you pick up the unit assigned to you from the offline retail store. This sum can be reclaimed after 36 months of using the handset, according to Jio.

Jio Phone Offline Bookings Begin: Delivery Date, Documents You Need, Price, and More DetailsJio Phone delivery date

The JioPhone delivery date for those who place the order right now will be between September 1 and September 4. This delivery date is expected to swell up as the number of bookings increase over the coming week, so it is best to pre-order the device as soon as possible to get your hands on it earlier. Ambani at the Reliance AGM had only mentioned September as the month of delivery, without specifying any specific date. He had also said the company aims to delivery 5 million units a week to consumers.

It is yet unclear whether the bookings are open at all offline retailers right now, or if it is being opened in phases. We have contacted the JioPhone team for clarification, and will update the story as soon as we get an answer. The online bookings for the handset begin on August 24 via the MyJio app.

Jio Phone specifications, features

To recap on the JioPhone, the entry-level phone will come with unlimited voice, data, and texts. Customers will have to recharge with a Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan monthly pack of Rs. 153, which will give them free voice, texts, unlimited data (high-speed data capped at 500MB per day), and free access to Jio apps for 28 days. At the 40th AGM, Ambani also announced an accessory called Jio Phone TV-Cable that will allow users to connect their phones with any kind of television sets. For connecting phone to TV, users will have to recharge with the Rs. 309 per month pack.

Talking about Jio Phone features, the device comes with an alphanumeric keypad, 2.4-inch display with QVGA display, microSD card slot, torchlight, FM radio. It will be a single SIM handset that works only on 4G VoLTE networks. The phone supports voice commands and 22 Indian languages, and has a panic button as well. A short demo of the voice command feature on Jio Phone was showcased during the keynote presentation where the device was able to play music via Jio Music.

Additionally, the handset will also come with a panic button that is enabled when long-pressing the number 5. The Jio phone will come with NFC support for digital payments that will be rolled out to users via OTA software upgrade. Qualcomm and Spreadtrum have confirmed that their chips power the new feature phone. The phone does not have WhatsApp support at the moment, though we did catch glimpse of a Web browser, Facebook, and PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat broadcast during the unveiling at the Reliance AGM.

Reliance Jio, Tata Teleservices Oppose Airtel, Vodafone Pleas on TRAI IUC Rules

Reliance Jio and Tata Tele Services Ltd (TTSL) today opposed in the Delhi High Court the pleas filed by telecom firms Bharti Airtel and Vodafone challenging TRAI’s interconnect usage charges regulations fixing termination charges for landline to wireless as zero paise and wireless to wireless at 14 paise per minute.

Reliance Jio, Tata Teleservices Oppose Airtel, Vodafone Pleas on TRAI IUC RulesInterconnection usage charges (IUC) or termination charges are payable by one telco, whose subscriber makes a call, to another whose subscriber receives the call. The charge is payable by the first for using the second’s network.

The counsel appearing for Reliance Jio and TTSL told a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that they are opposing the petitions filed by Airtel and Vodafone.

To this, the bench said, “We felt that all the service providers are on the same footing.”

However, senior advocate P Chidambaram, who was appearing for one of the petitioners, told the bench that service providers who have less customers are not at “disadvantage” but operators having a large customer base are “suffering” due to the regulation.
He argued that the service providers were incurring loss due to termination charges fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulation.

“I have incurred huge amount in my infrastructure. If somebody is using my infrastructure and earning revenue, they have to share it with me and I should also get some revenue out of it,” he told the bench during the arguments which would continue on January 9.

“Bigger network providers are suffering wider disadvantage,” he said, adding, “Sharing the revenue does not mean that somebody will collect the revenue and will not share it with me. Sharing the revenue can never mean 100 on the one side and zero on the other.”
Chidambaram also questioned the power of TRAI in fixing termination charge as zero.

While the counsel appearing for Reliance Jio said that they are opposing the pleas, TTSL had earlier filed a counter affidavit in the matter saying the regulation under challenge “has already been successfully implemented and is in force since last 16 months i.e. from March 1, 2015”.

Vodafone Mobile Service Ltd had approached the high court in November 2015 after which Airtel had also moved the court seeking quashing of telecom interconnect usage charges regulations issued by TRAI on February 23, 2015.

