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  1. #291
    F.K. VazhipokkaN BangaloreaN's Avatar
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    Vodafone Idea: DoT braces for the worst, weighs mobile number porting capacity - ET Telecom


    MUMBAI: Telecom department officials have asked India?s two mobile number portability (MNP) service providers on how many porting requests can they process in a day, as the government evaluates contingency options in the eventuality that Vodafone Idea doesn?t survive the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) crisis.

    Officials in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) though say that the Plan A for the government is to make every effort to see that Vodafone Idea survives the present turmoil, and that India remains a three-private sector player market. On Friday, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) ? the highest decision-making body of the DoT ? may discuss some steps on providing relief to stressed telcos such as Vodafone Idea.

    According to people aware of the developments, the government was informed that at the most 500,000 customers can be ported out each day on a combined basis by the two MNP providers?Syniverse Technologies India and MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India. Both companies did not respond to ET?s queries at the time of going to press.

    This capacity though may prove grossly inadequate to cater to over 300 million subscribers of Vodafone Idea, leading to severe service quality issues, as the potential recipients?Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio?don?t have adequate capacity to immediately absorb the massive influx to their networks, say experts.


    A contingency plan in this case is a complex one since it will include how to ensure smooth port outs in bulks of thousands to the two remaining operators. ?This will put tremendous strain on the systems. To handle bulk requests of so many million customers will be a big task and hence, a contingency plan needs to be in place,? said a person aware of the development. ?Also, the telcos will have to discuss what are the charges acceptable to them to take in so many customers?.


    MNP refers to the facility allowing a user to switch telco operators without changing the mobile number. The recipient operator pays a fee to the MNP service provider for processing the request.

    ?This will be a panic like situation? right now telcos are operating at 70-80% of network utilization. Without additional spectrum, despite all the spectrum farming (reusing 3G spectrum for 4G), splitting one-third subscriber market between two operators will be very difficult,? said SBICap Securities research head Rajiv Sharma.

    There have been reports that both rivals have started discussing on how to upgrade their network in case Vodafone Idea goes down. Jio has 370 million while Bharti Airtel has 283 million subscribers.

    Vodafone Idea has so far paid Rs 3,500 crore of the DoT?s estimated Rs 57,000 crore dues. The telco estimates its dues to be around Rs 23,000 crore. Experts say the cash-strapped carrier will find it difficult to pay even its own estimated dues in a short period of time.

    The telco has said it will be forced to shut down unless it gets some relief on its AGR dues. The government is considering, among others, setting up a stress fund for stressed telcos to draw from to pay off AGR dues and repay on easy terms, besides deferment of license fees and spectrum usage charge (SUC) for a substantial period to free up cash flows.

    On Wednesday, Vodafone Idea dispatched a letter to finance minister, DoT and Niti Ayog, calling on the government to allow it to pay AGR dues over 15 years, after a three-year moratorium. The telecom company has also asked for a tax refund to be adjusted against its dues, cuts in licence fees and SUC and the establishment of a floor for tariffs, among measures to help remain viable.

    The telco has also urged the DoT not to encash its bank guarantees against unpaid AGR dues, as that would force the telco to close down.

    Having already rejected a petition seeking review of its October 2019 order, which said AGR should include non-core items, the Supreme Court?s hearing of the modification on March 17, which is also the deadline for payment of dues, assumes critical importance.

    The telcos have asked in the modification pleas to be allowed to negotiate modalities and timelines for paying the AGR dues with the DoT.


  2. #292
    F.K. VazhipokkaN BangaloreaN's Avatar
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    എയർടെലിന് 118,800 കോടി കടം! നിരക്ക് കൂട്ടാതെ വഴിയില്ലെന്ന് സുനിൽ മിത്തൽ




