Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers and American Tower Corp (ATC) are bracing for a possible hit on their tower tenancies, because of the financial strain on customers Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea from the thousands of crores they need to pay the government.
Under the new strategy, Xiaomi, which has so far focussed mainly on the affordable segment to become India’s top smartphone brand, will launch a number of premium phones under the Mi brand. Besides, it will expand the smart TV range with big-screen premium products. The company may also look at launching its concept phone, Mi Max Alpha, in India and elsewhere.
Both Vodafone Idea and Airtel have submitted their applications with Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE, while Reliance Jio has submitted an application for trial with Korea’s Samsung, which is also the sole gear vendor for its pan-India 4G network. State-run telco BSNL, on the other hand, has submitted the application with ZTE only for trials.
Xiaomi, Realme and Samsung, which play both in the online and offline space, haven’t been able to clear inventory of old models in the October-December quarter while they continue launching new devices, industry watchers said. They added that Vivo and Oppo, who play mainly in the offline segment, also face similar issues but to a lesser extent.
“There is a lot of documentation and details required to be submitted to DoT, which is not possible by January 10,” said a senior executive, who did not wish to be identified. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) will write to DoT this week, said the executive.
Handset brands and third-party manufacturers are putting investments and hiring plans on hold following a sudden reduction in duty credit scrips under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) to 2%, from 4%.
Reliance Jio has rolled out voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) calling service for its subscribers in multiple circles, including Delhi-NCR and Chennai, following a limited launch by Airtel in December 2019.
Vodafone Idea may have put its fresh 4G expansion and modernisation plans on hold to conserve money.
BSNL has paid the outstanding dues worth Rs 150 crore each to Nokia and ZTE, according to a source. BSNL is also set to release Rs 22 crore to Swedish Ericsson and Rs 50 crore to UTStarcom through circle offices towards supplies for the Phase-V GSM expansion initiative.
“India is a huge part of our markets in terms of what we do. We are evaluating manufacturing here, using this as a base for our IP and optical networks, and we are actively looking at the feasibility of whether we can do that,” CB Velayuthan, senior vice-president global sales, IP & optical networks at Nokia said.
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