The new JioPhone offers won’t change the sector’s competitive dynamics as the minimum upfront commitment of Rs 1,499 (including device) is more than double what a 2G user, typically, spends upfront on a device and the initial recharge.
Industry, led by incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, has been demanding rationalisation of taxes and levies since long, saying a relief would further enable them to spend more on deploying infrastructure.
The auction for over 2300 MHz of airwaves - valued at Ras3.92 lakh crore at base price - is likely to see limited bidding intensity for spectrum worth less than Rs50,000 crore, with Jio and Airtel expected to be the main players.
India's first auction of telecom spectrum in five years ended on Tuesday with Rs 77,814.80 crore of airwaves being acquired, mostly by billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio which picked up spectrum for Rs 57,122.65 crore. Jio bagged 488.35 MHz spectrum in bands such as 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz. Telecom giant Bharti Airtel bid about Rs 18,699 crore to pick up 355.45 megahertz (MHz) out of the total 855.60 MHz of radio frequency acquired by telcos, giving it "most formidable" spectrum holding in the country. Vodafone Idea Ltd, which is facing a huge liability of unpaid statutory dues of past, bought 11.80 Mhz of spectrum worth Rs 1,993.40 crore.Telecom Spectrum auctions fetch Rs 77,815 cr; Reliance Jio top bidder with Rs 57,122 cr
Kotak Institutional Equities said that upfront payment may be a deterrent for incremental customers despite attractive propositions.
Jio’s pan-India IoT network—based on narrowband IoT technology—is already operational. It was launched in partnership with South Korean electronics and smartphones giant Samsung.
Vodafone Idea (Vi), financially the weakest of the three private telcos, is said to have put in less than Rs 500 crore, which would enable it to buy spectrum worth ₹2,500-3,500 crore, only in some bands and some circles.
In September last year, Jio had unleashed new, cheaper post-paid plans in a concerted bid to grab the higher-paying customers of India's older telcos. But the leading telco has so far been unable to rock Bharti Airtel’s boat on this score, said analysts.
We could possibly continue to see the stock remaining lacklustre, says Kunj Bansal.
If Jio wants to show good profitability, it can consider increasing pricing. Bharti and Vodafone are anyway eager to increase ARPU. So, that could be a game changer for Jio as well as both Vodafone and Bharti Airtel, says Abhimanyu Sofat
"As some telcos have large cash holdings while others recently raised debt to fund the purchases, there will not be a significant impact on their balance sheets, particularly as pricing competition abates and profitability improves across the sector," Moody's said in a note on Thursday.
India's first auction of telecom spectrum in five years ended on Tuesday with Rs 77,814.8 crore of airwaves being acquired by telcos and billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio spending the most.
The company’s energy business was the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic given that the demand for transportation fuel sank due to international travel ban and most people choosing to stay at home.
In the overall scheme of things, Jio will take some time but Bharti is looking better placed, Equity Strategist & Senior Group VP, MOFSL.
The telecom sector’s most watched event – the spectrum auction – ended halfway through the second day, making it the second shortest sale after the one in 2013 that lasted 4 hours.
The operator which had earlier announced that it is 5G ready said it newly bought spectrum can be used for 5G services as well.
Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said 855.60 MHz of spectrum was bought for Rs 77,814.80 cr in the two-day auction. Reliance Jio bought Rs 57,122.65 crore worth of spectrum while Vodafone Idea Ltd picked Rs 1,993.40 crore worth of airwaves. Bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands but there were no takers for the airwaves in the premium 700 and 2500 MHz bands.
"The spectrum we have acquired in the five circles will further help us to enhance our 4G coverage and capacity, enabling superior digital experience for our customers,' said the third largest telco in a statement on Tuesday.
Despite the short sale, the government is expected to generate the second-highest proceeds after it had raised Rs 1,13,932 crore in the 2015 auctions, with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea mostly bidding to renew airwave permits expiring from July.