    സുനിൽ മിത്തലും മുകേഷ് അംബാനിയുംരാജ്യത്തെ ടെലികോം കമ്പനികളെല്ലാം വൻ പ്രതിസന്ധികളിലൂടെയാണ് കടന്നുപോകുന്നത്. മിക്ക കമ്പനികൾക്കും വൻ കടബാധ്യതകളുണ്ട്. ടെലികോം വിപണിയിൽ ഒരുകാലത്ത് ഒന്നാം സ്ഥാനത്തായിരുന്ന ഭാർതി എയർടെലിന് 2020 സാമ്പത്തിക വർഷത്തിലെ കണക്കുകൾ പ്രകാരം മൊത്തം കടം ഏകദേശം 118,800 കോടി രൂപയാണ്. എന്നാൽ, പുതിയ വരിക്കാരെ ചേർക്കുന്നതിലും കമ്പനി വൻ പ്രതിസന്ധി നേരിടുകയാണ്. ഇങ്ങനെ പോയാൽ നിരക്കുകൾ വർധിപ്പിക്കാതെ പിടിച്ചുനിൽക്കാൻ കഴിയില്ലെന്നാണ് മുൻനിര കമ്പനികളെല്ലാം പറയുന്നത്.
    നിലവിലെ നിരക്കുകൾ സുസ്ഥിരമല്ലെന്നും ടെലികോം താരിഫ് വർധനവ് ആവശ്യമാണെന്നുമാണ് എയർടെൽ മേധാവി സുനിൽ മിത്തൽ പിടിഐയ്ക്ക് നൽകിയ അഭിമുഖത്തിൽ പറഞ്ഞത്. നിരക്കുകളെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം കമ്പനി നേരത്തെ തന്നെ നിലപാട് വ്യക്തമാക്കിയതാണ്. താരിഫ് വർധിപ്പിക്കണമെന്ന ഉറച്ച നിലപാടാണ് എയർടെല്ലിനെന്നും മിത്തൽ പറഞ്ഞു. നിലവിലെ നിരക്കുകൾ സുസ്ഥിരമല്ലെന്നും കാര്യങ്ങൾ മുന്നോട്ട് നീക്കുന്നതിന് നിരക്ക് വർധനവ് അനിവാര്യമാണെന്നും മിത്തൽ പറഞ്ഞു.
    ഈ വർഷം ഓഗസ്റ്റിൽ നടത്തിയ പ്രസ്താവനയിൽ 160 രൂപയ്ക്ക് 16 ജിബി ഡേറ്റാ ഉപഭോഗം ഒരു ദുരന്തമായി മിത്തൽ വിശേഷിപ്പിച്ചിരുന്നു. ഒരു ഉപയോക്താവിൽ നിന്നുള്ള ശരാശരി വരുമാനം 200 രൂപയായി ഉയർത്തുകയും പിന്നീട് ഇത് 300 രൂപയായും ഉയരണമെന്നാണ് കമ്പനിയുടെ നിലപാട്. എയർടെല്ലിന്റെ മൊബൈൽ എആർ*പിയു സെപ്റ്റംബർ പാദത്തിൽ 162 രൂപയായിരുന്നു. രണ്ടാം പാദത്തിൽ 128 രൂപയിൽ നിന്ന് 157 രൂപയും കഴിഞ്ഞ ജൂൺ പാദത്തിൽ 157 രൂപയുമായിരുന്നു.
    രാജ്യത്ത് അടുത്ത ആറു മാസത്തിനുള്ളില്* മൊബൈല്* സേവന നിരക്കുകള്* വര്*ധിച്ചേക്കുമെന്ന് വ്യക്തമായ സൂചന നല്*കി ഭാരതി എയർടെൽ ചീഫ് എക്സിക്യൂട്ടീവ് ഓഫിസർ (സിഇഒ) ഗോപാൽ വിത്തലും പ്രസ്താവന നടത്തിയിരുന്നു. 16 ജിബി ഡേറ്റ 160 രൂപയ്ക്ക് ഒരു മാസത്തേക്ക് തങ്ങള്* നല്*കേണ്ടിവരുന്നത് ഒരു ദുരന്തമാണ്. 160 രൂപയ്ക്ക് നിങ്ങള്* 1.6 ജിബി ഡേറ്റ ഉപയോഗിച്ചോളണം. അല്ലെങ്കില്* കൂടുതല്* നിരക്ക് തരാന്* തയാറാകണമെന്നതാണ് എയർടെൽ മേധാവിയുടെ നിലപാട്. എന്നാൽ നിരക്കു വർധന എപ്പോഴുണ്ടാകുമെന്നു വ്യക്തമാക്കിയിട്ടില്ലെങ്കിലും ഭാവിയിൽ എല്ലാ കമ്പനികളും ഈ തീരുമാനത്തിലെത്തുമെന്നാണ് അറിയുന്നത്. കഴിഞ്ഞ ഡിസംബറിൽ 3 കമ്പനികളും 25–39% വരെ നിരക്കു വർധിപ്പിച്ചിരുന്നു. കോവിഡ് പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിൽ ഡേറ്റ ഉപയോഗവും മൊബൈൽ കോളുംവർധിച്ച സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണ് ഇനിയും നിരക്കു കൂട്ടണമെന്ന നിലപാട്. എന്നാൽ റിലയൻസ് ജിയോ തൽക്കാലം വർധന വേണ്ടെന്ന നിലപാടിലാണ്.
    അമേരിക്കയിലും യൂറോപ്പിലും നിലനില്*ക്കുന്ന വില തരേണ്ട, അതായത് 50-60 ഡോളറൊന്നും വേണ്ട. പക്ഷേ, പ്രതിമാസം 16 ജിബി ഉപയോഗിക്കാന്* 2 ഡോളര്* എന്ന നിരക്കുമായി മുന്നോട്ടുപോയി പിടിച്ചു നില്*ക്കാനാവില്ല എന്നാണ് സുനിൽ മിത്തല്* പറഞ്ഞത്. ടെലികോം മേഖല രാജ്യത്തിന് വലിയ സേവനമാണ് നല്*കുന്നത്. ഇനിയിപ്പോള്* 5ജി കൊണ്ടുവരാന്* ധാരാളം പണം മുടക്കണം. ഒപ്ടിക്കല്* ഫൈബര്* വലിക്കണം, കടലിനടിയിലൂടെ കേബിള്* ഇടണം. അടുത്ത ആറുമാസത്തിനുള്ളല്* തങ്ങളുടെ എആര്*പിയു 200 രൂപയായി ഉയരും. എന്നാല്*, അത് 250 ആകുന്നതായിരുന്നു ഉത്തമമെന്നും സുനിൽ മിത്തൽ പറഞ്ഞത്.
    അതേസമയം, ചൈനീസ് ടെലികോം കമ്പനികളെ 5ജി നെറ്റ്*വർക്കുകളിൽ പങ്കെടുക്കാൻ അനുവദിക്കുമോ ഇല്ലയോ എന്ന വിഷയത്തിൽ കേന്ദ്ര സർക്കാർ തീരുമാനിക്കുന്നത് എല്ലാവരും അനുസരിക്കുെമന്നും മിത്തൽ പറഞ്ഞു.


