Posts tagged India
Over in India it is estimated over 50 percent of Indians don’t have a bank account whilst 90 percent of villages do not have a bank branch, but Nokia along with the Union Bank of India aims to change those figures with the launch of Union Bank Money.
According to an article over on Information Week, Nokia and the UBI have announced the commercial launch of Union Bank Money, a service that targets those people who do not have a bank account, and delivers financial services via their mobile phone.
The chairman and managing director of Union Bank India, M.V. Nair said, “Technology is a great enabler for banking services and our partnership with Nokia will help us offer ‘Anytime Anywhere’ financial services to consumers across the country. Once rolled out across the nation, Union Bank Money will be the single largest network in India to provide mobile financial services to consumers in urban as well as penetrate rural areas to tap the unbanked populace.”
Nokia and the UBI have launched their financial inclusion plan to deliver banking services to in excess of ten million customers by the year 2013, with Nokia supplementing the existing 3000 Union Bank of India branches with Nokia retail outlets serving as business correspondent agents for Union Bank Money services.
The Union Bank Money app can be installed across almost all existing Nokia mobile phones and Nokia will be pre-installing the app on a wide range of handsets.
W3C @ WWW2011 in India: Open Web Platform for All W3C Invites Discussion on Web and Open Society, Mobile Apps, Multilingual and Accessible Content, and More
This year, W3C invites all WWW2011 participants to meet at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) to discuss the regional and global impact of this expanding Open Web Platform for application development.
What are the keys to building a Web that supports Open Society? How are the Web and Television converging? What are the advantages of Web applications on mobile devices over native apps? What are some of the design challenges for augmented reality on mobile phones with respect to accessibility? Participants can discuss these topics and others with the W3C through several opportunities:
- Vision. Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the Web, delivers a keynote on the topic of Designing the Web for an Open Society. The talk takes place on 31 March at 8:30 am in the H-04-Plenary Hall.
- Technology. This year’s W3C track addresses the conference theme of “Web for all” in two ways: people and devices. On 30 March, participants address the accessible and multilingual Web. On 31 March, participants discuss Web applications on mobile devices. Each track (in room H-01) combines speakers with topics to be determined by the attendees. If you are planning to attend, W3C welcomes your suggestions for additional topics at any time. Please see the track wikis for more information (WebforAll wiki and MobiWebApp wiki). W3C also watches for suggestions on twitter (#w3ctrack).
- Industry. Join W3C and representatives of the ICT Industry for a discussion about standards in India. The meeting, organized by the W3C India Office, takes place at the IIIT in Hyderabad, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Learn more about follow-up meetings in Delhi on 4-5 April.
- Support. In addition to discussions with W3C staff and other people in the W3C community, participants can show support for W3C efforts by participating in a partnership program.
Meet with W3C at WWW2011 to learn about and help shape the Open Web Platform.
The W3C track was organized with the support of the W3C India Office and the MobiWebApp EU project.
More information: www.w3.org
A businessman and aide to the former Indian telecommunications minister being questioned in jail over the 2008 award of mobile-phone licenses, was found dead, two weeks before the first charges in the case are due.
The official and residential premises of the dead man, A.M. Sadhick Batcha, were searched in December by the Central Bureau of Investigation and he was last questioned on Feb. 24. Batcha was an associate of ex-minister Andimuthu Raja, who was arrested by the CBI last month over irregularities in the sale of telecommunications spectrum three years ago.
Batcha was brought dead to a hospital in the southern city of Chennai yesterday, Deputy Commissioner of Police M. Pandian said by phone. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state, which is governed by Raja’s political party. A post mortem has not yet been carried out, Pandian said.
Alleged irregularities in the allocation of phone licenses lead to the arrest of ministry officials and a representative of a private company. The scandal has weakened the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, stalling parliament for two months and forcing him to deny he had become a “lame-duck” leader.
In November, India’s chief auditor reported that second- generation airwaves were sold for an “unbelievably low” $2.7 billion when they may have been worth at least 10 times more.
Batcha’s death “will not affect the investigation in the ongoing 2G spectrum scam as all the evidence has already been recorded,” Binita Thakur, a spokeswoman of the CBI, said by phone. The demise of Batcha, “reportedly an associate of the then telecom minister A. Raja, is unexpected,” Thakur said.
The probe agency will file charges against Raja and company executives by March 31, the CBI yesterday told the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the investigation. A special court in India’s capital New Delhi will be set up by March 29 to hold trials linked to the sale of mobile-phone licenses.
Singh’s government last month gave in to three months of opposition demands and agreed to form a panel of lawmakers to examine policies and alleged irregularities in the allocation and pricing of telecommunications licenses and spectrum from 1998 to 2009.
