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Brief Mobile

Indian Telecom Industry Needs To Speed Up LTE And Broadband Adoption

Recent reports reveal that over 1.03 billion Indians are hooked onto mobile phones, wherein more than 21.2% of them accounted for smartphone users. The growth is expected to hit 30% by 2017. While the number of internet users in India touched 354 million by the end of June 2015 – this means that more than half the population are yet to receive an internet subscription. Additionally, reports suggest that nearly 60% of these subscriptions are mobile internet users.

Figures from DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, India) suggests that the Telecom industry in India is currently the third-largest sector in terms of FDI equity inflows—from April 2000 to May 2015, the telecom industry has secured more than $17,421 million, accounting for 6.81% of the FDI inflows. Telecom leaders from India suggests that the telecommunication sector is expected to add at least 7 lakh new job opportunities in next five years in India. The country’s telecom market is said to be the second-largest in the world, recording an impressive growth in the past decade, says IBEF. The market is driven by a strong adoption of data consumption, especially on handheld devices; and according to IDC, 28.3 million smartphones were shipped to India in 3Q 2015 with 21.4% YoY growth. With such exponential growth, India could overtake the US as the 2nd largest smartphone market by 2017.

India’s price-sensitive smartphone market, dominated by Samsung, witnessed a buzz in new entrants—budget devices from new entrants like Xiaomi, OnePlus are taking the market by a storm. Existing players including Samsung, Micromax and Intex have secured the first three positions, respectively. IDC claims that One out of 3 smartphones shipped in 3Q 2015 are 4G enabled as the country prepares for a shift in mobile technology. Newer players like Xiaomi and OnePlus have received a warm welcome by users in India, mainly due to the ‘low-priced feature-rich’ factor that it offers. Even though High-end brands have their attention, the majority of the Indian consumers prefer ‘performance’ over ‘brand image’.

Mobile Internet And Broadband Should Be Backed With Sufficient Infrastructure As Growth Surges

Let’s take the case of Intex—IDC reports that the vendor has witnessed a sharp rise in shipments in the sub-US$50 segment, as well as entry level 3G-enabled devices. India might need to focus on upgrading its internet infrastructure requirement, especially in the wireless segment. IBEF pens down that the wireless segment dominated the Indian Telecom market with a whopping 97.3% of total subscription. Similarly, the country saw a spike in the number of broadband subscriptions—data from TRAI reveals that India recorded a 52.49% YoY growth, totalling to 108.85 million users by the end of Q2 2015 in June ‘15.

Similarly, HSBC report points out that India has overtaken China in terms of high-end devices due to the rising adoption of 3G and 4G services. The average auction price per MHz stood at $89.20 million in 2013; in fact, the 3G band saw very few takers during last years’ spectrum auction due to high reserve prices coupled with limited availability of the 2100 MHz band (Or 3G band). The scenario doesn’t necessarily point out that India needs to be scaled down on 3G, but should rather focus on building the next generation services like 4G and fiber network broadband.

Cyber Media Research points out that 4G/LTE shipments in India reached 5.7 million units during April-June 2015, recording a whopping 154% QoQ growth. This coupled with the 52.49% YoY growth in broadband in June ’15 shows that Indian consumers are increasingly moving to the ‘High-Speed’ internet sector. The only highlighted Fiber Internet providers in India include ACT and BSNL, but the existing infrastructure needs more infrastructural investment. Adding to the concern, the metric, 512 Kbps as the minimum required speed, as set by TRAI seems to make no sense in such a surging scenario.

Why Broadband Needs A Tweak In India

A TRAI report points out that even though India has over 108.95 million wireless broadband connections, the wired broadband connections have added just about 140,000 connections during the September-October stretch. Wired connections in India increased by 3.93% and stood at 16.27 million connection in October ’15 from 15.45 million in Mar ’15. BSNL took the lead in the wired broadband segment with 61% a market share while the Fiber Internet-focused provider ACT took a 5% share.

TRAI-report-broadband

Fiber Internet connections come at a big cost; that coupled with data caps on the high-speed internet could discourage more users from migrating or buying them. When the world’s average internet speed stands at 5 Mbps, India ranks fourth-last, according to Akamai 2015 rankings, with just 14% of the connections over 4 Mbps.

In brief, India needs to focus on the new shift in networking technologies, including high-speed mobile networks, wireline broadband to allow a value flow and to bring in more subscriptions under its base. Focused investment and not just investments in manufacturing or campaigning initiatives are going to do good.

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Brief Facebook Social Media

Facebook Messenger: Once Despised Now Crosses 800 Million MAUs

2016 could be the year of Instant Messaging apps as the Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp and Facebook’s own Messenger app are closing in on the ‘1 Billion users’ mark. David Marcus (ex-PayPal), who currently heads Facebook’s messaging product, revealed that Facebook Messenger has crossed more than 800 million users. Likewise, WhatsApp has also reportedly crossed the 900 million mark in September, last year, making it the top Messaging app in term of Monthly Active Users.

Facebook Messenger roughly garnered 100 million users in six months to 800 million users in December 2015; whereas, it took just three months (Mar ’15 to Jun ’15) to add the same number of users in the same year. One might wonder how the service roped in a consistent number of users every month. When Facebook decided to remove the messaging service from the main app, users turned reluctant, and many even decided that it could be a ‘terrible idea’.

