Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tower Companies of India (November 2017)

As Indian telecom sector is going through the merger and acquisition - the consolidation of the mobile operators is pushing the consolidation of the passive infra providers, most specificly the tower firms. Apart from the carrier/operator's own tower companies there are several independent tower and infra providers in the market and these companies depend on the tenancy of the towers by small and mid sized telecom operators. Now as the consolidations are reshaping the market, it's obvious that the tenancy business is not working. And at the same time operators, burnt out by huge debt, plan for renting towers to cut down operational costs. 

While RCom is struggling to find a potential buyer, Airtel is calculating for ideal stake holdings. And Amercian Tower Corp, backed up by US dollar, is siphoning the remaining smaller players. 

Indus Towers 
Indus Towers was founded in November 2007 by country’s leading mobile operators Airtel (42%), Vodafone India (the then Vodafone Essar; holds 42% share) and Idea (16%). In March 2009 Vodafone formed a new company called Ortus Infratel Holdings, and the investment on Indus Towers is now going via Ortus.

After Vodafone and Idea both announced to sell their own towers to ATC, it seems obvious that Indus Towers may be left in the hands of Bharti. 

Indus Towers is the world's largest tower company with a presence of more than 1,20,000 towers across the country.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Android Software Update: A Thing Many OEM Skip

Huawei is going to launch Honor 7X, the successor of Honor 6X which was quite popular for the dual camera set up. It will be launched in India by December 2017 at unbeatable price as informed by AndroidAuthority.

Honor 7X will come with Kirin 659 chipset, 4GB RAM, 5.93 inch display, full HD+ resolutions (2160 x 1080 p), 18:9 aspect ratio, 32/64/128GB internal storage and upto 256GB microSD support, dual rear camera 16 + 2MP, front 8MP camera, 3340 mAh battery with Huawei's SuperCharge technology, IP67 rating - dust and water proof, EMUI on Android 7.1 Nougate out of the box. 

On paper 7X is quite good phone, but what I don't like about Honor series from Hauwei that they did not update the smartphone into latest Android version. I used their Honor Holly 2 Plus and received only one security update, that too nearly 1.5 years after the inital launch of the smartphone. 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

RCOM to Shut Down Mobile Voice Services of Own and MTS, Focus on Enterprise only

India’s CDMA saga is over, as RCom announced the completion of the acquisition of MTS India network. It seems to be the end of an chapter of Indian telecom, as the CDMA network of MTS is to be shut down by 30th of November 2017. The lone CDMA survivor is Tata Docomo CDMA, which has been already acquired by Airtel and 800MHz will be soon vacated for LTE deployment once the deal is completed.

For MTS CDMA customers it will be very much problematic, as the text received by users from RCom, mentions clearly that they can migrate to RCOM’s 4G data network or port out to the carrier of their choice.

Recently RCom and Aircel, who had the plan to merge, opted out from the merger agreement and post that Rs. 4500 crore debt-laden RCom has gone through several drastic decisions – 

  1. they will not renew license of DTH business (services will be stopped by November 18 and customers will be moved to Tata Sky) operated under RelianceTV; 
  2. planned for shut down of 2G & 3G data & voice (1800/900/2100 Mhz) networks across the country by the end of 2017. 

As per the sources and different media reports Anil Ambani led Reliance Communications (RCom) will now focus on 4G oriented business strategy (from retail) along with its Global Cloud Exchange and data centre biz. On the 4G front, RCom has rolled out LTE-FDD on the 800-850MHz band so far, and there is no Voice over LTE (VoLTE). RCom shares their 850MHz LTE network with Reliance Jio.

Many experts suggest that RCom may turn itself into MVNO piggybacking on Jio's VoLTE enabled LTE networks.

Briefly, if you are an MTS customer, your fancy CDMA network is gone. You have to shift to RCOM GSM/4G network and RCom is all set to shut down its 2G/3G GSM network very soon. So you are left with RCom’s LTE network without the voice, and the no-voice LTE means you are a basically data card user, who can't port out to other operators. Hence all MTS customers will have to port out to other operators like Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, Idea or Jio.

MTS India's website is already down. Many users found that the customer care services are also down. I must say RCOM again failing while shutting down CDMA of MTS, they are making same mistake - too much hurry when they were shutting down own CDMA networks across the circle. 

I will miss excellent voice and data quality I enjoyed while on MTS CDMA/EVDO.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Fino Payments Bank - Introduction

Continuing my previous article on payments bank or pBank, let me introduce to Fino Payments Bank. India has got its 4th payments bank or simply pBank as Fino Payments Bank has started their operations since 17th of July 2017.

Relatively lesser known Fino Paytech Limited kickstarted their payments bank journey with 410 branches across the country. Fino is in the e-payment market since 2006 and as of now their presence are more focused to selected states - Telengana, Andra, Gujarat, Maharastra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi - NCR, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Microsoft Edge Browser for Android Installed on my smartphone, Hangs on First Run

Microsoft seems to be always on the negative side, whenever we talk about Browsers!! Many smirked that Internet Explorer is the best browser to download Chrome/Opera/Firefox. 

Few days back, I installed Microsoft Edge browser on my Android smartphone, and it hanged on the first run!! Sharing the screenshots!!

FYI, Microsoft is not bothered regarding the poor performance by their browsers constantly. 
Microsoft Engineer Installs Google Chrome Mid-Presentation After Edge Kept Crashing - Hacker News. Want to skip and watch the video :

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gigabit LTE - Global Progress and India's Approach to 5G

India recently saw Gigabit FTTx connectivity in Hyderabad
Recently there is sudden rise of updates regarding 5G, the next of 4G. Even India, who is often left behind to global telecom standards has been gearing up to welcome 5G. 

Telecom industry is referring Gigabit LTE as next of current 4G/LTE offering; Gigabit LTE is also being advertised as 5G. Many experts use the term LTE Advanced Pro, but Qualcomm promotes the term 'Gigabit LTE'. Technically Gigabit LTE means LTE to offer 1Gbps download speed. 

Chinese equipment vendor ZTE explains Gigabit LTE as pre-5G or key to 5G, paving the way for a comprehensive evolution from 4G to 5G. Technically we may even call it as 4.9G

Road to LTE to Gigabit LTE:

Consider your network as a highway of trucks and you can understand the basic theory of upgrade process of LTE. Say, that highway is jammed by huge number of cars and that is exactly as LTE network is over loaded by huge traffic from huge number of users. And your data speed gets crippled. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Windows Phone Called Off, Future of Microsoft in Mobile Space?

On October 8, 2017 Microsoft's Corporate Vice President in the Operating Systems Group, Joe Belfiore posted a series of tweets on Twitter, which confirms that the company's mobile platform Windows Phone is officially dead, and Windows Phone platform will be on maintainance mode - bug fixes and security updates will be shared till 2019 max, but new features and hardware not being the focus. The main reasons he pointed out that lack of developers supporting the platform, lack of hardwares and low volume of users on the platform. 

This is the new face of Microsoft, lead by Satya Nadella, which chooses collaboration over competition, as noted by The Verge. Microsoft is shutting down many related apps and services and extending them to other platforms.

Microsoft announced shut down of Groove Music (previously Zune Music) by December 31, 2017. At the same time Microsoft's Edge Browser is to be launched on iOS and Android app store. Arrow Launcher has been rebranded as Microsoft Launcher.

Microsoft failed, it's simple.