“With the opening of the economy and entertainment business, new content consumption models are emerging that allow users to watch single content for a specific price,” said Avneesh Khosla, chief marketing officer of Vi.
The case was mentioned in the apex court on Wednesday. The latest in the AGR battle between the telecom department and the operators started when Airtel in January, sought for a modification, clarification or recall of “mistaken orders” that allowed the government to demand Rs 43,980 crore as AGR dues against the telco’s calculation of Rs 13,004 crore.
The remaining members of the consortium, including Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO), Sixth Street, Twin Point Capital and Varde Partners, though, they said, are strongly committed and likely to ink a binding pact with Vi by end-February, just ahead of the upcoming 4G spectrum auction, starting March 1.
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.
In recent months, Vi has seen a spate of senior level executive exits, including ex-CTO Vishant Vora, former legal head Kumar Das, ex-brand officer Kavita Nair and chief technology security officer (CTSO) Amit Pradhan.
Apart from unlimited talktime and SMSes, some of these plans also offer free streaming of OTT services and other complimentary subscriptions.
Airtel gained a whopping 4.37 million wireless subscribers against Jio’s 1.93 million, while struggling Vi lost 2.89 million users in November, according to subscriber data collated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) released Thursday.
The Vodafone Group has previously said that it would not infuse any fresh equity into Vi. But its stake in the now-listed Indus Towers is an existing and separate telecom-related investment in India, which may make it easier for the British telco to convince shareholders, if required, one of the people told ET.
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 present application is being filed inter alia, seeking clarification/ modification of the judgment of this court dated 01/09/ 2020..... and other connected matters to a limited extent of allowing to carry out corrections relating to manifest/clerical/ arithmetic errors, etc. In the computation of applicant's adjusted gross revenue," Vodafone Idea said its petition that ET has seen.
Vi claims that this is the first time any Indian telecom operator has taken the lead to introduce the stories format to its users, which has already become a global trend.
A first for an Indian telco, the partnership allows "Vi to leverage Firework's content repository from global content studios and also get access to unique occupational generated content (OGC) creators who are expert storytellers across a wide genre of subjects," said the telco in a statement on Tuesday.
This expected increase in gear procurement costs may be tempered, though, since non-Chinese network vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung will have less bargaining power in demanding a premium with fewer telcos to choose from.
Airtel is likely to continue gaining more mobile broadband users than Jio, especially as the low-end customer churn, which had driven Jio’s customer gains earlier, has largely stabilised, analysts said.
Tower firms and telcos have sought immediate intervention of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the ministry of electronics & information technology (MeitY) amid the huge backlog in applications awaiting clearances.
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.
While talks between the two sides have not fallen through completely, the telecom JV between UK’s Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group is already exploring other potential funding partners and is confident of securing funding by the end of this month, one of the people said.
"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.
Vi’s statement came on back of Reliance Jio Infocomm saying it will stop charging subscribers for local calls made to rival networks from Friday, when interconnect user charges (IUC) are scrapped.
Analysts say that while a tariff hike is good news for the sector, especially Vodafone Idea, the stressed telco is expected to face further pressure on its market share with Bharti Airtel making make strong inroads into some of its weaker rival’s biggest markets such as MP, Maharashtra, UP-West, Gujarat and Kerala, having bolstered its sub-Ghz spectrum holdings in these circles.
Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said on Monday that if 700 Mhz and 2500 Mhz bands are excluded, the Day 1 bidding represented 60% of the spectrum put to auction.
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.
Goldman Sachs expects “Jio to have largely closed its gap with Bharti and Vi on total spectrum,” though it said data carried on the Mukesh Ambani-led telco’s 4G network is almost 2 times that on Airtel’s, and accordingly, the latter’s spectrum holding still remains “materially higher vs Jio”.
"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.
Jio may have spent Rs 42,000-50,000 cr on day 1 of spectrum auction, Airtel around Rs 25,000 cr: Analysts
Goldman Sachs said Jio has likely spent Rs 50,000 crore, Bharti Airtel spent Rs 25,000 crore while Vodafone Idea has renewed its spectrum by spending around Rs 3,000 crore. Brokerage firm Axis Capital estimates the bidding by Jio to be Rs 42,000 crore, Airtel to be Rs 25,000 crore and Vi to be Rs 7,000 crore.
