TRAI to float consultation paper on value-added services soon

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will soon float a consultation paper on value-added services (VAS) that include caller tunes, ring-back tones and MMS, which are offered by various applications providers, reports PTI.

“We will bring out a consultation paper on VAS in the next few days. We will see how to bring VAS into the active mainstream,” TRAI chairman JS Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of the IAMAI India Digital Media Summit event.

Although Mr Sarma did not elaborate on the areas that would be covered in consultations, they are likely to include the contentious issue of revenue-sharing between telcos and application providers.

VAS operators constantly complain that as they provide features, content and a wide range of services like ringer tunes to mobile operators for their customers in the absence of a proper regulatory structure, they do not get adequate financial returns from telcos.

As for pushing broadband growth in the country, Mr Sarma said TRAI will come up shortly with recommendations on the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

“As per the recommendations, all gram panchayats will be covered by 2012 and by 2013, all villages with more than 500 people will be covered (by broadband connectivity),” Mr Sarma said.

“I think we would aim at more than 100 million subscribers by 2014 and this is other than wireless mobile broadband, which itself is expected to be more than 50 million,” he added.

On the issue of the difference between active subscriber base and the total reported figure by operators, Mr Sarma said, “We have indicated what the VLR figure is as on 30 September, 2010. Please note that it is the figure as on that date. The figure on a particular date does not mean that it needs to be the same on another day, because it is the number of people who are actually accessing the network on a day, which may be different on another day."

He said there was no allusion to inflating of subscribers numbers by operators in that data. “Nobody is saying that somebody has inflated the subscriber numbers. They are only saying the number of subscribers and the number of active subscribers on a particular day is different.”

Based on VLR figures, GSM mobile operators had hit out at their CDMA counterparts for inflating subscriber base numbers to demand more spectrum (radio waves), a charge that has been denied.


Tuesday Closing Report: A new push towards 20,300 is possible

The market opened sideways on dismal cues from the global markets. A sell-off in select blue-chip stocks kept the market under pressure, forcing a close with a marginal loss in a generally choppy session.

The market opened flat, tracking the Asian markets which were weak in early trade. Banking stocks were trading lower as banks announced hikes in deposit rates, which will put pressure on their interest margins. Selling in heavy-weights also contributed to the indices trading lower. Southward movement continued with the indices touching their day's low in noon trade. Recovery attempts were thwarted by bouts of profit-taking keeping the market in the red and ensuring a steady close for the third straight day.

The Sensex settled 46.67 points (0.23%) lower at 19,934.64, below its psychological level. The barometer scaled a high of 20,008.36 and dipped to a trough of 19,824.44 today. The Nifty closed at 5,976.55, a fall of 15.70 points (0.26%) over its previous close. The index touched a high of 6,001 and a low of 5,939.70, intraday.

The market breadth was tilted in favour of the gainers, with 19 Sensex stocks ending higher and 11 scrips declining. The Nifty had 30 advancing stocks while 20 stocks ended in the red. The broader markets underperformed the key benchmarks as the BSE Mid-cap index declined 1.04% and the BSE Small-cap index tumbled 1.70%.

The top Sensex gainers were Hindalco Industries (up 2.51%), NTPC (up 2.22%), Maruti Suzuki (up 1.61%), ONGC (up 1.17%) and Bajaj Auto (up 1.11%). The losers included ICICI Bank (down 3.50%), SBI (down 2.96%), DLF (down 2.95%), Jaiprakash Associates and Tata Motors (down 1.96% each).

BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.91%), BSE Metal (up 0.69%) and BSE IT (up 0.31%) were the notable gainers in the sectoral space. On the other hand, BSE Bankex (down 2.86%), BSE Realty (down 0.93%) and BSE PSU (down 0.68%) were among the sectoral losers.

Overcoming the impact of the global economic recession, the Indian economy is poised to achieve 9% growth in the current financial year itself, driven by robust performance of agriculture and industry sectors.

