Convergence Plus
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Samsung puts Noida on top with world's biggest mobile factory

Samsung puts Noida on top with world's biggest mobile factoryIn front are open fields with grazing cattle, to the left are under-construction residential societies and to the right is its existing facilty - this where Samsung has set up what is the world's largest mobile factory. Not China or South Korea -- and certainly not the US -- the tag of housing the world's largest mobile factory has straight away put Noida on top of the world manufacturing map when it comes to consumer electronics. The new 35-acre Samsung Electronics facility at Sector 81 in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in landing together at a quickly-prepared helipad adjacent to the factory to officially inaugurate it on Monday.

One of the first electronics manufacturing facilities set up in the country in the early 1990s, the plant started by manufacturing TVs in 1997. The current mobile phone manufacturing unit was added in 2005. In June last year, the South Korean giant announced a Rs 4,915 crore investment to expand the Noida plant and, after a year, the new facility is ready to double production.

The company is currently making 67 million smartphones in India and with the new plant being functional, it is expected to manufacture nearly 120 million mobile phones. Not just mobiles, the expansion of the current facility will double Samsung's production capacity of consumer electronics like refrigerators and flat panel televisions, further consolidating the company's leadership in these segments.

According to Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, the new facility gives Samsung an advantage by reducing the time to market. "This will help Samsung bring some local features to the devices powered by R&D here. Apart from this, the company can also bring in export opportunity for Samsung to SAARC and other regions," Pathak told IANS.

Samsung has two manufacturing plants -- in Noida and in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu -- five R&D centres, and one design centre in Noida, employing over 70,000 people and expanding its network to over 1.5 lakh retail outlets. Established in 1995, Samsung India laid the foundation stone of Noida plant next year. In 1997, production commenced and the first television was rolled out. In 2003, refrigerator production began.

By 2005, Samsung had become market leader in panel TVs and in 2007, the existing Noida facility started manufacturing mobile phones. In 2012, Samsung became the leader in mobile phones in the country and the Noida facility rolled out the first-ever "Galaxy S3" device. Today, Samsung is the market leader across mobile segments.

The company currently has over 10 per cent of its overall production in India and aims to take it to 50 per cent over the next three years. "For Samsung, India is among the top five smartphone markets globally. The US is saturated and Korea and Brazil are not growing significantly. India is a big opportunity across price segments, including 2G feature phones. It makes sense for Samsung to build a bigger manufacturing base here," Jaipal Singh, Senior Market Analyst, IDC, told IANS.

"They are now looking at building a complete ecosystem. After smartphones, they can go into building top-of-the-line products in other categories like TVs, refrigerators as advance manufacturing in India still lags behind. With the new facility, Samsung is going to have an edge over its rivals," Singh noted. According to HC Hong, President and CEO, Samsung India, a bigger manufacturing plant will help them cater to the growing demand for Samsung products across the country.

Samsung India, that registered 27 per cent growth in mobile business revenue for the financial year 2016-17 -- accounting for a whopping Rs 34,300 crore of its reported Rs 50,000 crore sales - won't be able to hide the smile when the new facility kicks off production from July 9. (Source: Economic Times)
NIIT to train 20,000 students from South in IT, BFSI sectors

NIIT to train 20,000 students from South in IT, BFSI sectorsNIIT Ltd will train 20,000 students from four southern States, with employable skill sets in IT and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sectors.
The training will cover students from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka, according to a press release.
Over three years, the company said, prospective employees will be trained under Talent Pipeline as a Service (TPaaS), a strategic initiative to ensure skilled talent to global organisations to match the pace of expansion in today’s fast changing, uncertain business environment.

“The Talent Pipeline as a Service is our attempt to identify and groom the best Just-in-Time job ready talent for emerging roles in organisations,” said Sapnesh Lalla, Chief Executive Officer of NIIT Ltd.

NIIT will train around one lakh youth in three years from across the country through this initiative. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)
DoT moves ASG again, seeking legal opinion on Idea-Voda merger

DoT moves ASG again, seeking legal opinion on Idea-Voda mergerSeeks clarification on payment of administratively-held spectrum and M&A guidelines
In a move that might further delay the merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has once again sought the opinion of the Additional Solicitor-General (ASG) on payment of administratively-held spectrum and clarity on guidelines related to mergers and acquisitions.
Administratively-allocated spectrum pertains to radio waves given to an operator outside the auction process. Prior to 2010, spectrum was given on a subscriber-linked criteria. Post 2010, all airwaves have been allocated through an auction process, thereby creating a difference in pricing.

