Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer: All Services Free Till March 31

Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer: All Services Free Till March 31Continuing its free services that were introduced with the Jio Welcome Offer in September, Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer will provide free data, voice calls, and Jio apps till March 31, 2017. The Reliance Jio Happy New Offer is applicable for both new and existing users, the company chairman said at an event on Thursday. The Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer starts from December 4, a day after the the company’s Jio Welcome Offer ends.

“Starting December 4, 2016, every new Jio user will get the data, voice, and full bouquet of the Jio apps free till 31 March 2017,” Mukesh Ambani said about the Reliance Jio extended Welcome Offer. “This is the Jio Happy New Year Offer. All our existing 52 million users will continue to enjoy the Welcome Offer till 31 December, and then automatically be signed up for the New Year Offer. No need to buy a new SIM.”

During the Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer announcement, Mukesh Ambani also said that users will now have a daily FUP limit of 1GB under the new year offer, which if exhausted will result in slower speeds. The reason behind the FUP change in the Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer, Mukesh Ambani said, was that 80 percent of its Welcome Offer users consumed 1GB data per day, while 20 percent consumed disproportionately higher amounts – which ended up congesting the network. The Reliance Jio Welcome Offer, on the other hand, had daily FUP limit of 4GB.

After the launch of Reliance Jio in September, the company has seen a mixed reception, with long queues for SIM cards, and many complaints about slow speeds.

Mukesh Ambani elaborated on this, saying that the reason was the free Welcome Offer. “With 52 million customers, taking full advantage of the free Welcome Offer, it has caused slowdowns, but only on 8 percent of our towers,” he said. “And 92 percent of our customers and towers have been experiencing high data speeds.”

Since then, reports had suggested that the Welcome Offer – wherein all Jio services were being given completely free – might be extended to March 2017, as Jio claimed that customers faced “quality of service issues due to interconnection congestion”, and told Trai that until “we are in a position where we can delivery the quality of service as desired by the Jio management, it will be unfair to charge the customer.”

Mukesh Ambani also said that Reliance Jio has been taking a lot of feedback from users, and making changes according to this – including new Aadhaar-based services that will be powered by the same infrastructure as the eKYC activation.

At the announcement, Mukesh Ambani also confirmed that Jio has signed up 6 lakh customers every day for three months, thanks to eKYC, and said, “On average, a Jio customer is using 25 times the data that an average broadband user consumes.” In the three months since the launch, it has seen millions of Indians signing up, and Mukesh Ambani added that he hopes millions more will join soon. He added that there are 2 lakh eKYC outlets – “nearly equal to the total number of ATMs in India,” Mukesh Ambani pointed out – and that there will be 4 lakh outlets by March 2017.

“We are the fastest growing technology company, not only in India, but in the history of the world,” said Mukesh Ambani, adding, “in the three months, it’s grown faster than Facebook, or WhatsApp, and the fastest growing LTE network.”

At the same time, Mukesh Ambani also claimed that nearly 900 crore voice calls from Reliance Jio were blocked by other telcos, and added that Jio thanks the government and Trai for enforcing the license conditions. He added, “call block rates have come down from over 90 percent to nearly 20 percent yesterday, and we are working with all operators to bring this to within the limit of 0.2 percent.”

He also added that Jio now fully supports MNP so all customers can retain their number while migrating to Jio. He added that the company has now integrated home delivery of Jio SIMs. The SIM can be activated through eKYC once delivered, Mukesh Ambani said. “This will be available in all the top cities by 31 December, 2016.”

Reliance Jio Money to Roll Out to Merchants From Monday

Reliance Jio Money to Roll Out to Merchants From MondayRIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thuresday made an announcement where he outlined Jio’s entry into the fin-tech market. Ambani first announced the extension of Jio’s free Welcome offer – now the Happy New Year Offer – to all, and then went on to talk about demonetisation, and how the Jio Money wallet will be used to resolve the difficulties this has caused.

The Jio Money app can be used for recharges and bill payments going forward, Ambani said, and added that a new app for merchants will be available from December 5, enabling them to accept payments as well.

Ambani said that he applauds demonetisation, and added that it has provided the “strongest possible push in the ongoing efforts to change the mindset of the people of India,” away from relying on cash.

