Trai Recommends Flat Spectrum Usage Charge

Trai Recommends Flat Spectrum Usage Charge

Telecom regulator Trai on Tuesday reiterated its suggestion of charging mobile operators a flat spectrum usage charge as it found loopholes in existing method used by government to collect levy for use of airwaves.

“While taking a view on this matter, all possible steps should be considered by the DoT (Department of Telecom) to move to a simple, transparent and flat ad valorem SUC (spectrum usage charge) regime in accordance with law,”Trai said in its reply to reference sought by the DoT.

It has said that present ‘weighted average’ based formula may have a significant impact on the revenue payable to the government.

“The over-all SUC rate arrived at by the weighted average formula is also impacted by SUC rate fixed for each band…This may have a significant impact on the overall spectrum usage charge that is payable to the government,” Trai said.

The Cabinet last month approved rules for mega-spectrum auction in which airwaves worth Rs 5.66 lakh crore will be put for sale except spectrum usage charges (SUC) recommended by the inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission. The Cabinet asked telecom ministry to seek Trai’s view on SUC before it approves the rule.

As per Trai, government considers only quantum of spectrum held by a telecom operator to calculate spectrum usage charge but this may not give correct value as intended under the concept of collecting this charge.

“While quantum of spectrum will certainly be a factor in any weighted average formula, this may not be the sole factor to estimate the revenue from a given band. It is widely accepted that currently some spectrum bands generate greater revenue than others even if the holding is smaller than in other bands,” Trai said.

It has suggested to DoT to take into account benefit that a spectrum band delivers and bid price of the airwaves can be used as one of the factor to determine an ‘approximate’ value for calculating SUC.

A DoT committee has said that it is not possible to segregate revenue that a telecom operators earns from a particular band as various bands can be clubbed to deliver 3G or 4G mobile services.

The DoT fixes percentage of amount that it will charge from revenue telecom operators earn by providing services. The percentage was earlier fixed based on slab rate ranging between 3-8 percent of telecom services revenue while exact percentage was levied based on spectrum holding of the firm.

The government, in January 2014, decided to cap SUC at a flat 5 percent for spectrum that was to be procured in the future auctions. The government imposed weighted average formula on companies holding spectrum allocated in past and buying spectrum in future.

“Accordingly, if DoT chooses to adopt weighted average rate of SUC, then it would be appropriate for it to carefully explore alternate proxies which may be used for computing the weighted average like technical efficiency factor and the market-determined price for such spectrum band,” Trai said.

Trai has said that the method suggested by it is only a temporary solution and all possible steps should be considered by the DoT to move to towards a simple and flat rate regime.

The Trai had recommended SUC at a uniform rate of 3 percent across the industry and gradually bringing it down to 1 percent of revenues from telecom services.

Trai said that the DoT has neither sought the opinion or recommendation of Trai on weighted average based SUC formula

in the past nor has there been any consultation on it.

The SUC has been a highly contentious issues of late with the industry. Reliance Jio has opposed levying of uniform SUC rates, as suggested by Trai, as it pays only 1 percent on its spectrum in 2300MHz band (broadband wireless access).

Moving towards lower or flat spectrum regime, the telecom ministry proposed 3 percent SUC rates from upcoming auction and weighted average for companies holding old spectrum.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the Telecom Commission took the opinion of Attorney General on SUC after recommendation of Trai was received and hence there was need to consult the regulator again before a final call was taken.

“While the optimal solution in the view of the Authority is to move to a flat rate regime, we are constrained to limit ourselves to examine the weighted average solution as suggested by Ld. AG (Attorney General) and proposed by DoT,” Trai said

Jaguar Land Rover to Test Over 100 Autonomous Cars in Britain by 2020

Jaguar Land Rover to Test Over 100 Autonomous Cars in Britain by 2020

Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover said it will create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology, with the first models to hit the streets later this year.

Jaguar Land Rover, maker of Range Rover 4x4s and sportier luxury saloons, will drive the initial models on a new 41-mile (66 km) test route on motorways and urban roads near its headquarters and plants in central England.

The market for autonomous driving is worth GBP 900 billion ($1.29 trillion or roughly Rs. 86,63,473 crores) worldwide, according to the government, but needs to overcome legal obstacles including determining who would be responsible in the event of an accident.