In its mid-year analysis of Indian economy, the government said high inflation, which was a major concern, has started declining and it hopes that it may fall to 6% by March 2011 from over 8% now.

Markets in Asia ended mostly higher on announcement of tax cuts by US president Barack Obama and on reports that the Chinese government might hike rates this weekend. This apart, the Australian central bank's decision to keep interest rates unchanged eased pressure.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.65%, the Hang Seng surged 0.82%, the Straits Times rose 0.33%, the Seoul Composite advanced 0.45% and the Taiwan Weighted added 0.02%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.26% in trade today.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court today stayed the environment ministry's direction to Lavasa Corporation to stop construction at the proposed hill station in Pune district.

The high court, which is hearing Lavasa's petition, directed the ministry to give the corporation a hearing on whether it could have stayed the construction at Lavasa without giving a prior hearing.

The US markets ended trade mostly in the red on Monday as investors studied the implications of the comments made by the Fed chief over the weekend, outlining plans to boost the economy. The ongoing European debt crisis also weighed on investors as Germany rejected attempts by Eurozone members to increase the size of the Euro 750 billion ($1 trillion) safety net for debt-stricken members.

The Dow declined 19.90 points (0.17%) at 11,362.19. The S&P 500 shed 1.59 points (0.13%) to 1,223.12. On the other hand, the Nasdaq added 3.46 points (0.13%) to 2,594.92.

Institutional investors were net sellers in the equities segment on Monday. While foreign institutional investors offloaded stocks worth Rs201.62 crore, domestic institutional investors liquidated stocks worth Rs313.89 crore yesterday.

Packaging material maker Jindal Poly Films (down 5.47%) today said it will invest around Rs600-Rs700 crore to put up a second manufacturing plant near the existing facility at Nashik in Maharashtra.

The proposed facility would go on steam by 2012-13 with an initial manufacturing capacity of 30,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) BoPET and 66,000 tpa BoPP. Capacity of the plant could be enhanced up to four folds in future depending on the requirement, the company said.

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) (up 0.36%) has said that the first energy-efficient equipment manufactured by the company for Jaypee Group's 1,500-MW coal fired thermal power plant at Bina, which would be commissioned in 2013.

L&T currently manufactures power equipment that can generate 4,000MW of electricity and would suitably enhance the capacity by building energy-efficient and environment-friendly ultra supercritical machinery.

Welspun Corp (up 0.65%), the second largest line pipe company in the world, has won new pipe and plate orders worth Rs1,670 crore (about 277 KMT for pipes and 57 KMT for plates), mainly from the international markets.

According to the company's filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange, the project has to be completed over a period of one year. Currently, the order book of the company stands at about Rs6,150 crore (around 925 KMT for pipes and 103 KMT for plates), excluding orders being executed in the current quarter.


Transparent, consistent policy must for further telecom growth

New Delhi: Lauding the telecom department for achieving its tele-density target ahead of schedule, the government today said a transparent and consistent policy framework would ensure further growth in the sector, reports PTI.

“With an overall tele-density achievement of 61% (137% urban and 28% rural), the sector has been a success story so far,” said the Mid-Year Analysis of the economy for 2010-11. The document was tabled by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament

It said the sector has been highly successful in attracting private investment and generating additional revenues to the government.

Besides, the mid-year analysis also said the private players are expected to invest about 82% of the total projected investment of Rs3,45,134 crore in the sector during the 11th Plan.

Outlining several cross-cutting, regional and local level challenges, it said that there is an urgent need to create an enabling environment for the private investment and improve delivery of the public-sector projects at sub-national level.

The analysis document said the growth rate could cross 9% in the current fiscal itself and revert to the pre-crisis levels.

It is estimated that growth in 2010-11 will be 8.75% with 0.35% variation on either side.

The range indicates the possibility of crossing the 9% mark this year itself.


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