“Today, with the Jio Money application, every Indian has access to a digital money wallet that is linked to their bank account,” said Ambani. “A key driver is the ability to convert physical cash into digital cash and vice versa. To make this possible, Jio Money is rapidly expanding it’s reach to millions of touchpoints, where Aadhaar based micro ATMs will be deployed.”

This ties in with something else that Ambani said earlier during the announcement. Talking about the Jio network, he had said that it has rolled out over 200,000 eKYC enabled stores, or “more than the number of ATMs in India,” which he specially pointed out, before adding that RIL will raise this number to 400,000 across India by March 2017.

He said that these stores would be used to enable new Aadhaar-based services as well – which would explain how this network of micro ATMs he talked about would spread.

“Merchants, especially small merchants, are a very big part of the plan, and we are working with the merchants to build a digital retail ecosystem, called Jio Money Merchant ecosystem,” said Ambani. “This will be at mandis, restaurants, bus and railway tickets, and even person to person transfers. Starting 5th of December, every merchant can download this application.”

Interestingly, Ambani did not seem to be talking about using Jio Money purely as a mobile wallet, but rather as a broader banking play, as he went on to say: “Customers can use this to pay the merchant from their bank accounts, and merchants can use this to accept the payments directly into their bank accounts.”

At this point, it’s worth noting that Jio is one of the companies to still hold a payments bank license in a joint venture with SBI.

Thus, although Jio is currently operating Jio Money as a digital wallet, its ambitions are clearly grander. Talking about how the digital money would be used, Ambani said that it could be used at all levels of the economy, paid directly from bank accounts, without mentioning the wallet word at all.

“Using this [the Jio Money Merchant app], merchants can also make supplier payments, transfer money from accounts, and digital petty cash,” said Ambani. “Very soon, Jio money is going to sign up 10 million merchants across India.”

Given the huge scale that Jio has, the fact that it has all KYC documentation in place for its mobile customers (now 52 million, and growing) and given that it has a physical infrastructure in place to carry out banking logistics, it could well make a big impact in the coming weeks.

Andhra Pradesh Government to Distribute Free Mobiles for Cashless Transactions

Andhra Pradesh Government to Distribute Free Mobiles for Cashless TransactionsThe Andhra Pradesh government is planning to distribute free mobile phones to enable economically-backward people to undertake cashless transactions in the wake of the ongoing currency crisis.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu came up with this proposal during a review meeting with RBI officials and bankers in Vijaywada on Thursday.

“Everybody needs a mobile phone for digital transactions, so we want to implement this idea and distribute mobile phones,” he said.

RBI officials informed the Chief Minister that another Rs. 3,000 crores worth new currency notes were expected to reach the state by November 28.
Of this, notes of smaller denominations were expected to be around Rs. 60 crores, they said.

The Chief Minister asked the bankers to review the situation constantly with their top officials through teleconference, till the problem eased out.

RBI representative Hari Sankar, Andhra Bank deputy general manager G S V Krishna Rao and other senior officials attended the meeting.

Reliance Communications Launches Its First Android-Based 4G LTE HomePhone

Reliance Communications Launches Its First Android-Based 4G LTE HomePhoneAnil Ambani-led Reliance Communications has unveiled its first wireless 4G LTE HomePhone in India. The new wireless HomePhone from Reliance Communications comes with built-in SIM and supports 4G alongside VoLTE. The device features a 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop. The wireless HomePhone will let users connect up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices thanks to its hotspot functionality.

The new device is now listed on the company’s wireless phone page and interested users can registerfor the device. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t revealed the pricing details of the new 4G LTE HomePhone. We have written to Reliance Communications seeking details of the pricing alongside offers and will update the story once we get details.

The company is heavily promoting the new device and touts, “Live life wire-fee and buffer-free with India’s first 4G LTE HomePhone.” The new HomePhone will also let users stream YouTube to a compatible smart TV.

A report claims that the new wireless HomePhone from Reliance Communication will be available under 299 and 499 fixed wireless phones (FWP) plans. Under the Smart Life 299 plan, users will have to pay a rental of 299 and they will get 300 free minutes (for local, STD and roaming calls), and up to 2GB of 4G data. Under the Smart Life 499 plan, users will pay Rs. 499 and 300 free minutes, and up to 4GB of free 4G data in return.