India is auctioning over 2,308 MHz across the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Experts had predicted that the government would net a maximum up to Rs 50,000 crore. Telcos need to pay 25% of spectrum won in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands, and 50% of the rest of the bands, upfront. The rest is to be paid in 16 annual instalments after a two-year moratorium.
The current auction does not include frequencies in 3,300-3,600 Mhz bands that were identified for 5G services, which will happen later. Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea had submitted a total earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs 13,475 crore for the spectrum auctions. Spectrum will be offered for assignment for a validity period of 20 years.
It would be interesting to see how much bandwidth the government would be able to sell, given the existing debt burden of over Rs 8 lakh crore for the industry and sufficient quantity of airwaves already held by the likes of Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
The country’s largest telecom operator by subscriber base reported average revenue per user of Rs 151, which was higher than analysts’ estimate of Rs 148-150. In the previous quarter, the company reported Rs 145 in average revenue per user.
Experts say that a successful bid for NUE is set to add to the company's plans to make further inroads into the buoyant digital space. Mukesh Ambani led Jio has managed to raise funds from some of the largest global investors for India's growth story.
"We are studying the regulations…the telcos with value added services will come under the OTT regulations," said a senior executive in one of the three telcos. Another senior executive at a second operator confirmed the same, adding their legal teams are still going through the revised intermediary guidelines under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, announced Thursday.
Jio claimed its latest JioPhone 2021 offer is at least 2.5 times cheaper than similar offerings by its nearest rivals, Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
OpenRAN enables hardware and software to be disaggregated, unlike conventional radio gears, allowing technology products from different suppliers to co-exist with various software providers.
Speaking at ET Telecom 5G Congress, 2021 held virtually on Thursday, the executives urged the government to hasten 5G field trials to pave the way for commercial deployments of the fast mobile broadband technology. They also reiterated their call for early cuts in the hefty telecom levies to ease continuing financial stress in the debt-laden telecom sector.
Brokerage firm Axis Capital observed that "RJio reported QoQ market share improvement, while Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and BSNL posted a decline".
The Nokia Bell Labs 5G Certification Program will offer professionals across the information and communications technology (ICT) industry two levels of certification – Associate and Professional – that deliver essential knowledge covering everything from the basics of 5G networks to professional level planning and design.
As far as Vodafone Idea is concerned, to a certain extent, the uncertainties about its survival are over though the fundraising part is a huge challenge , says the Inditrade Capital Group Chairman.
An OpenRAN (O-RAN) board member, Airtel said that it will leverage Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms – which runs on the cloud - to rollout virtualized and Open-RAN 5G networks in India.
Analysts estimate 275 units of airwaves in the 3.3-3.6 Ghz bands to be available in a near-term 5G auction and expect the government to cut overall reserve prices by 30-40% in a follow-up sale as a sizeable chunk of airwaves are likely to stay unsold in the upcoming 4G sale, starting March 1.
Any decision on Qualcomm supporting the Jio-Google smartphone or its 400-series Snapdragon chipsets being in play in the budget smartphone would be “confidential to Jio and Google”, Qualcomm India President Rajen Vagadia says.
There are a lot of mobile plans floating in the market today. We help you choose the best from the not-so-best. For instance, the Rs 598 plan from Reliance Jio offers the validity of 56 days. The plan offers 112GB data with subscription to popular streaming services. A comparatively better plan for Reliance Jio users is Rs 599 plan. It is valid for the period of 84 days and offers 168GB data.
NEC recently set up an Open RAN laboratory in India as a complement to its Center of Excellence (CoE) in the U.K to accelerate development of the 5G open ecosystem.
The EMD size is indicative of a telco’s bidding strategy as it gives an operator eligibility points, based on which it can target a certain quantum of airwaves. The upcoming auction for nearly 2300 units of airwaves across seven 4G bands – from 700 Mhz to 2500 Mhz – are valued at Rs 3.92 lakh-crore at base price.
Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, on Monday, submitted in its plea that "vested" interests are engaged in spreading "false rumours" against it and that the petitioner, its parent company and its affiliates had no plans to enter corporate or contract farming.