  3. #293
    F.K. VazhipokkaN BangaloreaN's Avatar
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    ജനുവരിമുതൽ ലാൻഡ്*ലൈനിൽനിന്ന് മൊബൈലിലേക്ക് വിളിക്കാൻ പൂജ്യം ചേർക്കണം









    പ്രതീകാത്മക ചിത്രം



    ന്യൂഡൽഹി: രാജ്യത്തെ ലാൻഡ്*ലൈനുകളിൽനിന്ന് മൊബൈൽ ഫോണുകളിലേക്ക് വിളിക്കാൻ 10 അക്ക നമ്പറിനുമുന്നിൽ പൂജ്യംചേർക്കുന്ന രീതി പുതുവർഷംമുതൽ പ്രാബല്യത്തിൽ വരും. ഇതിനുള്ള ടെലികോം റെഗുലേറ്ററി അതോറിറ്റി ഓഫ് ഇന്ത്യയുടെ (ട്രായ്) ശുപാർശ ടെലികോം മന്ത്രാലയം അംഗീകരിച്ചു. ജനുവരി ഒന്നുമുതൽ സംവിധാനം നടപ്പാക്കാനുള്ള സജ്ജീകരണമൊരുക്കാൻ വിവിധ ടെലികോം കമ്പനികളോട് മന്ത്രാലയം ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു.
    വർധിക്കുന്ന ആവശ്യങ്ങൾക്കനുസരിച്ച് ലാൻഡ് ലൈനുകൾക്കും മൊബൈൽ ഫോണുകൾക്കും ആവശ്യത്തിന് നമ്പറുകൾ നൽകാൻ കൂടുതൽ സൗകര്യം ലഭിക്കുന്നതിനാണ് ഈ രീതി നടപ്പാക്കുന്നത്. മേയ് 29-നാണ് ഇതിനുള്ള ശുപാർശ ട്രായ് സമർപ്പിച്ചത്. പദ്ധതി നടപ്പാക്കുന്നതോടെ 254.4 കോടി പുതിയ പത്തക്കനമ്പറുകൾകൂടി സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ടെലികോം കമ്പനികൾക്ക് കഴിയും.



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    Govt to hold 35.8% in Vodafone Idea after conversion of AGR dues into equity






    • Vodafone Idea shares were trading over 16% lower to ₹12 apiece on the BSE in Tuesday's opening deals


    Vodafone Idea on Tuesday informed that the board at its meeting held on Monday has approved the conversion of the full amount of interest related to spectrum auction instalments and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) Dues into equity. The conversion will therefore result in dilution to all the existing shareholders of the company, including the promoters.
    Shares of Vodafone Idea were trading over 16% lower to ₹12 apiece on the BSE in Tuesday's opening deals.