Jio writes stern letter to TRAI, alleges rivals Vi, Airtel inciting public by portraying it anti-farmer
Telecom operator Reliance Jio has alleged that industry peers Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) are running "vicious and divisive campaign" against it and making preposterous claims that migrating Jio mobile numbers to their networks would be an act of support to farmers' protests. The country's biggest telecom operator in a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has sought strict action against the two companies and said that such acts of the rival companies can jeopardise safety and security of Jio's employees.Jio writes stern letter to TRAI, alleges rivals Vi, Airtel inciting public by portraying it anti-farmer
“We have just been made aware through media about an outrageous complaint made to the TRAI by Reliance Jio against Airtel…this complaint relates to market activities in Punjab/ Haryana LSA (licence service area) that are purportedly encouraging customers to port to Airtel…we wish to emphatically deny this baseless charge,” Bharti Airtel said in a reply to the telecom regulator on Monday.
Jio tells TRAI it's losing users due to 'rumors' spread by Airtel, Vi that it will gain from Farm Bills
Retailers in Faridabad , Bahadurgarh, Chandigarh, Firozpur and other parts of NCR and Punjab have seen an increase in customers porting out of Reliance Jio and joining either Vodafone Idea or Bharti Airtel.
In a recent analyst call, Bharti Airtel India chief executive Gopal Vittal said that the enterprise business has grown in double digits over the last few years.
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.
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.
On December 4, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had directed all telcos to submit details of all segmented offers made between January and November 2020, including offer name, tariff rates, terms and conditions, validity spans and benefits within 15 days.
Operators have been calling current prices unsustainable, with Vi saying it might become the first off the blocks to raise rates — prices were last raised in December 2019 — and was confident it would be followed by its rivals, too.
"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.
Brokerage firm Axis Capital observed that "RJio reported QoQ market share improvement, while Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and BSNL posted a decline".
“The recent report on India's preparedness for 5G by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology underlines the need for rapid progress on 5G trials and deployment of India-specific use cases,” Ravinder Takkar, managing director and chief executive of Vodafone Idea said.
Bharti Airtel may follow but both will closely watch rival Reliance Jio’s moves and calibrate their rates accordingly, said two people familiar with the matter.
Over the past few months, Vi has been in talks with the Oak Hill-led consortium to finalise the terms of a $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore approx) credit line via hybrid convertible funding instruments, comprising bonds and warrants.
The absence of a 5G sale in the forthcoming March spectrum auctions would lower the risk of financially stressed telcos burning more cash and will allay investor fears around ‘earlier-than-expected’ launch of the next-generation services, the analysts said.
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.
The Kolkata-based internet service provider (ISP) which operates across 70 cities in India with a subscriber base of 150,000 users is targeting to add another 200,000 users (including 50,000 Android Box users) within a year of launch and expand the services outside Bengal.
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.
Airtel’s VP-Regulatory Affairs, Amit Kushwaha said trials are must to start building up the ecosystem and use cases which are unique to India. Facebook called for flexibility in licensing of spectrum. Vodafone Idea (Vi) added that 5G dream would be incomplete without adequate fiberization of towers which is abysmally low in India.
Jio puts in EMD of Rs 10,000 cr, Airtel & Voda Idea put Rs 3000 cr, Rs 475 cr each for spectrum auction
The deposits are part of the applications that the three telcos have filed to participate in the spectrum auction starting March 1. The quantum of EMD 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 in specific circles.
A pilot project, being implemented across 100 locations in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, aims to benefit over 50,000 farmers in the region by enhancing their productivity and income.
The additional compensation, though, is on condition that Vi staffers remain on the company's rolls till March 31, 2021, failing which it would get deducted from the final settlement, two people with direct knowledge told ET.
The rating company said the sector turnaround is being driven by a mix of “moderation in competition intensity between the big telcos, resulting in waning tariff differentials, increasing data penetration, supporting growth in average revenue per user (ARPU), and a growing subscriber base”.
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.
Brokerage firm CLSA has called it an “unsatisfactory performance”, highlighting the “enormous debt burden” of the operator.
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.
