This month, the curtain falls on Analog Cable TV, in India. The entire country is to shift to digital CATV from April. Can this genuinely be achieved? It has taken more than 3 years, to install 70 million Cable TV STBs, to date. Compulsory digitisation in DAS..........
Rs. 13,000 CRORE FOR BHARATNET
The government has allocated Rs. 13,000 crore to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to roll out broadband networks to gram panchayats and building alternate communications network for defence, as per the Output-Outcome Framework for Schemes 2017.
Rs. 10,000 crore is allocated for rolling out optical fibre-based broadband networks to "1,50,000 cumulative GPs" in 2017-18.
As on January 29, optical fibre has been laid to connect 76,089 GPs, out of which 16,355 GPs have been provided broadband connectivity.
Government has also allocated Rs. 3,000 crore for laying of OFC and procurement of equipment for the Network For Spectrum (NFS) project in 2017-18.
POOR NETFLIX RESPONSE IN INDIA
Netflix has only 2 to 3 lakh paying subscribers in India, according to a report by MediaNama, based on Netflix's tax payments.
Of Netflix's 93.8 million global subscribers, only 211,500 to 337,300 are from India.
Netflix added over 14 million new subscribers from outside the US since last year. India accoounted for just 2% of that growth.
India's poor broadband and inexpensive cable TV & DTH rates that offer a huge channel count, is why Netflix has failed, with its Rs. 500 to Rs. 800 monthly plans that exclude data charges.
In an interview, CEO Reed Hastings had called India's Internet infrastructure "frustrating." Netflix has collaborated with Internet Providers all over Asia including Pakistan, but it is yet to announce a single collaboration or interconnection deal in India. Only around 7% of Indians have access to broadband; most via mobile, in India.
MERGER OF TELCOS
Vodafone in India is merging with Idea Cellular. Bharti is acquiring Telenor's loss-making operations in India.
Reliance Infocomm has merged with Aircel and MTS and is in talks to bring Tata Teleservices into its embrace.
Indian telecom is consolidating at a rapid pace, in response to Jio's disruptive pricing. Voice services are becoming free & data prices have crashed.
Larger pools of spectrum, post consolidation, will allow operators to optimise their network.
Telcos now have to work out how they can remain profitable under cut throat competition.
JIO: LARGEST WIRELESS B'BAND
Reliance Jio o v e r t o o k market leader Bharti Airtel with the highest number of wireless broadband users in November 2016, according to TRAI's recent report.
The report said that while Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio had 52.23 million subscribers in November last year, Bharti Airtel had 41.90 million subscribers in the same period. In October, however, Bharti Airtel led among the wireless broadband service providers with 46.22 million subscribers.
ALIBABA PLANS FREE 'NET FOR INDIA
F a c e b o o k ' s proposed free i n t e r n e t service that would provide free access to the Facebook site has already been rejected by the TRAI, as a violation of net neutrality.
Now, according to press reports, Alibaba group's UCWeb is in talks with Indian telecom operators and Wi-Fi providers to bring free internet. UCWeb is the Internet services subsidiary of Alibaba in China with its flagship product being the popular UC Browser.
"In India not every state is suffering from connectivity problems so we will focus more on providing this kind of services to states that are suffering more," said Jack Huang, President of Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business.
Alibaba will have to provide the same free access to all of the internet, and not just the alibaba.com shopping site, to be net neutral & get TRAI approval.
JIO ENDS FREE SERVICE
Jio announced its free service will end March 31, 2017.
A variety of plans are offered from April 2017. In all its plans, voice is 'free' as part of the basic subscription. However, there are hidden costs to consumers. For example, Jio's cheapest basic 28 day plan is priced at Rs. 149 and includes only 0.7 GB of data. This implies that consumers will be billed 13 times a year @ Rs. 149 rather than 12 billing cycles annually, and receive much less data.
Jio is mainly pushing its premium plan priced at Rs. 99 annual membership fee + Rs. 300 per month for unlimited Voice and SMS service + 1 GB data per day.
Analysts have expressed concern whether Jio will break even. Estimates are that 50% of Jio's free subscribers will exit when asked to pay.
INDIAN GAMING: $400 MN BY 2022
The country's mobile gaming market will touch $400 million by 2022, driven by growing adoption of freemium and virtual reality games. Freemium is a business model where basic services are provided free but one has to pay for using the more advanced features of the game.
According to the CIITechSci Research report, revenues from mobile-based gaming stood at $265.8 million last year and will touch $286.2 million in 2017.
Overall, the Indian gaming industry was valued at $543 million in 2016 and is projected to grow to $801 million by 2022.
The number of mobile gamers in the country is also expected to grow substantially from 198 million in 2015 to 628 million by 2020 and further to 1.16 billion by 2030, it claims.
"Ease of playing mobile games coupled with rising mobile phone subscribers has fueled the growth of mobile gaming in India over the last few years," it said.
INDIAN PC SALES DOWN 15%
The Indian PC industry shipped at 8.58 million units during the calendar year 2016 (CY16), DOWN 15.2% compared to CY15, according to research firm IDC.
PC shipments declined 23% QoQ in Q4 2016
4.22 million consumer PC shipped in CY 2016, (down 12.9%).
4.35 million commercial PC market shipped during CY 2016, which was a decline of 17.4% YoY.
JIO: BETTER NETWORK, POOR SPEED
A report by Credit Suisse says "Jio's network coverage is significantly ahead of the other operators. Jio has good coverage in 80% plus of cities surveyed, compared to less than 30% for the others. The difference is even more stark when compared only with 4G networks."
"Airtel 4G offers the best download speeds (12 Mbps plus). Jio, Vodafone and Idea are close to each other (7 to 8 Mbps).
The study covered over 30 Indian cities. n