Facebok-Messenger-MAUThe despised app saw a number of innovative additions in terms of features, over the last couple of months. Some highlights are detailed below:

  • An update to control the colour of the chat bubbles and emojis, and the ability to add nicknames to friends in your list.
  • A 3D touch addition for iPhone users: Sending messages right from the home screen with a light tap of the app.
  • Order a Uber straight from the Messenger app: a User button allows users to hail a ride and track their driver’s progress from within Facebook’s Messenger app.
  • Facebook M for users in the Bay Area: A ‘siri-like’ assistant built straight into the app that lets you do multiple ‘siri-like’ functions.

While recently news came that the company is testing a secret Chat SDK that allows developers to Build Messenger Bots—by combining both Facebook M and the Chat SDK we get something similar to ‘Jarvis’ from the Iron Man movie.

Facebook Messenger Is Gaining Popularity Across Platforms  

In the U.S, Facebook Messenger stands third (97.4 million users) in terms of average unique users, according to Nielsen. While, AppAnie charts, specific to U.S, reveal that Facebook Messenger stands 1st in the overall rankings for Google Play and Windows Phone, while the messaging app ranked 2nd in the iOS platform.

Nevertheless, the manner in which Facebook has built the messaging service tells a peculiar tale: it seems to be embracing the chat-based era with the addition of Facebook M and the ‘siri-like’ both, as well as several additions like the ability to share GIFs, track packages, and even send money to you people in your friends’ list.

David Marcus says that Facebook is trying to make ‘phone numbers irrelevant’ by adding utility, and other helpful features.

“You don’t need to have a Facebook account to use Messenger anymore, and it’s also a cross platform experience – so you can pick up where you left off whether you’re on a desktop computer, a tablet, or your phone.”

He adds that Facebook is working on converting the generic Instant Messaging app into an enterprising assistant by helping users interact with businesses or services to buy items, order rides, purchase airline tickets, and even talking to customer service for immediate assistance.

With their messenger app going mainstream, Facebook has yet another opening in the IM space since its acquisition of WhatsApp; it is high time that Facebook should introduce changes to WhatsApp’s business model before they lose out the current rankings to other players like WeChat, Telegram, etc.

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Apple Brief Companies Mobile Smartphones

Apple iPhone 6s Production Cut: Exorbitant Pricing Failure Or Strategic Move ?

The record sales of 13 million iPhones (in just three days), after the launch of the ‘S’ series, come with a blow for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): The Asia-focused business publication Nikkei, reports that the smartphone giant could cut iPhone 6s production by a third.

The American smartphone maker clocked peak sales of 231 million devices in FY2015; that is when Morgan Stanley’s chief analyst Katy Huberty dropped a bombshell last month—‘sales of iPhone will drop in 2016’. Huberty’s analysis proves to be almost right as Nikkei further adds that Apple’s existing inventory of new models, launched last September have “piled up at retailers” across China, Japan, Europe and even the U.S.

Companies including Japan Display, Sharp, and LG Display manufactures LCD displays and panels for the iPhone while Sony supplies image sensors. While, TDK, Alps Electric and Kyocera supply electronic parts for iPhones. These companies are likely to see a drop in shipments, as Yasuo Nakane, Senior Analyst at Mizuho Securities suggests a “year-on-year decline in iPhone output for 2016 as a whole”.

NASDAQ figures show that Apple’s stock stood at $100.70—just a fraction above the $100 threshold. The latest development comes amidst signs of slowing demand for the latest iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models in Q4 2015.

Even though the iPhone 6 was the dominant model in the market, with a 30% market share, Localytics’ report on iPhone adoption rate reveals that the latest models accounted for just 2.7% of Apple’s total active devices; while last year’s models accounted for 4.0% during the same time-frame.

Apple boasts a 70% faster CPU speed, along with a 90% faster GPU processor, in their new 6s models. Yet, many critics point out that the new iPhone just don’t offer enough compelling reasons for an ‘upgrade’. The excessive pricing in the economic markets likes of India, along with no financing options, and a low penetration of LTE infrastructure forced the iPhone to lose out to Android.

How Apple Could Address The Downfall

Our Study suggests that 56% of users surveyed wanted Longer battery life, while 54% of them wished for Wireless charging in the new 6s model. Another promising strategy is introducing a smaller sized iPhone model that could garner sales from sensitive markets like India where the iPhone 4s models are still selling consistently.

The rumored 4-inch iPhone 6C model could provide a boost in sensitive markets wherein high and medium end budget phones are making the buzz. As Localytics suggests that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owns a bigger chunk in the iPhone Device share, the ‘S’ series only provided a bigger screen option with a promising 3D Touch feature, failing to attract users for an ‘upgrade’.

Remember all the buzz that erupted when the Indian market reported a $1 billion sales mark? There lies an opportunity with the rumored 6c—Apple could learn from the mistakes it made with the launch of the 5c. The iPhone 6s’ costliest component was its screen, with iPhone 6c Apple could build a smaller battery along with the lowered cost of production using a cheaper build form.

A quick analysis suggests that by lowering production costs for the new 6c that could increase penetration in yet-to-be captured markets like India, and by encouraging customers to upgrade to newer generations of iPhones, Apple could set a promising sales figure in this fiscal year. And yes, in the case of Apple, bigger is not always better!