Rs. 500, 1,000 Ban: Vodafone Offers Delhi, Mumbai Prepaid Customers Talktime, Data on Credit

Rs. 500, 1,000 Ban: Vodafone Offers Delhi, Mumbai Prepaid Customers Talktime, Data on Credit

To help prepaid consumers in Delhi and Mumbai circles who are short of balance post the demonetisation drive, telecom operator Vodafone on Friday said it is extending them a credit on talktime and data usage.

Prepaid users, who form a big chunk of the subscriber base for all operators, will be given a credit of Rs. 10 in talktime and data of 30MB across the network with a 24-hour validity, it said in a statement. Vodafone said the special services can be availed either by calling a toll-free number or dialling a Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) short code on phones (SMS CREDIT for talktime, and ICREDIT for data on 144).

For postpaid customers in the two cities, Vodafone has also extended the bill payment date by three days.

“To help our customers tide over the demonetisation period, Vodafone has extended postpaid bill payment deadline by 3 days in Mumbai. Additionally, prepaid Vodafone customers can opt for small credits on both talktime and data, allowing them to stay confidently connected,” Pushpinder Singh Gujral, Business Head for Mumbai, said.

The government’s surprise move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has posed some temporary trouble for consumers in a cash-dominant economy like India.

For the second day, banks and ATMs witnessed longer queues of anxious customers waiting either to deposit the scrapped notes or exchange them to meet their expenses.

Communications Minister to Meet Telcos Over Call Drop Issue on November 1

Communications Minister to Meet Telcos Over Call Drop Issue on November 1Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha will meet the CEOs of telecom companies on November 1 to take stock of the call drop issue.

“The minister will meet telecom company Chief Executive Officers on November 1 to take stock of the call drop situation. It’s a stock-taking meeting and also roadmap for the future,” Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak told reporters here on Friday on the sidelines of an event.

Deepak said the sectoral regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – has informed that there has been substantial improvement in call drop situation.

“We had a meeting in June, they (telecom service providers) gave us a 100-day plan. There has been, we believe, from TRAI figures lot of improvement in call drops. There were 54 networks which were not performing upto the standard in December 2015, and now it is down to only 19,” Deepak added.
The telecom companies had given a 100-day roadmap to the government in June to improve call drop situation.

“They assured that the target for the 100-day programme, as committed to the (telecom) secretary, will be met. They indicated that from the beginning of June 10 (when the 100-day programme started), there will be addition of around 60,000 BTS (base transceiver station) in 100 days across the country, out of which 48,000 have been installed in the first 45 days,” Manoj Sinha said on July 25.
The service providers have committed Rs. 12,000 crore to install 60,000 BTS to address the situation by arresting call drops.

Many Telecom Operators Have Executed 100-Day Call Drop Plan, Says COAI

Many Telecom Operators Have Executed 100-Day Call Drop Plan, Says COAIMany telecom service providers have executed the 100-day plan to tackle the call drop menace and achieved positive results, Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said on Monday.

“Many of the operators have executed the 100-day plan. There is substantial reduction in call drop problem now,” Mathews told IANS ahead of Communications Minister Manoj Sinha’s November 1 meeting with CEOs of telecom companies to take stock of the call drop issue.

“But problems still remain in some areas, like Lutyens’ Delhi, South Delhi and some other places,” he added.

Earlier, Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak said the sectoral regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – has informed that there has been a substantial improvement in the call drop situation.

“We had a meeting in June, they (telecom service providers) gave us a 100-day plan. There has been, we believe, from TRAI figures lot of improvement in call drops. There were 54 networks which were not performing up to the standard in December 2015, and now it is down to only 19,” Deepak added.

The telecom companies had given a 100-day roadmap to the government in June to improve the call drop situation.

“They assured us that the target for the 100-day programme, as committed to the (telecom) secretary, will be met. They indicated that from the beginning of June 10 (when the 100-day programme started), there will be addition of around 60,000 BTS (base transceiver station) in 100 days across the country, out of which 48,000 have been installed in the first 45 days,” Manoj Sinha said on July 25.

The service providers have committed an investment of Rs. 12,000 crores for installing 60,000 BTS to address the situation by arresting call drops.

BSNL Eyes Spectrum in 700MHz Band for 4G Services

BSNL Eyes Spectrum in 700MHz Band for 4G ServicesWeeks after the 700MHz spectrum went unsold in India’s biggest auction, BSNL has approached the Telecom Department for airwaves in the premium band for rolling out 4G services.
The telecom PSU has suggested that a 5MHz block in the 700MHz band be assigned to it by the government through the equity route.

