Idea Cellular wins crucial stay in ‘overlapping license’ fine of DoT

Idea has won an interim stay on the Rs 250 crore fine imposed by the Department of Telecom for allegedly violating the terms of its mobile operator license. “The interim order has been granted on Idea’s plea against DoT’s demand notice issued to Idea in June ’11,” Idea said in a statement. The issue of overlap came about after Idea acquired Spice Telecom in 2008 — thus coming to hold two licenses in six of the 22 circles in India. The Aditya Birla Group firm had picked up a 41.09…

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Mobile transactions up 76%, but poor growth in developing countries: Gartner

‘Tis verily the season of mobile banking predictions. Shortly after the Boston Consulting Group surprised even the optimists with a $350 billion possible market-size for mobile transactions in India in four years, Gartner has come out with a forecast warning of lower than expected growth in developing markets. At present, the Indian mobile transaction (also called mobile banking) market is only around Rs 1,000 crore ($0.22 billion) a year. Another survey result conducted by KPMG found that banking and retail industry officials felt mobile banking will take four years to…

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The humble Alto continues to be India’s favorite: Google search data

Maruti Alto K10 created the most amount of search interest on launch, with the Ford Figo following close behind, according to Google India’s Auto Industry Report covering search trends for the industry for the last two years. Surprisingly, it also showed that would-be auto buyers in India are arguably more net-savvy than their counterparts in the US and Europe. While only 62% of would-be vehicle owners did their preliminary search on the Internet, in India it was around 65%. This is despite the fact that only around 10% of Indians…

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Debian, Ubuntu parent, releases the Squeeze edition

Debian Linux, the world’s largest volunteer software project that counts its contributors in the thousands, released the sixth iteration of its Linux version, called Debian Squeeze. Debian is famous for being the parent of the most popular Linux brand — Ubuntu, promoted by Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Thawte who sold his firm to Verisign eleven years ago for $575 million. A Linux distribution is essentially a family of open-source and sometimes non-opensource applications that are compatible with each other and may be used as a whole to create a…

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Big Bazar shops at Cognizant — Future group inks outsourcing deal

Future Group, the biggest and the most prominent large-format retail chain in India, has chosen India’s third biggest IT services firm Cognizant for its IT needs for the next five years, the companies said in a statement. Future group is estimated to have or have served around 220 million customers — higher than the total population of nearly all the countries in the world, save a handful. Cognizant is the fastest growing large IT services firm based in India and had recently overtaken Wipro to become the third biggest, just…

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Micromax Funbook: the best among the cheaper Android tablets?

Micromax has entered the Indian tablet market with a 7-inch ‘Funbook’ priced at Rs 6,500, making it the cheapest Android tablet in India from a prominent brand. That credit earlier belonged to HCL’s ME U1 tablet, priced at Rs 8,000. The Funbook is a good 19% cheaper than the HCL ME U1. Micromax has partnered with leading players to provide education and entertainment content. These partnerships include Pearson and Everonn to make available content for the students and BigFlix, Zenga and Indiagames to provide entertainment and gaming. The device will…

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Walmart expands India development center with 100 more hires

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced that its @WalmartLabs operation is expanding in Bangalore with the hiring of 100 additional developers and a move into a new facility. Wal-Mart plans to hire an additional 100 people to create a next-generation e-commerce platform. The new platform is designed to connect Walmart’s digital and physical properties worldwide giving customers and suppliers a seamless way to interact and shop across any device or store anywhere in the world. Silicon Valley-based @WalmartLabs, a unit of Walmart Global e-Commerce, is the company’s hub for…

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Gov issues show-cause notices to telecom operators on MNP

Government has issued show cause notices to the top four private mobile operators in the country violating the laws related to Mobile Number Portability (MNP). As of 2nd May, show cause notices have been issued to Bharti Airtel Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, Reliance and Vodafone for failing to carry out their duties under the MNP regime. It has also been issued to the smaller operator Loop Telecom (BPL). The notices were issued after thousands of customers complained about their operators to the government, telecom minister Kapil Sibal told the Lok…

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Google acquires Quickoffice

Google said it has acquired mobile office-suit software maker Quickoffice for an undisclosed sum. Quickoffice makes programs that allow users to open documents such as spreadsheets on any platform, such as Android, iOS and Symbian. Google seems to be planning to integrate Quickoffice features into its own offering built around Google Docs. “Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. “Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we’ll be working…

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Nokia sees quarter on quarter increase, Android continues its march: Gartner

Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached 419 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a 2.3 percent decline from the second quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales accounted for 36.7 percent of total mobile phone sales and grew 42.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012. “Demand slowed further in the second quarter of 2012,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions available later in…

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Industry to grow 2% or less this year- Assocham