The NGO petitioned that delays in recovering adjusted gross revenues (AGR) will cause loss to exchequer, violating fundamental rights of Indian citizens.
The petition comes on the back of Vodafone Idea (Vi), Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices (TTSL) moving apex court earlier this year, pointing out errors in calculations of AGR dues.
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.
“Both Airtel and Vi have written to the DoT to recalibrate the guarantees that telcos offer annually to the government. Their revenues have been on a decline over the last few years but the amounts they need to provide through BGs are not in proportion to the declining revenue," a senior executive at one of the two telcos told ET on condition of anonymity.
This result comes at a time when the main battle for customers is being played out between the three private telcos on 4G networks. The faster speed will also ensure high tariff customers, specially postpaid ones remain on Vi.
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 auction for over 2300 MHz of airwaves — valued at Rs 3.92 lakh crore at base price — though is likely to see limited bidding intensity for spectrum worth less than Rs 48,000 crore, with Jio and Airtel expected to be the main players.
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.
As 5G becomes a reality and the cultural shift toward social distancing lingers, we could see it enabling 4K/8K high-resolution video for telemedicine, personalized AI-based teachers in virtual classrooms, and lag-free Zoom meetings.
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) to disclose to the telecom regulator all segmented or 'specific offers' made to their subscribers, delivering a jolt to the two companies that say submission of such details could end up violating commercial confidentiality and help rivals poach their customers.
The telcos need to provide bank guarantees to back their earnest money deposits (EMD) to bid in the auctions and to cover for their annual instalment amounts towards the airwaves they buy in the sale.
India ranked No. 1 in IPv6 with nearly 60% adoption, followed by Belgium (58%). Thanks to Reliance Jio's greenfield network that holds 91.8% of the IPv6 subscriber base, capturing second position to T-Mobile (92.3%).
Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Airtel are the country’s biggest 2G operators and jointly command over 300 million 2G users who are critical to their revenues. Vendors, on their part, need a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the ministry of environment, forest & climate change (MoEF) before deploying any imported refurbished 2G/3G gear in mobile networks.
The two most affected telcos had previously pointed out in the top court anomalies in the DoT's calculations, and had submitted their own self assessments, which put the dues at substantially lower than the government's calculated amounts. The court though had scrapped all the reassessments and upheld DoT's calculations.
Vodafone Group Plc on Friday won a decade-long battle in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague against the Indian tax department’s demand of Rs 20,000 crore, stemming from its entry into the country in 2007.
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.
The telco said that strong macro growth drivers such as growth in data consumption, especially with more users migrating to 4G, amid increasing smartphone adoption will help it drive up ARPU, from Rs 114 at June end. It added its target is to achieve Rs 4,000 crore in annualized cost savings over the next 18 months.
TSDSI’s 5G standard, among other things, calls for deployment of 5G services in the 3.4 GHz band and suggests mobile towers be spaced 12 km apart in villages to ensure ubiquitous 5G coverage in rural India.
The Nifty50 and BSE Sensex indices fell over 1 per cent each for the week as some investors saw the opportunity to take some profits.
Tower installation rates, recently revised by two of the Delhi municipalities, have effectively jumped almost 150% to ₹5 lakh per tower for a five-year span.
Mobile tower installation rates, recently revised by two Delhi municipalities, have risen sharply from around Rs 2 lakh per tower for a 5-year span to Rs 5 lakh per tower for a 5-year period, a senior industry executive aware of the matter told ET.
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.
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.
"Vi has acquired the co-sponsorship rights of the live broadcast of T-20 premier league which will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE and telecast on the Star Sports network," Vi said in a statement on Saturday.
Jio unleashes new tariff war, ramps up offerings in postpaid segment to target high paying Airtel, Vi users
Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) has rolled out post-paid tariff plans to woo higher-paying subscribers, most of whom are currently with rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL), likely triggering another round of price competition in the mobile telephony space, benefiting consumers. But analysts say the Mukesh Ambani-led telco would find it far more difficult to poach historically stickier post-paid subscribers from its two rivals, given that mobile phone users already have access to a variety of content and large dollops of data.Jio unleashes new tariff war, ramps up offerings in postpaid segment to target high paying Airtel, Vi users
“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.
