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Team Anna’s SMS Campaign Blocked?
Sibal: Show Cause Notices to 74 Telecoms
$99 Tablets
Wipro: First Rural BPO
Android Apps on BlackBerry
InMobi Acquires U.S.-based Sprout
Hitachi: Aims to Double Revenues
Consumer Court Asks Lenovo India to Compensate

Team Anna’s SMS Campaign Blocked?

(Right): Supporters of Anna Hazare at Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi.

As Anna Hazare intensified his crusade against corruption, the government seemed to have resorted to all ways to block the Gandhian’s campaign and it is reported that bulk SMS to gather support for the cause was blocked by many service providers in the country.

Though there is no official ban on bulk SMS, the services are apparently blocked by bulk SMS service providers, since the telecom service providers associated with them have felt that the SMS for Hazare’s campaign have ‘objectionable’ content. In the earlier stage of the campaign the SMS had played a crucial role in reaching out to the people.

Following his detention, the social media platforms had once again gone viral about the crusade but the government had resorted to using all possible means to silence the campaign.

When a team associated with the Anna Hazare campaign contacted a couple of bulk SMS service providers, as they wanted to send about 800,000 SMS, the service providers refused to do so. These bulk SMS service platforms reportedly said there was huge pressure on the telecom services providers from the Home Ministry and police department not to entertain such text messages.

Digital communications solution provider NetCore said there is no instruction from the regulator to block the bulk SMS, and NetCore is just a platform to send bulk SMS.

NetCore CEO Abhijit Saxena said that over ten million people have registered with the ‘India Against Corruption’ campaign but they have not sent any SMS for the group because they have not received any instruction from India Against Corruption to send the SMS.

On the other hand, those who are associated with the campaign said that the bulk SMS partners were not willing to send the SMS.

Meanwhile, Vinay Agarwal, managing director, Unicel Technologies, confirmed that the company received request from India Against Corruption to handle a campaign which involved sending five to ten million SMSs.

Agarwal further said he was not aware why IAC contacted the company now and said there was no instruction from operators or any regulatory authorities against handling the IAC campaign.

A spokesperson from India’s telecom regulator TRAI said that the government has not instructed any service provider to ban any bulk SMSs, including that of team Anna.


Sibal: Show Cause Notices to 74 Telecoms

In a major departure from his ministry’s stand, telecom minister Kapil Sibal has decided to issue show-cause notices to 74 licensees that failed to meet roll-out obligations. While telecom regulator TRAI and the Department of Telecom had locked horns on this issue with the latter disagreeing with former’s recommendations, Sibal has decided to overrule DoT’s view.

Sibal has also sought legal opinion from the Attorney General on the issue. Due consideration shall be given to the responses received, including the respondents’ interpretation of the various provisions in this regard. In fact, this could also mark the end of the clash between TRAI and DoT over the fate of the 122 licences issued by ex-telecom minister A Raja. Of the 122 licences, the TRAI recommended that 74 be cancelled as they had not even rolled out their networks - the regulator contended that while 43 had not rolled out at all, another 31 had made just ‘technical’ rollouts.

TRAI made these recommendations in two notes in November and December last year. However, DoT, which found the recommendations faulty, said only 12 licences should be terminated. The DoT also felt another five licences - which were not in TRAI’s list - needed to be terminated.

But TRAI has stood by its recommendations, and even got a legal opinion from two former Supreme Court judges to back its position. The rules allow the department to reject TRAI’s recommendation after the regulator has been asked to re-examine it.

However,the DoT will now have to do a volte face after Sibal’s decision to go with TRAI’s views. The point of difference between the regulator and the department is that the former is unwilling to accept the cases of those operators who have either shown roll-out in technical terms or achieved coverage instead of rolling out services.

TRAI’s contention is that such operators have not done mandatory filing of their rates, have not submitted their subscriber numbers and do not pay licence fee since there is no AGR.