    Following the conversion, the Indian government will hold about 35.8% of the total outstanding shares of the company, and the promoter shareholders Vodafone Group would hold around 28.5% and Aditya Birla Group around 17.8%, the telecom operator announced in an exchange filing today.
    "The Net Present Value (NPV) of this interest is expected to be about ₹16,000 crore as per the company’s best estimates, subject to confirmation by the DoT. Since the average price of the company’s shares at the relevant date of 14.08.2021 was below par value, the equity shares will be issued to the government at par value of ₹10 per share, subject to final confirmation by the DoT," the statement added.
    The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had provided various options to the company in connection with Telecom Reforms Package, after which Vodafone Idea's board in October had approved deferring payment of spectrum auction installments & AGR dues by 4 years.
    This rescue plan was crucial for Vodafone Idea, which has been losing customers to bigger rivals, especially after Reliance Jio sparked a brutal price war in 2016, and quickly clinched market share to become the top player.
    The conversion of accrued interest into equity can be done by invoking Section 62 (4) of the Companies Act, and the amount will be treated as a loan until the conversion is completed, the DoT said in reforms announced in September last year.


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    Telcos flag concerns about captive network issue ahead of 5G auction


    The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) wrote a letter urging the government against allotting 5G spectrum to private captive networks, claiming that it will diminish their revenue to the point where offering 5G will pointless.
    What is a Private Captive 5G Network?


    • A private captive 5G network is basically a network set up by a private entity for the use of just one organisation.
    • It is similar to a captive coal mine in that the 5G service offered by this captive network will only be utilised by the enterprise concerned, and no one else.

    Why are telecom providers against it?


    • The COAI’s argument is that enterprises are the biggest users of 5G networks.
    • If private entities are allowed to offer captive networks to enterprises, the TSPs (telecom service providers) retail revenues will fall.
    • COAI implied that there is no great demand for 5G right now as “the needs of voice and data of the entire nation is being adequately met by the TSPs through their 4G networks today”.




    Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea -- the three mobile players operating in the 114-crore subscriber Indian telecom market -- are gearing up for the launch of 5G services.
    The government will auction, next month, about Rs 4.3 lakh crore worth of airwaves capable of offering fifth-generation or 5G telecom services.

    It has also given a nod for setting up of captive 5G networks by the tech firms, much to the dismay of telcos.

    As much as 72 GHz of spectrum will be put on the block during the 5G auction, set to commence on July 26, 2022.

    The 5G services will usher in high speeds -- about 10 times faster than 4G -- and spawn new-age offerings and business models.

    Industry body COAI, in a recent letter to DoT, had expressed disappointment at government's decision on captive private networks.
    COAI had demanded a level-playing-field, arguing that solution provider too should pay licence fee and GST at the rates applicable for telcos on the billed amount of revenue, and that such captive networks must remain "truly" private and isolated, and adhere to security norms.

    COAI had argued that since a decision to enable the captive networks through direct spectrum assignment has been taken, the government must now restrict scope of such non-public networks to machine-to-machine communication inside the specific premise and plant automation only.

    Such networks must ensure they do not cause any interference to public networks.

    COAI had said that from national security perspective, these networks should comply with the prescribed subscriber verification norms, so as to ensure adequate verification and traceability of every user.
    Periodic audit to ensure compliance must be carried out, said COAI whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

    System integrators and other intermediaries should not be allocated such spectrum, COAI said.

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    With Rs 1.64 trillion, BSNL gets new lease of life: BBNL to be merged with telco



    The government on Wednesday announced a hefty revival package of Rs 1.64 trillion for state-owned telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL). This package for the ailing company is much bigger than the Rs 74,000-crore bailout announced in October 2019.

    In addition, Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL), the special purpose vehicle which was created to lay a country-wide fibre network called BharatNet, will be merged with BSNL to boost its infrastructure and support telephony services.


    The fresh package, which was approved by the Union Cabinet, comprises conversion of the company’s dues into equity, financial support and allocation of spectrum to provide 4G services. It may be mentioned that the 2019 package also included Rs 23,814 crore towards allocation of 4G spectrum.

    In addition, Bharat Broadband Network (BBNL), the special purpose vehicle which was created to lay a country-wide fibre network called BharatNet, will be merged with BSNL to boost its infrastructure and support telephony services.
    “We are committed to strengthening BSNL,” telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said. “The first boost to BSNL came from the 2019 revival package, making it a stable entity. Post that, it made operating profits. With today’s revival package, BSNL will become a viable entity,” he said.

    The revival measures focus on fresh capital for upgrading services, allocating spectrum, de-stressing its balance sheet and augmenting its fibre network by BBNL, the telecom minister said, adding that the package has a cash component of Rs 43,964 crore and a non-cash component of Rs 1.2 trillion spread over four years.
    However, most of the package will be implemented in the first two years, the minister added.