This is the second time that the licensor is seeking the ASG’s approval for the impending merger.

Clarifications on merger

In the latest move, the department has sought clarifications on whether the demand for the differential between the initial fee and the market-determined price of administratively-allocated spectrum held by Vodafone is to be raised, in respect of the amalgamation of its subsidiaries in 2014-15, or in connection with the proposed merger with Idea Cellular.

According to the licensor, Vodafone India merging four of its units — Vodafone East, Vodafone South, Vodafone Cellular and Vodafone Digilink with Vodafone Mobile Services in 2014-15 — should be considered the first merger. The proposed merger with Idea should be considered the second merger, sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

Further, DoT has also sought clarification on whether it should raise the demand for the total administratively-allocated spectrum, or for the up to 4.4 MHz held by Vodafone.

DoT has also asked the ASG if bank guarantees from Idea should be for its entire spectrum, on a one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) basis, or only for radio waves beyond 4.4 MHz.

Idea Cellular, an Aditya Birla Group company, held administrative spectrum across Mumbai, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (East), Bihar and Himachal Pradesh circles as on January 19, 2018.

When Vodafone units were merged with itself (the first merger, according to DoT), the licensor had sought ₹6,678 core as OTSC dues, which was challenged by the operator in court. Following a Supreme Court order, Vodafone paid ₹2,000 crore for the deal. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)
Huawei says does not expect US sanctions Press

Huawei says does not expect US sanctions PressHuawei, also the world's third-largest smartphone maker, is a private company but has found itself battling perceptions of ties to the Chinese government, which it has repeatedly denied.

China's Huawei, the world's largest maker of telecommunication network equipment, does not see itself becoming the target of U.S. sanctions and will keep buying U.S. chips this year, one of its three rotating chairmen told a French newspaper. Huawei, also the world's third-largest smartphone maker, is a private company but has found itself battling perceptions of ties to the Chinese government, which it has repeatedly denied.

Several U.S. lawmakers last month claimed its research funding to American universities posed a "significant threat" to national security, the latest difficulty Huawei has faced operating in the United States. Another major Chinese telecommunications equipment maker, ZTE Corp, was hit last month by a $1.4 billion settlement deal after the U.S. government said the firm broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

Asked if he feared his company could also be hit by sanctions, Ken Hu, one of Huawei's rotating chairmen, told Le Journal du Dimanche:

"It would be hard to imagine. Ten years ago we put in place a system to control our exports, which has become very efficient. Our policy is to closely implement all laws and regulations introduced by Europe, the United Nations and the United States."
Asked if Huawei could do without U.S. components, Hu said the company's logistical chain was international. "We must be open and choose the best technologies, the best products. We will therefore keep buying American chips this year."

Earlier this year, U.S. lawmakers asked Alphabet Inc's Google to reconsider working with Huawei, which they described as a security threat. And a deal with U.S. telecom firm AT&T Inc T.N to sell its smartphones in the United States collapsed at the 11th hour due to security concerns. (Source: ETTelecom)

New regulator should understand its authority, limitations: COAI DG

New regulator should understand its authority, limitations: COAI DGOld telecom operators have also challenged TRAI's decision for being unable to stop free call and mobile data offers from Jio that led to fall in their margins.
Expressing displeasure with the incumbent telecom regulator head, the industry body COAI said it wants new Trai chief to understand its authority and create balance between industry and consumer welfare."I think the new regulator (head) is got to understand his authority and the limitations of his authority. Where can you really exercise, what is legitimately your authority," COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI in an interview.

The government has started process for selection of new Chairperson of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as present chief of the body R S Sharma will complete his term next month. "Sharma was so focussed on customers that I believe he forgot Trai Act says you must look after customers as well as industry. I feel somebody who can keep that balance - look after customer as well industry so that industry is also properly regulated and not allowed to go for free fall - should be appointed new Trai Chairman," Mathews claimed.

Mathews further alleged that the current Trai chief regularly intervened in business with large number of consultation proposals and recommendations during his regime for changes in existing norms. "Under his regime how many discussion papers have we had? I am saying that the industry where there are 1.1 billion customers it is not like turning on a switch and being like in 30 days you do this, in 60 days you do this. This is an industry that has so many customers that you are constantly intervening in so many live networks," he said.

Mathews, however, said that Trai's recommendation of ease of doing business and inputs for new telecom policy has been very positive for the industry. "We could have worked better together instead of going this route of trying to impose penalties. We could have adopted the methodology of that the Department of Telecom did by asking us about our pain points," Mathews said. Established telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and others claim that they have been hit by tariff war triggered by new entrant Reliance Jio, and Trai's decision to reduce mobile call connection charges have added to their woes.

