Reliance Developer Programme of Reliance Communications has launched the Rural Mobile Application Contest, 2007 – 08 to encourage mobile application development in the country.

This year the focus will be on rural applications for transportation, m-commerce, health care services, governance, education, information and location based services that cater to the needs of rural population.

Applications can be submitted for WAP, Java, Reliance Java, Brew, Brew Lite, VoxML and Symbian environments on both GSM and CDMA technology.

The Contest is open to all Software professionals, Software Developers, Companies, Students, self employed professionals and Content vendors/ Aggregators.

The participants can look forward to cash prizes and an opportunity to monetize their applications.

For more details on the contest and to resgister for the contest log on to


India’s second largest mobile operator Reliance Communications has acquired US-based Yipes Holdings, in an all-cash deal valued at Rs 1,200 crore ($300 million).

Yipes provides managed ethernet and application delivery services for enterprises and has nearly 1,000 customers. Yipes will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Flag Telecom, the undersea cable arm of Reliance Comm.

Founded in 1999 by a group of investors, including Norwest Venture Partners managing partner Promod Haque, Yipes has annual revenues of $100 million and has network presence in the top 14 US metros, which account for 40% of the total US data communications market.

The acquisition of Yipes will help RCOM overlay latest technology over Flag network. RCOM will expand Yipes coverage within the US and take Yipes to nearly 40 new markets globally, including Middle East, Asia and India, by connecting it to Flag and RCOM network, said Mr Garg.

Mr Garg said corporate clients, MNCs and small and medium enterprises presented good business opportunities for Yipes in India. “BPOs and ITeS companies will benefit and we hope to take a significant market share,


Announcing the company’s results, Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani said: “We are presently operating our GSM business in 8 circles and in 8,000 towns. We plan a full roll-out in all our circles this year.”

The company would need Rs 4,500 crore for the nationwide GSM roll-out. It would also be setting up 20,000 towers. However, a nationwide roll-out would depend on spectrum availability.

Reliance Communications also announced ambitious roll-out targets, including commitment to a nationwide WiMax network and the expansion of its infrastructure base from 13,000 towers to 33,000 by the end of the year.

The towers would have the capability to handle all technologies like GSM, CDMA, WiMax and 3G, Ambani said, adding they would meet the requirements of Reliance Communications as well as tenants. With the tenants paying the company a fee for using the towers, it would constitute another revenue-stream for the company, he said.

Reliance Communications had an ARPU of Rs371 per subscriber per month as of March 2007.
The company disconnected some 5.6 million users as it completed the subscriber verification process.

Sources: Live Mint and Financial Express


The Mobile Pundit is back. With a scoop. Well, almost.

The story is really about Reliane Retail signing a deal with Bharti Airtel to source mobile and enterprise communication services.

Reliance Retail CEO Raghu Pillai confirmed that talks are on.

“All stores would be connected to each other and to the logistics chains to meet our high-end communication needs,


Hong Kong based Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL) is conducting a Swayamvar of its Indian subsidiary Hutch-Essar (HEL). And all the big and small maharajas of Indian telecom are lining up.

Buying and selling businesses is not alien to Hutchison Whampoa, headed by billionaire Li Ka Shing. The group sells a business as and when it gets good value.

there are multiple reasons supporting a possible sale: Telecom valuations are currently high (with HEL being valued at nearly $14 billion), the group needs money to repay debts and Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL), which holds 67% in HEL, has failed to take public its Indian arm.

Hutch Essar is understood to be valued between $13-17 billion. Research firm Macquarie puts Hutch’s enterprise value (EV) at $13.8 billion while ET estimates the value to be around $15-17 billion.

The Indian telecom market is the fastest growing in the world and pre-tax profits for the top three or four telcos are said to be in the region of 40%.

List of would-be suitors is growing by the day – from Reliance Communications to Essar Group to Maxis of Malaysia, besides Orascom, Qatar Telecom, Vodafone and perhaps Bharti Airtel.

Reliance Communications is believed to have tied up with four American equity funders — Blackstone, Texas Pacific Group, KKR and Carlyle. For Reliance it makes sense to acquire Hutch Essar. Reliance Communications has a subscriber base of about 24 million, second only to Bharti Airtel’s 30 million and a shade larger than Hutch Essar’s 22 million. Reliance’s acquisition of Hutch Essar would propel him to a dominant numero uno position.

But it isn’t enough for Hutchison to agree to Reliance’s offer to buy its 67% even though it would give him majority control of Hutch Essar. Under law, it’s all or almost nothing: he has to stay below 10% or he has to buy out the entire 100%. Therefore, unless Essar’s Ruias agree to sell their 33% and exit Hutch Essar, Reliance cannot enter. But regulatory guidelines do not pose hurdles in the way of Reliance acquiring Hutch.