Britain announced plans in March to test cars on motorways and launched a consultation on Monday to change insurance and motoring rules as it pursues plans to allow the public to use driverless cars on the streets by 2020.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Head of Research Tony Harper said the firm’s technology, which includes a three-dimensional advanced view of the street ahead to recognise barriers and radio signal communication between cars, could reduce hazards.

“Our connected and automated technology could help improve traffic flow, cut congestion and reduce the potential for accidents,” Harper said.

Carmakers are ploughing billions of pounds into autonomous technology with Ford already part of a government-sanctioned autonomous testing project in England and Volvo planning to test driverless cars in London next year.

Japan’s Nissan aims to build its first mass-market autonomous car at its north of England facility in Sunderland, Britain’s biggest single car plant.

However, traditional automakers face competition from rivals such as Tesla and technology firms such as Alphabet Inc unit Google, which wants eventually to be able to deploy fully autonomous vehicles without human controls.

In Britain, driverless car testing will need a person to be present and able to take control should the need arise, the Department for Transport has said.

iPhone 7 Plus Leaked Images Tip Dual Cameras Addition, Mute Switch Removal

iPhone 7 Plus Leaked Images Tip Dual Cameras Addition, Mute Switch Removal
  • The images reveal a new Apple logo design
  • The leak also reveals the dual camera setup at the back
  • The mute switch seems to be absent

After a clear look at an iPhone 7 earlier this week, we now get to see how the larger variant is designed. The latest leaked images give us a glimpse of the iPhone 7 Plus from all angles, confirming some key rumours about the smartphone.

The image first appeared on Weibo (via GSMArena), and shows the iPhone 7 Plus from the side, front, and back. The back of the smartphone confirms the much rumoured dual camera setup. It even reveals the Smart Connector at the back (a feature that many think may not be introduced this year), and the logo also seems to be a bit different. Instead of a black Apple logo, a new carved logo sits at the back. The front looks the same, with no evident design changes.

The antenna bands have been shifted to the edges, and interestingly the mute switch seems to be absent from the sides. Traditionally, Apple includes the mute switch above the volume buttons, but that seems to be missing in these images. Of course, there is no authenticity of these images so we recommend you take the news with a pinch of salt.

If Apple is to follow tradition, then the new iPhone 7 will be released in September. The smartphone will be released in three variants – iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 Pro. The iPhone 7 will sport new A10 processors, and the large variant will see a 3GB RAM bump to accommodate new camera hardware. If Apple decides to skip the 3.5mm audio jack, then the smartphone is expected to sport waterproof capabilities.

Google Given Extra Time to Answer EU Antitrust Charges on Android

Google Given Extra Time to Answer EU Antitrust Charges on Android

Alphabet Inc’s Google has been given an extra 6 weeks to early September to respond to EU charges that it uses its dominant Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals, EU antitrust regulators said on Tuesday.

The US technology giant found itself under fire in April as the European Commission said its requirement that mobile phone manufacturers pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser in order to get access to other Google apps may harm consumers and competition.

The EU watchdog had originally given Google until July 27 to reply to the charges.

“The Commission has agreed to extend Google’s deadline to respond to its Statement of Objections concerning Android and its applications until 7 September. Google asked for additional time to review the documents in the case file,” Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said in an email.

Google, which can face fines up to $7.4 billion (roughly Rs. 49,684 crores) or 10 percent of its global turnover for each antitrust case, did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Google is also fighting an EU accusation that it favours its shopping service in Internet search results over rivals.

Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 2 With Wrist Gestures Now Available

Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview 2 With Wrist Gestures Now Available

  • Second developer preview brings wrist gestures for developers
  • Developers can test the preview on Watch Urbane Edition LTE, Huawei Watch
  • Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview was released at I/O

Google has started rolling out the second developer preview of Android Wear 2.0, bringing new functionalities and bug fixes. At I/O 2016, Google revealed the Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, giving developers early access to the next major release of Android Wear. The preview introduced the option of standalone apps, input methods, a new notification design, and an API for “complications”.

The latest developer preview brings features such as wrist gestures for developers – thus extending the functionality to third-party apps. Google says that the new Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview comes with an updated SDK with tools and system images and developers can test it on the LG Watch Urbane Edition LTE and the Huawei Watch.

Notably, wrist gestures have been available to users since last year and they allow scrolling through the notification stream via wrist gestures. Google has no opened this system to developers to use within their apps. The company believes that the feature will help apps improve single hand usage. Google clearly notes that the second developer preview is a work in progress, and is not yet intended for daily use.

