BSNL and Airtel Free Data Offers, Moto E4 Price, Lenovo Vibe K5 Note Sale, and More: Your 360 Daily

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • BSNL new plans have an additional data benefit
  • WhatsApp camera on iPhone gets a new Night Mode
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Note to go on sale via Flipkart at Rs. 9,499

Reliance Jio’s Jio Dhana Dhan and Jio Summer Surprise are ending and customers will have to start paying the full amount soon. It seems that state-owned BSNL wants to capitalise on this with its new plans for postpaid subscribers. BSNL customers under Plan 99 get 250MB of data (compared to zero earlier), those with BSNL 225 get 1GB (versus 250MB earlier), and those in BSNL’s Plan 325 get 2GB (as opposed to 250MB earlier). Users enrolled under Plan 525 and BSNL 725 will now get 3GB (earlier 500MB) and 5GB data (earlier 1GB). Those on Plan 799, 1125, and 1525 get no additional benefits just yet. This comes days after BSNL announced the Sixer 666 pack for prepaid subscribers with 120GB data.

BSNL isn’t the only with offers. The Airtel Monsoon Surprise Offer announced last week is now live. All postpaid users get 30GB of free data for three months which results in 10GB per month. Postpaid users can avail of this by downloading the My Airtel app from Google Play or the App Store.

WhatsApp for iPhone adds Night Mode feature to in-app camera
With 1.2 billion users globally, WhatsApp is the world’s favourite messaging app. But it falls short in a few instances, particularly when it comes to camera functionality. That’s slated to change according to a new update which will add new shooting mode for better photos in the dark. Dubbed as ‘Night Mode’, it ensures that photos in low-light conditions have enhanced clarity. Right now, it only works with photos and not video. To use it, you’ll need the latest version of WhatsAppon iPhone as it’s not even available on the Android beta.

Moto E4 reportedly launched at Rs. 8,999; Moto E4 Plus coming soon
The Moto E4 seems to have been stealthily launched in India. Priced at Rs. 8,999 (MRP) according to Mumbai-based retailer Mahesh Telecom, Lenovo has not officially announced the Moto E4 launch or price details just yet. Though it has confirmed that it will launch the Moto E4 Plus with 5,000mAh battery in India soon. Keep in mind that the Moto E4 Plus will have a MediaTek MTK6737M SoC in India and not the Snapdragon variant which is for North America.

OnePlus 5 reportedly doesn’t adjust stereo audio recording channelsBSNL and Airtel Free Data Offers, Moto E4 Price, Lenovo Vibe K5 Note Sale, and More: Your 360 Daily
Early OnePlus 5 adopters have reported that if they record with the OnePlus home button to the right, the audio is inverted, while recording to the left results the left/ right channels sounding as they should. Ideally, all smartphones with stereo speakers change their audio channels from left to right (or vice versa) mid-recording depending on the phone’s orientation to record optimum sound for the video. Apparently, the OnePlus 5 doesn’t do that, and instead sticks to either the correct or inverted channel. This issue apparently plagues OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T users too. Hopefully OnePlus rolls out a fix soon.

Panasonic phones receive price cuts; Lenovo Vibe K5 Note goes on sale this week
Panasonic joins Apple and Asus in slashing prices post-GST. The company hasn’t issued an official statement just yet, but Gadgets 360 has learned from offline retailers that Panasonic has reduced prices. These include the Panasonic Eluga I2 1GB RAM version now at Rs. 6,490 rather than Rs. 7,290 – which is what the 2GB version of the Eluga I2 now retails for instead of Rs. 8,290. Also slashed is the Panasonic P88 to Rs. 8,490 versus the old price of Rs. 9,290. The Panasonic Eluga A2 is now Rs. 8,990 compared to the pre-GST price of Rs. 9,490. The Eluga Prim is now Rs. 9,490 versus the original price of Rs. 10,290. Also revised is the Panasonic Eluga I3 Mega and Eluga Pulse X at Rs. 9,990 and Rs. 10,490 compared to the Rs. 10,990 and Rs. 10,990 they launched at.

And if Panasonic isn’t your thing, Flipkart is offering the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note for Rs. 9,499 – a flat Rs. 3,000 discount. It’s a part of a special one-day sale to mark the second anniversary of the Lenovo K series being available on Flipkart. The sale begins at 12am Tuesday and ends at 11:59pm on the same day.