As per the guidelines, the combined entity can’t hold more than 15 MHz of spectrum in Metro and A category circles and 12.4 MHz spectrum in B & C circles. RCL faces the spectrum regulatory issues only in two circles.

RCL’s GSM arm, Reliance Telecom, offers services in eight circles, of which it overlaps with HEL in West Bengal and Kolkata. HEL is not present in RCL’s other GSM circles


According to H S Bhatia, LG national group head (GSM Mobile Phones), over 80% of CDMA handsets sold through Reliance are of LG make.

LG Electronics is planning to increase its focus on GSM handsets in India, which is a shift from its current focus on CDMA-based mobile handsets.

“GSM handsets also makes sense as even when they change providers/operators, customers retain handsets due to the interchangeability of SIM cards. Moreover, the country has a wider GSM network than CDMA and with operators going in for sharing of infrastructure, a tremendous growth is expected from GSM,” he said.

India is registering an increase of around 5 million per month, of which CDMA handsets stand at around 1-1.2 million. In line with global trends, the GSM to CDMA handset sales ratio in the country is around 80:20.

LG KG800LG plans to rollout 7 new GSM handsets in the next three months, and intends to launch two new handsets every month in the country. The company had earlier launched a range of models like the Chocolate phone in the Black Label series and KG 200 and KG 300 in the Dynamite series.

However, the company will continue its CDMA operations as “its an assured mode of revenues”.


Rediff has an article on Dhirubhaism, which provides illustrative anecdotes on the management and business style of one of the most successful Indian business tycoon. Dhirubhai Ambani was father of Mukesh and Anil Ambani – the erstwhile and present heads of Reliance Communications respectively.

Reliance Infocomm, as it was known earlier, indeed proved to be a catalyst in the Indian mobile market. It was instrumental in making mobile accessible and affordable to the masses of India.

The Dhirubhai theory of Supply creating Demand

In India’s mobile telephony timeline there will always be a very clear ‘before Infocomm and after Infocomm’ segmentation. The numbers say it all.

In Jan 2003, the mobile subscriber base was 13 million, about 16 months later, shortly after the launch, it had reached 30 million.

In March 2006, it has touched 90 million !

So would this be considered as the landmark in Indian Telecom Samvat (calendar/era) when India’s telecom history is written?


Surajeet Das Gupta writes in Business Standard that Reliance Communications has cited cheaper equipment and handset prices as the key reason for shifting of its focus to GSM.

Raising concerns about Qualcomm’s policies (as it is a key reason for the high CDMA costs), the company, including Ambani, in its discussions with analysts has pointed out that the CDMA handset ecosystem has many challenges and the Qualcomm approach in no way helps them to bring down the affordability index for millions of customers.

Reliance recently made an application to the DoT for GSM spectrum across the country. In the seven circles in India where Reliance Communications currently operates GSM and CDMA, subscribers are equally divided between the two. The company has 2 million subscribers each in GSM and CDMA networks in these circles.

It has also hinted that of the incremental $900 million capital expenditure in wireless telecom services, which the company will make next year, a large chunk could go towards building GSM networks…

The challenges they face with Qualcomm include issues of royalty, chipsets and whether they can deliver value and low-cost solutions.

Reliance has also pointed out at that the spectrum situation is not as dismal as it seems and is limited only to the top 20 cities. And even here the government will be releasing a big chunk.


Reliance Communications is in talks with Bharti Airtel, Hutchison-Essar and Idea Cellular for an alliance to share infrastructure across the country.

Industry experts say that about 25% to 35% of all cell sites in India can be shared at least by two operators. Its argued that the cost savings both in terms of capex as well as operating costs can be substantial in the next one to two years.

  • There are over 70,000 cell sites all across the country
  • Bharti Airtel has over 25,000 cell sites
  • Reliance Communications has over 20,000 cell sites
  • Setting up of a cell site costs around Rs 30 lakh
  • Operating costs varies between Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 per site, depending on the rents in cities

The experiment, started with 60 sites in Delhi, is now being extended to Mumbai and other key cities in India.

Source: Business Standard


Business Standard reports that some Indian operators, including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Telecom, have evinced interest in bidding for a GSM-based mobile service licence in Bhutan.

Bhutan started mobile services in November 2003 and has about 50,000 cellular subscribers and over 40,000 fixed-line customers. State-owned Bhutan Telecom is the sole operator until now. This would be the second mobile licence in the Himalayan kingdom, which has a population of just under 7 lakh.

The foreign bidders will have to partner with a Bhutanese company and will be able to take a maximum 49 per cent equity stake in the joint venture…

The licensee can offer mobile virtual network operation (MVNO) services and will be required to abide by mobile number portability.