Category — Telecommunications

American Tower Corp Evaluates Additional Assets in India

Having bought Vodafone India and Idea Cellular’s 20,000 cell phone towers in India in November for $1.2 billion, Boston-based American Tower Corporation will evaluate more tower asset acquisitions to grow operations in India.

James D. Taiclet, chairman and chief executive of the company, said that his company’s near-term focus would be integrating the captive towers recently acquired from Vodafone and Idea into its existing portfolio. However, going forward, it may “seek to acquire additional assets in India depending on their characteristics and return potential,” given the tower company’s significant “financial resources, local market knowledge and experienced management team.”

Telecommunication Tower

The acquisition of Vodafone India’s and Idea Cellular’s towers brings American Tower Corporation’s India portfolio to nearly 80,000 towers, at third place behind Indus and Bharti Infratel, which own 123,000 and 91,000 towers, respectively.

Taiclet also expects the rapid consolidation underway in India’s telecom industry to be ‘a net positive’ for the country’s entire towers industry, reports the Economic Times.

December 17, 2017   No Comments

Alphabet’s X Will Provide Internet to Rural Andhra Pradesh

Alphabet Inc’s X research division said that the state government of Andhra Pradesh in India will buy its newly developed technology that has the potential to provide high-speed wireless internet to millions of people without laying cable.

Andhra Pradesh currently has a population of 53 million  people, of which only 15 million have access to the internet, and its government wants to connect an additional 12 million households by 2019. This partnership will also boost the state’s digital infrastructure and help overcome hindrances in terms of connecting isolated and difficult terrain, forest areas, river crossings, and railway crossings.

Map of Andhra Pradesh

Map of Andhra Pradesh

 

2,000 boxes  will be installed as far as 12 miles apart on posts and roofs to bring a fast internet connection to populated areas. Reuters reports that X plans to deploy free space optical technology which transmits data through light beams at up to 20 gigabits per second between the rooftop boxes.

Baris Erkmen, who is leading the effort inside X, said his team is “piloting a new approach” to overcome the challenges, but he did not specify the software and hardware advancements. X plans to set up a local office with the help of the Government of Andhra Pradesh in order to provide real time support to the project.

December 15, 2017   No Comments

Google Invests $12 million in Indian Startup

Having picked up a significant minority stake in Bangalore, India-based Dunzo, a hyper-local concierge and delivery player, Google made its first direct investment of $12 million in an Indian startup. With a chat-based interface, the Dunzo app facilitates daily tasks management — individuals can create ‘to-do lists’ and collaborate with partners / vendors to strike off the tasks from the list.

The investment is part of Google’s ‘Next Billion Users’ push, as it seeks to build an ecosystem in India across high-frequency hyper-local transactions as well as in the healthcare, financial services, and education sectors, reports the Economic Times.
Google India Logo
“I see a change in tack,” said Rutvik Doshi, managing director at Inventus Capital and a former Googler, adding that Google probably now sees India as a large enough market to make investments. “After getting the first two billion users, Google has realized that to get the next one billion they will need to rethink their product stack and approach,” he said.

December 11, 2017   No Comments

India’s Telecom Regulator Strongly Backs Net Neutrality

TRAI, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, published recommendations backing net neutrality, supporting equal internet access for all.  If the recommendations are accepted by the communications ministry, India will be ahead of the curve in internet rights.

TRAI Logo

Given the overwhelming public support for net neutrality, the government is expected to accept the recommendations, though it’s not clear when they will become law, reports Reuters.

The new guidelines cover IoT or the Internet of Things. However, over-the-top (OTT) services – apps like Skype or WhatsApp that ride on top of telecom operators’ networks, as well as content delivery networks, which lets operators such as Netflix deliver content within their network have not been addressed by TRAI’s recommendations.

December 5, 2017   No Comments

iPhone Assembler to Expand Operations in India

With Apple‘s earnings in India doubling year-on-year, Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron, primary iPhone assembler in India, is scouting for 100 acres of land in Bangalore to expand its facilities.

Though Apple is currently a minor player in India, its potential is huge. CEO Tim Cook said on the earnings call in early November that there was much work to be done to fulfill this potential.

He said he’s confident the company can gain ground, but it will take work on many fronts.”It’s building stores. It’s building channels. It’s building markets. It’s building the developer ecosystem,” he said. “It’s having the right product lineup for the market. And I feel like we’re making good progress there and are gaining understanding of the market, but we still have a long way to go.”

Picture of PM Modi and Tim Cook

The India government’s Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion wrote to the firm saying it was “actively involved in resolving issues raised by Apple” and the various key departments in charge of vetting these concessions are “positively inclined to the proposal,” according to a document from an official to Apple that was reviewed by Bloomberg News.

November 12, 2017   No Comments