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Digest: Airtel, Vodafone, Nokia, Apple-Beats and Motorola

Airtel-4G-logoAirtel launches 4G service in Ludhiana;

Airtel has extended its 4G LTE service to Ludhiana, after launching it in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula earlier this month.

The telco mentions that this service is limited to iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, Xolo LT 900 and LG G2 devices since they support the TD-LTE 2300 MHz band on which Airtel has currently deployed its 4G service. 4G dongles are priced at Rs 1500 and the SIM will be provided free of charge. Mobile users meanwhile, will need to pay Rs 49 for the SIM. Rates vary from Rs 100-Rs 999 depending on the amount of data you want to use.

Common SIM for all data services: Airtel has requested telecom department to allow the usage of a common SIM card on a single device so that customers can access 2G, 3G and high-speed broadband services under Broadband wireless access (BWA) at one go, reports The Economic Times. The telco has sought this interim arrangement till its internet service provider (ISP) licence is merged with its unified access service permit (UASL), as approved by the Bombay High Court, earlier. A customer will need to fill up a separate form for 4G while signing up for the service. Airtel will still have to report revenues from BWA spectrum separately.

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vodafone-logoFinance Ministry withdraws from conciliation measures with Vodafone

The Finance Ministry withdrew from conciliation proceedings to resolve the tax row with Vodafone after the UK-based telecom firm served notice of arbitration, reports The Economic Times. Meanwhile, Vodafone International Holdings (VIH) served a ‘Notice of Arbitration’ dated April 17 seeking arbitration under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) between India and Netherlands.

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Vodafone stated that in a letter to the Revenue Department dated March 13 that it saw no merit in reviewing the matter of conciliation in the Rs 20,000-crore capital gains tax dispute case after receipt of the decision of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). It had further said that the only body capable of resolving the issue would be an arbitration panel constituted according to the BIPA. It was following this letter, that the ministry approached the Cabinet seeking permission to withdraw.

In 2012, Supreme Court had ruled in favour of Vodafone saying that the Indian Tax Department had no jurisdiction to tax the transaction since it happened offshore in Caymen Islands between two foreign entities Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited (HTIL) & VIH.

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Nokia LogoCan a bilateral agreement between India and Finland save Nokia?

Nokia decided to lean on the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) India has with Finland to resolve the tax dispute it has with the Indian government, reports PTI. The company reportedly wrote to the Prime Minister  invoking dispute settlement clause in the India-Finland BIPA to settle the row that had led to its Chennai plant being left out of the over $7.2-billion deal with Microsoft. Apart from the issues with the Income Tax department, the company is also sued by Tamil Nadu government that had alleged that Nokia was masking devices sales within India as exports and not paying sales tax on these devices.

With a change in government at the center, it is not clear how much this letter would help Nokia’s cause.

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Apple-logoApple buying Beats for $3.2 billion

Apple is planning to buy headphone manufacturer Beats Electronics, that is backed by big names in the music industry such as Dr Dre and Will.i.am. The iPhone manufacturer has not announced their reasoning for buying the company, but speculations include reasons such as style factor, celebrity factor and even a possible play in the wearables space. Perhaps it is all three. Either way, if the deal goes through we can all be hopeful that the next iPhone could come with earphones that are red in colour, though audio quality will still be pretty average.

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MotorolaMoto360 will be sold on Flipkart

Motorola’s upcoming smartwatch powered by Google Wear, will be available in India this year itself and will be sold on Flipkart, reports GadgetsToUse. There are no major players in Indian smartphone market as of now. Do note that Google Wear is not a standalone device, but needs to be a paired with a smartphone for it to work.

The company, which was sold by Google to Lenovo earlier this year has been selling phones in India exclusively through Flipkart. It recently launched MotoE, a cheaper version of MotoG, priced at Rs 6,999. The device competes against Android devices made by Indian manufacturers, apart from low-end Windows devices sold by Nokia.

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