Old telecom operators have also challenged Trai's decision for being unable to stop free call and mobile data offers from Jio that led to fall in their margins. Mathews said the regulator should take care of both the consumers and industry rather than just being focused on the customers and forget health of the industry.

"When you look back, we had earlier asked when the new entrant came in, how could you facilitate the concerns of the new operator as well as the old operator. If you make the decision in time then you will prevent any confusion and court cases from happening. Regulator can begin to facilitate the process of allowing new entrant to come in," Mathews said. Though Trai had organised few meetings between old telecom operators and Reliance Jio but they were not very fruitful. The regulator recommended total penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for denying interconnection facility to newcomer Reliance Jio.

Sharma in a media interaction had said that his focus is to transform the sector and facilitate advent of new technologies like Internet protocol (IP) based network so that India is at par with advanced nations. COAI DG said that the networks have been made IP enabled "even before the regulator understood what IP was". He said that telecom operators innovate and making changes in the network.

"It is not that IP telephony came from the regulators, it was like when the IP telephony came in the regulators had to think about what should be the regulations of this," Mathews said. He said that industry welcomes new technology and regulator should have facilitated proper migration path from old technology to new technology, which could have helped both industry and customers.

"Remember the government was the one that prescribed 2G as a mandatory technology for the last 15-20 years... Earlier, there was 2G, 3G and now came 4G. The government didn't liberalise spectrum for long period of time. The regulator himself is responsible in implementing the policy, the government only governs it and keeps a check on it," Mathews said. He said that there should be a conducive relationship between the industry and the regulator.(Source: ETTelecom)

Telcos, ISPs cry foul over public Wi-Fi model; ask PMO to reject TRAI paper

Telcos, ISPs cry foul over public Wi-Fi model; ask PMO to reject TRAI paperObject to PDOs, say the decision will hurt the sector, lead to an uneven playing field
Telecom operators and internet service providers have opposed the public Wi-Fi model recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and have written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) saying the move would compromise national security.
The separate letters, copies of which have been seen by BusinessLine, said such a decision would adversely impact the debt-ridden industry and also lead to a non-level playing field between licensed and unlicensed players.

Based on existing rules for cyber-cafes, TRAI had recommended that a new set of players, called Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs), be allowed to set up Public Data Offices (PDOs) to resell internet services, much on lines of the PCOs of yesteryear which facilitated telephone calls.

However, in its letter, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has called for continuing the current licence model, in which only those with permits are allowed to provide internet services. This, it said, will help maintain stability and consistency in licensing and regulatory framework.

The COAI said acceptance of TRAI’s recommendations would be a violation of Telegraph Act, a disruption of the level-playing field, and a contradiction of the TRAI Act, and a loss of revenue to the exchequer.

The COAI, whose members include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular, has been opposing implementation of TRAI’s suggestions for public Wi-Fi services since April 12, 2017.

It said allowing services like the internet to be resold under a registration/authorisation without obligation of any statutory levy, compliance with security guidelines or TRAI regulations, would be against the very basic foundations of the Unified Licensing Regime, and should be allowed only through a Unified Licence for Virtual Network Operators (UL-VNO).

“Therefore, we would request the government, in the interest of the level-playing field, to reject these recommendations ab initio. However, if government still feels that PDOAs should be allowed for rural areas/ villages, then it should be mandated in rural areas/ villages through licensing,” said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI.

The COAI has also written to Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan on the matter. The Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) has also written to the PMO, stating that it was disappointed with TRAI’s recommendations as it aimed to bypass licensing requirements, and would be detrimental to investments made by small licensed ISPs.

The new regime would only force small ISPs to shut shop and lose their investments. It would also only serve large foreign operators who intend to work without being subjected to any licensing regime, revenue-sharing and security requirements, the ISPAI said.
“We therefore request the PMO to inform the DoT (Department of Telecom] to not accept the recommendations of TRAI to maintain the level-playing field and to protect the business of small ISP operators (sic). We also request DoT to allow us an opportunity of personal hearing at the earliest,” said Rajesh Chharia, President, ISPAI, in the letter.

Meanwhile, Assocham has also written to DoT, calling the TRAI recommendations ‘completely unjustifiable and unwarranted’, reasoning that it would disrupt the entire licensing framework and affect the huge amount of investment already made in the telecom infrastructure.

If PDOAs need to be introduced, then it should be done under a licensing framework only, the industry body added. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

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