Convergence Plus
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Airtel joins global alliance to bring high-speed in-flight data connectivity to customers

Airtel joins global alliance to bring high-speed in-flight data connectivity to customersIndia's largest telecom operator Bharti AirtelBSE 0.34 % today said it has joined a new global collaboration to bring high-speed and uninterrupted in-flight data connectivity to mobile customers. The global partnership Seamless Alliance, whose other founding members include OneWeb, Airbus, DeltaBSE 0.00 % and Sprint, will work towards leveraging satellite technology to offer high-speed data connectivity to mobile users even when they are up in the air, an Airtel statement said. "Airtel has joined the Seamless Alliance which will usher in a new era of open innovation for mobile operators and airlines by empowering mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins," the statement added.

The global initiative, announced today in Barcelona, will also look at bringing into its fold other industry operators beyond the five founding members.

Together, these members hope to "eliminate the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure". This will be done by streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing, the statement added.

"We are delighted to be a founding member of this innovative technology platform to bring seamless connectivity to customers in the true sense," Gopal Vittal, CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said. Over 370 million mobile customers across Airtel's global network will be able to enjoy uninterrupted access to high-speed data services even while they are in-flight, he added.

Airtel is the third largest mobile operator in the world with operations in 16 countries across Asia and Africa. "We look forward to collaborating with all partner members to ensure this platform goes Live at the earliest," Vittal said. (Source: Economic Times)

Amazon becomes first foreign ecommerce firm to enter food retail venture in India

Amazon becomes first foreign ecommerce firm to enter food retail venture in IndiaAmazon has rolled out its own food retailing business in India with a pilot in Pune, becoming the first foreign ecommerce firm to stock and sell food items directly to consumers. “Amazon is now a vendor on and is currently operating in Pune,” said a person familiar with the development. The products are sold by Amazon Retail India Pvt. Ltd. Another person said it will take “at least a quarter” for the ecommerce major to roll out its food retailing business nationwide.

Amazon has rolled out its own food retailing business in India with a pilot in Pune, becoming the first foreign ecommerce firm to stock and sell food items directly to consumers. “Amazon is now a vendor on and is currently operating in Pune,” said a person familiar with the development. The products are sold by Amazon Retail India Pvt. Ltd. Another person said it will take “at least a quarter” for the ecommerce major to roll out its food retailing business nationwide.

Amazon had last year secured the government’s permission to invest $500 million in a wholly-owned venture to retail locally produced and packaged food products through offline and online channels. It is the only global entity to have applied for the food-only retailing business, an area where the government allowed 100% overseas 2016 to help producers and generate employment.

“We continue to be on track to launch our food retail business in India,” an Amazon India spokesperson said without giving details. The development comes at a time when Amazon’s global rival Walmart is in talks to purchase a stake in India’s homegrown ecommerce company Flipkart.

When India opened food-only retailing to foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal staged roadshows in London to woo retailers such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer but the response was muted.

Global retailers including Walmart have shied away from the segment, arguing that selling only low-margin food items does not make economic sense and such ventures should be allowed to stock non-food items such as shampoos to detergent soaps.

The government, while clearing Amazon’s proposal in July, asked it to maintain separate management and offices for the venture and keep them distinct from its marketplace business which is not allowed to sell products directly to consumers. Foreign-funded BigBasket, Grofers and Supr Daily have also received similar approval for food retailing. (Source: Economic Times)

RIL plans Rs 60,000-cr digitial industrial area in Maharashtra

Amazon becomes first foreign ecommerce firm to enter food retail venture in IndiaMukesh Ambani today said his firm Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its global partners will set up the country’s first integrated digital area in Maharashtra entailing investments of Rs 60,000 crore. “Reliance along with other global companies will invest over Rs 60,000 crore in the next 10 years in Maharashtra, which will be the first integrated digital industrial area in the country,” Ambani said at the opening day of the Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit here.

