Firstsource Q3 net profit rises 16.6% to Rs 67.04 crore

Firstsource's revenues grew 8.9% to Rs 817.8 crore in the reported quarter from Rs 751 crore in the corresponding period last year.
Firstsource’s revenues grew 8.9% to Rs 817.8 crore in the reported quarter from Rs 751 crore in the correspond.BPO firm Firstsource Solutions posted 16.6% rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 67.04 crore for the quarter ended December 2015.

The company’s net profit stood at Rs 57.51 crore in the same period last year.

Revenues grew 8.9% to Rs 817.8 crore in the reported quarter from Rs 751 crore in the corresponding period last year.

“Our third quarter results are consistent with expectations. We have been able to effectively meet operational as well as financial targets. Building on our growth momentum, we expect to see more demand across our key verticals,” Firstsource chairman Sanjiv Goenka said.

“We will continue to invest to expand our solutions portfolio and provide long-term value to our clients and stakeholders,” he added.

The company has entered into a definitive agreement with ISGN, a leading full service provider of mortgage technology and services, to acquire its BPO division.

Over 700 employees from ISGN’s BPO division in the US and India will become a part of Firstsource through this acquisition. No financial details were disclosed.

The acquisition will help Firstsource penetrate into the growing US mortgage BPO market, access marquee customers and strengthen its Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) portfolio.

“The acquisition marks Firstsource’s penetration into the growing US mortgage BPO market. ISGN’s deep knowledge in the mortgage outsourcing space coupled with a set of marquee customers provides us with significant opportunities to cross-sell capabilities and leverage our global relationships,” Goenka said.

About 52.6% of the revenues were from the US, while the UK accounted for 39.6% and 7.8% was derived from Rest of World, including India.

In terms of verticals, 38.6% of the company’s revenues came from telecom & media, while 37.8% was from healthcare, 23.2% from BFSI and 0.4% from others.

During the reported quarter, Firstosurce saw headcount increase by 260, taking the total strength to 23,918.

The annualized attrition (post 180 days) stood at 44.7% for offshore (India and Philippines) operations (from 44.9% in second quarter), while that of onshore (US and Europe) was 43.2% (against 48.9%).

At the end of December 2013, it had cash of Rs 154 crore on its books.

Indonesian telecom provider blocks access to Netflix

PT Telekomunikas said it was protecting its customers from inappropriate content such as pornography and depictions of violence that are illegal in Indonesia by blocking Netflix.

PT Telekomunikas said it was protecting its customers from inappropriate content such as pornography and depic.
JAKARTA: Indonesia’s state-owned telecommunications company said it has blocked the internet video service Netflix in a possible setback to the US company’s expansion in Asia.

PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia said in a statement it blocked Netflix beginning Wednesday because it lacks a permit to operate in Indonesia. The service was still available today via other network operators.

The statement said PT Telekomunikas was also protecting its customers from inappropriate content such as pornography and depictions of violence that are illegal in Indonesia.

Netflix started operating in Indonesia earlier this month as part of a broad international expansion. It currently has nearly 75 million subscribers, including 30 million outside the US.

A Netflix statement said “services delivered over the Internet present all sorts of novel questions for policymakers” but did not confirm it was blocked. It noted that only paying customers can watch programs or films on Netflix.

Indonesia with a population of more than 250 million people is a potentially lucrative market for Netflix. It wants to expand into China, too, but is still looking for a partner in that country, where it will also have to tailor to service to satisfy government regulators who ban programming they consider objectionable or politically inflammatory.

Airtel may buy Aircel 4G airwaves for Rs 3,800 crore

The deal to buy Aircel’s 4G spectrum in the 2300 MHz frequency band in eight circles is expected to be finalised by March-end, said two persons aware of the matter.
The deal to buy Aircel’s 4G spectrum in the 2300 MHz frequency band in eight circles is expected to be finalis.
MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel is close to buying 4G airwaves from Aircel for about Rs 3,800 crore as India’s No. 1 phone company looks to strengthen its high-speed broadband spectrum holdings ahead of an expected battle over data services with Reliance Jio Infocomm.

The deal to buy Aircel’s 4G spectrum in the 2300 MHz frequency band in eight circles is expected to be finalised by March-end, said two persons aware of the matter. This will extend Bharti Airtel’s 4G footprint across bands to 18 circles from 15, closing the gap with Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio, the only telco with pan-India holdings in all 22 circles. The 2300 MHz airwaves that Airtel and Aircel have don’t overlap in any service areas.

“Both companies are interested in closing this as quickly as possible for furthering their plans linked to the sale,” the person said.

A Bharti Airtel spokesperson said: “We keep receiving proposals from various quarters. We review them from time to time. As and when any proposal gets finalised we make appropriate disclosures.” Aircel didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment till press time.