The government needs to look at incentivising enhanced domestic value-addition to leverage the large imports substitution ($25 billion) opportunity that exists in the sector, said Baba Kalyani, who is also the chairman at Bharat Forge, whose businesses include automobile components.
The end-to-end monitoring will start the minute the vaccine leaves the factory bound for an inoculation hub, including storage time at cold chains. Vi’s enterprise business unit has developed the IoT solutions and vaccine temperature sensors.
After a complaint by Jio on July 8, Trai, over the past two-and-a-half months, had been examining if Vi’s RedX plan degrades the quality of services for its other users on non-premium tariff offers. Trai, in fact, had on July 11 suspended the original RedX plan, following which, Vi had moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal.
A total of 34,310,770 shares changed hands on the counter till 01:59PM (IST).
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi), however, lost 1.12 million and 4.82 million customers respectively in June, in the aftermath of the December 2019 hikes and post-lockdown pangs as many feature phone users with prepaid connections gave up mobile connections as they were unable to recharge.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) sold 2.64 million two-wheelers until December FY21, compared with 1.68 million units sold by the Japanese automaker in Indonesia. India had lost the top slot in local sales to the Southeast Asian country last fiscal.
Up till now, Jio, which had just one postpaid plan at Rs 199, concentrated largely on the prepaid customers, who form the main segment of telecom subscribers in India.
The govet expects to net around Rs 40,000 crore from telecom sector this fiscal, less than a third of the budget estimate of Rs 1.33 lakh crore, mainly due to the absence of 5G airwaves in next auctions and limited payments towards past AGR dues.
The non governmental organisation alleges that the telco had sufficient time to highlight these "errors" to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and its latest appeals are "frivolous attempts to overturn the orders of this... court ".
Both telcos highlighted the manifold increase in AGR dues as a result of these arithmetical errors. Earlier appeals by the telcos to allow self-assessment of their dues during the AGR case hearings were rejected by the court. Their last batch of letters to DoT on this issue have not elicited any response.
Kotak Institutional Equities said that upfront payment may be a deterrent for incremental customers despite attractive propositions.
Airtel's Rs 350 recharge plan provides 2GB data per day with 28-day validity. This means a total of 56 GB a month. It offers unlimited calls and 100 SMSes per day. Additionally, it also provides subscription to ‘Amazon Prime’ and access to Airtel Xstream premium and Wynk Music.
"GIGAnet is Vi’s effort to move beyond connectivity to be the platform for a digital society. It offers faster downloads & uploads, low latency and real-time connectivity. We have deployed technology whereby parts of the NW have the ability to self-optimize to meet demand where necessary," said Vishant Vora, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Idea.
Loss-making Vi, the worst hit by the AGR case ruling of October 2019 which left it facing the most dues among telcos, follows rival Bharti Airtel in highlighting what it claims are calculation mistakes. But unlike its competitor, it has not called on the top court to recall its earlier "mistaken" orders.
Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are likely to report sequential gains in mobile revenue and operating income in the fiscal third quarter, helped by continued 4G subscriber additions and the fully captured impact of the December 2019 tariff hikes.
Pradhan on Thursday wrote to Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers D V Sadananda Gowda and Shipping and Ports Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking their personal intervention to get the land needed for the project.
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.
India’s No. 2 telco also sought permission for the DoT to arrive at the final adjusted gross revenue due amounts of mobile phone operators after taking into account calculations done by the companies.
Vodafone Idea Limited Monday unveiled a new brand identity, as the struggling telco looked to rediscover itself post Supreme Court's ruling on AGR dues. The operator, which had about 280 million subscribers as of June, said that Vodafone and Idea brands will now be called 'Vi'. ET's Devina Sengupta has all the details. (Text: PTI)Vodafone Idea is now 'Vi': All you need to know about the 'unified' telecom brand
Jio warns Centre that delay in auctions will lead to fall in network quality, blames rivals for stifling competition
Jio has laid a scathing attack on its rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – without naming them - and alleged that they have created hurdles in the auction sale.
The telcos are only pointing out the “arithmetical errors” in DoT’s calculations and haven’t taken a final call on filing curative petitions, a second person said.
The company’s enterprise customers currently using 3G based services will be upgraded to 4G and 4G-based IoT applications and services, in a phased manner.