He did not offer more details like the location of the proposed mega investment or when the first phase will begin. The summit is being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Ambani said RIL has received overwhelming response from global technology companies to invest in this project.

“Within a few weeks, more than 20 global companies have already agreed to invest with us. These companies include Cisco, Siemens, HP, Dell, Nokia and Nvidia among others,” Ambani said. He said what China could achieve with its manufacturing revolution, India can achieve much more and quickly in this services-led fourth industrial revolution.

The new investments announced come on back of close Rs 1.4 trillion RIL has pumped into building one of the fastest telecom networks in the country with his Reliance Jio network, which has catapulted the country into the world’s no 1 data consumer nation from being 155th before the launch. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Singtel to invest Rs 2,649 crore in Bharti Airtel

Singtel to invest Rs 2,649 crore in Bharti AirtelWith this investment, Singtel’s total stake in Bharti Telecom will increase to 48.90 per cent
The country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel (Airtel), on Monday announced that Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel), will invest Rs 2,649 crore in Bharti Telecom Limited (Bharti Telecom). Singtel is Asia’s leading communications and ICT solutions group and a long term partner of Airtel, and Bharti Telecom is the promoter company of Airtel through preferential allotment of shares. “The transaction is subject to the shareholders’ approval of Bharti Telecom. The funds raised will be used towards debt reduction,” Airtel said in a statement.

With this investment, Singtel’s total stake (along with its affiliates) in Bharti Telecom will increase to 48.90 per cent. Singtel currently holds 47.17 per cent stake in Bharti Telecom. Bharti Enterprises continues to hold over 50 per cent stake in Bharti Telecom.
“Airtel shares a nearly two decade-long relationship with Singtel, which has only become stronger over the years. The fresh round of investment highlights the confidence of Singtel in Airtel, and the increased attractiveness of the Indian telecoms sector following the recent consolidation,” Deven Khanna, Managing Director, Bharti Telecom, said.

The fresh round of investment highlights the confidence of Singtel in Airtel, and the increased attractiveness of the Indian telecoms sector following the recent consolidation, the company said. The investment comes within 23 months of Singtel's participation in Bharti Telecom’s Right Issue of Rs. 2,500 core, which was completed in February 2016. (The Hindu BusinessLine)

Reliance Jio's Rs 49 per month offer may force Airtel, Vodafone and Idea to shift to VoLTE-based 4G

Call drops issue telco-specific, can't be generalised: COAIReliance Jio Infocomm's Rs 49 per month offer to JioPhone users could force the top three telecom operators — Bharti AirtelBSE -1.38 %, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — to switch off their 2G legacy networks and shift to more cost-efficient VoLTE-based 4G networks to protect their rapidly falling average revenue per user (ARPU), analysts said.

They said that the latest JioPhone offer — the sector's lowest price plan offering free voice for life and a GB of data at 4G speeds over a 28-day validity period — is likely to attract many more low-end 2G voice customers across India who have so far hesitated to adopt 4G.

Brokerage JP Morgan said the offer "would draw 2G voice subscribers" away from Airtel, Vodafone and Idea as "Jio's feature phone pricing is as much as 30-50% cheaper than incumbents' rates".

This is expected to cause more financial pain to incumbents as it comes on the heels of Jio's equally aggressive Rs 98 per month 4G entry-level price plan that is already estimated to shave off ARPU, a critical performance metric, of incumbent telcos by up to a third in the coming quarters.

The 2G feature phone user segment, the US brokerage said, constitutes a whopping 70% of India's billion-plus mobile user base garnering as much as 50% of sector revenues.

According to data collated by the telecom regulator, the ARPU of prepaid users is Rs 70, of which the voice ARPU of feature phone users is in the Rs 50-60 range.

Brokerage Motilal Oswal said "the latest JioPhone price plan would be at nearly 10% discount to the average feature phone subscriber ARPU".