The CBI has argued in court that Raja conspired to benefit companies including the then Swan Telecom Ltd., now Etisalat DB Telecom India Pvt., and Unitech Ltd. by violating guidelines in the 2008 license sale.
Raja and Shahid Balwa, vice chairman of Etisalat DB are in judicial custody. Both have denied wrongdoing.
Batcha, who had a masters’ degree in business administration, had 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, according to the website of Green House Promoters Ltd., of which he was managing director.
“There has been no pressure from the CBI on Batcha,” Thakur said yesterday. “He was cooperating with the CBI.”
A spokesman from India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said the party’s wants a “proper” investigation into the death of Batcha.
To contact the reporters on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at firstname.lastname@example.org; Unni Krishnan in New Delhi at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hari Govind at firstname.lastname@example.org
They have almost all the required features, are affordable and have been given the looks of a high-end phone. The mobile phone market has seen a visible growth in the past couple of years, with global mobile phone brands flooding the Indian market and Indian brands popping up almost every day. But how is the competition, have these new brands put up a decent fight with the existing market rulers?
How are these ‘budget friendly’ phones actually doing? “ Techcom mobile phones are available in 10 states now and are priced between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 4,000. Our phones will be available in all the states by the end of this year.
We launched with seven handsets and will be launching two models by the end of March,” said Sandeep Kedia, director, Techcom.
“ The Indian market is growing and it is a gain for the customers. Every company has its own strategy to deal with the competition. At present, we enjoy a market share of 23 per cent in terms of value and hope to maintain our position,” said Ruchika Batra, general manager for Southwest Asia, Samsung.
Buyers who want to experiment are going in for new products. The new brands are stylish, provide various features and are affordable, too. This is a positive for buyers who cannot afford the high- end products, a dealer pointed out on condition of anonymity.
“ There are many brands in the Indian market and each one is vying for its own existence. International brands have their own target groups and Indians have their own. So, catering to the needs of specific audiences (both global and Indian brands) are doing well. In less than two years, a group of Indian brands have accumulated 14 per cent of the mobile handset market from multinational corporations and are still doing well. This has happened when the market has expanded from about eight million handsets per month two years ago to 10 million a year ago and almost 15- 16 million now,” said S. N. Rai, co- founder and director, Lava International Ltd.
India being a growing market and the consumers willing to experiment there’s a good deal of hope for the new comers. “ We have got encouraging response ever since our foray into the mobile handset market in December 2010. We have sold around one lakh units in the last three months,” said Kedia.
Techcom projects to gain a market share of two to three per cent in the GSM phone category in 2011- 12. Lava also has some new plans, “ In the last two months we sold around eight lakh units. Our products are available in 50,000 stores across the country and we will be introducing more than 30 products by the end of this year,” said Arvind Jha, director, Lava International Ltd.
Lava at present is available in five different series, with four to five models in each series. The prices range between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 6,000.
Indian tax authorities have conducted raids on mobile phone sellers across New Delhi, discovering evidence of significant levels of tax evasion.
On March 13th the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) released a statement saying that a series of raids have been conducted on several mobile phone retailers around New Delhi who were selling phones which were not properly registered and are considered to be a potential security threat.
According to the CBDT, retailers have been importing mobile phones which do not have the legally required International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). The devices were predominantly imported from China. No records are made of the phones as they enter the country, and they are sold to consumers with no Value Added Tax (VAT) charge.
The CBDT raided 59 separate retailers across New Delhi, and found evidence of INR 2.3 billion (approx. USD 50.84 million) of unpaid VAT. Tax authorities have already closed the stores of some retailers who were found to be avoiding VAT levies or selling illegal handsets. According to the Indian Cellular Association (ICA) approximately 30 percent of the handset sold in New Delhi are imported from China with no EMEI, and sold with no VAT charge. High-end phones are even more likely to be sold without a VAT levy, with nearly 75 percent of phones costing above INR 10 000 (approx. USD 220) are sold without paying taxes. Customs data shows that nearly 7.3 million phones were imported into India in 2009, through the New Delhi Airport alone, and logistic difficulties mean that it is impossible to verify the EMEI number of each device.
Photo by Daniel*1977
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to a parliamentary probe into the sale of mobile-phone licenses, surrendering to three months of opposition demands that had derailed legislation and eroded investor confidence.
“We can ill afford the situation that our parliament is not allowed to function during the crucial budget session,” Singh, 78, said in the lower house of parliament six days before Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will deliver his policy statement for the next financial year. “It is in these special circumstances that our government agrees to setting up a joint parliamentary committee,” Singh told lawmakers.
