Airtel may soon launch 4G services in Delhi

IndiaNEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel may soon launch 4G services in Delhi as it has got the go-ahead in this regard from the Department of Telecom (DoT). Airtel’s 4G launch in Delhi has been mired in a legal case. The telecom major had got the required spectrum for 4G services through acquisition of Wireless Business Services Pvt Ltd (now Airtel Broadband Services).  The DoT had raised a demand of Rs 436 crore from Airtel for merging Airtel Broadband Services (ABSPL) with itself. The company opposed it and approached TDSAT regarding the matter.

The war over Zero rating, from India

IndiaThe crescendo of shrill cries outside forced the top management of Flipkart into quiet introspection within. Last week, it abandoned a ‘zero rating’ discussion with Airtel only eight days after the telecom operator unveiled it. Under this arrangement, Airtel users would have been able to access for free, with Flipkart paying Airtel for data consumed by users.

‘Telcos only intermediaries, can’t go against net neutrality’

IndiaNEW DELHI: Amid the raging debate globally over net neutrality, which has evoked a strong reaction from stakeholders in India, domain experts feel that an unshackled access to the internet world isn’t feasible in India yet but attempts must continue for egalitarianism. “Building a net neutral network is technologically not possible to implement. It’s a utopian idea — no basis in technology,” said Ravi VS Prasad, a telecom consultant who has designed several data-com and telecom networks in the past 30 years.

Net neutrality: Airtel CEO sends letter to employees

IndiaNEW DELHI: In the eye of the storm over net neutrality, Bharti Airtel today said it will always provide same treatment to every website and application irrespective of whether they are on its toll free platform or not. Launched last week, Airtel Zero is an open-marketing platform that allows customers to access certain mobile apps for free with charges being borne by the app makers. The company has drawn flak on social media for violating the concept of net neutrality.

Airtel may withdraw Zero plan: Analysts

IndiaNEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel’s controversial Airtel Zero plan, apart from facing a severe social media backlash, is being panned by its competitors who are apprehensive that similar schemes of theirs will come under consumer and regulatory scrutiny. The stock slumped 3.58% to Rs 409.25 in intraday trade. While Airtel has consistently maintained that the plan doesn’t violate the concept of an open internet, experts say the company’s brand image, especially among the youth, has taken a beating, and India’s largest telco may have to withdraw the plan to undo the damage.

Flipkart pulls out of Airtel’s net neutrality violating Airtel Zero

IndiaBENGALURU: Startup entrepreneurs erupted in joy after the country’s largest online retailer Flipkart retreated from a programme that critics said could have resulted in an unequal Internet and stifled competition. By turning its back on India’s largest mobile phone company Airtel, Flipkart is responding to pressure from within and without after severe criticism of its intention to use its substantial financial muscle to subsidise users of its app, analysts said. In a statement on Tuesday, Flipkart said it is “walking away” from talks with Airtel, and even took a swipe at the telecom company by remarking that the ‘Airtel Zero’ subsidisation platform violates its “principles”.

Spectrum auction: Government gets Rs 32,300 crore from telcos

IndiaNEW DELHI: The government has received a total upfront payment of over Rs 32,300 crore from telecom players against the spectrum sold during the March auction, well above the minimum outstanding due of Rs 28,835.34 crore. Telecom major Bharti Airtel has paid the entire sum for Rajasthan and North East circles. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has received Rs 32,377.85 crore, nearly Rs 3,500 crore above the minimum due, sources told .

Net neutrality: Airtel Zero is threat to Digital India plan

IndiaNEW DELHI: The political class jumped into the burning issue of net neutrality with Parliamentarians Tathagata Satpathy and Rajeev Chandrasekhar saying that any move to allow telecom operators to charge subscribers separately for using some apps would restrict people’s access to internet and go against the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India. In a recent letter to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman Rahul Khullar, Satpathy, an MP from Odisha representing the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), backed the concept of net neutrality, which envisages that service providers will treat all data on the internet equally and not impose differential pricing or discriminate among users, content sites, platforms and apps, also known as over-the-top (OTT) services.

App developers, tech startups slam Airtel Zero

IndiaNEW DELHI: Tech startups and small app developers have slammed Bharti Airtel’s move to allow mobile phone users free access to certain websites, saying the step, and similar ones by other telcos, would hurt them as they don’t have the financial muscle to pay to get preferential access to a carrier’s users.  “Airtel’s new marketing platform basically implies that telecom operators will control which technology comes up and which doesn’t. This is extremely unhealthy,” says Sunal Jain, founder and chief executive of MobiNxt Studios, a Chicago and New Delhi-based one-year-old app developer.

