Continued growth in GSM subscribers in India during the last quarter of 2005, has reason for one Finnish company to keep smiling – Nokia. Nokia expects its handset sales to be close to 900 million units in 2006. Continued co-operation from the government by reducing import duty on handsets from 50% in 2000 to 5% in 2005, thus eliminating the grey market and a constant push by IT Minister Mr. Dayanidhi Maran to expand services to rural areas will not only help boost the bottomline of handset manufacturers but also that of network infrastructure companies. Further concessions are available for handset manufacturers who want to setup shop in India and localize to the Indian diversity.
Nokia is the market leader in India followed by Sony-Erricson and Samsung. The trio control a whoping 85% of the GSM handset market. GSM is the most sought after service with 80% of Indian subscribers opting for it, while the remaining 20% is divided between CDMA and WLL.
As Infoworld reports that AOL is testing new AOL calendar, webmail and a toolbar for firefox browser. Their couldn’t have been a better time to report this development. Just a day after the Billion Dollar Google AOL deal. I am not going to talk about the deal as more than million people have already spoken about it.
Here is an insider look at Google AOL or AOL Google deal. This is just one of the things I am speculating as Google likes to keep the terms closed. If you have noticed, Google is aggressively spending and supporting to get FireFox installed on as many clients as possible. AOL’s proprietary and lousy client uses Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the engine to drive. If Dr. Eric Schmidt was careful in spelling terms of the deal, then I am sure he wouldn’t have missed this clause of integrating FireFox browser in AOLs client throwing away Internet Explorer.
Latest statistics from W3Schools indicate that Non-IE browsers have a market share of 33% with FireFox leading at 19.6%. If Google replaces FireFox as the engine in AOL client, then expect FireFox to gain significantly over Microsoft’s IE.
The pre-diwali subscription addition is showing no signs of slow down. Most of the additions were in the Cellular category with Wireless in Local Loop(WLL – something very popular in the Indian Convergence story) securing second place ahead of Land lines. 37.9 lakh new connections were added for month ending Novermber compared to 32.4 lakhs and 28.5 lakhs in October and September respectively. The total tally is skewed towards cell phone subscribes, with 7.1 Crores and land line subscribers at 4.9 crores. The tele-density is now at 11% and operatrors expect more growth as they move interior to remote towns and villages. DOT has set an ambitious yet achievable target of 25 crore subscribers by the end of 2007.
To achieve this growth, Indian convergence service providers must scale up their infrastructure investments as well. They have spent Rs50,000 crores in 2004 and Rs57,000 crores in 2005 and are expected to spend Rs70,000 crores in 2006. This explains why CISCO and Intel are not only investing agressively in Indian centers but are also buying smaller Indian firms in the digital convergence arena. Is the convergence market shifting to the east ?
C Sivsankran is an ambitious and cut-throat business man. ET reports that he is hitiing the JackPot again.(Recollect he has already built and sold DishNetDSL to Tatas after he was unsuccessful to win controlling stake in VSNL from the Government of India). He was in talks with the Hutchinson group earlier this year to sell Aircel(T.N & Chennai circles) a deal which was valued at Rs2,860 crores. (Rs14,300/subscriber) with 20 Lakh subscriber base.
Who is Buying Aircel ? Malaysian Billionaire and Telecom Barron, Ananda Krishnan’s Maxis Telecom is closing the Aircel deal @ Rs3,600 crores. Maxis has taken the right step in entering India considering future growth and synergies in the two networks.
Will C Sivsankaran step in Forbes Billionaires list now ? Hardly matters to him.
I am all exicted to write about the Convergence scenario in India. For some reason I don’t buy the argument of the term “_broadband_” as cell phones, PDAs, Landlines, etc..don’t fit in that category and hence I am going with Convergence. Also India has always stayed a step ahead, by bypassing technologies such as TDMA, Mainframes, etc. Don’t be surprised if their are more Microsoft Media Center users in India, than elsewhere in the world. Well I haven’t forgotten that how much I have invested to buy the domain BroadbandIndia.com in the hype.
What took me so long to start this ? Well I existed as Broadband India. I have torn down the site but will re-launch with new look and feel and we will move on to Convergence.In phasing out broadband.
And the tagline, “linking diversity!”. At first I thought of – Connecting Diversity, but doesn’t sound original as Nokia has “Connecting People” and Toshiba says, “Don’t Copy, Lead” . I wanted “Diversity” to be present no matter where, because India as a nation is rich with social and cultural diversity.
I caught up with corporate India during my early teens. Read a lot about Indian business in various magazines. So dont be surprised to see some postings where I talk about about promoters or CEOs background.
Please feel free to paint my thoughts in Black & White.