The government’s legislative agenda has been paralyzed since November by protests over alleged revenue losses during a 2008 sale of 2G telecoms permits, with the ruling Congress party’s chief rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, leading calls for an investigation by a bipartisan panel of lawmakers. The final parliament session of 2010 was the least productive in 25 years. Sushma Swaraj, a BJP leader, said today parliament should start running normally.
India’s benchmark stock index, the Sensex, has lost 10 percent this year, making it the world’s worst performing benchmark index after Egypt and Tunisia, as inflation, the most aggressive monetary policy in Asia, and concerns over prolonged political gridlock and corruption led investors to sell Indian stocks. The index was the best performer among the world’s 10 biggest markets last year, buoyed by strong growth and corporate earnings.
Investors say that even after agreeing to the probe by lawmakers the governing alliance will struggle to regain authority to introduce the changes in the $1.3 trillion economy sought by business leaders when Singh won re-election in 2009. As he begins the third year of a potential five-year term, corruption and sliding support may have further diminished the already reticent Singh’s political stature, they said.
“There is such upside if the politicians could pull their finger out,” said Hugh Young, Singapore-based head of equities at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, which manages $297 billion of assets. “But one has to question Manmohan Singh’s real ability to drive anything through.”
When Singh’s Congress secured its biggest election victory in 20 years in 2009, investors hoped that it would usher in policies to further open India’s economy. The rupee and stocks rose to record gains the month after the ballot as investors anticipated measures to encourage foreign investment.
Spending on Poor
Instead, Congress headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi has prioritized raising spending on a $9 billion program to guarantee 100 days of work for 41 million rural families and provide subsidized food grains for an additional 100 million poor among its 1.2 billion people.
“The government has not delivered to the extent that it should have in the second term because of a lack of leadership and cohesiveness,” said Jay Shankar, chief economist at Religare Capital Markets Ltd. in Mumbai. “As we move closer to the next election the government is likely to introduce more populist measures.”
Bills to change rules governing the acquisition of land for industry as up to $100 billion in investments remains stalled, including proposed projects of South Korea’s Posco and ArcelorMittal, and force miners to share profits with local communities were delayed late last year.
While the government issued a discussion paper in July saying that allowing overseas multi-brand companies including the world’s largest retailer, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal- Mart Stores Inc., and Carrefour SA, ranked number two globally, to sell goods to Indian consumers would lower prices and benefit farmers, Singh has failed to act on a policy that may risk the livelihoods of millions of small shopkeepers.
The prime minister last week in a rare meeting with senior journalists vowed to punish those found guilty of fraud, acknowledging that a political atmosphere dominated by claims of wrongdoing by his ministers had hurt the image of India overseas. In a bid to refocus his government and rejecting media claims that he had become a “lame-duck” leader, Singh said Mukherjee’s Feb. 28 budget will signal a return to the administration’s “reform agenda.”
“We are a functioning democracy and must strive to resolve our differences in a spirit of accommodation and collaboration, not confrontation,” Singh said today. “This, I hope, will renew our confidence in India’s forward march.”
An AC Nielsen opinion poll for the India Today magazine published last month forecast that Singh’s coalition may win 42 seats fewer than the 259 it secured in May 2009 if an election was called.
“It’s good that wisdom has dawned on the government,” Gurudas Dasgupta, a lawmaker of the Communist Party of India, said in parliament. “It’s better to be late than never.”
India’s chief auditor said in November the 2G licenses were sold for an “unbelievably low” $2.7 billion when they may have been worth at least 10 times more. Former telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raja, ministry bureaucrats and company executives have been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Raja, who has denied any wrongdoing, is now in jail under judicial custody.
India’s economy will probably expand 8.6 percent in the year ending March 31 from a year earlier, the fastest pace since 2008, the Central Statistical Office said on Feb. 7.
Foreign direct investment into India slumped last year, totaling only a quarter of its Asian rival China, the world’s fastest major growing economy, according to United Nations data. Investment in India fell by 32 percent to $23.7 billion in 2010, while in China it climbed 6 percent to $101 billion.
To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Macaskill in New Delhi at email@example.com; Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg in Hong Kong at email@example.com
By DHANYA ALL THOPPIL
BANGALORE — India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. Monday launched third-generation mobile telephony in the service area covering the southern state of Karnataka, and said it plans to launch 3G services across 13 service areas by the end of March.
The company, India’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers, became the third private operator after Tata Teleservices Ltd. and Reliance Communications Ltd. in launching 3G services in the world’s fastest growing telecommunications market.
