Loop Expands: Obliging with regulatory requirements, Loop Mobile (previously BPL Mobile) has rolled out its network in Tamil Nadu and Orissa and will make a soft launch in five states by mid-June. BPL Mobile is one of the oldest telecom players, it operates in Mumbai and has recently rebranded itself.
As of February 09, Loop had 2,073,184 subscribers and 0.75% of the GSM market share. It owns licenses to operate in 21 circles. The Department of Telecom (DoT) had relaxed roll-out obligations for telcos but the move has not been approved by the telecom commission, so the conditions stand – operators have to cover 10% of the total coverage of district headquarters within the first year and 50% by the third, FE reports.
So these soft launches in TN and Orissa could be to comply with regulations. With this step, the operator will be competing against heavyweights such as Airtel and Vodafone, as well as smaller but aggressive operators like Aircel and Idea Cellular. Loop is also facing suspicion by the ministry on the leap its equity has taken – when it applied for spectrum, Loop’s equity stood at Rs 1310 million which rose to Rs 3080 million when it issued additional equity shares. Its owners – owners Vodafone (which has 67% stake) and Essar (9.9%) have also been in dispute for long now.
TV18 Approves Rights Issue: Following the reclassification of shares by publishing house Infomedia18 in preparation of raising money through a rights issue, holding company Television18 India, which owns CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz and Infomedia18 (Q4 09 results), has informed the BSE that its board has approved a rights issue to raise Rs 5.1 billion. It has further noted that its promoters will subscribe to unsubscribed portions of the issue and the amount will be used to repay debts. Infomedia18 is not doing very well, with expenses to the tune of Rs 672 million dragging down net sales.
Hulu-Saavn Tie Up To Stream Bollywood Movies Online: Saavn, an online portal for Bollywood video content will now share Bollywood movies with video site Hulu.com. Saavn is a joint venture between 212 Media and Hungama. Hulu is backed by NBC Universal (25%), News Corporation (25%), The Walt Disney Company (27%) and Providence Equity Partners (23%). More at IDG.
Saavn will offer five movies – Sarkar, Hera Pheri, Deewana, Hulchul and Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke – to Hulu, which is attempting to go international. By bringing Bollywood on board, the company has made the right move in gaining more popularity but it may think about removing regional restrictions on its content – currently it offers TV shows, video clips and Hollywood movies that only users in the US are able to watch. Bollywood will give Hulu a boost, and if Hulu is able to tie up with more Indian content distributors for Hindi TV serials and soap operas, it has the potential to overtake Youtube.