Vodafone M-Pesa Customers Can Now Withdraw Cash From Company Outlets

Vodafone M-Pesa Customers Can Now Withdraw Cash From Company OutletsVodafone India will allow its 8.4 million-plus Vodafone M-Pesa customers to withdraw cash through their digital wallets from any of its over 120,000 outlets across the country, the company said on Wednesday.

“Vodafone M-Pesa customers do not need to stand in long queues outside ATMs and bank branches for cash. We have invested in building a nationwide network of over 120,000 M-Pesa outlets, equivalent to the numbers of bank branches in the country,” said Suresh Sethi, Business Head, Vodafone M-Pesa, in a statement.

Over 56 percent of these outlets are located in rural India.


“Our customers can visit any of these outlets and use the unique cash-out feature of Vodafone M-Pesa to withdraw cash from their digital wallets at their own convenience. Further, our digital wallet too can be easily digitally loaded via credit/debit cards or net banking,” he added.

Customers need to carry an identity proof to their nearest M-Pesa outlet from where they can withdraw money, subject to availability, in line with the Reserve Bank of India guidelines, the statement added.

Vodafone Says First Half Loss Doubled on India Woes

Vodafone Says First Half Loss Doubled on India WoesBritish mobile phone giant Vodafone on Tuesday said its first-half net loss doubled to more than EUR 5 billion owing to a huge writedown for its Indian unit.

Vodafone said its loss after tax soared to EUR 5.1 billion ($5.5 billion or roughly Rs. 37,229 crores) in the six months to September 30 compared with a net loss of EUR 2.5 billion one year earlier.

Vodafone said it was hit by an impairment charge of EUR 6.4 billion (roughly Rs. 46,716 crores) “in respect of the group’s investment in India”.

“Competition in India has increased in the year, reducing revenue growth and profitability,” Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said in the results statement.
“We have responded to this changing competitive environment by strengthening our data and voice commercial offers and by focusing our participation in the recent spectrum auction on acquiring frequencies in the more successful and profitable areas of the country,” he added.

Stripping out the exceptional hit from India as well as interest payments, Vodafone posted pre-tax profit of EUR 7.9 billion for the first half, a drop of 1.7 percent compared with one year earlier.
Vodafone’s share price was up 1.6 percent at 207.9 pence in early deals on London’s rising FTSE 100 index.

PMO’s Singh Meets Telecom Minister Prasad

Differential Pricing Debate: PMO's Singh Meets Telecom Minister Prasad

Amid a raging debate on net neutrality, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh Friday met Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss the issues related to differential data pricing a key factor in the proposed policy.

While sectoral regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is yet to give its recommendations on the matter, sources said the PMO is closely monitoring the issues relating to differential pricing for data services and Facebook’s controversy-ridden Free Basics platform.

Sources said the PMO is taking a keen interest in the issue because any policy regarding Internet can play an important role in the success of Digital India programme.

In their second such meeting, Singh along with Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan Friday met the Telecom Minister to deliberate on the matter and what could be the implications if differential pricing is permitted.

Most of the telecom operators and Facebook have supported differential pricing for data usage, which is being opposed by net neutrality activists.

The activists, however, say that allowing differential pricing for data would amount to curbs on freedom of choice to access Internet.

Facebook is also running a massive campaign to project Free Basics platform as a tool to spread web connectivity.

Prasad had earlier said the government would take its structured view on the issue after Trai submits its report.

“The issue of net neutrality is being debated by the Trai, and we have to wait for the Trai report. Thereafter, the government will take its structured view,” Prasad had said.

Net neutrality talks about that equal treatment being accorded to all Internet traffic without any discrimination or priority to any company, content or service provider one the basis of payment.

A debate on the issue had begun last year across the country after Airtel decided to charge separately for Internet-based calls but withdrew it later after people protested. The debate heated up after Airtel launched free Internet platform Airtel Zero and later Facebook launched its Internet.Org platform, which it later renamed as Free Basics.

Only 21 Counter-Comments to 24 Lakh Submissions on Differential Pricing

Only 21 Counter-Comments to 24 Lakh Submissions on Differential Pricing

Telecom regulator Trai only received 21 comments from individuals and organisations countering 24 lakh submissions over its paper on differential pricing of data, a key aspect of net neutrality.

Telecom operators, including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications, through industry bodies, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Association of Unified Telecom Service of India (AUSPI), countered inputs opposing the idea of pricing the Internet services.

“Price differentiation will allow TSPs to cater to specific consumer requirements, including facilitation of access to those segments that are currently unconnected or poorly connected. Price differentiation is a widely adopted business practice used in many industries,” COAI and AUSPI said in their joint counter comments to Trai.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India invited public comments to firm up its views over services that lead to differential pricing of data and January 14 was the last date for submitting countercomments on the same.

