News From Telecom World

Archive for the ‘India’ Category

A survey by Neilsen of Indian mobile phone users has found that that most cities have a clear network-quality leader. However, no single operator has a clear leadership position in all markets and there is significant variation in network performance across individual Indian cities.

The network quality of operators is measured on three parameters – Reliability, Coverage, and Audio Quality.

“There is an opportunity for an operator to get ahead of its competition and create a nationally or regionally differentiated network position in the market by using the competitive benchmarks to guide their investments,” said Ms. Shankari Panchapakesan, Executive Director, Telecom Practice Group, The Nielsen Company. Nielsen’s Best Practice Reliability metric indicates that there is room for improvement particularly in India’s Tier I markets.

According to the Nielsen survey carried out in the Top 10 Indian cities, 42 percent of Indian subscribers rate network performance as very important for selecting their mobile operator. In fact, with 34 percent of votes, network driven choice is ahead of price driven choice. After initial selection, satisfaction with network performance is the single most important driver for shaping overall satisfaction with the operator. Over 50 percent of the variation in satisfaction levels across operators is determined by the variation in their network performance. This compares favorably with what Nielsen has seen in other markets.

“Nielsen studies across the world show rising consumer expectations from Wireless Networks, even as their calling patterns and demands from the Network increase over time. As the market grows and newer services are introduced, to retain the current high levels of satisfaction and to remain competitive, Indian operators need to be on top of the changing expectations of their subscribers,” continued Ms. Panchapakesan.

Nielsen has demonstrated that network satisfaction is a key variable in understanding the health of a subscriber base. Research has found that some operators enjoy a higher perception of their Network compared to actual performance creating a risk to their business. Conversely, the perception of network quality of some operators lags their actual network performance creating an opportunity for them to educate subscribers via advertising and seek their rightful share of network-driven acquisitions.

The India Consumer Experience Mobile Test Program

The Nielsen India Consumer Experience Mobile Test program, started in August 2008, will cover nearly 163,000 km and a population of nearly 100 million people. Voice and data reports are available for 25 cities for immediate delivery. Another 19 cities will be completed by May 2009, and additional cities may be added based on market demand.

Source: cellular news


BSNL, the Indian mobile operator, has launched its online recharge service for its prepaid subscribers. The BSNL prepaid subscribers who have an access to internet banking facility can request for this service after registering themselves to this facility using their mobile phones.

Source: Wireless Federation

India added 9.18 million GSM subscribers in February to take the total to 277.12 million, according to figures published by industry body the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Tuesday.

In January the country recorded GSM additions of 9.69 million, but the February figure does not include Reliance Telecom, which has yet to provide its latest numbers. With the inclusion of Reliance’s net adds – the telco added 391,000 new GSM users in January – the growth rate is likely to be flat month-on-month.

Bharti Airtel cemented its position as the country’s leading operator by adding 2.73 million new users last month, almost exactly the number it signed up in January.

Bharti now has a GSM base of 91.11 million customers and a market share of 32.88%, slightly down on the 32.99% it recorded a month ago.

Number two operator Vodafone Essar boasts a market share of 23.79%, having added 2.58 million customers in February, up from the 2.41 million it added in January. Vodafone Essar’s total GSM customer base stands at 65.92 million.

Having added 1.51 million customers last month and 1.31 million the month before, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) remains a distant third, its 44.18 million-strong subscriber base giving it a 15.94% share of the market.

And fourth-placed Idea Cellular, which is hot on BSNL’s heels, has gained some ground.

Idea has a customer base of 41.52 million and a 14.98% share of the market, putting it just 0.6 of a percentage point behind BSNL. The gap was 0.9 of a percentage point a month earlier.

Smaller players Aircel, Reliance Telecom, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and BPL have less than 13% of the market between them, although again, this does not take into account Reliance’s February numbers and the operator, a new entrant in the GSM space, is growing rapidly.

