Convergence Plus
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Reliance JioFiber Home Broadband rolled out for Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and more

Reliance JioFiber Home Broadband rolled out for Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and moreReliance Jio is said to offer a minimum of 100Mbps for the home broadband consumers, and the plans will likely be priced at affordable rates.
Reliance Jio’s Fiber Preview offer has been rolled out in select areas of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Surat and Vadodara. The service will launch for other cities as well in a phased manner. Jio tweeted the latest details from its official customer support handle JioCare, in response to a query. According to a previous report in Teleanalysis, commercial roll out of Jio’s Fiber to the Home (FTTH) broadband service could take place in June in 2017. Jio is said to offer a minimum of 100Mbps for the home broadband consumers, and the plans will likely be priced at affordable rates.

In September 2016, users had shared details about how the testing had begun in some select residential colonies in the city of Chennai. Several users posted invites by Jio, which invited them to become a part of the ultra-fast fiber home broadband tests. Further, Jio’s Fiber service is rumoured to offer nearly 1GB per second speeds with its broadband internet for homes, according to previous reports.

According to Jio’s invite, it will only take about a minute to download 100 photos (500MB) on Jio’s network. Time taken to download 100 songs (1GB) will be 2 minutes, while True HD movies (5GB) will be downloaded in about 7 minutes on Jio’s network. Reliance Jio is expected to launch a bouquet of services such as DTH, smart-TV boxes, IoT solutions; along side its 1GBps broadband. The had reported in November 2016, that the company has already laid cables all over India for its high-speed fiber broadband network. Pilot services were rolled out in Mumbai.

Even with its Fiber service, Jio is expected to offer “value for the customer” pricing. The Fiber Internet service will be coupled with other Jio services, including a set-top box. Further, we could see Jio’s DTH TV services with with more than 360 channels, and a “seven-day catch up option being given to users” as well. (Source: NDTV)

Entered into Top 20 global Tech services brands: Tech Mahindra

Entered into Top 20 global Tech services brands: Tech MahindraIT firm Tech Mahindra today said it has entered into the Top-20 global Tech services brands list (by brand value) in 2017, as per an independent assessment by a valuation and strategy consultancy, Brand Finance. It also said the company has potential to be in the top-5 technology services brands by 2020. Tech Mahindra has been ranked at No 14, with an impressive growth of 21 per cent over the previous fiscal, a joint release by Tech Mahindra and Brand Finance said.

“Tech Mahindra has delivered excellent brand value growth of 21 per cent. Its brand transformation journey from being an Information Technology player to a Digital Transformation partner has shown great progress,” Brand Finance Founder and CEO David Haigh said. “With its new brand promise of ‘Connected World, Connected Experiences and the right brand investments, Tech Mahindra has all the potential to be in the top 5 by 2020,” he added.

Tech Mahindra said it has recently embarked on a massive brand building campaign globally forging strategic partnerships with several Global Media Groups, local Governments and Trade Councils, to bring alive its ‘Connected World, Connected Experiences’ promise.
The company aspires to consolidate and improve its position through significant brand investments aligned to its core strategy in delivering tangible ‘experience’ outcomes to its 900+ customers worldwide, it said.

“We have embraced Digital Transformation as the bedrock of our brand journey, at a time when connectedness and experiences are the fundamentals for any business and consumer across all aspects of daily living,” Tech Mahindra Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Jagdish Mitra said. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)

Telcos on high alert post global ransomware blitz

Wipro steps up security after receiving ‘threatening’ emailMobile phone companies, network vendors and tower operators are keeping a close watch for any disruption in operations in the aftermath of the deadly ransomware cyber attack that infected millions of computers in about 100 countries, including India, Russia, China and the UK. Top telcos said there was no immediate impact of the attack — caused by a malicious piece of software, or 'malware', known as WannaCry. They are taking steps to keep the country's phone networks secure and insulate them from potential malware attacks in future, they said.

The global cyber attack, which had reportedly leveraged hacking tools believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency, wreaked havoc in UK’s health system and hit global shipper FedEx.The malware is called ransomware because it first encrypts a victim’s computer files and then demands a payment to decrypt them. Once this malware enters an organsation’s computer systems, it looks for vulnerable machines and clinically infects them.

“Vodafone India has taken measures to protect its systems and continues to monitor the situation closely as it is aware that some corporations and organisations are being targeted by ransomware attacks,” said a company spokesman in an emailed response to ET’s queries. The world’s top networks vendor Ericsson also confirmed that its India unit “is not impacted” by the ransomware, adding it “is taking necessary preventive actions” to secure its business. The Swedish gearmaker, however, declined to elaborate on these measures. Tower firm American Tower Corporation (ATC) also said its India unit “had not been affected”.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the lobby body representing the country’s top phone companies Bharti AirtelBSE 0.93 %, Vodafone India, Idea CellularBSE -2.87 % and newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm, said nothing in terms of networks disruption had been reported by any of its members. COAI director general Rajan Mathews said telecom service providers (TSPs) “regularly monitor their networks and take suitable precautionary measures to preclude any cyber attacks.”