The telecom sector, already plagued by brutal price competition and debt of Rs 5 lakh-crore, has had another poor quarter. Unlike Jio, which reported a strong ARPU of Rs 154 in the quarter to December, Airtel and Idea's fell to Rs 123 and Rs 114 respectively, stung by the cut in interconnect rates, which compounded pressure on their voice and data businesses amid continuing price wars.

Kotak Securities said Jio's latest pricing moves targeting millions of 2G feature phone customers of incumbent carriers would further damage the latter's already weak financials, forcing them to take tough calls like shutting down their 2G and 3G networks ahead of current plans and rolling out VoLTE-based 4G networks on a war footing.

"We wonder if there is an economic case anymore for incumbents to keep their 2G networks running if the JioPhone even sees modest success," Kotak said, adding that "the ultra-expensive 900 MHz spectrum that incumbents are using for 2G would fail the impairment test as 2G spectrum", especially since the steep cut in mobile termination charges has "anyways killed the incoming ARPU leg of 2G network economics".

According to Kotak, Jio's aggressive Rs 49 price point also suggests "Jio has ironed out all supply-related constraints on the JioPhone", a view also endorsed by Deutsche Bank.

The German investment bank said Jio had indicated at a recent analyst meet that it had "worked with its Chinese vendors to build inventory prior to the current JioPhone offer", although "the price plan is lower than expected".

The JioPhone, which was launched by Jio's sister company, Reliance Retail, comes for a Rs 1,500 deposit, refundable after three years on return of the device. To avail themselves of the refund, subscribers need to recharge for a minimum Rs 1,500 a year.

Under the new plan, JioPhone users would need to top up the minimum monthly charge of Rs 49 with additional sums to reach the Rs 1,500 annual recharge figure, if they wish to avail themselves of the full refund. Part refunds are also allowed for those surrendering the device earlier.

Sector experts expect the latest price move to intensify competition with incumbents who are already dishing out cashback offers on their alliances with smartphones. Recently Idea, Vodafone and Airtel announced cashback offers on their 4G smartphones, bringing down the effective price of the devices to under Rs 1,000. (Source: Economic Times)

Anritsu updated BERTWave MP2110A Sampling Oscilloscope for Clock Recovery, PAM4 Analysis and Jitter Analysis Function.

Anritsu updated BERTWave MP2110A Sampling Oscilloscope for Clock Recovery, PAM4 Analysis and Jitter Analysis Function.Anritsu Corporation (President Hirokazu Hashimoto) announces the release of three new Clock Recovery, PAM4 Analysis, and Jitter Analysis options to upgrade the functions of its BERTWave MP2110A Sampling Oscilloscope for manufacturing and inspecting optical modules and devices.

[Development Background]
Data traffic volumes are growing exponentially as fast-growing providers offer new unique services to users. As a result, optical modules supporting these services are switching to faster speeds of 200 and 400 Gbit/s while the transmission format is evolving from the earlier NRZ technology to PAM4[*1].

On the other hand, the need to evaluate the performance of actual modules in use requires provision of trigger signals to evaluate transmission equipment optical interfaces, as well as separation of Jitter components, etc. Consequently, to meet these diversifying measurement needs and manufacturing of PAM4 optical modules, Anritsu has added these highly effective options to the MP2110A to help shorten inspection times, increase production-line yields, and cut measurement equipment costs.

[Product Outline and Features]
In addition to the existing BER Measurement and EYE Pattern Analysis [*2], adding these three new functions supports Clock Recovery, Jitter Analysis[*3], and PAM4 Analysis using the all-in-one MP2110A. Each of these new options can be retrofitted at any time to the MP2110A.

Option-095 PAM4 Analysis Software

This option supports measurements required for evaluating PAM4 optical signals, such as TDECQ [*4].

