How do you like your smartphones and tablets? Light or large? Black or white? For most consumers in emerging markets the question is: cheap or cheaper?
This is the market manufacturers should be focusing on, according to a new report by Gartner, a technology research company, which estimates that no less than 78 per cent of global smartphone sales will come from developing economies by 2018. Read more
On a hot Tuesday afternoon Neha Arora, 32, stands outside an upmarket café in south Mumbai, struggling with two mobile handsets. She complains that her phone calls regularly cut out.
“It’s a way of life, I guess,” the wedding planner says. “You just call back or the other person calls back.” Read more
Nimbuzz, a Netherlands-based but India-focused messaging app, was acquired by New Call Telecom of the UK this week in a deal that valued the company at about $250m.
That is a tiny sum compared with the $22bn Facebook paid this year for WhatsApp, with its 465m users worldwide. Nimbuzz has 200m registered users, mostly in India, the Middle East and north Africa, and its success in the vast Indian market provides important lessons for tech companies in Asia’s third largest economy. Read more
Ratan Tata (pictured), who was the head of India’s powerful Tata group until 2012, ushered in a period of ambitious international expansion at the company. He is one of the most respected figures in the business community today.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the illustrious businessman has personally invested in Snapdeal, the online marketplace that is battling to win a share of India’s fast-growing market for ecommerce. Read more
Increasing numbers among an estimated 2.5bn “unbanked” people in poorer countries are turning to their mobile phones to pay bills, transfer money and receive salaries. And now – a survey has found – the practice is spreading fast beyond its traditional heartland in sub-Saharan Africa to other parts of the emerging world such as Latin America.
The survey conducted by the GSMA, an industry group that claims membership from some 800 mobile operators in 250 countries, found that operators were offering 219 live services in 84 countries at the end of 2013, up from 179 live services in 75 countries a year earlier. A further 113 mobile money services are planned for launch, the GSMA said.
Mobile money services were rolled out in 2013 in nine new markets – Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guyana, Jamaica, Tajikistan and Togo, the GSMA added, quoting survey results. The survey polled 110 service providers in 56 countries. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
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? Read more
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‘. Read more
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. Read more
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…)? Read more
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. Read more
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? Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more