Telekom Malaysia has bought 49% stake in the Modi’s controlled Spice Telecom. Spice Telecom is a GSM operator operating in the circles of Punjab and Karnataka since 1995. Though Spice has competed well in Punjab it is far behind in the number of subscribers it has in Karnataka, a mere 400,000. Spice was in talks with Telekom Malaysia and Maxis since early Feburary this year. Telekom Malaysia paid $180 million for a 49% stake thus valuing Spice at $360 Million(Rs1600 crores). I learn from my insiders that Spice has added around 100,000 users in the past 3 weeks thus taking the total subscriber base to 19,00,000. Telekom Malaysia got a deal by just paying Rs8,400/subscriber while Maxis had paid Rs14,300/subscriber when it acquired Aircel.
Insiders tell me that Spice has been aggressively trying to market in rural areas and has also paid BSNL to acquire the required bandwidth. Spice hopes that the network upgradation will be completed by end of June.
Convergence India insiders have learnt that TRAI & the Govt of India to protect consumers interest have ordered all the Cellular operators in India to comply with the mobile number portability guidelines and recommendations. Cellular operators have been given a time frame of 1 year. The scheme should be effective from April-1st 2007 and operators should not charge more than Rs200 per consumer for migration. The portability is restricted to intra-circle only.
Reliance Communications Venture Limited, the holding company of Reliance Telecom and Reliance Infocomm started trading on March-6th. The stock closed at Rs290 giving it a market capitalisation of around Rs35,000 crores (USD 8 Billion). The financials of the company are still not crystal clear as group and family interests have always overruled small investors in the Reliance family 😛 . Bharti Tele-Ventures leads the telecom stocks in India with a market cap double than that of Reliance Communications.
After landing in Bangalore took Shatbadi to my native. It was nice to see that Reliance Telecom’s internet working on train. I feel this service is extremely useful for folks on the move. All you need is a PCMCIA card from Reliance which will cost Rs6500 and Rs1500 subscription fees per month for unlimited internet access. It works wherever Reliance India Mobile works. The only bottleneck is Speed -;) It sucks! They promise 64-128Kbps but its around 28Kbps.
Business Standard reports that Indian telcos are experimenting with IPTV rollouts in select cities by the end of Q2-2006. Hats off to Shri. Dayanidhi Maran, union minister of IT & communications without whom we would be still struggling to shape our cell phone industry. Why is this a significant development in India ?
Indians didn’t have another alternative for their Cable TV programmes. The cable industry was mainly controlled by local dons with the support of netas. Efforts to privatize the cable industry had even led to the murder of some corporate executives. Also due to Cable infrastructure bottlenecks, Video on demand would have remained a dream for the Indian consumer.
Rapidly changing telecom technology has made this Convergence of TV and Broadband possible in India. If Google and Verizon are to be believed, then the world will be IP based. Its a good move by Indian telcos to directly adopt IP technology. Also Indian telecom companies like BSNL, Reliance and Bharti have unused fiber laid throughout the country which can be put to use effectively. True convergence in India 🙂
At last the Finance Ministry is listening to Telecom operators woes. It is reliably learnt that Telecom will be treated at par with core infrastucture like Power and Roads in the upcoming budget on Feb-28th. The significance of this will be Telecos will get a 10 year 100% tax exemption which will enable them to upgrade and invest in remote areas. The government is already being compensated for loss of revenuse by means of service taxes from consumers. Zero tax for Telcos/Cellcos means more investments in next generation technologies. Get ready to watch the next cricket match on your cell phone – true convergence atlast.