Is data communications equipment the new oil?

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2017-06-19

The Economist magazine recently claimed data is now more valuable than oil. While data monetization is driving a new “gold rush,” there’s something else happening reminiscent of the financial impact of the oil industry, the rising importance of data communications equipment in the trade deficits of a large number of countries. Imports of electronics equipment—communications infrastructure, devices, data-center equipment and …

India’s mobile market making space for Jio

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2017-02-14

I first heard of Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), in early 2004–a couple of years after he launched Reliance Communications (RCOM) for his terminally-ill father. Reliance had struggled to enter the mobile telecoms market in India in the mid-1990s, when the government first auctioned spectrum. But in 2002 it obtained, through administrative process, a nationwide 800 …

South Asia the next hot spot for M&A activity

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-07-19

By any international comparison the countries of South Asia simply have too many mobile operators for each of them to be economically viable. In the developed countries of the Asia Pacific between 2005 and 2010 mobile markets rapidly concentrated, but South Asia has experience a sticky larger number of players. China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore all have …

Mobile and money

Indian government greed ahead of high-priced spectrum auctions

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-01-30

A reasonable person might infer the main function of a government agency called the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) would be to expedite the development and deployment of telecommunications services. But not in India it seems. Rather than helping mobile telecoms operators roll out modern networks for the benefit of the Indian consumer, the government bureaucrats seem to be under the …

Telecom M&A in India: déjà vu policy stalemate

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-01-11

The long-overdue and much-needed consolidation of the Indian mobile telecommunications market is still on hold thanks to continuing government prevarication and inaction. I was hopeful the incoming new government would introduce promised reforms in the form of pro-telecom and pro-consumer initiatives. If they had done it last year, we would have seen a rush of M&A activity commencing in the …

Pakistan’s IT-BPO Services Export Opportunity

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-07-25

Pakistan has, to date, largely missed out on the global information technologies and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) opportunity. The telecom sector in emerging markets—longhaul, backhaul and last mile—is essential to build the high-bandwidth connectivity which brings societies together and links them to the world. As telecom penetration rises, there are huge gains in productivity and social benefit.  And in emerging …

India Telecom M&A: Thirteen into six might go

India Telecom M&A: Thirteen into six might go

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-03-19

Recent and upcoming reforms in the Indian telecommunications market, particularly the liberalisation of M&A rules, are expected to result in considerable market consolidation. In the first acquisition of one operator by another in six years, market leader Bharti Airtel is buying one of the smallest operators, Loop Telecom. Loop's three million customers and infrastructure are all in the key market …

Drama: Spectrum auctions in India

Author: Philipe Moura
Published: 2014-03-18

The Indian government has had a rocky ride with spectrum policy – or sometimes the lack of it – since economic reforms began in 1991. The country's first four cellular licenses were awarded from 1991 onwards via a simple, closed-bid, auction process with winners getting a limited initial spectrum assignment in the 900MHz band. Confusion was quickly added to the …

M2M regulation a growing priority

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-03-10

M2M regulation is on the way. Here are some of the ways it might affect you. By the end of 2013, there were 195 million dedicated machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile connections worldwide, according to a GSM Association Study. This figure is expected to grow to 250 million during 2014. As the M2M subscriber base grows, regulators are increasingly looking into specific …