Friday, May 29, 2009

Is India the second-largest CDMA market?

According to the CDMA Development Group (CDG), there are now over 100 million CDMA subscribers in India, making it the world's second-largest CDMA market. CDG made this announcement at an event in Mumbai.

While announcing this achievement, Perry LaForge, CDG's executive director said, "It's a very important day to celebrate not only in India but also for the CDMA industry. Now, India is the second largest CDMA market in the world, second to the US, and I would like to thank the Department of Telecommunication, TRAI and the Government of India for their support in achieving this milestone."

In his speech, LaForge requested to extend support from government bodies to provide more spectrum to CDMA operators in India. He said wireless broadband will be of great significance to connect the people and increasing Internet penetration in the country.

According to S P Shukla, Reliance Communication's president – Wireless, "We have changed the demography of the country in terms of mobility. Today, India has come a long way in mobile connectivity with Reliance. We have achieved this milestone as an industry because of collective efforts of operators, vendors, device and handset makers and the people."

"We remain committed to further grow and serve our ever-increasing CDMA customer base through innovative applications, superior network quality and service and attractive value-propositions. And I am happy to see that CDMA technology is bridging the digital divide," Shukla added.

Globally, Reliance Communication (RCOM) is ranked second, while Tata Teleservices holds fourth place among the top five CDMA operators.

While, Anil Sardana, Tata Teleservices Limited's managing director said, "It has always been our mission to provide quality telecom services to subscribers in India and it's a matter of pride that we have played a role in this 100 million CDMA subscriber achievement."

He pointed out that CDMA technology allows a rich telecom experience especially on the data side and are confident that in coming years that experience will only get better as 3G arrives and helps to unleash full potential of applications and services.

Also, Dr. Mukund Rajan, Tata Teleservices (Maharastra) Limited's managing director, Kanwalinder Singh, Qualcomm's senior president and also president of India and South Asia, T. Narsimhan, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited's deputy CEO attended the event.

According to CDG, the CDMA users' rapid growth in India is attributed to a wide selection of affordable devices – ranging from entry level handsets to feature rich smart phones and the introduction of CDMA2000 voice and data services into urban and rural areas, helping to reshape the communication culture of India.


Microsoft's Bing to take on Google

Microsoft has unveiled a new search engine named Bing, renewing its efforts to challenge the dominance of Google in the Internet search market.

The company said the new service will begin to roll out over the coming days and will be fully deployed worldwide June 3.

"Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the web and find information, but they don't do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find," Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"Bing is an important first step forward in our long-term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information they've found to accomplish tasks and make smart decisions," he added.

Microsoft said the Bing service, billed by the company as a Decision Engine, will initially focus on shopping, travel, local business and information, and health-related research - areas in which people want more assistance in making key decisions.

The software giant still has a long way to go to increase its share in the search market.

According to latest analysis by market research firm comScore, in April this year, Google led the US search market with 64.2 per cent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo with 20.4 per cent, with Microsoft a distant third with 8.2 per cent.


World Bank Allots $1 billion for Indian Infrastructure Projects

The World Bank's lending arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has allocated $1 billion (Rs.5000 crore approx.) for India for the coming fiscal ending June 2010. "I think we would remain at the one billion dollar figure more or less for the next one or two years," Vipul Bhagat, South Asia Manager-Infrastructure Advisory, IFC said.

It is the infrastructure projects, which will benefit the most as about 50 percent of the total IFC investment in the country will be in this sector. "Infrastructure is a focus area for IFC especially because the Indian government has told IFC to do more in that sector," he added on the sidelines of a book release function organized by the CII and IFC.

The lending body also plans to invest in agriculture and rural development among others. IFC maintains that the economic slowdown has not impacted its investment plans and it faces no liquidity problem.


Will telecom BPO revenue to touch $2 Billion in 2012?

The outsourcing revenues from the telecom sector in India are set to grow at a CAGR of 31 percent to nearly $2 billion in 2012, says a report by Ernst & Young in a first of a kind study on potential of domestic BPO industry. The telecom industry has been growing fast in spite of recession adding around 10 million subscribers every month with a subscriber base of 375 million in 2008-09.

In 2005, Bharti Airtel, which has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate [CAGR] of 41 percent in last two years, started the trend of outsourcing its call center to other global companies like Mphasis, IBM Daksh, Teletech and HTMT at $272.2 million. Since then there is pressure on other telecom providers to do the same. "This domain (telecom) has already witnessed a couple of large outsourcing deals in recent months and the trend is expected to continue," said Ernst & Young partner Milan Sheth. In 2008, Telecom revenues added upto 50 percent of the domestic BPO revenues at $661 million.

BPO is also a huge job creator for telecom industry. According to the study, in 2008 telecom BPO hired over 1,22,440 people and by 2012 this number is expected to double. Banking is the second biggest employment generator for domestic BPOs. The banking sector employed around 70,100 people in 2008 and by 2012 this is projected to go up to 2,25,900. The two sectors contribute 80 percent of the domestic BPO revenues and is expected that revenues will reach $6 billion by 2012.