The TSPs, he said, “regularly participate in cyber drills conducted by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) to check the preparedness of their networks for such attacks,” and, based on the results take corrective actions suggested by the agency. Allaying concerns, Mathews said mobile phone companies strictly comply with the security requirements specified by the telecom department and all “network elements along with their softwares are tested before inducting them into the network and a yearly audit of these is carried out by certified agencies,” to maximise network security.

Mathews, however, said the ransomware attack “should be seen as a watershed moment” and the government must invest more in cybersecurity preparedness, especially “as India moves towards strengthening its digital economy where the volume of online transactions will see a quantum leap.” As of press time, Bharti Airtel, Idea, Reliance Jio, Reliance Communcations, Aircel, Nokia India and Huawei India decliened to respond to ET’s queries on whether their businesses have been hit by the ransomware attack. (Source: Economic Times)

Cyberattack hits two lakh in 150 nations, number may rise

Cyberattack hits two lakh in 150 nations, number may riseFriday's "unprecedented" ransomware cyberattack has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries, Rob Wainwright, the head of EU police agency Europol said on Sunday. He warned of possible fresh disruptions when workers switch on computers at the start of the working week. Monday was expected to be a busy day, especially in Asia which may not have seen the worst of the impact yet, as companies and organisations turned on their computers. "Expect to hear a lot more about this tomorrow (Monday) morning when users are back in their offices and might fall for phishing emails", or other as yet unconfirmed ways the worm may propagate said Christian Karam, a Singapore-based security researcher. Targets both large and small have been hit.

The countries that were hit included India. Investigators are looking for those behind the hack that affected systems at banks, hospitals and government agencies globally, media reports said. Technical staff scrambled on Sunday to patch computers and restore infected ones. The threat is "escalating" as cyber experts warned that another attack was imminent in coming days. Technical staff scrambled on Sunday to patch computers and restore infected ones.

Experts said the spread of the virus, dubbed WannaCry, which locked up more than 200,000 computers — had slowed, but the respite might only be brief. New versions of the worm are expected. The infected computers are largely out-of-date devices that organisations deemed not worth the price of upgrading or, in some cases, machines involved in manufacturing or hospital functions that proved too difficult to patch without disrupting crucial operations. "The latest count is over 200,000 victims in 150 countries and many of those will be businesses, including large corporations," said Rob Wainwright, the head of EU police agency Europol.

After infecting the computers, the virus displayed messages demanding a payment of $300 in Bitcoin in exchange for the locked files. Account addresses hardcoded into the WannaCry software code showed the attackers received $32,500 in anonymous bitcoin till Sunday, but that amount could rise as more victims rush to pay ransoms of $300 or more just one day before the deadline expires.

Organisations were discouraged from paying the ransom, as it was not guaranteed that access would be restored.The virus exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows XP software, first identified by the US National Security Agency. A security update was released by Microsoft in March to protect against the virus. However, many NHS trusts had not applied it.

The threat receded over the weekend after a British-based researcher, who tweets under @MalwareTechBlog, said he stumbled on a way to limit the worm's spread by registering a web address to which he noticed the malware was trying to connect. However, researchers from three security firms dismissed reports that a new version of WannaCry had emerged. (Source: Times of India)

Trai asks Telecom Department to 'revisit' Right of Way rules

Trai asks Telecom Department to 'revisit' Right of Way rulesThe telecom regulator has asked the telecom department (DoT) to ‘revisit’ its Right of Way (RoW) rules whose terms imply tower companies such as Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers and American Tower Corp are excluded from seeking benefits under the rules. It warned that such an exclusion would lead to a slowdown in tower installations, hurting quality of services. “Exclusion of IP-1s (infrastructure providers) from the said (RoW) rules will not only affect provisioning of duct and optical fibre cable (OFC) but will also result in slowdown of tower installation,” Sudhir Gupta, secretary at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), wrote in a recent letter to the DoT secretary, a copy of which was reviewed by ET.

The government, in its Right of Way (RoW) policy unveiled on November 15 last year, allowed only a ‘telecom service licensee’ to seek Right of Way. With this, telecom infrastructure providers such as Indus Towers, Bharti Infratel, American Tower Corp (ATC), Tower Vision and GTL Infrastructure, which deploy mobile telephony towers for licensed telecom service providers, were excluded from seeking RoW.“The infrastructure providers are registered with DoT and provide telecom infrastructure to only telecom service provider.

The IP-1s have played a pivotal role as far as provisioning of passive infrastructure is concerned,” Gupta said. Citing data from Towers and Infrastructure Providers Association (Taipa), Gupta added that the tower companies have installed more than 4.5 lakh towers and nearly 15 lakh base transceiver stations, which is increasing at 5% on-year. Taipa represents telecom tower companies.

“Keeping the above in mind, the Authority is of the view that there is an imminent need to revisit the RoW rules and IP-1s should be made eligible to seek/avail Right of Way facility/permisision,” the Trai secretary said. Telecom tower companies have been demanding inclusion in RoW policy, and have made several submissions to the government.