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel has been on a drive to acquire 4G spectrum. After buying Qualcomm’s airwaves in four circles, Bharti Airtel purchased Augere Wireless, which owned 4G airwaves in the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh circle. Both the deals netted Airtel airwaves in the 2300 MHz band and raised its holdings in that particular band to nine, including four of its own. Acquisition of Aircel’s spectrum in the same band will take its 2300 MHz holdings to 17 circles.

And including the 4G-ready airwaves in the 1800 MHz band it already hold, Airtel will have an overall 4G footprint in 18 service areas post a deal with Aircel.

If the Bharti Airtel-Aircel deal takes place, Tikona Digital will be left as a last possible target. It has 4G airwaves in the 2300 MHz band in the service areas of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), UP (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, having got these in 2010.

There has been intermittent talk of a Bharti Airtel-Aircel deal on 2300 Mhz spectrum over the past three years. ET had reported on October 7, 2015 that discussions had resumed.

Maxis-owned Aircel wants to close the deal as its merger with Reliance Communications is linked to this. The company had proposed in December, when it opened talks with RCom, that it would use proceeds from the sale of its airwaves to pare an estimated debt of Rs 25,000 crore before merging with the Anil Ambani company.

Aircel paid Rs 3,438 crore to win airwaves in the 2300 MHz band in the 2010 spectrum auction. Like most of the companies that bought the airwaves at the time, Aircel has barely met rollout obligations. Its 4G networks are functional in six circles—Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir—for enterprise customers only. It’s yet to launch any services in the North East and West Bengal.

Bharti Airtel was the first to start 4G services, mostly on 2300 MHz band, in 2012. It has stepped up the rollout in the last few months, expanding to more than 350 cities and towns, anticipating stiff competition from Jio, which is expected to start commercial operations in April.
 Top GSM telcos and Bharti’s rivals Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have also launched 4G services, albeit on the 1800 MHz band, as they brace for a bitter battle for higher-paying data subscribers with Jio. Given the plateauing of growth in voice revenue and the spurt in mobile data, success in 3G and 4G will be key to profitability.
Jio has inked spectrum-sharing and trading deals for the 800-850 MHz band with RCom in a bid to bolster its airwave holdings for 4G and voice fallback options.

Bharti Airtel hopes to put up a stiff fight on technology platforms similar to what Jio will use and on pricing, said an industry expert.

Airtel, Vodafone implementing Self Optimising Network technology for call drops

 The country’s top two mobile operators have both partnered with networking major Cisco for SON technology that promises to significantly improve voice call quality.
The country’s top two mobile operators have both partnered with networking major Cisco for SON technology that..
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are implementing a software solution called Self Optimising Network (SON) technology to tackle the call drop menace and improve the overall network stability across the country.

The country’s top two mobile operators have both partnered with networking major Cisco for SON technology that promises to significantly improve voice call quality and reduce dropped call rates, besides offering higher data speed and better accessibility, industry officials said. Mobile operators are under pressure to check call drops and the industry regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), in a recent order mandated telcos to compensate subscribers Re 1 for each call dropped.

Twitter names Nathan Hubbard as interim media head: Report

 

Appointment of Nathan Hubbard as interim media head follows Twitter’s biggest ever management exodus on Monday.

Twitter named chief commercial officer Nathan Hubbard as interim media head, CNBC reported on Monday, citing a source.

 Twitter’s management will hold a retreat on Tuesday to discuss the company’s future, CNBC said in a tweet, citing the source.
 Twitter was not immediately available for comment.
The news follows Twitter’s biggest ever management exodus on Monday, when five high-level executives announced that they were leaving the company.

Among them was media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, who Hubbard will be replacing on an interim basis.

Nearly 700 startup founders urge PM Modi to defend net neutrality

681 startup founders have signed a letter urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the concern of net neutrality, with clearly defined policies and rules.6
NEW DELHI: Hundreds of startups, including bigger players like Zomato, Cleartrip, Paytm and their employees, have approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defend net neutrality, which they define it as access to content on internet without any discrimination.

“We urge you to ensure that the recently announced initiative, Start-Up India, addresses the concern of net neutrality, with clearly defined policies and firm rules,” the letter said.

Around 500 people have signed the letter including Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal, Cleartrip founder Hrush Bhatt, XYSEC LABS founder Subho Halder, iSPIRT Foundation co-founder Sharad Sharma and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

There are 1,467 signatories to the letter, including 681 founders of various startups.

Startups expressed gratitude to Modi for government’s initiatives, particularly programmes like Digital India and Start-Up India and on improving the ease of doing business.