There could be some consolidation in the market which would be a good entry opportunity for investors looking at the commodity space, says Head of Retail Research, MOFSL
The telecom regulatory authority of India (Trai) posted a 9-month high decline of 5.7 million in Vi’s gross subscribers to 284 million, whereas active users felly by 1.5 million to 26.3 million. Meanwhile, as per Vi’s October-December quarter results, its gross mobile subscribers fell only by 2 million. The company reported 270 million subscribers at December-end.
Airtel gained 4.05 million wireless subscribers against Jio’s 0.47 million while struggling Vi once again lost nearly 5.7 million users in December, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data released on Thursday.
It is only the telecom vertical which will drive Reliance ahead as the petrochemicals or the oil to chemicals business is in a steady state, says the retail research head of SBICAP Sec.
Looking at all the three divisions of Reliance Industries, the stock is here to perform well, says market expert Sushil Choksey.
COAI, which represents telcos Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, said that apps don’t have any obligation to ensure privacy, while telcos need to adhere to strict conditions on confidentiality and protection of privacy of communication.
The telco reported a narrower net loss for the quarter, while its key parameters such as average revenue per user, minutes of use and subscriber base continued to trail rivals Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. Its shares closed 2.3% lower at Rs11.80 on the BSE Tuesday.
Net mobile subscriber additions slowed to 5.2 million after users left the network due to what the company called “recent malicious and motivated campaigns” against the Reliance Group in some parts of the country.
Jio alleged that the acts of vandalism were instigated by “business rivals” - who in this case are Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi).
Bharti Airtel itself has pivoted into a technology company, he said, and has emerged stronger from a bloody tariff battle since the entry of Reliance Jio in September 2016, with a roughly 35% revenue market share, its highest ever.
They added that the deceleration in Vi’s subscriber losses was also helped by Reliance Jio’s lowest-ever net user adds in the fiscal third quarter amid the slowdown in the market leader’s JioPhone customer gains.
Loss making Vodafone idea’s shares closed down 2.8% at Rs12.54 on the BSE Friday, while the Airtel stock ended 2% lower at Rs586.55. Reliance Jio isn’t listed.
Loss-making Vodafone idea’s shares closed down 2.8% at Rs12.54 on the BSE Friday, while the Airtel stock ended 2% lower at Rs586.55. Reliance Jio isn’t listed.
The year also saw nine other deals value over USD 1 billion each, it said, adding that the top deals accounted for nearly two-thirds of the overall activity.
With its telecom infrastructure in the state being damaged during farmers' protest, Reliance Jio has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seeking his intervention for action against those responsible for the incidents of "sabotage and vandalism".
Airtel overtakes Reliance Jio in active user market share in October amid intense fight for subscribers
Vi, though, continued to suffer the most on this score, losing 1.2 million active users in October, dragging its overall active user base down to 260 million. The Indo-UK telecom joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone Plc and the Aditya Birla Group, lost 20 million active users since April this year.
US-based investment firm Oak Hill is leading the consortium, which includes GoldenTree Asset Management, Pacific Investment Management Co, Sixth Street, Twin Point Capital and Varde Partners to provide an around $2 billion (Rs 14,600 cr) credit line to Vi.
The Joint Committee of Parliament on the Personal Data Protection Bill, chaired by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, questioned Reliance Jio executives about privacy of data of its subscribers and users of Jio platforms.
Among other highlights, Fitch expects industry monthly ARPU (average realisation per user) to grow by 5-10 per cent in 2021-22 as 2G and 3G customers gradually upgrade to pricier 4G plans.
The earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of the two rivals will be further propelled by higher tariffs, shift of customers to 4G and a data usage of 12GB-16GB per user per month as more subscribers work remotely, due to the pandemic.
There are a lot of niches in the Indian as well as MNC FMCG companies and these are safe bets to invest in for the next two, three and even five years.
The fintech industry hailed the Delhi High Court order on TRAI, as inadequate monitoring had allowed fraudsters to send fake messages under duplicate SMS headers.