    “Previous package of Rs 74,000 crore in 2019 gave a good lifeline to BSNL. As a direct result, it began generating operating profit (Rs 1,000 crore). Now, to make it a viable company, the financial restructuring has to be done,” he said. “Today’s decision will help make BSNL sustainable.”
    The Cabinet approved the allocation of 900/1800 MHz band spectrum worth `44,993 crore to BSNL so that it can provide 4G services. The allocation has been made because the company did not participate in the ongoing auctions to buy spectrum.

    Vaishnaw said that the allocation of spectrum will allow BSNL to compete in the market and provide high-speed data.
    For technology upgrades, the government will fund a capex of Rs 22,471 crore over the next four years to boost development and deployment of indigenous fourth generation or 4G stack, Vaishnaw said.
    Also, the government will provide Rs 13,789 crore to BSNL as a viability gap funding for commercially-unviable rural wireline operations done during 2014-15 to 2019-20.
    To de-stress its balance sheet, Rs 33,404 crore of statutory dues will be converted into equity and the government will give a sovereign guarantee to the company to raise long-term bonds of Rs 40,399 crore to repay its current high-cost debt.
    Also, BSNL will re-issue a preference share of Rs 7,500 crore to the government.

    The authorised capital of BSNL will be increased from Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 1.5 trillion in lieu of dues, provision of capex and allotment of spectrum.
    “With these measures, BSNL will be able to improve the quality of existing services, roll out 4G services and become financially-viable. It is expected that with the implementation of this revival plan, BSNL will turn around and earn profit in FY2026-27,” the minister said.

    The Union Cabinet also approved a project for saturation of 4G mobile services in uncovered villages across the country at a total cost of Rs 26,316 crore.
    The project will provide 4G mobile services in 24,680 uncovered villages in remote and difficult areas, he said.
    “The revival package will enable BSNL to improve services and generate a net profit in 3-4 years. Its 5G services launch will happen in next 1.5-2 years,” Vaishnaw said. “In 1-1.5 years, its 4G telecom services will reach people.” On the merger of MTNL and BSNL, he said the plan is still there but “it needs complex financial restructuring”. “More work is left so it will take it step-by-step,” he said.


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    Clear dues or lose tower access: Indus Towers to Vodafone Idea

    Vi's accumulated dues to tower firms is estimated upwards of Rs 10,000 crore, of which it's reckoned to owe well over Rs 7,000 crore to Indus and the balance to American Tower Co (ATC). The carrier has been trying to raise Rs 20,000 crore, split between more debt from lenders and equity, but hasn't been able to close any deal yet.

    Indus Towers has called on Vodafone Idea (Vi) to clear its dues or else run the risk of losing access to its towers from November. Vi's mobile services to its over 255 million subscribers could be seriously disrupted if Indus blocks tower access to the cash-strapped telco.

    The tower company shot off this warning to Vodafone Idea in a strongly-worded letter written on Monday, said two people aware of the matter. This followed an Indus Towers board meeting earlier in the day that discussed the company's mounting trade receivables and noted that it was mainly due to payment delays by Vi.

    "Independent directors on the Indus board were upset about the prolonged non-payment of dues by Vi," one of the people told ET.



    Vi's accumulated dues to tower firms is estimated upwards of Rs 10,000 crore, of which it's reckoned to owe well over Rs 7,000 crore to Indus and the balance to American Tower Co (ATC). The carrier has been trying to raise Rs 20,000 crore, split between more debt from lenders and equity, but hasn't been able to close any deal yet.

    Indus had reported a 66.3% on-year fall in its June quarter net profit to Rs 477.3 crore, stung mainly by heavy receivables.

    Its trade receivables stood at Rs 6,249.6 crore in the April-June period, largely due to delayed payments by Vi. The prolonged trade receivables issue prompted Indus to take a provision for doubtful debts of Rs 1,230 crore for aging receivables.

    Vi's trade payables jumped almost 13.6% sequentially to Rs 14,956.2 crore in the June quarter. Its payables - part of its current liabilities - include dues to tower firms, network vendors and other suppliers.

    In its letter, Indus is believed to have told Vi to clear all past dues at the earliest, pay 80% of its current monthly dues immediately, and going forward, clear 100% of monthly dues on time, failing which access to the tower network would be barred.

    Indus operated some 1,86,474 towers at June end, with Vi as one of its main customers. Bharti Airtel owns 47.76% in Indus with Vodafone Group Plc holding 21.05%. Vi had sold its stake in Indus at the time of the tower company's merger with Bharti Infratel.

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