Honor 8 Pro price in India tipped ahead of Thursday’s launch
The Honor 8 Pro release date is July 6, and in the run up to that, it seems that the smartphone’s price for India may have been leaked. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the Honor 8 Pro sports a Rs. 29,999 price tag for the 6GB RAM and 128GB version. Not too shabby considering that it costs EUR 549 (around Rs. 39,500) in Europe. The Honor 8 Pro has already been confirmed as an Amazon India exclusive.
Samsung Flow lets you unlock Windows 10 PCs with Your Phone; Microsoft pushing Windows 10 users to install Creators Update
You will now be able to use your Samsung smartphone to unlock your Windows 10 PC thanks to Samsung’s Flow app. Launched in 2015, Samsung has finally added support for Windows Hello. This will work with Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy A5, Galaxy A7, and the Galaxy Tab S3. Much like Apple’s Continuity feature, users can resume browsing sessions from one device on another and also easily transfer files. You need the Samsung Flow app from Google Play on your phone, and the app from the Window Store on your PC.

Keep in mind that you will need the Windows 10 Creator’s Update, which Microsoft is hellbent on pushing to every Windows 10 user.

“As a reminder, the first version of Windows 10 is at end-of-service. While you can continue to use this version and your computer will still work, you will no longer receive the monthly quality updates that contain protection from the latest security threats. To remain secure your device should be updated to the latest feature update. We will start sending a notification if your device needs to be updated to the latest feature update,” the company said on its blog.

Tesla Model 3 sedan gets regulatory nod for production, reveals CEO Elon Musk
Tesla’s high-volume Model 3 sedan passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule, Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday night.

“(Model 3) Production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1,500,” Musk said on Twitter. “Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec.”

“Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday,” Musk added.

SN1 is the first car off the assembly line for sale. Musk said in May Tesla was on track to begin production of the $35,000 Model 3 in July. Tesla had said earlier, it expected to produce over 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of this year and 10,000 vehicles per week “at some point in 2018”.

Samsung Display to construct world’s largest OLED plant to cater to Apple’s iPhone demand: report
Samsung is planning to construct the world’s biggest OLED plants in South Korea to beef up production of flexible OLED screens for the upcoming Apple iPhone 8 and other devices.

Samsung Display controls 98 percent of global markets for small and medium flexible OLED screens.

According to Korean website ETNews, the plants, said to be located in Cheonin and Asan, are expected to cost around $1.75 billion (roughly Rs. 11,324 crores) for construction and $14 billion (roughly Rs. 90,597 crores) for equipment for OLED fabrication. The total costs for the two OLED facilities will be nearly $21 billion (roughly Rs. 1,35,963 crores).

 

Airtel to Buy Tikona’s 4G Business for Rs. 1,600 Crores

Telecommunications company Bharti Airtel said it would buy Internet services provider Tikona Digital Networks’ 4G business in a deal worth Rs. 1,600 crores (around $244.20 million).

The deal includes acquisition of Tikona’s Broadband Wireless Access spectrum and 350 sites in five telecom circles, Airtel said in an exchange filing.

Airtel to Buy Tikona's 4G Business for Rs. 1,600 Crores

In a separate emailed statement, Airtel said that Tikona has 20MHz spectrum in the 2300MHz band in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh circles. India’s largest telecom operator added that it plans to roll out high speed 4G services on the newly acquired spectrum in the five circles immediately after the closure of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory.

The acquisition in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), and Himachal Pradesh will be undertaken by Airtel, while in the Rajasthan circle, it will be accomplished through Airtel subsidiary Bharti Hexacom. The company added that post-acquisition, the combined spectrum holding in these five circles will be within the spectrum caps prescribed by the Government.

Airtel adds the acquisition will help it fill BWA spectrum gaps in the 2300MHz band in Rajasthan, UP (East) and UP (West), while in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, it will take its overall BWA spectrum holding to 30MHz each in these circles. Post completion of the deal, Airtel will have 30MHz in the 2300MHz band in 13 circles.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said, “Airtel’s continued focus on strengthening its 4G capabilities across multiple spectrum bands will be complemented with the BWA spectrum acquisition from Tikona. We believe that combining our capacities in TD-LTE and FD-LTE will further bolster our network, and help us provide unmatched high-speed wireless broadband experience to our customers. We remain committed to our vision of leading India’s digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust spectrum portfolio spread across multiple bands.”

Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio Said to Submit Call Traffic Details to Trai

Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio Said to Submit Call Traffic Details to Trai

  • RJio said Airtel isn’t providing sufficient interconnection points
  • Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, MTNL, Idea will submit their reports
  • Trai had met telcos on the interconnection issue earlier this month

Mobile operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio, have submitted call traffic data to Trai, a move that will enable the regulator to look at the pattern, including asymmetric traffic on networks, as part of its consultation on inter-connection usage charges.

“The data pertaining to incoming and outgoing minutes have been submitted by the operators – Bharti Airtel,Vodafone, Reliance Jio, BSNL and MTNL… The data will enable Trai to examine asymmetry of traffic in the context of the IUC consultation paper that has been floated recently,” sources told PTI.

Although the details submitted by the five operators pertain to call traffic patterns, it is unlikely to be directly relevant to the inter-connect dispute that is currently playing out in the telecom sector where incumbent operators have clashed with Reliance Jio for unleashing “unprecedented asymmetry of traffic”.

 

This is because the data pertain to July when the new entrant was still in a test phase, the sources added.

“Theoretically, the incoming calls should be equal to outgoing calls, that is, in 4-5 years, call traffic tends to become symmetric… but some operators claim there is asymmetry… so we sought operator-wise data on how much asymmetry exists, which operators are facing it, what is the reason… is it due to tariff plans or consumer behaviour,” the sources added.

The operators, who had earlier not submitted these details even after a reminder, were given time till September 16 to submit the same.

Last month, Trai had issued a discussion paper to review interconnection usage charges (IUC) following a complaint by the Cellular Operators Association of India against a BSNL service that allowed its subscribers to make calls on mobile and landline through a mobile app. COAI had alleged that the offer was in violation of licensing norms as well as interconnection pacts.

Interconnection enables mobile users to make calls to customers of other telecom networks and is therefore crucial for smooth functioning of a mobile service.

A mobile operator levies IUC for each incoming call it gets from subscriber of another network and the mobile to mobile termination charge is currently pegged at 14 paise. The regulator has sought comments from stakeholders on reviewing these charges under the IUC consultation process.

However, the incumbent operators – engaged in a bitter fight with the new operator Reliance Jio – have been claiming that the real cost of termination is significantly higher than the current inter-connect settlement charge of 14 paise per minute as prescribed in the present IUC regime.

The incumbent players claim that they are incurring increasing costs due to high level of asymmetric traffic coming in from the Jio network.

 

Airtel ‘Welcomes’ Jio’s Entry Despite Reliance’s Barbs at Launch

Airtel 'Welcomes' Jio's Entry Despite Reliance's Barbs at Launch

Reliance Jio’s official announcement on Thursday has caused big waves as the new operator ditched all charges for calls and promised what appear to be the lowest rates for 4G data in India. At the announement, Chairman Mukesh Ambani even took a few digs at competitors, saying the Jio network is running entirely on 4G – not “mostly 2G, sometimes 3G, and once-in-a-while 4G.”

However, Ambani also urged the incumbent telcos to play fair and give adequate points of interconnection to Reliance Jio, so that subscribers don’t face call drops.

Bharti Airtel soon released an official statement welcoming Reliance Jio’s entry into the telecom space and wished them luck.
“We welcome Reliance Jio’s entry to the digital world and wish them the very best. We also welcome Jio’s call to leading operators to work together. As a responsible operator, we will fulfil all our regulatory obligations as we have always done,” Airtel said in a statement.
“Over the last 20 years, Airtel has been contributing towards building a digitally enabled India and remains fully committed to and take leadership in supporting the government’s Digital India vision. We will continue to innovate and deliver best-in-class products and services to our customers,” the statement added.

Taking the tariff war and competition in India’s telecom space to a new level, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on had said domestic voice calls on the Jio network will be free forever, and unveiled a four-month introductory offer of free voice and data services.

“The era of paying for voice calls is ending,” Ambani said. “No Jio customer will ever have to pay for voice calls again,” he added.

In effect, the announcements on Thursday point to a commercial launch from January 1 next year even though no specific mention was made in this regard.

This was also keenly awaited since Reliance Industries has invested as much as US$21 billion in Jio – its largest ever capital expenditure on a single project.