According to the report the key driver for BPOs in telecom is demand for customer care and sales and marketing services.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

IBM funds $1 billion for APAC IT Projects

IBM announced up to $3 billion funds to finance IT initiatives in key economic stimulus projects in Europe and Asia-Pacific through IBM Global Financing, the company's lending and leasing business segment.

Specifically, it will make available up to $2 billion in financing in Europe and up to $1 billion in the Asia-Pacific region. IBM Global Financing also will extend its North American coverage to include financing for smart technology projects in Canada, according to a statement.

The stimulus financing will mainly target enterprises and municipalities looking to implement technology projects consisting of a majority portion of IBM hardware, software, and technology services components. Financing also can be applied to non-IBM technology as part of a larger IBM solution.

The financing will help organizations move ahead with IT projects in 2009, while awaiting government funding, to build the technological and environmental infrastructure of the 21st century.

The financing could be in the form of:

* Low rates and flexible financing options

* Deferred payment plans

* Enterprise financing facilities that offer structured lines of credit

* Specialized project financing packages that allow clients to align payment streams to anticipated benefits throughout the project

The recession is going to drive many organizations, public and private, to make transformational changes in their IT environment. However, without access to the correct financing offerings, a significant set of opportunities will be lost and society-wide projects, like smart grid, will be substantially delayed," said David Mitchell, SVP of UK-based IT research firm, Ovum.

It must be recalled here that IBM China Research launched a new industry solution lab in China focusing on the development of healthcare IT solutions and released four software packages that could help hospitals establish electronic patient records at reduced costs, last month. The Chinese government has announced a plan to invest CNY 850 billion over the next three years to provide every village with a medical clinic and at least one hospital for every county by 2011. The plan includes funding for electronic patient records systems that can be shared by different hospitals around the country.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is NetApp Set To Acquire Data Domain?

Storage vendor NetApp will acquire Data Domain that specializes in disk-based heterogenous back-up. Data Domain's portfolio will extend NetApp's ability to compete in the increasing number of installations wanting to minimize their reliance on tape.

Under the agreement that NetApp and Data Domain have entered into, NetApp will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Data Domain for $25 per share in cash and stock. The transaction is valued at approximately $1.5 billion.

"This combination is a great opportunity for both NetApp and Data Domain," said Dan Warmenhoven, chairman and CEO of NetApp.

"Data Domain is an innovative high-growth company with a complementary product line ideally suited for multi-vendor environments where customers want to minimize their use of tape for backup. NetApp has the distribution channels and international reach to offer Data Domain products to more customers, accelerating growth and market adoption. The combination of our two companies will increase NetApp's reputation for delivering both outstanding efficiency and operational breakthroughs to customers worldwide."

NetApp intends to operate Data Domain as a product line within NetApp's product operations organization. The Data Domain sales organization will be integrated with NetApp sales to maximize momentum and access new accounts.

"Notwithstanding the rapid record sales growth Data Domain has experienced over the past 5 years, with NetApp's distribution channel and customer base, we have an opportunity to accelerate even further," said Frank Slootman, president and CEO of Data Domain.

The Data Domain portfolio brings a complementary offering to NetApp, expanding NetApp's reach in the market for heterogeneous disk-based backup. Data Domain's portfolio will extend NetApp's ability to compete in the increasing number of installations wanting to minimize their reliance on tape. The Data Domain acquisition increases NetApp's ability to capitalize on the growth of disk-based backup adoption, especially as data deduplication gains traction.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Will Satyam lay off 8,000 non-IT staff from June?

Satyam Computer is likely to sack most of its non-billable staff of up to 8,000 working in marketing, HR and administration wings,after Tech Mahindra takes charge of the company from June 1.

A Satyam official said there is no doubt that there will be large-scale sacking mostly of the support and non-billable staff (other than hardcore software engineers) once Tech Mahindra (the new owner of the company) directors come on board from June 1.

The surplus staff is about 10,000-12,000 and the 'least painful' ways of sacking is asking the bench, non-billable and support staff to go.

The company spokesperson, when contacted, said that at the moment these are mere speculations.

Sources also said the outsourcer may opt for "virtual pool" sacking method whereby the company would ask some of the staff to take 75 per cent of its salary and take one-year off and look for a job elsewhere with the fragile assurance that they would be recalled, if required.

Tech Mahindra CEO Vineet Nayyar, who will also come on board of Satyam from June after it acquired fraud hit company last month, had said last week that Satyam has about 10,000 surplus staff and "we are looking at the least painful ways to tackle the problem."

Satyam has already called back most of its onsite staff to avoid further costs and most of them may be asked to quit, said the official.

About 3,000 people are on the bench and there is a surplus manpower even in the R&D and engineering units, sources said.

Dwindling revenues are the primary reasons for Tech Mahindra to opt for such a cost-cutting measure, Tech Mahindra official said.

Kiran Karnik, chairman of Government-appointed board of Satyam, said revenues are falling and cost-cutting measures have to be taken up. But he had ruled out lay-offs.


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