  • No complex settings and easy capture of measurement results
  • Low noise (3.4 µW typ.) and high-sensitivity oscilloscope supports high-reproducibility measurements even with small EYE margin PAM4 signals
  • High-speed sampling shortens time for collecting data required for TDECQ analysis; cutting measurement time helps improve productivity at PAM4 signal evaluation

■ Option-054 Clock Recovery (Electrical/Optical)

This option recovers the trigger signal required by the sampling oscilloscope from the input data signal. It can be used for monitoring waveforms, such as for transmission equipment without a clock source.

  • Built-in design supports easy and low cost measurement system configuration without complex cabling
  • Supports recovery of both NRZ and PAM4 clocks to help cut equipment costs
  • Reduces losses due to MP2110A internal dividers to minimize impact on sensitivity, which is especially useful for high-sensitivity monitoring of PAM signals

■ Option-096 Jitter Analysis Software

This option supports separate analysis of different Jitter components, such as TJ, DJ, RJ, etc.

  • Supports fast and easy measurements required by J2, J9, etc., manufacturing inspection (EYE Mode)
  • Supports detailed DJ analysis (Advanced Jitter Mode)
  • Supports simultaneous Jitter analysis and EYE Mask tests to shorten measurement time

[ Please visit below link for more product details]

[Target Markets and Applications]

■ Target Markets: PHY Layer Performance Evaluation for Optical Modules (CFP2/4/8, QSFP28, SFP28, OSFP, QSFP-DD, etc.), Active Optical Cables and Optical Device
■ Applications: Manufacturing and inspection of Optical Modules and Optical Devices

[Technical Terms]

[*1] PAM4

PAM is the abbreviation for Pulse Amplitude Modulation, which is a method for increasing transmission capacity using amplitude modulation; PAM4 is a fourth-order amplitude modulation method.

[*2] EYE Pattern Analysis

This method analyses the Eye Pattern waveform by summing the periodic signal waveforms. It is called an EYE pattern because the displayed signal waveform looks like an eye. The signal quality is evaluated as high when the waveform is drawn repeatedly over the same position but if the repeatedly drawn waveforms drifts, the signal is evaluated as being poorly transmitted.

[*3] Jitter Analysis

When transmitting electrical signals, the signal arrival time changes due to the impact of factors, such as the propagation path characteristics and external environment. This delay time variation is called Jitter. Jitter-separation analysis separates the components by generation source and properties for analysis.

[*4] TDECQ
TDECQ is the abbreviation for Transmitter and Dispersion eye Closure Quaternary. At IEEE-specified evaluation of PAM4 optical signal quality, the measurement items change to the NRZ EYE Mask test. (Source: Convergence Plus)

Samsung readies new online series to race past Xiaomi in smartphone sales

Samsung readies new online series to race past Xiaomi in smartphone salesThe war between Samsung and Xiaomi will spill over to India's e-commerce space this year as the South Korean giant seeks to wrest leadership in online sales, where almost half of the smartphones purchased in the country are from the Chinese company. Samsung India has decided to launch a new series of smartphones this year exclusively for online, which will be high on hardware specifications and aggressively priced to target Xiaomi bestsellers, three senior industry executives said. This series will focus on the ₹5,000-15,000 price bracket appealing to the youth.

Both Samsung and Xiaomi enjoyed leadership in India's smartphone market with a 23.5% share each during the July-September quarter, according to International Data Corporation, a US market research firm. The top three smartphones sold during the quarter were from Xiaomi.

At present, Samsung India sells its On series of smartphones only online in India and it launched Galaxy A8+ exclusively on Amazon last week. The model is priced at ₹32,990, directly competing against Xiaomi's Mi Mix2 in terms of specifications and pricing.

Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research said Xiaomi's rise in India is due to the absence of competition in the online space. The brand has almost 50% share of online smartphone sales in India, Xiaomi India MD Manu Kumar Jain told ET last month. Samsung wants to specifically target this as part of its strategy this year, an executive said. "Samsung wants to extend its lead with Xiaomi which is possible by expanding e-commerce sales while consolidating its presence in offline channels. It will ensure that the 1.5 lakh brick-and-mortar stores selling its handsets are not neglected since Samsung knows it will take time for Xiaomi to build such a vast offline network," a senior industry executive said.

Samsung has reduced the number of trade partners responsible for fulfilling online orders in each region to 2-3 now from 10-12 earlier to better manage sales. "The layers of distribution for online sales are also being cut to ensure margins are better controlled, which can be passed for aggressive pricing," another executive said. An email sent to Samsung India did not elicit any response. (Source: Economic Times)

Cast Software eyes $ 9 m revenue from India this year

Cast Software eyes $ 9 m revenue from India this yearSoftware intelligence provider Cast Software today said it has set a revenue target of $ 8-9 million from Indian market this calender year.
Cast provides software intelligence to IT companies for measuring their software structural quality. “Five years ago we started in India. We did a few hundred thousand. Then one million dollars and then 5 to 6 million dollars. There was a 300 per cent growth. This calender year, we are eyeing for almost 8 to 9 million dollars revenue in Indian market,” Cast Software Chairman and CEO Vincent Delaroche told PTI in an interview here.

Cast uses system-level analysis to detect the dangerous structural software flaws.
“India is one of the biggest opportunity for selling of software to giant companies like Infosys TCS, Wipro and Cognizant. In fact, it is a potential goldmine for us,” he said.

Replying to a query, Delaroche said unlike in China where ease of doing business is a difficult proposition, in India it is quite the opposite with smart tax system, which results in making lots of profit.

Asked about their expansion plans in India, Delaroche said apart from having Cognizant and Infosys as their clients, a week back, Cast had signed a deal with Rajasthan government.

The company also is targeting Indian banks, including the State Bank of India.
Cast operates on three continents with offices in US, France, China, India, Italy and Spain and has 350 employees worldwide and works with some of the largest global companies, including Tech Mahindra, HCL, IBM, Societe Generale, Credit Suisse, Fannie Mae, and FedEx. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Essar’s AGC Networks to enter new markets

Essar’s AGC Networks to enter new marketsAt a time when IT companies are shrinking their geographical presence, Essar Group company AGC Networks is foraying into new shores, starting with the UK this year. Further, the systems integrator will also set up facilities in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

AGC Networks is a subsidiary of Essar Telecom (holding arm for Essar Group’s investments), and the group is now incubating smaller companies such as AGC Networks, after it sold its BPO firm Aegis in 2017.

“We will add UK to our portfolio and the next journey would be to augment some of our APAC theatres. These countries - Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia – are some of the larger markets and a lot of companies have presence there, and the plan is to expand to these places in 2018,” said CEO and Executive Director Sanjeev Verma.

“The process of new forays have started. We call it follow the customer. We have landed up in a few countries where our customers have opened their hubs,” he said. At present, the IT company has operations across nine countries. Its global customers — mainly banks, large technology companies and top hospital chains — are from BFSI, IT and ITeS and healthcare sectors.

The company’s investments will be mainly to recruit personnel for these centres.

Headcount addition

AGC Networks is also looking at increasing its manpower by more than 20 per cent and will add about 100 personnel in India and 50 overseas to its existing total of 750 employees. “Most of the hiring will happen in India to support our overseas customers. The headcount addition will come on the back of our growth in India, and also through the organic and inorganic growth,” Verma said, adding that the company is also open for inorganic opportunities.

AGC Networks is now expecting its business to grow at about 15-20 per cent organically this year. The growth will be 50:50 from both domestic and global markets.

The company’s journey started in 2010, when Essar Group acquired the entire 59.13 per cent stake held by the US-based Avaya in India-listed AGC Networks for ₹206.19 crore. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Rahul Commerce
Technext India 2018
11th Cloud 2018
convergence plus