Under the licence conditions, the DoT has the power to impose a fine of Rs. 500,000 per week for the first 13 weeks of delay, Rs. 1 million for the next 13 weeks and Rs. 2 million for delays up to 26 weeks. If any operator fails to fulfil the obligation even after 52 weeks of delay, then the licence could be terminated.


$99 Tablets

Though HP is laying its TouchPad tablet to rest, the Indian tablet market is booming like never before and new players are literally waging a price war in the tablet arena.

A new entrant is Bangalore-based LACS (Lakshmi Access Communications Systems), and has launched a tablet PC priced around Rs. 4,500 ($99). The company introduced its Magnum range that consists of 14 models, varying from 4.3 inches to 10.9 inches in the price range of $99 to $799, to its portfolio. The company will allow customers to upgrade, a first in the industry.

Magnum is an all-in-one device bundled with infotainment features. Based on Android 2.3, the new tablets are 3G dongle compatible with Wi-Fi, gaming, MP3 player and eBook capabilities. The company is also working with a multitude of applications.

Initially 15,000 tablets are set to be placed in the Indian market, and the company expects to sell close to 400,000 tablets by the end of 2012. LACS said it will leverage the existing showrooms and go direct as well as adopt franchise model to further penetrate deeper in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

RCom launched its Android tablet priced at Rs 12,999 while Bharti’s Beetel unveiled Magiq at Rs. 9,999.


Wipro: First Rural BPO

Wipro BPO inaugurated its first rural center at Manjakkudi village in Tamil Nadu to capitalize on literate talent pool available in the region.

The Manjakkudi center in Tamil Nadu has a capacity of 120 seats, and will open with a 50-seat pilot project for an international client in the retail sector.

Wipro plans to expand its rural BPO operations to 500 seats by March 2013 in Tamil Nadu and to replicate this BPO model in other states in the near future, Wipro said in a statement.

Graduate students between the age group of 21 to 25 will be employed in the Manjakkudi Wipro BPO center, delivering a range of services to customers across industry sectors.

The Manjakkudi BPO center benefits from a fully equipped IT and physical infrastructure, which complies with standard security and regulatory requirements.

The center will be focused on delivering world-class outsourcing services, while connecting this rural community to the world of global business.


Android Apps on BlackBerry

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is planning for its newer models of smartphones, expected next year, to run applications designed for Google’s Android operating system, a Bloomberg report said, citing people familiar with the plan.

RIM’s newer phones, expected to work on its yet-to-be-launched QNX operating system, will be compatible with the Android software, the report said, citing unnamed sources.

RIM may come out with a PlayBook upgrade for the Android later this year, the report also said.

Apple’s iPhone and devices powered by Google’s Android software have steadily eroded BlackBerry’s U.S. market share.

Android smart phones have surpassed iPhones in popularity as the Google software powers the main handsets of manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC and Motorola.

Consumers were activating more than half a million Android devices every day, Google said in late June.


InMobi Acquires U.S.-based Sprout

InMobi, a mobile advertising network, announced the acquisition of U.S.-based Sprout, the creators of platform for creating HTML5 rich media mobile advertising.

The U.S.-based Sprout works with the world’s leading brands, including Nokia, Disney, HTC, Chevrolet, Paramount Pictures and Sega to bring interactive mobile ads to devices supporting HTML5, including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices. Its cloud-based platform brings efficiency and scale, helping advertisers build once and deliver everywhere.

Post acquisition by InMobi, Sprout would operate as a fully independent company working with the entire mobile advertising industry to solve the HTML5 creation and delivery problem, and will continue to expand its product in the coming months by adding workflow enhancements, analytics, and innovative new ad units.

InMobi’s mobile ad network reaches 314 million consumers, in over 165 countries, through more than 36.2 billion mobile ad impressions monthly. With the Sprout acquisition, InMobi enables the mobile advertising industry to easily build and distribute engaging rich media ads to consumers everywhere.


Hitachi: Aims to Double Revenues

Japan’s biggest industrial electronics firm, Hitachi said it aims to double its revenues in India from Rs. 54 billion ($1.2 billion) and is keen to acquire firms to gain a bigger market share in a short span of time.

