NEW DELHI: Internet companies providing wireless service may lose their permit if they fail to start commercial service within a year of getting spectrum from the Department of Telecom, the regulator Trai said.

“For ISP licensees having spectrum assigned from the DoT, a provision should be made in the licensee agreement…that licensee shall offer the commercial service to its subscribers on demand within 12 months from the date of spectrum assignment…failing which spectrum assigned to ISP licensee may be cancelled,” Trai said.

The suggestions are part of Trai’s recommendations on spectrum usage charges and presumptive adjusted gross revenue for internet service providers and commercial VSAT service providers.

The regulator provided relief to internet service providers by suggesting to the DoT that spectrum usage charge (SUC) should not be levied as percentage of AGR and existing formula-based mechanism of charging SUC should continue.

“The Authority recommends that existing system of payment of SUC charges on annual basis by ISP licensees should continue,” it added.

Radio spectrum usage charges are levied on ISP licensees in accordance with the provisions of license agreement.

ISP Licensees having Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum need to pay 1 per cent of AGR (earned from BWA spectrum) as annual spectrum charges. Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Tikona at present hold BWA spectrum.

However, the method to levy SUC fee on BWA spectrum holder was modified by DoT in August 2016 by introducing weighted average SUC.

For all other assigned spectrum, SUC applicable on Internet service providers is formula based and has no linkage with AGR.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended that the DoT may work with the Department of Space to evolve a system where the VSAT licensees are not made to run from pillar to post to get their services activated.

“The clock should start from the day the bandwidth is allotted by DoS and DoT should allot frequency within three months of allotment of spectrum by DoS. The two departments may also explore the possibility of implementing an on-line application for automating the whole process to bring in transparency,” Trai said.

The regulator has recommended that the DoT should put in place a comprehensive on-line system for allocating or clearing permits.

Source: ET

UK-based Bullitt Group, the license holder for Caterpillar, Land Rover, JCB and Kodak brands for phones and audio products, is bringing some of them to India, the world’s largest smartphone market, targeting niche users in the premium segment with its ‘rugged’ phones.

Linda Summers, Chief Marketing Officer, Bullitt Group told ET that the company is already in talks with individual consumers and businesses to sell the Cat brand of smartphone meant for outdoor use, slotted for a launch this month. Excerpts:

Which mobile phone brands will be brought to India this year? And how many models of each?
Bullitt Group is the worldwide licensee of Caterpillar Inc. for ‘rugged’ mobile devices and accessories, and has global licences with Kodak and Land Rover for the design, development and marketing of mobile phones in the lifestyle and outdoor categories. We are excited to be bringing the Cat S60 by March and Kodak Ektra by April to India. As the opportunity presents itself, we will bring our other brands as well. Globally, 1 million Cat phones have been sold.

Would the group look at smartphones or feature phones, or both?
We believe in delivering devices which are innovative, differentiated and designed to meet the needs of consumers we believe will value the features and functionality our products provide. Through our brand partnerships, we have been able to bring distinct products to market which deliver real benefits to our consumers’ in their work and personal lives. We are currently focused on smartphones for the Indian market, but do have a significant customer base for our Cat branded feature phones in Europe. We will be keeping a keen eye on opportunities for these products too in the Indian market, but have no plans to launch right now.

Why has the Group thought of entering the Indian market now, specially when competition is so high here?
We do not compete in the mass products market. This is where we have observed the bulk of launches and competitive activities in the India market over the last months, with aggressive brand and variant launches appearing every few months. Following our evaluation of the India market over a the last year, we have spotted an opportunity for our partner brands. We recognise that India is a sophisticated market when it comes to smartphones and of course, one of the fastest growing ones too. However, we design and develop products with our partner brands which are designed to meet unmet or underserved needs of specific consumer segments, with a highly targeted offer.

Will the brands be sold online or offline?
The product will be available via both online and offline channel. We will ensure that our consumers have access to the product through the channels they prefer to use. In online, we’re talking to Amazon for local sales.

What are the likely price points that you plan to enter the market?
Our products are priced to offer value for money to the consumer and reflect the functionality and benefits of each device.

How are the devices different from the lot already here?
These are rugged, tough devices that are waterproof, dust proof, break proof, military grade, with infra red dual cameras, which can be used to make phone calls, access the internet as well. As an example, people in South African forests use the Cat phones’ infra red camera to track baby rhinos. In India, we’re talking to the fire departments of Delhi and Mumbai for using the phone. We’re also talking to various industrial verticals.