Digital company Jio Platforms, which also houses telecom business Jio Infocomm and e-commerce venture JioMart, is the 67% controlled subsidiary of Ambani’s Reliance Industries. It has raised $20.6 bn from 13 investors in 12 weeks including America’s tech giants Facebook and Google.
Airtel’s latest fundraise plans come on a day India’s second-largest telco returned to the black on the back of a one-time gain related to the recent merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers and strong addition of data users which led to record revenue.
The high court also directed the telecom service providers (TSPs), which included state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone, to ensure they strictly comply with the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR) 2018 issued by Trai.
A TV report on Wednesday had reported that the DoT had moved the too court seeking clarification.
Indian telecom operators said that the current availability of just 175 MHz for all service providers in the 3300-3600 mid band is "grossly inadequate" and would adversely impact the 5G rollout in the country.
The rate of additions in fixed broadband business, however, remains "slower than expectations" despite the recent reduction in entry-level plans by the industry, Kotak Institutional Equities said in its latest report citing TRAI subscriber data.
“25 years back, we were far behind the developed world in the area of telecommunications. Today we have made considerable progress, but yet not where we need to be,” Sanjay Mashruwala said. Jio is currently working on developing its own end-to-end 5G products and solutions and will soon conduct pilot upon availability of trial spectrum.
Earlier, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked telecom operators to give one year notice before starting any technology using spectrum across the seven frequency bands that will be offered in auction on March 1.
"Despite only being founded in 2016, Jio has quickly become the largest mobile network operator in India and the third largest mobile network operator in the world with almost 400 million subscribers," it said in a statement on Thursday.
According to analysts, loss-making Vi’s net worth is a negative ₹26,699.8 crore. The telco has never posted a profit since its formation through the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in August 2018, and has been rapidly losing subscribers to rivals, mainly as it trails Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio in 4G coverage.
Executives of telecom operators confirmed the directive and said that they are switching services to 2G in many parts of the region, while in some areas they are completely suspending internet services.
Jio added a net 5.2 million users in the quarter compared with 7.3 million in the September quarter and 10 million in the June quarter of FY21. Its monthly churn rate for wireless subscribers rose from a modest 0.46% in the June quarter to 1.69% in the September quarter and 1.63% in October-December.
The decline in FDI inflows was concentrated in developed countries, where fund flows fell by 69 per cent to an estimated $229 billion.
Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the body representing companies such as Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea, expressed reservations on the government’s spectrum pricing strategy and raised fears that much of the airwaves may remain unsold, like in some of the previous rounds.
Currently, telcos can offer services based on any technology on any airwave but need to intimate the DoT a year in advance if they plan to start a service based on a new technology on a particular spectrum band.
Telcos want government to clarify onus of security breach post NSD rollout, ensure price competitiveness
The telecom operators have given their input to the government in a meeting called by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) about one-and-a-half weeks back, industry sources told .
In their meetings with security officials as part of the process to identify trusted sources for telecom equipment, telcos urged the government to ensure an adequate number of vendors to keep costs in check, while also seeking clarifications around maintenance, upgrade and repair of already installed equipment.
The oil-to-telecom conglomerate reported a consolidated revenues of Rs 1.2 lakh crore, up 21.10 per cent year-on-year.
Latest data put out by the telecom regulator showed all the Big 3 telcos – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – notched sequential AGR gains in the September quarter.
“In this challenging time, the industry also faces major upcoming expenses on infrastructure upgradation like spectrum auction, 5G introduction, network expansion and fiberisation, which is very critical for providing future communication services,” SP Kochhar, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India, said in a statement detailing the sector’s budget recommendations.
ET had reported in November that the telecom regulator had imposed penalties collectively amounting to Rs 35 crore on eight operators including Bharti Airtel, Voda-Idea, Jio and BSNL for violation of TCCCPR on various counts, which allowed cyber criminals to issue fake SMSes.