Source: Total Telecom

The Indian Govt. has reportedly decided to allow MVNOs to offer mobile services in the country, accepting the recommendations in August by the country’s telecommunications regulator. The detailed guidelines for MVNOs will be issued by govt., after it receives responses from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on some issues. It is anticipated that entry of MVNO’s in Indian Market will increase competition in the market.

Source: Wireless Federation

Telecom major Vodafone Essar launched a new bonus card which allows users to make local calls at 60 paise per minute. The bonus card, available for Rs 39, would allow users to make calls at 60 paise per minute and would be valid for 30 days, Vodafone said in a statement. It would be available for prepaid customers in Delhi, the company added.

Source: Wireless Federation

The successful bidders for grant of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service licences will be announced by 5th March 2009. They will also be issued Letters of Intent (LoI) by this date.

The Government has stated that there is no delay in implementation of number portability. The Government has issued Guidelines for award of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service licence(s) on 01.08.2008. As per the said guidelines, MNP is to be implemented in all ‘Metro’ and Category ‘A’ service areas within six months of the award of the licence and in rest of the service areas within one year of the award of the licence. The tender for grant of MNP service licences has been floated on 25.11.2008 after following due procedure. As per the present schedule of events of the tender, the date for announcement of successful bidder(s) and issuance of Letter(s) of Intent is 05.03.2009.

This was informed in a statement by the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Shri A Raja.

Source: Wireless Federation

Reliance Communication’s move to slash its GSM rates by about 50% on Thursday could trigger yet another price wars in the Indian mobile

But, a recent study by Lirneasia deduces that such a move is not likely to make a significant dent in telcos’ existing subscriber base. Lirneasia is a not-for-profit information and communication technology (ICT) policy and regulation capacity-building organisation working in nine South Asian countries.

The organisation’s third survey on mobile users at the bottom of the pyramid (Teleuse@BOP3) shows that the most cost sensitive subscriber segment has reached a stage where it is driven more by service offering, brand loyalty and number retention than by price discounts.

“Lirneasia’s findings have always been very credible, and their present study seems to make sense too,” said cellular operatos association of India director general T V Ramachandran.

In the survey, 37% of the BOP respondents in the survey said they would not even consider switching to a cheaper package, while only 15% of them said they would shift. The rest of the respondents remain undecided.

“There could be reasons varying from brand loyalty to pure convenience, for this response. But, it is possible that those factors are gaining importance only because the subscribers take it for granted that their our service providers are bound to follow suit in slashing prices,” said Lirneasia CEO Prof. Rohan Samarajiva. “After all, India has the most competitive mobile market in the world.”

Lirneasia’s senior research fellow Payal Malik had published the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) – the index for market concentration – in the telecom markets of South Asian countries, last year. Lower the HHI, higher the competitiveness in a market.

India’s turned out to be the lowest at 2000, as compared to Indonesia’s 3400 and Thailand’s 3900. Among the western markets, USA’s stood at 2529 and UK’s at 2309. In fact, India’s competitiveness is close to the US anti-trust guidelines’ threshold for market trustworthiness – a HHI between 1000 and 1800.

“With that level of competition, the assumption that price cut by one telco will be followed suit by all its counterparts in the market is valid,” Ms.Malik said. “So, it can be expected that RComm’s move will mark yet another nosedive in our mobile tariffs.”

But, whether that happens or not the BOP survey indicates that RComm’s target low ARPU segment is not likely to shift from its existing service provider. “But, RComm GSM is likely to create a new subscriber base from the presently ‘unconnected’ lot through their rock bottom tariffs,” Ms.Malik said.

About 40% of the BOP respondents who would not even consider shifting their service provider said that the reason for saying so was that they did not want to change their number. “So, introduction of number portability means the pricing becomes more aggressive and competition more cut-throat,” Mr.Samarajiva said.

Ironically, stiff competition among telcos seems to be breeding customer retention rather than attrition in the Indian mobile market.

Source: Economic Times of India


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