Who makes the devices? And how do you plan to sell offline?
Compal Electronics, based in China. We have a distributor Brand Eyes, out of Noida, which will sell the phones at is own six stores in Delhi NCR, and they will also distribute it to 40 high street retailers in India, to start with.

Source: ET

NEW DELHI: The government is open for international collaboration in the field of cyber security and favours handling issue of cyber terrorism in cooperation with other countries, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.

“India is willing to have the widest cooperation world over in the quest of cyber security,” Prasad said at international conference on e-governance, ICEGOV, here.

Cyber crime has been growing across the globe because lack of international cooperation in this field. As per experts, many countries have been hesitant in signing cooperation agreement to handle cyber crime because of suspected involvement of their security agencies in cyber espionage.

“If Internet has to remain powerful, it must be safe and secure. Few people are using digital technology for terrorism, for hatred, for extremism, and we need to work together,” Prasad said.

He said that the Internet is one of finest creation of human mind and must be available for all.

“It should not become the monopoly of few. Therefore, right of its access must be without discrimination. In order to become truly global it must have link with the local,” he added.

The minister said that India would be voice of moderation, reason and assimilation as far as the Internet discourse is concern.

“Let me make it clear, India would be voice of assertion in favour of those who are digitally deprived, digitally discriminated because ‘Digital India’ is designed to bridge the gap between digital haves and digital have-nots,” Prasad said.

He announced that India will work upon to improve human resource for foreign students as well.

“The government of India will ensure provision for 100 students from all the participating countries to do their PhDs in prestigious universities of India in quest of electronics manufacturing,” the minister added.

He said that the government has laid special emphasis to promote electronics manufacturing in the country and has received investment of nearly $25 billion in last two years for electronics productions in the country.

The minister also said that India is ready to connect its National Knowledge Network (NKN) with other nations of the world including East, South & Middle East Asia and Africa for knowledge sharing and collaborative research.

NKN connects nearly 1,600 universities and research centres in India on a high capacity broadband network.

Around 30 countries including Portugal, Greece, Estonia, Norway, Uganda participated in the ICEGOV conference.

“I am happy to note that ICEGOV 2017 has witnessed a record number of submissions of papers – around 560 of them on topics as varied as open government, digital citizenship, digital inclusion…I hope that the learning and sharing of experiences will be both ways,” Minister of State for Law and IT PP Chaudhary said.

Source: ET

NEW DELHI: Samsung has soft launched its mobile payment service Samsung Pay in India, aiming to tap into an increased move towards digital payments in the country post demonetisation.

The service that enables consumers to make offline payments using its smartphone is currently being supported by some banks such as HDFC and ICICI and is available on a few premium devices, including the latest launched Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, the Samsung Pay website showed.

The move comes on the heels of demonetisation which lead to a surge in digital transactions, primarily mobile-based transactions using wallets and other instruments. Also, the government has been pushing digital payment services, and has also been keen that Samsung’s rival Apple taps India’s growing appetite for digital transactions and expands its mobile payment and digital wallet platform Apple Pay to India.

Samsung India confirmed the development Tuesday and said that only initial sign ins have begun. Employees of the Korean smartphone major have been asked to begin using the service.

At present, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered support both debit cards and credit cards, while only State Bank of India’s credit cards are supported.

Launched in August 2015 in South Korea, Samsung Pay is currently available in 12 countries including the US, China, Spain and Australia, with India the latest entry. The company has plans to expand the service to six more countries shortly, including in UK and Sweden.

The Samsung India website showed that American Express and Citibank will soon support Samsung Pay while the Paytm wallet can be integrated into the solution as well.

Samsung Pay works like a digital wallet in the offline space, such that a phone can be swiped on a point of sale terminal that supports the app, and push their fingerprint on the screen, which then takes money and pays the retailer digitally.

Consumers can add their debit or credit cards manually or through the phone camera, which reads the details automatically. For adding the wallet, Samsung Pay suggests linking the users mobile number, and then add money to make payments for purchases.

Currently, Samsung Galaxy Note5, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) and Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016), support Samsung Pay.

Source: ET

By Agnieszka Flak and Andreas Cremer
| GENEVA

The auto industry is facing seismic changes with the rise of electric vehicles, automated driving and car sharing set to eclipse even big mergers such as PSA’s purchase of Opel, executives at the Geneva auto show said.

Peugeot maker PSA Group (PEUP.PA) said on Monday it had agreed to buy loss-making Opel from General Motors (GM.N), creating Europe’s second-biggest carmaker behind Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and sparking speculation of more consolidation.

However, some auto executives gathering in Geneva said the deal was unlikely to alter the landscape on its own, with changing consumer habits and new rivals in Silicon Valley and China all likely to have a much bigger impact on carmakers.

“My feeling is that the industry as a whole and brand positioning will change in the next 10 or 15 years, and that comes in addition to traditional consolidation,” said Herbert Diess, head of Volkswagen’s (VW) passenger car division.

“We are really in a transitionary phase for the industry. There are new competitors on the horizon like Tesla or Chinese ventures,” Diess told reporters, adding that he did not expect a wave of Opel-style mergers.

Volkswagen (VW) is investing billions of euros in electric vehicles, automated driving and new mobility services, in part as it tries to recover from a costly emissions test cheating scandal that has hit demand for diesel vehicles.

The company, which is also cutting costs, is unveiling a fully self-driving concept car at the Geneva show.

Karl Schlicht, head of European sales at Japan’s Toyota (7203.T), also played down the impact of the PSA-Opel deal, which brings together carmakers with a heavy focus on diesel and low-margin fleet vehicles.

“We ran a counter strategy in Europe which may not look as successful for some past years because our volumes were a bit lower, but in terms of where we want to end up, it’s turning out to be a good strategy,” he said, referring to Toyota’s investment in hybrid vehicles.

Toyota forecasts its European sales will rise 5 percent this year while the market is expected to grow just 1 percent amid uncertainty over German and French elections and Britain’s departure from the European Union.

BMW (BMWG.DE) boss Harald Krueger, however, said the cost of investments in new technologies could spur deals among smaller carmakers.

‘NO SURVIVAL OF THE FATTEST’

Some industry analysts also say an enlarged PSA could actually ease the pressure on rivals if CEO Carlos Tavares uses similar methods to turn a profit at Opel that worked at PSA.

In the three years since Tavares took the helm at PSA, its existing brands – Peugeot, Citroen and DS – have significantly increased pricing relative to benchmarked rivals, sometimes at the expense of sales.

A similar approach at Opel, which has been among the region’s most aggressive discounters, could give the entire European mass-market car industry some breathing space.

“The deal could then ease price pressures, lead to a stabilization, or even a recovery,” said Michele Pedroni, fund manager at SYZ Asset Management in Geneva.

GM and PSA have shared production of commercial vans and developed common vehicle platforms for years, and the Opel Crossland X and the Citroen C-Aircross concept SUV on show in Geneva are a sign of the new projects and synergies they hope to achieve as one company.

Stefan Bratzel of the Center of Automotive Management in Germany said the potential improvement in profitability at PSA-Opel posed a bigger challenge to rivals than its sheer size.

“There is no survival of the fattest,” he said. “Just because you’re big, you do not win the game.”

Some analysts say Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (FCHA.MI), which has less than 7 percent of the European market compared with PSA-Opel’s more than 16 percent, could be among the most pressured, with its high debts and costly plants in Italy.

“Being a mid-sized player in Europe and not particularly profitable in the region leaves them quite vulnerable,” said Felipe Munoz, an automotive analyst at JATO. “They are too expensive to be bought by one of the big guys, and they are not in a position to grow unless they find a partner.”

FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has long advocated mergers to share the cost of cleaner and more technologically advanced cars, but his attempt to woo GM was rebuffed and with the U.S. firm now leaving Europe that option seems even less likely.

Marchionne said on Tuesday that FCA did not need a merger, but he wouldn’t rule one out and said he could approach GM again if it was the right thing to do.

He also said the PSA-Opel deal might over time encourage VW to consider a tie-up with his own company, although one industry investment banker told Reuters that was unlikely as VW focuses on its transformation following the dieselgate scandal.

Ford (F.N), another mid-sized player in Europe, highlighted the importance of keeping costs down.

European boss Jim Farley told Reuters it was “really, really important” for the future of its more than 14,000 workers in Britain that the country strikes a tariff-free trade deal when it leaves the European Union.

(Additional reporting by Laurence Frost, Costas Pitas and Edward Taylor; writing by Mark Potter; editing by Jason Neely and David Clarke)


Source: Reuters-Business