When contacted, BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava told PTI, “Yes. We have written to the Department of Telecom seeking 5MHz block on 700MHz band through equity route”.
In the recently concluded spectrum auction, the debt-ridden telecom sector had ignored premium radiowaves in 700MHz band – which was put up for sale for the first time – at a reserve or base price of Rs. 11,485 crores per MHz.

Industry bodies like GSMA have urged Indian Government to reconsider the pricing for 700MHz band, which failed to find buyers due to its “unrealistically” high pricing.
But Shrivastava downplayed the concerns on pricing, saying that spectrum in the 700MHz band would be an asset for the corporation, given its plans for 4G services.

“We do not have right kind of 4G spectrum which can give us coverage, although we have some 4G spectrum which can give us the capacity. But 700MHz, if it comes, in combination with 2500MHz band available with us, will put us in a position to roll out 4G services through spectrum route across the country,” he said.

He also said that 700MHz offered clear advantage such as “good coverage” with lesser number of base stations.

“The 700MHz spectrum can penetrate homes, so that means improved indoor coverage,” he said.
Explaining the model being proposed by BSNL, he said that the spectrum could be assigned, in lieu of Government raising its equity in the corporation.

“We are proposing that 700MHz spectrum comes to us and in lieu of that, the paid-up equity of the government can increase to that extent in BSNL,” Shrivastava pointed out.
BSNL is a 100 percent Government of India Public Sector Undertaking.

Communications Minister to Meet Telcos Over Call Drop Issue on November 1

Communications Minister to Meet Telcos Over Call Drop Issue on November 1Union Communications Minister Manoj Sinha will meet the CEOs of telecom companies on November 1 to take stock of the call drop issue.

“The minister will meet telecom company Chief Executive Officers on November 1 to take stock of the call drop situation. It’s a stock-taking meeting and also roadmap for the future,” Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak told reporters here on Friday on the sidelines of an event.

Deepak said the sectoral regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – has informed that there has been substantial improvement in call drop situation.

“We had a meeting in June, they (telecom service providers) gave us a 100-day plan. There has been, we believe, from TRAI figures lot of improvement in call drops. There were 54 networks which were not performing upto the standard in December 2015, and now it is down to only 19,” Deepak added.
The telecom companies had given a 100-day roadmap to the government in June to improve call drop situation.

“They assured that the target for the 100-day programme, as committed to the (telecom) secretary, will be met. They indicated that from the beginning of June 10 (when the 100-day programme started), there will be addition of around 60,000 BTS (base transceiver station) in 100 days across the country, out of which 48,000 have been installed in the first 45 days,” Manoj Sinha said on July 25.
The service providers have committed Rs. 12,000 crore to install 60,000 BTS to address the situation by arresting call drops.

Many Telecom Operators Have Executed 100-Day Call Drop Plan, Says COAI Indo-Asian News Service, 31 October 2016

Many Telecom Operators Have Executed 100-Day Call Drop Plan, Says COAIMany telecom service providers have executed the 100-day plan to tackle the call drop menace and achieved positive results, Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said on Monday.

“Many of the operators have executed the 100-day plan. There is substantial reduction in call drop problem now,” Mathews told IANS ahead of Communications Minister Manoj Sinha’s November 1 meeting with CEOs of telecom companies to take stock of the call drop issue.

“But problems still remain in some areas, like Lutyens’ Delhi, South Delhi and some other places,” he added.

Earlier, Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak said the sectoral regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – has informed that there has been a substantial improvement in the call drop situation.

“We had a meeting in June, they (telecom service providers) gave us a 100-day plan. There has been, we believe, from TRAI figures lot of improvement in call drops. There were 54 networks which were not performing up to the standard in December 2015, and now it is down to only 19,” Deepak added.

The telecom companies had given a 100-day roadmap to the government in June to improve the call drop situation.

“They assured us that the target for the 100-day programme, as committed to the (telecom) secretary, will be met. They indicated that from the beginning of June 10 (when the 100-day programme started), there will be addition of around 60,000 BTS (base transceiver station) in 100 days across the country, out of which 48,000 have been installed in the first 45 days,” Manoj Sinha said on July 25.

The service providers have committed an investment of Rs. 12,000 crores for installing 60,000 BTS to address the situation by arresting call drops.