“In the coming few years, we expect to increase revenues of Hitachi India to around Rs. 120 billion ($2.6 billion)” said Ichiro Iino, managing director, Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd.

India will join China, which contributed 13 percent of its global revenue in FY11, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas as key management areas outside of Japan for Hitachi.

“The company’s staff will be increased, mainly in the corporate division in order to support the smooth rollout of business at Hitachi Group companies,” Iino added.

It plans to open a new research and development center for information and telecommunication systems business in Bangalore by March 2012.

Since it began Indian business operations in the 1930s, Hitachi has been involved in a variety of business activities, including the manufacture and sales of air conditioning equipment and construction machinery.

In 2010, it had established two joint venture companies with Indian power equipment maker BGR Energy to make thermal power plant equipment such as boilers and turbines.

– Reuters


Consumer Court Asks Lenovo India to Compensate

Computer giant Lenovo India has been directed by a Delhi district consumer forum to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to one of its customers and refund him the cost of a defective laptop bought by him.

“The act of the Lenovo India Pvt Ltd and its service center amounts to deficiency in service. It resulted in mental agony and harassment to the complainant,” said president B.B. Chaudhary of Delhi District Consumer Grievances Reddresal Forum, reprimanding Lenovo and its service center for failure in mending the laptop.

“We allow the complaint with direction (to Lenovo) to refund the amount of Rs. 37,000 along with a sum of Rs. 20,000 for causing harassment, mental pain and agony and a sum of Rs. 5,000 as litigation charges,” said the forum.

The order came on a complaint by a city chartered chartered accountant firm, alleging it faced repeated problems in the working of the laptop bought in 2008 and the company failed to set it right at its service center.

It said the laptop, bought for Rs. 32,000 along with Rs. 5,000 for extended warranty, developed a problem and the ‘Q’ key of the laptop popped out within a year of purchase and could not be fixed till date.


RBI: Web site Makeover

Reserve Bank said it is planning to make its Web site more user-friendly.

“While communication from the central bank keeps evolving, to be in step with the evolving technology, we are now planning to revamp our website. We do want to modernize the look and the feel of the website, but in a way that facilitates greater usage of the website,” the bank said in a note posted on the site.

Stating the reason for the revamp, the note said, “Over the years, the RBI website has evolved as a major tool for communication not only `from’ the Reserve Bank but also `to’ the Reserve Bank.”

The site was developed 15 years ago and since then it has been revamped only once.

To make the revamp process customer-friendly, and also to incorporate the user inputs, the RBI has posted a questionnaire with 13 queries.

Last month, the central bank tweaked its site a bit to install a real-time clock on the homepage with a view to help journalists with embargo-lifting time. Earlier, the bank used to lift the embargoes following the MTNL time in Mumbai.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

42 Years, And Waiting:
India Against Corruption

An unprecedented anti-corruption fire has engulfed India as veteran Gandhian activist Anna Hazare sits on hunger strike for thirteen days in a row, write Priyanka Bhardwaj and Sanjeev Tulsian.

Challenges, Opportunities:
Defense Production Policy

With the recent security concerns, India has embarked on a grand scheme of defense modernization, write Bharath Gopalaswamy and Guy Ben-Ari.

My Films Reflect My Life:
Aniruddha Roy Choudhury

Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury was in the Bay Area shooting his third film Aparajita Tumi. Nandini Pal talked with him about his creative stimuli.

EDITORIAL: India Against Corruption
SUBCONTINENT: Pretty and Powerful
PHOTO ESSAY: India’s Independence Day
HEALTHCARE: Obamacare Explained
COMMUNITY: 10 Years After 9/11
COMMUNITY: Janamashtami Celebrations
RECIPE: Orange Chicken
TRAVEL: Art Exhibits at SFMOMA
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Toyota Corolla LE
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: 'I Am Kalam'
HOROSCOPE: September

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