Taipa director general TR Dua told ET that IP-1s are key players in implementing the government’s flagship initiatives such as Digital India and Smart Cities as the tower companies can significantly accelerate telecom infrastructure rollout. “The exclusion of IP-1s from the rules is arbitrary and retrograde and will lead to delay in rollout of telecom infrastructure across the country.

Further, this is seriously impeding the future rollout of the telecom infrastructure, besides effecting the investment in telecom infrastructure sector. This, further, impacts financial health of infrastructure providers,” Dua said.

The infrastructure provider (IP) industry that has invested `2.5 lakh crore in the country was created in 2000 and is registered with the DoT for implementation, maintenance and leasing of passive infrastructure— mobile towers and fibre-based networks—for telcos catering to 1.1 billion Indians. The development comes at a time when infrastructure firms too are undergoing massive consolidation in tandem with the service industry, which is operating under intense financial pressure amid amid drop in revenues following Reliance Jio’s foray in September 2016. In 2016, Boston-based ATC acquired a controlling stake in Kolkata based Srei Infrastructure-promoted Viom Networks at Rs.7,635 crore, while Reliance Communications is selling a controlling stake in its tower unit to Canada’s Brookfield. (Source: Economic Times)

Flipkart, Amazon's fortunes may ride on smartphones

Flipkart, Amazon's fortunes may ride on smartphonesStirring smartphone sales through sharp discounts and offers could play a major role in the success of Flipkart and Amazon in 2017, with the two fighting it out for a larger share of the segment, which contributed a fourth to the sector’s merchandise value in 2016. According to Counterpoint Research, Flipkart led the online smartphone sale market in 2016, and as per preliminary data, it has sequentially widened its lead over Amazon — 59% compared with 29% — in the first quarter ended March 2017. Amid their tussle for a larger share of the smartphone pie, the two etailers are also giving an extra push to stimulate demand for the segment whose contribution to overall sales has stagnated at around 33%. More so, since market watchers predict overall sales growth of the devices to be flat to marginal this year. They also need to counter additional competition from handset makers launching their own phone selling portals such as Xiaomi’s

Thus, breaking the trend of holding just one Big Billion Day or Great Indian Sale a year close to Diwali, the ecommerce leaders have brought in massive discounts early this year.

Smartphones were among the first electronic devices to be sold online through the portals. “The success of the online players depend to a large extent on the success of smartphones in 2017,” said Pavel Naiya, senior analyst at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research. “This is an attempt for Amazon and Flipkart to deal with the seasonal slow movement in the online market, and right now, smartphone is one of the key segments for online sales.”

Smartphones contributed close to 25% of the overall GMV (gross merchandise value) of the ecommerce sales through 2016, and is expected to remain at similar levels in 2017, he added, highlighting the criticality of the segment to the ecommerce majors. Flipkart said the category contributes to half of its overall revenue while Amazon declined to give the detail.

In smartphones, online was growing rapidly over the past couple of years, and smartphones were the biggest driver of customers to sites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Shopclues and Amazon.

But over last year, online sales have appeared to have hit a ceiling of around 33% share of the overall market in India by volumes.

One of the key challenges that etailers face is adding new customers amid the limited access to internet to make purchases online — about 300 million Indians using internet on the smartphone and much lesser over desktop — in a market that has traditionally been dominated by brick and mortar stores, usually referred to as offline retail.

Further, the established ecommerce players are facing competition from brands using their own websites to sell their devices. “Players like Xiaomi have started selling their devices on their own portals, which is giving competition to all etailers specially in the smartphone segment. They are ( now among the top five etailers,” said Jaipal Singh, senior analyst at International Data Corporation (IDC) India.

Amazon, which had its Great Indian Sale from May 11-14, feels it has figured out the solution to attracting new customers, as it witnessed the “biggest day for smartphones in the year so far”. The company was giving a variety of discounts, from Rs 1,000 off on Coolpad phones to 40% off on Motorola phones.

“On Day 1, we saw significant new customer acquisition through smartphones, with a huge increase in first time customers purchasing smartphones on Amazon,” said Manish Tiwary, vice president of category management at Amazon India. In 2016, smartphone business for Amazon India website grew over 135% and by units, it grew over 150%.

“In the sale so far, smartphones have been among the top three categories in terms of sale. On Day 1of our current sale, the performance of smartphones saw a jump of 7X over normal days,” Tiwary added.

Flipkart’s Big 10 sale, which will be on from May 14 to 18, will have assured buyback scheme to lure customers. The buyback value will be 35-50% of the value of the device.

Flipkart’s senior director of smartphones Ayyapan Rajagopal expects to more than double smartphone sales, as nearly half the phone models during the sale priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 80,000, will have the buyback offer.

“All affordability programmes put together will be able to give us 40-50% uplift (in market share) in the next six months, and this will rub off on the revenue,” he said. (Source:Economic Times)

Rahul Commerce
ITU Telecom World 2018
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