Airtel Zero: Another blow to net neutrality

IndiaNEW DELHI: Airtel has launched ‘Airtel Zero,’ a platform through which it will offer users free access to certain mobile apps. These apps will be from developers who have signed up with the company. Through the scheme, app developers and internet content service providers (or over-the-top content providers) will be able to make some part of or their entire mobile app free for customers. This implies that users will not have to pay data charges (or get usage allowance deducted from their data packs) when they access these apps via Airtel’s mobile data network.

Airtel, Idea, Vodafone partly pay their upfront amount

IndiaNEW DELHI: Successful spectrum bidders, including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone, have made over Rs 7,000 crore towards upfront payments — a move that will help the government narrow its fiscal deficit target for the fiscal ending.  Also, others telecom firms such as Reliance Jio and Tata Teleservices that won airwaves in the recent spectrum auction have committed to pay by evening today. Airtel has paid about Rs 5,000 crore while Idea Cellular deposited around Rs 2,000 crore as part payment for spectrum they acquired in auction last week. Vodafone has also paid some amount but the exact number could not be ascertained.

Bharti Airtel partners Amazon for cloud services

IndiaNEW DELHI: Telecom major Bharti Airtel has announced partnership with Amazon Web Services to offer its cloud computing services to customers in India. “In line with this market adoption, we are excited to strengthen Airtel’s cloud services portfolio by adding Amazon Web Services to our growing list of cloud services providers. We are confident that this will help our global customers truly leverage the benefits of cloud,” Bharti Airtel’s Global Business CEO Ajay Chitkara said in a statement.

Spectrum wars: Vodafone takes on RJio

IndiaMUMBAI: It’s a clash of the moneybags, with Vodafone India aiming to pay back Reliance Jio Infocomm in its own coin as the spectrum auction enters its last leg with overall bids reaching Rs 107,709 crore, crossing the previous record set in 2010.  After Jio pushed Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular into a bidding war for the 900MHz band, a move aimed at draining their resources, the local unit of Vodafone, backed by its deep-pocketed UK parent, is doing the same thing: pushing prices up in the 800MHz CDMA band which is being sought by Mukesh Ambani-controlled Jio to deploy 4G in future, people tracking the auctions said.

Telcos may face funding blues

IndiaMUMBAI: As telecom operators bid aggressively to retain existing airwaves and total bids crossed Rs 1.03 lakh crore on Monday, leading domestic lenders are getting worried, expressing reservations about their ability to disburse loans to the sector.  “We will be extremely cautious about lending to the sector,” said Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson of State Bank of India.

Airtel to double 4G network by next fiscal: Sunil Mittal

IndiaBARCELONA: Flush with an investment outlay of $3 billion a year on networks, telecom major Bharti Airtel plans to double its 4G network by next fiscal as it gears up to take on competition, including the much-awaited foray of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries group.  “We have decided to roll out (4G). We have 20,000 base station now, in March, and we will be doing another 20,000 next year,” Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said here.

Free internet: Airtel’s Mittal takes on Facebook CEO

IndiaBARCELONA: Taking on social networking giant Facebook’s ambitious ‘free internet’ plans, telecom major Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal has said the companies should do ‘philanthropy’ if they stop charging for mobile internet.  Facebook has launched an ‘’ initiative under which users can access internet free of charge for select websites if they come through a partner telecom operator.

Airtel, China Mobile to tie-up for 4G

IndiaNEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel has entered into a strategic collaboration with China Mobile under which the two companies will work towards the growth of the LTE (long term evolution) ecosystem and evolving mobile technology standards, a company statement said here Tuesday. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua and Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal: Insufficient 3G spectrum up for auction

IndiaNEW DELHI: Gopal Vittal, who runs India’s biggest telecom operator, Airtel, said the government is offering too little of the 3G spectrum that’s badly needed to support surging data growth at next month’s auction of airwaves. Making more of the highspeed frequencies available will act as a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India project, said Bharti Airtel’s CEO for India and South Asia.

Airtel, BSNL to sign pan-India roaming pact

IndiaNEW DELHI: Telecom operators Airtel and BSNL are likely to sign a pan-India roaming pact within a month to strengthen their 2G mobile services in areas where either of them is having a weak or negligible presence.  “We are soon going to sign a pan-India intra-circle roaming agreement with Airtel with a focus to strengthen coverage in rural areas. Commercials are being worked out. This is most likely to signed within a month,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.

Airtel denies talks of merger with Orange

IndiaNEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, the world’s fourth-largest mobile phone operator, has denied a news report of talks with France’s largest phone company, Orange SA, for a possible merger of its African assets, although people familiar said both companies had earlier been involved in deliberations which fell through. “A year ago there were some discussions with Orange for a possible merger but it collapsed,” a person familiar with the matter told ET, explaining that both companies wanted to retain a controlling stake over the combined entity.