News: Per second Billing Not Mandatory, BBC’s FM Radio Shop..and more

Roundup of latest news for today – TRAI has announced that per-second billing is not mandatory. MTS has launched it’s mobile service in NCR region and is offering per-second billing. Govt has blocked Etisalat-Allianz merger deal.
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After Tata DoCoMo’s per second billing plan, each and every operator is joining the pricing bandwagon.

MTS, the mobile telephony services brand of Sistema Shyam TeleServices  has rolled out per-second billing offer in NCR region (they are even offering toll-free access on Friday (October 9th) at the toll gates of Noida and Gurgaon marking the launch of the service).

Idea too has launched per-second billing service in Rajasthan.

The question remains – is per-second billing sustainable? ARPUs have declined drastically in the last few months and per-second pricing competition will bring down the ARPU at a level where voice business will lose it’s sheen and operators will have to pump more effort in data business.(read: 3G Auctions delayed again!)

Per-second Billing not mandatory

TRAI did receive flak from operators for it’s earlier view on making per-second billing a compulsory plan. TRAI has now announced that telcos would be free to offer various tariff plans to their subscribers, including the per-second billing scheme, and they would also be free to fix the tariff per second (source).

BBC World Service Trust launches its first FM Radio Soap “Life Gulmohar Style”

The BBC World Service Trust in India announced the launch of its FM radio drama series, designed to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The 156-part Hindi-language radio drama, entitled Life Gulmohar Style tells the story of five young people in search of their destiny.

The drama serial is the outcome of extensive research conducted by the BBC World Service Trust that examined how the media can be used to address the rising rates of sex selective abortion in India.[details]

Govt blocks Etisalat-Allianz merger

The government has blocked the proposed merger between Etisalat DB Telecom (earlier Swan) and Allianz Infratech citing the three-year lock-in requirement under the current rules.

This year, DoT imposed a three-year lock-in sale, owing to which the current Etislat DB Telecom and Allianz Infratech merger has been rejected.

“There shall be a lock-in period for sale of equity of a person whose share capital is 10 per cent or more in the UAS licensee company on the effective date of UAS licence and whose net-worth has been taken into consideration for determining the eligibility for grant of UAS licence, till the completion of three years from the effective date of the UAS licence or till fulfilment of all the rollout obligations, whichever is earlier. In case of issue of fresh equity, within the lock-in period, the declaration of dividend and special dividend shall be barred.” – TRAI

Etislat DB Telecom has license for 13 circles and Allianz Infratech owns license for 2 significant circles, MP and Bihar. [source]

MTNL eyes stake in Zambia’s Zamtel

MTNL has expressed interest to buy a stake in Zambian telecoms firm Zamtel. State-run Zamtel is Zambia’s only licensed fixed-line provider of voice and data communications and the state plans to sell up to 75 percent in it as part of a privatisation drive [source]

Other news:

More @ India News channel

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