The company had won 3G radio spectrum in 13 of India’s 22 telecom circles through an auction last year for 122.95 billion rupees ($2.69 billion).
State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.–which didn’t have to participate in the auction and were allocated bandwidth in 2008–launched 3G services in early 2009, but have so far got a lukewarm response.
Third-generation services allow multimedia capabilities on mobile networks and are likely to improve the operating performance of telecom companies as they can charge higher tariffs in a market where cut-throat competition has hurt their profitability.
HTC 7 Mozart Debuts in India with a Price Tag of Rs 26,490 User Rating: / 0
PoorBest Written by Piyush Joshi Wednesday, 05 January 2011 WEDNESDAY, January 5, (News Locale) – Mobile phone geeks in India were handed a New Year present by Taiwan-based handset manufacturer HTC as the company unveiled their newest offering, the HTC 7 Mozart which will be available at an affordable price tag of Rs 26,490 in India.
The Mozart is only the second smartphone in India to come with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system and is a dream phone for those addicted to snapping photos from their mobiles or listening to music.
Fitted with Dolby Mobile and SRS Surround Sound, the Mozart acts as a mini music system in the pocket while the Sound Enhancer app will allow consumers to tinker with the settings to get the required sound effect for a richer listening and viewing experience.
The other major feature of the Mozart is the whopping 8 megapixel camera that comes with auto focus and xenon flash and a 720p HD video recording support. Built-in scenes such as candlelight, landscape and portrait allows the user to edit the snaps according to the mood.
Other features include a .7-inch WVGA touchscreen display, 8 GB storage, 1GHz Qualcomm with 512 MB ROM and 576 MB RAM, 3G, GPRS, EDGE and Wi-Fi support.
Users of the handset on TATA DOCOMO will be offered exclusive Special Data Offer though the company is yet provide complete details about the offer.
The HTC Mozart is a welcome addition to the arsenal of smartphones that have inundated the market in the country. At Rs 26,490, the price of HTC Mozart in India may be a touch expensive, but the rich features available in the phone make it a worthwhile buy.
Business India Today Business India Story India becomes smartphone makers’ delight Mail Today Bureau | New Delhi, December 30, 2010 | Updated 08:32 IST Utilities Get social
Smartphone sales have jumped three-fold in the third quarter (July-September) of 2010 over the year-ago period and grown by 34.2 per cent over the second quarter (April-June) of this year, according to the latest IDC survey released on Thursday. This clearly underscores the trend that India mobile handset consumers have started showing higher preference for adopting smartphones.
According to the report, smartphone prices continued to drop through the year and as competition increased, devices were made available by vendors at successively lower price points. While 80 per cent of the total Indian smartphone sales were below the average sales value of Rs 18,000 in the second quarter of 2010, this proportion rose to 90 per cent in the third quarter (Q3).
“The propensity to adopt feature phones and smartphones is greatest amongst the youth and business executive segments, whose purchase decisions are driven by peer group influence and workplace usage patterns as well as larger disposable incomes and willingness to experiment with new technology,” said IDC India vice-president Anirban Banerjee.
Android gained acceptance as an operating system (OS) and 9.4 per cent of smartphones shipped in Q3 of 2010 were based on the Android OS against 2.9 per cent in Q3 of 2009. The number of models with Android OS also rose to 19 in Q3 of 2010 against only two models in Q3 of 2009. Naveen Mishra, lead analyst IDC India, said, “In the smartphone segment an increasing number of vendors are displaying confidence in the Android OS, having grown from just one vendor in Q3 of 2009 to as many as seven in Q3 of 2010.”
Finnish handset maker Nokia cornered the largest share of 31.5 per cent of the Indian mobile phone market during Q3 of 2010. The IDC report expects the year 2010 to end with total mobile handset sales of 155.9 million units.
Earlier we reported the availability of HTC HD7 one of the Indian online mobile store for Rs. 30,000 though there was no official release information about it. Now, HTC has officially partnered with Airtel to sell Microsoft Windows7 based mobile phone – HTC HD7 in India for Rs. 29,990.
As per information available, Airtel will also be offering 2GB of data usage for 6 month if a subscriber pays additional 300 rupees.
During the launch event, Mr. Shireesh Joshi, CMO-Mobile Services, Bharti airtel said:
We are delighted with the opportunity to bring the eagerly-awaited HTC HD7 Smartphone in India. Combining the strength of the airtel brand and network with the innovation and design of HTC and the great user-interface of Windows Phone 7, we are happy to bring another first for our customers that will take mobile communications to a whole new level.
Check out specifications of HTC HD7 in our previous post.