Growth prospects for India’s industrial production look quite weak and the output may show less than two per cent expansion in the current financial year, an ASSOCHAM study has indicated. The not-so-bright outlook for the industrial growth has been projected despite the fact that there are visible signs of improvement in the business confidence in the last two months due to several bold policy initiatives by the government. However, as the chamber said in its previous study, there would be a lag between the improvement in the business confidence and…

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BSNL loses 1.5% of active subscribers due to MNP

BSNL, the former telecom monopoly of India, has lost nearly 8 lakh mobile subscribers, or about 1.5 percent of its active mobile base, due to number portability as of the end of October, government of India’s numbers revealed. There was also a sudden spike in October this year in the number of telecom subscribers using MNP to switch their operators without losing their phone number. October is the latest month for which MNP data is available. A total of 5.4 million (54 lakh) subscribers used MNP to change their operators…

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Industry hopes RBI will cut rates after government moves to cut spending

Will the Reserve Bank of India cut policy interest rates for the first time in almost a year even as price inflation remains above its comfort zone? Hit by slowing growth and declining demand, the industry sure hopes so. The RBI has been raising interest rates steadily for the last four years. Its official lending rate, at which it offers money to commercial banks, was 4.75% in April 2009. By late 2011, due to relentless increases, it nearly doubled to 8.5%. It was only in April 2012 that the RBI…

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Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 & 5.8 – biggest display for an affordable price

Do you shudder at the Rs 35,000 price tag on Samsung Galaxy Note, and wished it would come cheaper? Have you ever considered buying the 6-inch Karbonn A30 because of its large screen, but was put off by the low resolution and the lack of brand value? Have you considered buying a 7-inch tablet to be used as your main phone? If you answer to any of the above questions is a yes, your prayers have been answered in the form of the new Samsung Galaxy Mega series — large…

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Idea Cellular cuts post-paid rates to as little as 22 paise per minute

Idea Cellular has copied the post-pay plans of Bharti Airtel to announce a new flexible billing scheme for its customers. India, where over 95% of mobile subscribers are on prepaid schemes, has not found many takers for billing schemes, largely on account of a mutual distrust on the part of customers and operators about the reliability of each others’ promises. As such, most users are on prepaid schemes, which do not give any guarantee of revenue to the operators, but offer excellent freedom for customers. Prepaid plans are typically ‘life…

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Kaspersky promises to remotely ‘wipe’ your phone, give phone no. of thief if lost

Kaspersky Lab, the Russia-based anti-virus provider with a substantial marketshare in India, has announced a ‘privacy guard’ cum anti-virus software for smartphones. The software will not only protect phones from viruses, but also enable users to create white lists and black lists of contacts. No call records or contact details will be visible if persons are added to the ‘black list’, allowing users to ‘hide’ such contacts. They can, of course, retrieve such contacts by entering their secret codes or upon time out. The software, ‘Mobile Security’ will also allow…

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One more week of jail for Kanimozhi, bail plea for 30 May

DMK leader Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi will spend another week in Tihar jail as the Delhi High Court has adjourned her bail plea to May 30. The development is mixed news for Kanimozhi as the order setting aside the application for May 30 has come just one day after similar pleas by 5 co-accused were rejected by the same Court. All six are accused of conspiring with former telecom minister A Raja to rig the mobile license allocation process to favor a handful of companies. The dismissal of the applications by…

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NMDC & Severstal to set up 2 mtpa steel plant near Bellary

NMDC, the country’s largest iron ore producer and Russian steel maker OJSC Severstal to float a 50:50 joint-venture company that would set up a five million tonne steel plant in Bellary, Karnataka, at a total cost of Rs 9,000 crore. Initially the plant will have a capacity of two million tonnes per year and will source coal from Russia and iron-ore from near Bellary. It will produce superior grade steel used in sectors such as automobiles. Construction of the proposed plant is likely to start in 2012 and would be…

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Blackberry Bold 9900 – the most powerful enterprise phone on earth

The last month has seen mobile-phones breach two important power barriers — the 1 GHz speed threshold and the move beyond one core. LG Optimus 2X was the first phone to breach the latter, while Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation crossed both the GHz barrier as well as the single core barrier. While all this is great news for teenagers and youngsters who could now play ‘angry birds’ on the glorious 4.3 inch screens, there was very little coming the way of the serious phone user — the kind…

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Uninor, Telenor’s India arm, grows blazingly fast in second quarter 2011

Uninor, the joint venture mobile operator from the Telenor group of Norway and India’s Unitech, has posted surprisingly robust growth numbers for the second quarter. The firm’s revenues jumped 32% to Rs 572 crore in the just-concluded June quarter compared to the immediately preceding March quarter. Compared to the June quarter of last year, this year’s revenue is 6.77 times where it was. However, the company continues to bleed heavily. On an operating basis (excluding final adjustments), it lost Rs 981 crore in just the June quarter itself — much…

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