“Since I/O, feedback from the developer community has helped us identify bugs and shape our product direction. Today [Tuesday], we are releasing the second developer preview with new functionalities and bug fixes. Prior to the consumer release, we plan to release additional updates, so please send us your feedback early and often.”

The second developer preview also bumps the Android Platform API version number to 24 to match Nougat. The new preview is also adding additional support for wearable drawer peeking, which makes it easier for users to access the drawers as they scroll. Some of the other UI improvements include automatic peek view and navigation drawer closure.

COAI Backs Trai Proposal on Flat Spectrum Usage Charge

COAI Backs Trai Proposal on Flat Spectrum Usage Charge

Government should move to a flat levy for spectrum usage charge as suggested by Trai or clearly specify a timeline in case it decides to adopt an interim weighted average formula, industry body COAI said on Wednesday.

Welcoming Trai sticking to its stated position for a flat spectrum usage charge (SUC), COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI, “We believe this should move to the flat 1 percent previously recommended by Trai.”

Talking about the “constraints” of the regulator due to the terms of reference, Mathews said, “The Cabinet and the Telecom Commission are not so constrained and should move to what Trai sees as the appropriate SUC regime, which is a flat SUC rate, and not a weighted average approach.”

He further said that if the Cabinet decides to adopt an interim weighted average method, it should clearly specify in the NIA (Notice Inviting Applications) when it intends to move to a flat spectrum usage rate, as recommended by the telecom watchdog.

Trai on Tuesday stuck to its suggestion of charging mobile operators a flat spectrum charge as it picked holes in the existing method used by the government to collect levy for use of airwaves.

It also suggested using alternative elements to determine the weighted average formula, saying DoTshould take into account benefit that a spectrum band delivers and bid price of airwaves as factors to determine an “approximate” value for calculating SUC.

“Each spectrum band has its characteristics in terms of range, penetration, capacity, ecosystem, and the like. Accordingly, if DoT chooses to adopt weighted average rate of SUC, then it would be appropriate for it to carefully explore alternate proxies… like technical efficiency factor and the market-determined price for such spectrum band,” Trai said.

The Cabinet last month approved rules for mega-spectrum auction in which airwaves worth Rs. 5,66,000 crores will be put up for sale except SUC as recommended by inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission. The Cabinet asked the telecom ministry to seek Trai’s view on SUC before it approves the rule.

Pokemon Go International Rollout Begins With Germany

Pokemon Go International Rollout Begins With Germany

  • Pokemon Go is now available in Germany
  • This should result in an international release soon
  • Some speculate a Thursday release for the game worldwide

Earlier this week we reported that Pokemon Go was slated for a worldwide release soon. And it seems that Niantic and The Pokemon Company are confident of this. Reason being, the game is finally available in Germany, aside from Australia, New Zealand, and the US which got it last week. This means we should see a roll out to other regions like India, UK, and Japan soon enough.

According to the Pokemon Go subreddit, users in Germany are able to access the game officially.

“You can now download Pokemon Go in Germany from the App Store. First you have to uninstall your current Version then reinstall it from the AppStore and use the same Login as before to continue with everything that you already got,” the post reads before explaining how eager fans can bypass potential issues if they obtained the game earlier.

“You can either just use the version you already have and just update it from the App Store without reinstalling OR you have to uninstall it because the App Store will tell you that it is still “not available in your country” after you uninstalled it you can refresh the Store and it should be available.”

Some speculate a Thursday launch the world over is in the offing given Apple’s App Store policies.

“The App Store usually refreshes with new releases and big updates on Thursday to enable users the entire weekend to browse and purchase,” a developer tells Gadgets 360.

As per The Wall Street Journal, you can expect it in your country soon. It claims that “people familiar with plans for the game said it would likely be available in other regions, including Europe, Japan, and other Asian nations within a few days.”

This bodes well for an official Indian release. Even more so when you consider that previous Nintendo efforts such as Miitomo have ignored the country altogether.

Cisco Readies Plan to Set Up Manufacturing Plant in India

Cisco Readies Plan to Set Up Manufacturing Plant in India

Technology major Cisco is working on a plan to establish a manufacturing facility in India and is in talks with the government for the same, a top official of the company has said.

