Report, Telecom News, ET Telecom

NEW DELHI: Vodafone Idea (‘You’) has launched its WiFi services in two rounds Maharashtra and Goa and Kolkata, and plans to introduce it in other rounds in stages, according to a TelecomTalk report.

“Hello! Wifi Calling (“Wifi Calling”) is an integrated service that allows you to make and receive voice calls over a wireless internet connection such as your home broadband, office broadband or public Wi-Fi. This should help you make calls in regions with a low network. This applies to Maharashtra & Goa, Kolkata rounds and will be available from 15 December 2020, ”the telecommunications customer care team was quoted as saying in the release.

Media reports have already surfaced since 2019 that You will be led to launch a web calling feature. However, the launch service was delayed due to online integration of Vodafone and Idea.

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Indian telecommunications sector in rewinding; everything from AGR, revival of BSNL, 5G, IUC to tariff hikes in 2019

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    What fell in 2019?

    2016 was an indelible year for the telecom industry as it marked Mukesh Ambani leading Jio’s foray into the sector which caused industrial revenue to spiral down as old players (Vodafone, Idea, Bharti Airtel) saw their profits and subscriber bases decrease. fast. The former thriving industry has shrunk to a handful of players with 2019 opening up new tough borders for the sector. It has continued to appear in headlines due to several significant developments, let’s dive into what has kept the Indian telecommunications sector going throughout 2019.

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    AGR blow: industry excited

    The highlight of 2019 was the Supreme Court ruling on the multi-year dispute over computer AGR, which had the telecom operators and DoT in a stalemate for more than 15 years. Finally, the main court in October ordered telecommunications companies to pay their accrued arrears over the 15-year period as the case continued, as it upheld DoT’s requirement that operators include non-telecommunications service revenues in their adjusted gross revenue; part of which is then paid by the telecomers to the government in licensing fees and spectrum usage. The total amount that DoT claimed as appropriate, including the principal, penalty and interest on punishment, turned out to be a massive Rs 1.4 lakh crore with around Rs 89,000 from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea alone making them the worst sufferers.

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    Historic losses for Vodafone Idea and Airtel followed by spectrum charges for moratorium

    Amid the outburst that erupted, the two employees recorded a combined loss of more than Rs 74,000 crore at the fourth end of September, with Vodafone Idea’s share of Rs 51,000 crore – the highest loss for a company in the country. There followed a round of petitions filed in the supreme court praying for some help in some way between the main honchos of Birla group and Vodafone Plc, refusing any help to remove the two telecom giants from the dive. The Center in November, according to what was seen as a means to alleviate concerns, postponed spectrum costs payable in FY 2019-20 and 20-21 for two years alleviating the immediate monetary problems of telcos. But the demand for aid from the industry has not diminished as experts opined that this remedy does not match as the deadline of 23 January to pay AGR fees is approaching with SC’s plea for distribution of companies on 16 January. .

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    A sector pursuing a no-tariff regime is ending the era of free trade

    The AGR peso created a way for unprecedented development in what happened as a secret discourse reversal with telecomers marching with prepaid tariffs for the first time in three years effectively going back to pre-Jio era. To withstand the severe financial blow in the form of AGR-related fees, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea along with Jio have been looking for tariff revisions since December with an increase of 25-50%. Experts and green bodies signaled the move by saying it is a yes step towards improving the industry’s operating metrics and could help operators close gaps in their balance sheets.

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    Tariff increases to ignite recovery?

    CRISIS said the revised tariffs will improve the industry’s average revenue per user (ARPU) – a key performance that has fallen over the last seven quarters – by 25% to a 145-year rate of around 116-rs in 2019 The impact of these repair measures will, however, be developed only in quarterly results ending in March 2020, before which the deadline of 23 January for AGR fees is further tightened without discharge. While the experts thought, 2020 could also see a possible drop in mobile phone usage as many users are looking for a SIM consolidation and opting for a single mobile phone due to higher rates and more expensive minimum recharge plans.

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    Rest for old companies with IUC waste delayed by a year

    Another major closure was received on the interconnected usage, with Trai delaying the implementation of the zero-IUC regime a year ago, which would advance in January 2020, due to “inappropriate adoption of 4G technologies by consumers and asymmetric traffic.” IUC – a charge that telephone-originating telecommunications pays to the destination operator on whose network the call ends – is set at 6 paisa / min.

    The regulator in 2017 proposed to start a BAK (billing and keeping) system from January 2020, where the call generating telecommunication as proposed would keep the amount instead of paying it. The delay was welcomed by older companies Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, as they are online interconnected revenue earners, given most Jio calls end up in their networks, which makes the latter a net payer. By eliminating the January 2020 deadline set to abolish the regime, Trai has now enabled the two selected operators to continue to charge some cash flows.

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    Government throws lifeline to BSNL-MTNL

    The national airline – BSNL, which has traditionally been hailed as a strategic asset for the country, has finally received a government nod to a revival plan aimed at saving the PSU, which sounds like losses since 2010. In October, the center approved a revival of Rs 70,000 crore. plan to devise BSNL and MTNL to be merged along with other significant resources like allocation of 4G waves, a cash value of 38,000 crore, 15,000 crore of sovereign bonds and a voluntary retirement plan for the combined 2 lakh employees which will save about 8,800 crore in wage costs for the two state commanders.

    However, the revival package itself does not seem sufficient to alleviate concerns that appear on the implementation front. Questions about the impact of downsizing on the functional caliber of the proposed merged entity, put forward by potential bidders for the money process, possible bureaucratic delays in approval among others, continue to sound clear. Furthermore, as recently reported by ETT, the center’s rural mobile connectivity initiatives are around Rs 20,956.23, such as BharatNet, Left Extremism II – among several others are now being considered for an open bid that would allow private players to also bid, which could lead to aside from BSNL.

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    5G route: Auction is delayed while government nods Huawei’s stake

    Commercial output of the ambitious 5G technology in India has been suspended for years with the delay apparently extending beyond 2020. While the industry has been in conflict with the government about what it claims as high price and low availability of the spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz bands, the financial knockout due to AGR has effectively made the operators unable to bid within this fiscal.

    Even though Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Jio and BSNL submitted applications to do field tests with DoT on January 15, industry experts still see 5G coming to India by 2022 as telecoms with their poorly bruised balance sheets lack monetary height to offer for the final auctions.

    In contrast, just two days before the new year, on December 30, the government allowed Chinese player Huawei (read all vendors) to conduct field trials in partnership with the telecommunications companies. The move came after India’s continued silence on Huawei’s involvement in 5G deployments due to the US pressuring India to ban Huawei from developing the network. India, however, has finally taken a position on the issue, as it is juggling to maintain a strategic balance with two of its main trading partners – China and the United States.

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    2020 begins with aid claims as AGR’s due date approaches

    SC in a closed hearing on January 16 rejected the appeal of Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices that they filed in November asking the court to review its October AGR decision. Airtel and VIL have said they are likely to file remedial petitions with an upcoming date of January 23rd. Analysts believe the refusal to extend any aid to companies could lead to two players. VIL left in the lurch could see an exit from the industry as previously said by KM Birla.

    It is believed that tariff revisions will lead the sector to a recovery, however more clarity on where exactly the industry will be headed after the AGR payment deadline compared to January 23rd.

    Additionally, ahead of the next Union budget on February 1, the industry, which is weighed down by many taxes and duties, reportedly asked the government for help in the form of a reduction in regulatory taxes, levies and licensing fees with lower interest rates. to access. credit. Requirements for removal of GST from license fee and spectrum usage costs have also been made.