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March 9th, 2011, Vol:1

Editor's Words

By Sridhar Pai, ceo, Tonse Telecom


MWC 2011 – Mobile Convergence Point for the planet

MWC has been a harbinger of things to come, if not for the devices and handsets at least for the mobile infrastructure and network applications space with particular focus on the operators. [Much of the device magic it is believed is lost to CES] – that being the case, it was no surprise that this year's Barcelona Mecca was resplendent with global bigwigs from the infrastructure space painting the town red with their coolest goodies to woo the big celcos.

It was clearly a reverberating event with so much more energy than last year's recession soaked mobile February in Spain (despite that day 3 of the 2011 event was actually a rain-washed day] with temperatures falling and the Fera de Barcelona dripping wet wet wet.


None of that threw water over the enthusiastic crowds as the top themes of this year's mobile bash of the planet unfolded. We were fortunate to be there to catch up on the action and here is what we saw.

  • WAC – Wholesale Apps Community, is an initiative that is working with key organizations to lead a transformation in mobile application development. Launched at MWC 2010, WAC is uniting a fragmented apps marketplace creating an open industry platform benefiting apps developers, handsets firms, OS owners, network operators and end users. WAC had its first commercial launch this year and launched WAC-powered operator store-fronts and WAC powered handsets. This is one step ahead of the original GSMA OneAPI initiative and GSMA which is the driving force behind this targets to build a global developer community using a single SDK to access billions of devices.
    • China Mobile, MTS, Orange, Smart, Telefonica, Verizon, Telenor, Verizon and Vodafone are signed up and launching WAC 1.0 apps
  • Global TD-LTE Initiative – GTI the global TD-LTE Initiative, was launched by the ceo group of leading global cellular operators including Bharti Airtel, China Mobile and Softbank with a clear objective: support and promote the convergence of the two LTE standards: TD-LTE and FDD LTE. China Mobile which seems to be in the driver's seat in the TD-LTE stream clearly pushed for the creation of a global open eco-system that would allow formation of the new supply chain that will provide higher speed, better experience and lower cost and improved frequency efficiency. This will also be the final nail in WiMax' s coffin – said ceo of Bharti Airtel.
  • HTML5 - HTML 5 is a language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web, a core technology of the Internet. Its core aims have been to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices and with the emerging hi-speed LTE networks becoming a reality, this new standard is expected to be supported on devices / to ensure better quality experience as well as proper delivery of services across the billions of devices out there.
  • Overwhelming China angle – Interesting departure from its heavy infrastructure play, Huawei decided to show its focus on its device segment by launching Smart Device – a return to the Simple life. The Ideos X3, Mobile WiFi SmartPro, Ideos S7 slim as well as other home devices were on launch. The Huawei, China Mobile, ZTE display and coverage areas indicated quietly the unassailable strength of the China force that seems to be blowing over the Spanish horizon at the MWC.

Mhealth, mConnected apps were innumerable and there were enough goodies to go around for a full week for the techno-geek. All in all, it was a much stronger, vibrant MWC than the 2010 piece. All is well that ends well.

Key Developments back home:

  • Emerging players: Etisalat is growing at an average of 70% from past 3 months cellular subscribers. Earlier its subscriber growth was 20 to 30 % per month. Videocon which was having 20 to 25% subscriber's growth, in this month it has seen 17% negative growth. It is due to high loss of Videocon's market share in Mumbai, Tamilnadu, Kerala and in Haryana heavily. Same with HFCL – negative growth of upto 18% drop in subscriber base.
  • It is important to note that VAS contribution to revenue for mobile operators is growing: Notice that Idea Cellular and Airtel are both in the 13.8% to 13% levels {as percentage of total mobile revenue for the latest quarter]
  • Reliance Communication's MoU has come down heavily from quarter ending Dec31, 2008 to quarter ending Dec31, 2010 (almost 50% fall). While generally all operator MoUs are down we note that this is one of the steepest drop noticed.
RCom inks $1.93 bn loan deal with Chinese bank
The debt-ridden Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) company, Reliance Communication (RCom) today completed final documentation with China Development Bank (CDB) for Rs 6,000 crore ($1.33 billion) loan facility. The facility is fully underwritten by CDB, and will be funded by a syndicate of Chinese banks/ financial institutions including CDB. This represents the first and largest ever syndicated loan for refinancing spectrum fees, the company said in a filing to the stock exchanges. more
India pledges to auction 700MHz next year
The government has set a deadline of the end of 2011 to the 700MHz band to be freed up, allowing for auctions in 2012, which could support LTE and rural broadband. more
Huawei ready for US probe on allegations
China's telecom company, Huawei, has called for a probe by US Government to investigate its credentials to dispel misperceptions that it was a Chinese Government backed company.

It recently pulled out a deal to acquire US Computer Company, following Washington's reluctance to grant national security clearance. more
Tata extends cloud beyond India
Asia Pacific businesses will benefit from Tata Communications' Infrastructure as a Service offering, combining pay-per-use application with an extensive and reliable global network

Tata Communications, a leading provider of a new world of communications, has become the first Indian Telco to offer Cloud Computing solutions globally. After a successful launch in India in October of last year, Tata Communications launches Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services in Singapore, also covering the neighboring countries: Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines more
NSN-Motorola deal on hold again
Nokia Siemens' acquisition of most of Motorola's Networks business has been delayed yet again and, despite repeated promises that it would complete during this quarter, it has now been pushed out to a later date. NSN said in a statement that it "remained committed to the acquisition", but was unable to provide further guidance on a closing date more
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About Tonse Telecom

Tonse Telecom is a research, consulting and advisory services organization focusing on the India telecom sector. Tonse Telecom enables telecom equipment vendors, ISVs, infrastructure developers and investors for success in the Indian telecom marketplace.

Tonse Telecom has onboard, a team of reputed senior industry executives and consultants who provide advisory services on specific projects. Tonse covers a broad spectrum of telecom technologies that include Wi-Fi /BWA / WiMAX, IMS, FMC and Triple Play, VoIP, Mobile VAS, End-device Applications and Mobile Content.

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