Internet Democracy Project (IDP), one of the stakeholders, countered the TSPs, saying telecom operators’ comment on Internet-based calling services or VoIP to charge different rates for the Internet and the current debate should not be mixed up.

Another entity, Internet Service Providers Association of India changed its stance slightly in counter comments, saying a blanket ban on non-discriminatory data differential tariff would have an adverse impact on the proliferation of Internet service and may affect tariff innovation.

“In light of the above, we believe that data differential tariffs should be permitted subject to this condition that such differential tariff regime should meet the Trai prescribed principles and Trai continues to securitise each and every differential tariff plan,” ISPAI said.

While favouring differential pricing for data services, Facebook countered comments that have singled out the Free Basics programme as an example of a zero-rating plan that should be prohibited.

It said commentators have falsely claimed that Facebook uses the data obtained from developers using the Free Basics programme to enhance Facebook products and improve advertising.

“That is incorrect; Facebook does not,” the social media giant said.

Facebook’s Free Basics platform provides free access to a certain set of websites.

Idea 4G LTE services launched in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Haryana

Idea 4G LTE services launched in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Haryana

Idea Cellular announced the launch of its 4G LTE services across four more states in India namely Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Idea now offers its 4G LTE services in seven telecom service areas including including four telecom circles of South India, namely Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Chennai. Idea’s 4G LTE services will be available across 183 towns in these seven telecom service areas by January 31.

In addition, roll out of 4G services in remaining three telecom service areas will be achieved by March. Idea’s 4G footprint slated to expand across 750 towns by June this year, in ten telecom circles respectively.

According to a statement by the company, Idea has 2.7 million 4G devices, nearly 4 percent of its subscriber base in these 7 telecom service areas, registered on its network. The company also claims that on an-all India basis, Idea has nearly 49.5 million customers owning 3G devices and over 6 million customers with 4G devices.

Announcing the expansion of 4G services, Ambrish Jain, Deputy Managing Director, Idea Cellular said, “Since last week of December 2015, Idea has rapidly rolled out its high-speed 4G LTE network to cover 7 major markets in India. By March 2016, our services will extend to 3 more key markets namely, Maharashtra & Goa, North East and Orissa, and by June 2016, Idea’s 4G footprint will cover 750 cities across 10 telecom circles.”

Jio’s #UnboxingLYF trends on Twitter!

Jio’s #UnboxingLYF trends on Twitter!

Jio had just announced the soft launch of its 4G services in December and along with that we also saw the announcement of Reliance Retail’s LYF smartphone brand. Today saw the first unboxing of one of the smartphones from the LYF range called the LYF Earth 1 and so far, fans on Twitter seemed to love it.

The unboxing clearly showed off the features of the smartphone along with a few details about its specifications as well.

The Twitterati who witnessed the unboxing of the smartphone for the first time tweeted out using the #UnboxingLYF hashtag with the response being entirely positive. Soon enough the hashtag began to trend on India trends and it did so at the number one spot for 6 hours.

The hashtag trended from 10:10 AM to 19:12 PM and trended at the number one spot in sixteen Indian cities inlcuding Bangalore, Amritsar, Chennai, Lucknow, Ranchi, Thane, Bhopal, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur, Rajkot, Delhi, Patna, and even at number three in Singapore!

Soon Trendsmap India also confirmed the same in a tweet.

The hashtag continued to show up on the India trends list at the number two position for the rest of the day.

Statistics show that #UnboxingLYF hashtag lead to 6556 conversations and generated a reach of 47 lac with 6.7 crore impressions. And all of this was achieved in a short time span of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The LYF Earth 1’s highlight was the dual rear-facing cameras that consisted of a 13MP unit and a 2MP unit placed side by side. The front facing camera sported a 5MP sensor, while the internals of the smartphone consisted of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 with 3GB of RAM and 3500mAh battery.

Reliance Jio Jionet Wi-Fi Service Launched at MG Road in Vijayawada

Reliance Jio Jionet Wi-Fi Service Launched at MG Road in Vijayawada

Reliance Industries’ subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm on Sunday rolled its high-speed Wi-Fi services, called Jionet, for users at MG Road in Vijayawada.

The service was launched by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on the occasion of Jio Amaravati Marathon, the company said in a release.

K S Venugopal Regional Head-South Reliance Jio said, “The people of Andhra Pradesh will be able to experience the digital ecosystem that Jio is building. Jio is motivated to end the digital divide by bringing cutting edge (true 4G) technology to people from all sections of the society, to enrich and empower lives.”

Last month, Reliance Jio had announced the launch of its 4G service for its employees under Jio brand name.

The company is offering Jio mobile service for free to its over one lakh employees as of now and expects to roll out 4G service commercially around March-April next year.

The company claims that Jio 4G will deliver 10 times higher download speeds and 4 times better upload speeds compared to others.

Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Aircel have already launched commercial 4G services in the market.