While the average proportion of time that Jio users spent connected to 4G has increased by 0.5 of a percentage point since the last report to reach an impressive 98.7 per cent, Airtel saw its score increase by 1.1 percentage points. As a consequence, Jio's lead has dropped from 3.7 percentage points to 3.1.
Reliance Jio, too, has sent messages to fixed line users urging them to ensure that they prefix 0 when dialling any mobile number from a fixed line number.
According to the brokerage, Reliance Industries will garner over 500 million users over the next 3-5 years, offer broadband services to 20-25 million households and cater to 12-15 million small businesses.
Bharti Airtel on Wednesday informed customers that “effective January 15, it would be “mandatory to prefix `0’ before the mobile number while dialling from a landline," as per a DoT directive. Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio, state-run BSNL and MTNL are likely to do the same.
HFCL Limited, one of the top two India's optic fibre makers, is planning to increase Fibre-to-the-Home or FTTH cable production by 33% at its Hyderabad facility following the robust domestic and overseas demand, and a Rs 7,500-crore order book.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) sources said telcos, including Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, attended the pre-bid conference on Tuesday. The department has now asked the operators to send their written queries on the issues raised at the pre-bid conference by January 15.
Yesterday, the RBI took steps on the reverse repo side to try and move out some liquidity from the markets, points out Ajay Bagga
The average revenue per user (ARPU) measures the realisation per subscriber and is a key monitorable metric for telecom firms.
Credit Suisse further expects Reliance Jio to purchase additional spectrum beyond expiring airwaves as it will look to augment its network capacity, having garnered 35% subscriber market share and a much higher share of traffic. It added that Bharti Airtel has 12 MHz and 47 MHz of spectrum expiring across 900 and 1800 MHz bands respectively.
In terms of latency, Airtel was the most responsive network with a delay of 24 millisecond, followed by Vi’s 26.5 millisecond and Jio’s 28.5 milliseconds. Latency is a measure of round-trip delay in transfer of each data packet from source to destination.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are unlikely to renew most of their airwaves, given their surplus holdings. The upcoming auction between three telcos is expected to be tepid as analysts say it is a buyer's market and Jio is expected to be the largest contender.
Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio say that any move to give non-telecom companies access to 5G spectrum bands without auction would put at risk billions of dollars of their investments and upset the level playing field in the sector.
BSNL last week floated a new tender, inviting expressions of interest et b(EoI) for installation of around 57,000 4G sites across north, east, west and south zones.
Anaysts say while India's smartphone market achieved sizeable penetration two years back, 2021 will see the replacement cycle mature, which will be the major contributor to growth.
Industry executives said it takes 45 to 60 days to hold the auction after the issue of the NIA. The NIAs to prospective bidders, likely to only be the existing private telcos Jio, Vi and Airtel, come on the back of the Cabinet's approval in December for holding the auction of 4G airwaves in March 2021.
Smartphone sales grew 29% in 2015, fell 5% in 2016 owing to demonetisation, then recovered to 14% in 2017 and 2018, as per IDC India. But in 2019, it grew at 8% and is expected to end 2020 flat year-on-year because of the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
Jio said it would stop levying interconnect usage charges (IUC) for all domestic voice calls with the scrapping of such fees from January 1, in line with the telecom regulator’s directions.
RIL approaches Punjab, Haryana HC against vandalism of Jio mobile towers, seeks urgent govt intervention
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking the urgent intervention of government authorities to bring a complete stop to the destruction of towers and telecom infrastructure of the company. Several news reports mentioned that more than 1,600 telecom towers owned or operated by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio were destroyed in the past few days by miscreants.RIL approaches Punjab, Haryana HC against vandalism of Jio mobile towers, seeks urgent govt intervention
Telecom major Reliance Jio Infocomm on Friday reported a near three-fold rise in its standalone net profit for the July-September quarter at Rs 2,844 crore. During the same period of last year, the company had reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 990 crore. Jio's revenue from operations during the period under review rose 33 per cent to Rs 17,481 crore.Reliance Jio's Q2 net profit logs near 3-fold jump to Rs 2,844 crore