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Raja conspired with others to favour ineligible telecom firms: ED

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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday told a special court hearing a money laundering case related to allocation of 2G spectrum that former telecom minister A. Raja had conspired with other accused to grant telecom licences to ineligible firms.

For this, Rs.200 crore was paid by promoters of Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd., using their group entity Dynamix Realty, to Kalaignar TV, through Kusegaon Realty Pvt. Ltd. and Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (Cineyug Films), ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover told Special Judge O.P. