In its Interactive Session at New Delhi, TRAI admitted ambiguity in reading the Supreme Court's judgement, and is proceeding on the assumption that the 15% price cap is not enforceable. On 29 Nov, the TDSAT directed TRAI to revert on the matter within 7 days..............
JIO OFFERS 621 CHANNELS
Reliance Jio TV now offers 621 channels to its mobile phone consumers. The number of channels exceeds that offered by any Cable TV network or DTH platform in the country.
The JIO channels cannot be mirrored / transferred on to a TV screen.
The service is free to JIO mobile customers, even though JIO has signed agreements with major Indian broadcasters like Star India, Sony Pictures Networks India, Sun TV Network. All channels belonging to these networks are available on Jio TV. JIO is reportedly paying the broadcasters on an actual viewing basis by its users.
NETFLIX, AMAZON, HOTSTAR LOOSING MONEY
Video streaming platforms in India such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and Hungama have a long way to go before they make money in the country.
Netflix India reported a marginal profit of ₹ 20.2 lakh for 2017-18, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies last month.
Prices range from Netflix's ₹ 500+ per month to Amazon Prime Video's ₹ 999 for a year & Hotstar's ₹ 199 a month or ₹ 999 for a year.
However, less than 15% of Indian OTT Viewers pay for their content. 85% watch only OTT.
Roughly 70% of Indian OTT audiences are male, & the big audience target group was between 18 and 34 years in the metros and second-level towns, according to Uday Sodhi, executive vice-president and head, digital business, Sony Pictures Network India.
This explains the success of gangster dramas like Sacred Games or Netflix's titillating content.
"Right now, we are in the investment phase & it is too early to start worrying about profits," Sodhi said.
NDTV: PAID APP
NDTV has launched a paid app "NDTV Premium" priced at ₹ 60, ₹ 300 & ₹ 600 for monthly, half-yearly & annual subscriptions respectively. There are no ads on this app.
The NDTV News app launched in March 2017 is free & claims 5 million+ downloads. It features content from its TV channels NDTV 24-7, NDTV India/NDTV Khabar, and NDTV Prime. The free service carries ads.
KHERA'S OTT FOR IMCL
Anil Khera was CEO of Videocon d2h until it was sold to Dish TV.
Khera has now set up One Take Media (OTM) that specialises in content production, global content acquisition and distribution, providing Value Added Services (VAS) to DTH, CATV & OTT platforms.
Recently in India, the company signed a content deal with IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL) to launch Value Added Services on InCable & the NXT HITS platform. As part of the partnership, OTM will provide ad-free and unique content to IMCL subscribers, as a subscriptionbased service.
Khera says the company is working with telecom clients based in Africa and MENA region besides OTT customers in Singapore and Malaysia.
TRAI WARNS TELCOS
TRAI has cautioned mobile phone companies against any cartelisation & anti-competitive behaviour.
After recent mergers, there are only 3 major mobile phone operators - Airtel, Vodafone, JIO & BSNL.
"A 4 player market is fairly healthy & offers a competitive environment. But if it is anti-competitive or predatory, we'll step in," TRAI Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma told the press.
AIRTEL WOOS LMOS
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel is open to partnering with last mile operators to ramp up its fibre to the home (FTTH) broadband service. Bharti Airtel MD & CEO Gopal Vittal said that the company is open to collaborations with entities that have last mile access.
Vittal also noted that the company has been ramping up its home broadband presence. In the H1 FY19, the company added 1 million home passes. It is planning to aggressively add homes passed in the H2 as well.
Vittal's comment comes in the wake of Reliance Industries taking a controlling stake in DEN Networks and Hathway Cable & Datacom.
NO PRINTED PHONE BILLS?
The TRAI's Telecommunication Tariff Order 2008 has made it compulsory for telcos to provide a free hard copy of phone bills to post-paid users
Based on representations from "industry, associations, MPs, MLAs and prominent citizens" the regulator has issued a new consultation paper to do away with the provision.
HOTSTAR, NETFLIX: OBSCENE CONTENT
A petition filed in the Delhi High Court by NGO, Justice for Rights, calls for removal of vulgar and sexually explicit content from online platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others.
The petitioner alleged that most online platforms offered vulgar, sexually explicit, pornographic, profane, virulent, religiously forbidden and morally unethical contents in order to attract more subscribers and generate profit.
It said the content available was in violation of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao has sought the Centre's response & listed the matter for further hearing on February 8.
BBNL, BSNL THREATENED ACTION
DoT secretary Aruna Sundararajan has publicly warned senior officials of public-owned Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) of stern action for failing to operationalise the government's ambitious BharatNet network.
BharatNet aims to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats or village blocks with high-speed Internet connectivity, and has already missed various deadlines. Only 1.16 lakh gram panchayats are operational. Further, the actual on-ground utilisation is less than 10% of the target.
"The issue was more related to maintenance and utilisation of network, and we have already alerted the officials responsible for it," BBNL chairman Sanjay Singh said, adding that the onus lies with the implementing agency - BSNL.
NOKIA BAGS GTPL DEAL
GTPL - a cable TV and broadband service provider will deploy Nokia's fixed access and core technology to upgrade and modernize its network.
Nokia's fibre solutions will replace GTPL's legacy Ethernet-based access network, to provide ultra-fast broadband speeds.
Under the agreement, GTPL will use Nokia's GPON technology, along with Nokia's currently deployed Broadband Network Gateways (BNGs), to enhance existing service speeds, delivering high speed internet, Linear TV and Videoon- Demand (VoD) services.
Nokia's GPON equipment will be deployed across various cities in Gujarat state by the end of this year.
GTPL is the largest MSO in Gujarat. Since Hathway owns a significant stake in GTPL, Reliance Industries is now acquiring controlling stake in GTPL, after its purchase on a majority stake in Hathway.
TESTING: 5% & 6 MONTHS FOR TRIALS
DoT has issued a circular that limits subscriber enrolment during network testing, to 5% of its network capacity & the trial phase cannot exceed 180 days.
The operator cannot charge any fee during the period, and the company must state the launch date.
The DoT order restricts network test to 90 days and on case-to-case basis the test phase can extended to 180 days. The order has come in to effect from October 9.
Since it refers to the 'Network Capacity,' the order is applicable to mobile networks, and not to Wired broadband networks. In July 2018, JIO announced its all India launch for wired broadband, and tests were to commence.
TRAI TO MONITOR DATA SECURITY
According to reports, TRAI's scope of activities will be enhanced to include data privacy, security and cybercrime, which are currently being looked into by the IT ministry.
Since this includes consumers' data, predominantly accessed via mobile phones, the telecom department will also be involved.
Laws will have to be amended to implement these changes.
"Aspects of data privacy etc. should all come under one ambit, and that should be the Digital Commission and the Digital Communications Regulator," according to an official.
The cabinet recently approved renaming the Telecom Commission to the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) while TRAI will become the Digital Communications Regulatory Authority of India.
VERIMATRIX BUYS AKAMAI ID SERVICES
Verimatrix is buying the assets from Akamai Identity Services (AIS) so it can add TV Everywhere (TVE)-type service capabilities to its product portfolio.
"This acquisition fits perfectly with our road map to streamline content workflows via cloud-based technologies," said Verimatrix COO Mike Kleiman.
AIS enables content providers and video service operators to launch authenticated TVE services by providing a common framework for implementing and scaling proprietary rights.
NEW TELECOM POLICY NOTIFIED
On 29 October, the government notified the new telecom policy.
The Telecom Commission - the apex decision making body of DoT has been renamed 'The Digital Communications Commission.'
While notifying the policy called the 'National Digital Communications Policy 2018,' the government said, "It is hoped that this policy will facilitate the unleashing of the creative energies of citizens, enterprises and institutions in India; and play a seminal role in fulfilling the aspirations of all Indians for a better quality of life."
The Union Cabinet on September 26 had approved the new policy which aims to create four million jobs, draw around $100 billion of investments into the telecom industry by 2022, boost the sector's contribution to 8% of GDP from 6% in 2017 besides backing the principles of net neutrality.
The National Frequency Allocation Plan's (NFAP) spectrum identification will be beneficial to the delivery of "mobile broadband for all," According to the Cellular Operators Association of India.
The plan will list the use of all spectrum bands in the country by various users & services, is expected to provide a necessary roadmap for the evolution of the Indian digital communications industry.
NFAP was announced at the recently concluded India Mobile Congress 2018 at Aerocity.
Every country has a form of NFAP, which is meant to harmonize the use of spectrum across the globe.
INDIA: MOST NET SHUTDOWNS
India topped the world with the highest number of internet shutdowns by government authorities with reportedly 121 instances to date in 2018, revealed data compiled by Delhi-based Software Freedom Law Centre's 'internetshutdowntracker'.
In India, governments have shut down the internet purportedly to prevent riots, incidents of hate crime, even to prevent cheating in exams.
The report observed that while the Supreme Court judgment making privacy a fundamental right in August 2017 was a victory for internet freedom, it has been "plagued by security breaches". The report cited researchers who exposed security lapses in Aaadhar, noting that Indian authorities are "poor custodians of citizen's information".