“In the wake of the important messages made by you on helping drive forward a Start-Up India, and on the eve of the Republic Day celebration of our nation’s commitment to democracy, we are writing to you seeking your continued support for net neutrality,” the letter said.

It said the open nature of the internet allows every individual, whether online or likely to get connected to it in its current form — to be a creator and innovator by their own free will and choice.

“Any violation of net neutrality will invariably deny our populace — and even the world — the opportunity to have unbiased access to the solutions that our talented entrepreneurs are devising,” the letter said.

Startups have reached out to Prime Minister close on the heels of telecom regulator Trai gearing to firm up its views on.

They defined net neutrality as “Internet be maintained as an open platform, on which network providers treat all content, applications and services equally, without discrimination. This includes ensuring that network providers do not supply any competitive advantage to specific apps/services, either through pricing or quality of service.”

The net neutrality debate in India goes back to December 2014 when Airtel decided to charge separately for internet-based calls but withdrew the plan later after facing protest.

The debate heated up after Airtel launched its free internet platform Airtel Zero and Facebook followed suit with its Internet.org, which was later.

Apple India management rejig brings retail strategy in focus

Apple India has merged its product divisions and split its business into two in line with its retail strategy in a bid to significantly expand its market reach and improve efficiency.

KOLKATA: Apple has reshuffled its India business and changed roles of senior executives for the first time in four years even as deep discounting during in crucial October-December quarter in the country took a toll on its margins.

Apple India has merged its product divisions and split its business into two in line with its retail strategy in a bid to significantly expand its market reach and improve efficiency, four senior industry executives aware of the development said.

Sanjay Kaul, who earlier headed the division for gadgets such as iPhone and iPad, will lead the general trade vertical that covers small retail outlets that stock different brands. Satya D, who was heading the Mac computer division, will head large modern retail and e-commerce vertical, the executives said.

“This structure will drive efficiencies and will be centred on go-to-market strategy,” said a person aware of Apple’s plans in India. When contacted, an Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

Vodafone to launch 4G services in Delhi by first week of February

 Vodafone on Monday launched its 4G services in Kolkata.

NEW DELHI: Vodafone India, a leading telecom services provider, on Monday rolled out its 4G services in Kolkata. Now, inside sources have told us that Vodafone is getting ready to launch its 4G services in New Delhi by first week of February. The exact date of launch could be February 3 or 4.After Airtel, Vodafone will be another service provider in the city to provide fast internet connectivity to its customers.

The exact speeds are still unknown, however, if we go by reports it should be upwards of 30 MBPS per connection.
 Vodafone is already supplying 4G sims to its customers and the company has announced that users who are upgrading to 4G-ready sims will be rewarded with free 1GB 4G internet, at the time of the launch.

Xiaomi to launch Mi 5 smartphone

 

NEW DELHI: The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has revealed that it will be launching its much awaited flagship smartphone Xiaomi Mi 5 on 24th February. Xiaomi’s Senior VP Liwan Jiang has confirmed this via Weibo and further stated that the smartphone has also entered mass production and will have enough stocks at the time of its release.

The Chinese company will be organising a Spring conference on 24th February, where it is expected to officially launch the smartphone.

 According to earlier leaks, Xiaomi Mi 5 will have a 5.5-inch screen with 2K (1440x2560p) resolution and will run on the recently-launched 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. Said to be available in 16, 64 and 128GB storage options, the smartphone will have 4GB of RAM. Xiaomi will reportedly use Android 5.1-based MIUI 6 in Mi 5. The smartphone will also have a 20MP rear camera and 8MP front snapper. The 4G-capable top-end handset will feature a 3,800mAh battery and come in black and white colour options.
Recently, Xiaomi also launched its entry level smartphone named Xiaomi Redmi 3 in China. Xiaomi Redmi 3 sports a 5-inch HD (720p) display, which is the biggest screen size for the Redmi series yet. The smartphone comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage; since it features a hybrid dual-sim slot, users can expand storage up to 128GB via microSD card. It comes with a 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and phase-detection autofocus on the back and 5MP front camera with f/2.2 aperture in front.

Karnataka’s Malpe becomes India’s first beach to get Wi-Fi

MANGALURU: Malpe beach in Udupi district, one of the main tourist attractions in southern Karnataka, has become the first beach in India to have Wi-Fi connectivity.

 The facility will be available to tourists free of cost for 30 minutes at any time of the day during their visit, an official release said.

Udupi MLA Pramod Madhwaraj launched the 24×7 facility at a function at the beach yesterday.

He said the duration of free Wi-Fi access would be extended later.

The service is being provided by BSNL, supported by the Centre’s Digital Drive Initiative.

Madhwaraj said the Malpe beach committee had spent Rs 80 lakh for beach development works last year. Work on road development had also been taken up at a cost of Rs 5 crore over the years, he said.