Message from N K Goyal, President CMAI
I am happy to announce co-operation between CMAI and Tonse Telecom for development of mobile sector. Tonse Telecom are experts in telecom research and market analysis and bring out periodic reports on mobile handsets, trends, applications, industry trackers covering the entire mobile industry.
CMAI and Tonse Telecom have agreed to bring out monthly mobile device newsletter informing readers of the latest data, statistics relevant to the mobile sector. I am hopeful that CMAI members across the globe would find this information useful in keeping abreast of the market.
About Mr. Goyal
Mr Goyal, senior telecom advisor is President, CMAI Association of India- Communications Multimedia Applications Infrastructure; Chairman Emeritus of Telecom Equipments Manufacturers Association of India (TEMA); Vice Chairman, ITU APT India, Chairman CTIA, India. He is also Member Governing Council, Telecom Equipment & Services Export Promotion Council, to promote exports under Ministry of Commerce and Industries. He is associated with about one hundred Government Committees/ Forums.
He has presented several papers internationally on topics of public concerns like telecom IT, environment management such as e waste, radiation; manufacturing, global peace and well-being, excellence in performance and several others.
Message from Sridhar T. Pai, Founder Tonse Telecom
As the Indian mobile market moves into the data era through 3G and 4G services, the device market will undergo large scale transformation. We are happy to co-operate with CMAI to launch the Tonse CMAI handset newsletter which will track this market closely and cover key developments and analysis. We hope this will be of great value to CMAI members around the world.
By Sridhar Pai, ceo, Tonse Telecom
Hoping For A Better 2013
2012 was the year the Indian telecom market went into its shell and stayed under cover hoping the worse would blow over. The government on its part tightened all the screws in a bid to play the no-nonsense cop brining down a heavy stick on offenders as well as on the non-offenders across the sector. A sense of confusion and lack of direction continued through most of the year with 122 licenses being cancelled, (the status of some of which we will only know next week), 3G roaming pacts remained ambiguous and intra-circle roaming remained un-ratified.
Some operators ran just in time, such as MTS on a daily basis, unsure when its licenses would be plugged while precious management bandwidth was spent almost entirely in feeding lawyers or interpreting dictates from the ministry. While most operators pretty much struck down all forms of capital expenditures, keeping costs low and managing operations, the markets were unforgiving to those hiding behind mountains of debt. Towards the end of 2012, the sector was burdened with about INR 2000 billion of debt (~US$40 billion) and has pretty much lost the favor of the financial institutions. The market responded with distaste to Bharti Infratel's IPO too, further reflecting the downgraded investor sentiment in the industry.
State-run telcos put up another miserable show this year - MTNL reported a loss of INR 41.1 billion in 2011-12, while BSNL established the fact that government hand-outs will never fix performance inefficiencies, and unless corporate restructuring is done, there is almost no hope for these two "navaratnas."
The NTP 2012 too came a little too-late and detailed precious little on how the sector could be revamped, focusing only partially on areas such as IP-V6 and VoIP. Spectrum debate continued unabated through the year ending in a November 2012 spectrum auction that produced only a fraction of the government's demands with a large portion remaining untaken - this part is being expected to get re-auctioned in the next two months. There was marginal movement on 4G with small patches of launch from Airtel and additional coverage areas in the works. The ground reality of 4G network experience and associated customer service is quite appalling from what we hear on the street.
Cable digitization was perhaps a single major milestone the ministry could claim this year, as the metro-phase appears to have been completed largely in New Delhi and Mumbai with limited success in Chennai. The year ended with focus on electronics and hardware industries suddenly coming into the limelight with several benefits being offered to create manufacturing clusters within the country, including semiconductor production to be recognized as a sunrise industry with a special corpus identified as risk capital to promote innovation.
From a consumer perspective, the year saw hiking of voice tariffs, capping of text messages and hiking of broadband tariffs from large established players. We noticed smaller players, such as ACT Broadband, now beginning to offer competitive broadband services and higher speeds at lower price-points than the big boys, thus throwing more options to homes and small businesses. Cloud services remained a business offering and SME sector in our minds continue to be somewhat ignored as no major player is targeting them yet.
There is a reason to hope that 2013 will be a far better year - considering that politically these are the last 12-14 months before the nation goes into its general elections and it's crucial to get into decision making to show some action on the ground. There is also hope for a broadband race to trigger some real activity as Reliance Infotel is expected to launch its 4G service in the top two metros. The government is bound to trigger a telecom consolidation with its M&A policy which should clear out some of the noise and bring in some sense of reality, and therefore identify the long-term players from the also-rans. Other national initiatives such as Aadhar and Direct Cash Transfer would ride out as National Fiber Network (a $4-billion initiative) builds up which should bring some sense of realism to the vision.
Coupled with electronics production and hardware parks, a more liberal spectrum regime, opening out of VoIP, fast execution on fiber network, friendlier taxation (not retrograde taxing for overseas transactions as in case of Vodafone Essar), transparent and investor-friendly decisions (unlike what is being meted out to Telenor and Sistema), a market-driven spectrum pricing and realistic consolidation policy will start filling energy back into the sector. This will pave way for a data revolution which is the most logical area of growth, after voice. If the government can only make this happen, then this sector will become vibrant again.
Sridhar Pai runs Tonse Telecom, a Bengaluru-based telecom research and consulting house that is a research partner to Light Reading India.
In December 2012, Zync launched the maximum number of handsets (06), followed by Videocon Mobiles and Celkon which launched 5 and 4 handsets respectively. Domestic manufacturers continued to flood the market with low price handset models.
In December 2012, 15 handsets were launched with Android™ OS while 28 handsets were launched based on proprietary OS.