mobile phones

We have heard all about India’s political parties turning to social media to campaign. But given limited internet penetration, wouldn’t telephone be a better way to connect with the masses?

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), widely recognised as leading the pack on technology as well as opinion polls, seems to think so. They have launched an interactive phone line that allows people to “speak” to prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, on a handset. Continue reading »

Viom Networks, the Indian telecom infrastructure group, is set for some fundraising once the elections are over and markets settle. The company, majority owned by Tata Teleservices, could become one of the first Indian groups to take advantage of new regulations and do an IPO overseas.

Beyondbrics spoke to chief executive, Syed Safawi, and found out why Viom needs growth capital. The answer lies in some rare optimism around the Indian economy and the beleaguered telecoms sector in particular. Continue reading »

Slowly but surely Mumbai’s billboards are being filled with large, stern faces that gaze down ominously at passersby.

One picture of Rahul Gandhi, undeclared candidate for the incumbent Congress party, is emblazoned with the words: “Mein nahi, hum” (Not me, us). Even away from the streets in the confines of your sitting room, turn on the television and you might chance upon an advert by Tata Tea which encourages women to vote, making a symbol out of the black spot that will mark the forefinger of every voter in just a few weeks. Continue reading »

Last week, beyondbrics wrote about the use of social media in campaigning for this year’s Indian elections. Online networks have become an important route to young and urban voters and a useful source of information on the public debate.

But while politics may only just have caught on, India Inc has been using social media to manage communications for some time. Continue reading »

The poor northern state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is home to some 200m people, makes up 7 per cent of the country’s land mass and has 80 out of 543 parliamentary seats in India.

That means this largely rural region is crucial as we head towards a general election. Analysts from Citi travelled to UP to gauge the mood. Continue reading »

India’s telecoms industry has been under a big, dark cloud. From aggressive price wars to the infamous scandal around the allocation of spectrum, the sector has suffered multiple setbacks.

So the new round of spectrum auctions that kick off on Monday are of great interest – they could raise some Rs113bn ($1.8bn) for a government scrambling to meet fiscal deficit targets. The big question is: will operators bid generously or is India set for another embarrassing flop? Continue reading »

Being recognised by Bollywood is often the ultimate accolade for anything in India – an issue, a person, a business. But the folks at India’s number one matrimonial website seem admirably unfazed by the imminent launch next year of a Bollywood romcom, ‘Running Shaadi.com‘. Continue reading »

That's the easy part

Africa’s mobile revolution has become synonymous with its improving economic performance, but the sector is hitting some serious road bumps along the way.

After five years posting the highest growth rates in the world, the uptake of new mobile subscriptions across the sub-Saharan region is set to slow, by the reckoning of a report from GSMA, an association of mobile operators. Continue reading »

Watching India set its policy on telecoms auctions is like watching a game of tennis – there’s so much back and forth, you get a sore neck.

Although the country is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing telecoms markets, there were few takers at the last auction for 2G spectrum thanks to the high base price the government set. So what’s the latest volley (to prolong the tennis metaphor…)? Continue reading »

Apple and Nokia’s latest quarterly results always throw up something interesting – usually in different directions, as the Finnish phonemaker declines and the US tech giant forges on.

So here’s one nugget from the recent reports: in revenue terms year-on-year, Apple added the equivalent of Nokia’s entire China services and devices business in just one quarter. Continue reading »

Not long ago, the future for Nokia looked merely bleak. In developed markets, Apple and others were outselling the Finnish company with advanced smartphones, leaving Nokia to play catch-up. In emerging markets, Nokia clung on to its market by selling so-called feature phones – simpler, slimmed down smartphones.

Then things got bleaker. With the advent of cheaper handsets running Android, customers in emerging markets began to buy advanced smartphones, too – and not Nokia ones. So, can Microsoft’s €5.4bn purchase of Nokia’s phone business pay off – and how important are emerging markets? Continue reading »

With all the noise around new technology we tend to forget the old.

When India shut its telegram service this week, the response showed that a significant rural population still used the facility. But there’s another medium that still has an unexpectedly large role in India’s communications industry – the radio. Continue reading »

It’s possible that Carlos Slim has never downloaded an application into his mobile phone. He’s not known for his information technology prowess – he doesn’t even have a computer in his office. What he is known for is his business acumen.

His latest venture into music recognition app Shazam for $40m, through his multinational telecommunication company, América Móvil, is a case in point.

 Continue reading »

India’s Telecom Commission, a high level committee charged with formulating telecoms policy, has approved a proposal to increase the limit on foreign direct investment into mobile phone services to 100 per cent from a current level of 74 per cent. The proposed change would make it possible for service providers such as UK-based Vodafone and Russia’s Sistema, which operate in India with local partners, to buy those partners out.

But if other recent changes to rules on FDI are any guide, investment will not flood in overnight. Continue reading »

You know that things are serious when companies are willing to engage in a price war.

India’s telecoms companies have been pushing data services for a while in their marketing campaigns. But now they are stepping up the battle for customers – by competing hard on rates. Continue reading »