Terming India as one of its “best bases”, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said the company is “very actively involved in India across the board” and working on a broader base from digitisation to smart cities in the country.

He was interacting with reporters at the Cisco Live 2016 annual conference in Las Vegas.

On expansion plans in India, Robbins said, “… Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very committed to manufacturing. We worked through a business case and… presented to him that… That was fantastic and we have been moving forward.”

He disclosed that India is moving forward on various healthcare and security initiatives, with a lot happening on the digital cities front.

Cisco is engaged in over 15 smart cities projects in the country. The company is also working with Andhra Pradesh government for rolling out Bharat Net.

The company views India as one of the best bases and is focusing a lot on education as well, Robbins added.

The country is home to Cisco’s second-largest site, which has about 11,000 employees. It is offering education to 24,000 students spread across 47 schools.

Xiaomi Mi Max Phablet Now Available via Open Sale in India

Xiaomi Mi Max Phablet Now Available via Open Sale in India

  • The Mi Max was launched last month at Rs. 14,999
  • A higher-spec variant will launch soon at Rs. 19,999
  • The phablet is now available across Xiaomi’s retail partners

Following its first flash sale on Mi.com last week, the Xiaomi Mi Max is now available in open sale via the Chinese conglomerate’s online retail partners in the country – Amazon India, Flipkart (currently out of stock), Paytm, Snapdeal (not yet listed), and Tata Cliq.

To recall, at the Xiaomi Mi Max launch event in the last week of June, the firm had announced that July 13 will see the smartphone available in open sale via its retail partners. Interested buyers will now be able to buy the smartphone without registering themselves in advance, or rushing to purchase the smartphone during a flash sale.

(Also see: Xiaomi Mi Max Review)

The all-metal body Mi Max is available to buy in Dark Grey, Gold, and Silver colour variants. So far, the company has launched just one variant of the smartphone in India – 3GB of RAM/ 32GB of inbuilt storage/ Snapdragon 650 SoC – at Rs. 14,999.

Another variant with 4GB of RAM/ 128GB of inbuilt storage/ Snapdragon 652 SoC will be made available soon in India, priced at Rs. 19,999, Xiaomi announced last month. Both variants support expandable storage via a hybrid dual SIM configuration.

The first 1 million Mi Max, Mi 5, and Redmi Note 3 users in India will also get 3 months of free movies on Hungama Play and 1 year of unlimited music on Hungama Music.

The Xiaomi Mi Max sports a 6.44-inch full-HD (1080×1920) 342ppi display. It bears a  16-megapixel rear camera that offers phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and LED flash. The phablet also bears a 5-megapixel front camera also on board with 85-degree wide-angle view. Both cameras have an f/2.0 aperture.

The dual-SIM handset supports 4G LTE with VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS/ A-GPS with Glonass, and Wi-Fi 802.11ac with Mimo. There’s no NFC on board. It is backed by a massive 4850mAh battery, measures 173.1×88.3×7.5mm, and weighs in at 203 grams.

The Mi Max sports a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel, an infrared emitter that acts as a universal remote control, apart from an ambient light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and proximity sensor.

Nearly Half of Smartphone Gamers Are Women

Nearly Half of Smartphone Gamers Are Women: Facebook Study

Smartphones are the most used gaming device for people globally – and across 12 countries, 47 percent of all smartphone players are now women, a Facebook study has revealed, adding that gaming on mobile devices is increasingly becoming popular among women.

Facebook’s data analysis and storytelling team FacebookIQ commissioned market research company TNS to survey people ages 18-plus spanning 12 countries representing North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle-East and Asia on their use of mobile as a gaming device.

The survey found that on average, smartphones are the top gaming device for users – at 71 percent – followed by computers at 64 percent, tablets at 34 percent and video game consoles at 26 percent, adweek.com reported on Tuesday.

The survey also analysed the habits of mobile game spenders – users who play games on mobile and pay for games on at least a monthly basis – and found that these spending players were 2.7 times more likely to stay in-game for a “sense of community and belonging” than mobile non-spenders.

These spenders were also found to be 2.3 times more likely to stop playing games than non-spenders if community members stop playing.

“On average across the 12 markets, 68 percent of mobile game spenders said they discover games via social networking platforms. Other popular discovery sources were photo and video services at 57 percent and chat apps at 54 percent,” the report said.

Thirty-four percent of mobile game spenders said they discover games by word of mouth.