Airtel has also sought directions to TRAI “to fix termination charges by applying the cost-based and work-done principle on a non-discriminatory basis”.

Vodafone in its plea has claimed that the regulations are illegal, bad in fact and in law, arbitrary and in gross violation of the principles of natural justice, beyond the functions of TRAI.

Vodafone had told the court that the fixation of terms of interconnectivity, which includes the termination charge by TRAI, cannot be zero where costs are incurred by the terminating operator and therefore, the regulations fixing the charge as zero is ultra vires the provisions of the TRAI Act.

Reliance Jio tariff plans expected to start at Rs 50 for 10GB 4G data and 500 minutes of voice calls

Reliance revolutionised the Indian telecom sector back in 2003, and it seems moving towards repeating the feat. Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio has been in the news ever since it became the only operator to hold pan-India 4G license. The company is also cashing in on the buzz quite aggressively, as even before the commercial rollout, consumers have the ability to test out its services free of charge under the ‘Jio preview offer’.

Reliance Jio

The preview offer is certainly enticing as it offers free calls and 4G data, but it’s valid for a period of 90 days only. If you are wondering about Jio’s tariffs once the service  launches commercially, then we might have good news for you.

Reliance Jio tariffs - 91mobiles 01

As per a reliable source who also managed to take a screengrab of the tariffs, the recharge plans for 30 days would start at as low as Rs 50, which would include 10GB 4G data, 100 SMSes and 500 minutes of voice calls. To offer an entire ecosystem to its users, Jio also has a variety of apps offering premium content, such as JioBeats for music, JioMags for magazines, and JioPlay for TV shows among others, and the base plan would let users use two of these apps. For Rs 100, subscribers would get the double the benefits – 20GB 4G data, 200 SMSes, and 1,000 minutes of voice calls, along with the ability to access three Jio apps. For 40GB data, 400 SMSes, 1,500 minutes of calls, and access to five apps, one would need to pay Rs 200. Moving up, Rs 400 will get you a whopping 60GB 4G data, 500 SMSes, 2,500 minutes worth of voice calls and access to seven premium apps from Jio for a period of 30 days.

With Jio firing on all cylinders to make the preview offer available for all compatible mobile devices, the commercial launch seems imminent. Do note that since the official announcement on the tariffs hasn’t been made yet, the details we have provided could change before the actual commercial release. However, if the aforementioned tariffs are true, then there’s little doubt that Reliance Jio would revolutionise the telecom industry. For reference, 1GB of 4G data from other operators costs roughly Rs 250 currently, which means that Jio would be undercutting all the incumbents, inevitably leading to price wars.

Nokia Bid for Alcatel-Lucent Opens

An all-share offer by Finnish telecom group Nokia for its French-American rival Alcatel-Lucent will open on Wednesday, the French financial markets authority (AMF) said.

If successful, the acquisition will create the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone network equipment.

“The public offer will be open from November 18 until December 23,” the authority said.

Nokia’s bid was cleared by the French government last month, having already received all US regulatory approvals needed.

Nokia expects to finalise the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, which has only had a single year of profits since its creation in 2006, early next year.

In the all-paper operation, the Finnish operator is offering 0.55 Nokia stock for every Alcatel-Lucent share, valuing Alcatel-Lucent at EUR 15.6 billion ($16.7 billion or roughly Rs. 1,03,635 crores).

Nokia used to be the world’s biggest mobile handset maker before selling that business to Microsoft.

It has since been concentrating on mobile networks in Europe, where Alcatel-Lucent is weak.

The French-US company, however, is well-positioned in the North American market, where Nokia is hoping to make inroads.

Official Apple Watch Dock Leaked In Photos

Apple Watch Dock

A number of third part accessory makes have launched docks and stands for the Apple Watch and now it looks like Apple is getting ready to launch their own Apple Watch dock.

Some photos have appeared online showing the new Apple Watch dock and also the devices packaging, it will apparently be called the Magnetic Charging Dock for the Apple Watch.

watch dock

As we can see from the photos the dock can be used to charge the Apple Watch in Nightstand Mode and also when the watch is placed flat on the dock.

watch dock

There are no details as yet on when Apple will launch this new charging dock for the Apple Watch, although we suspect it could be made available shortly just in time for the holiday shopping season. The dock is expected to retail for around $100, as soon as we get some more details on when it will launch, we will let you guys know.

watch dock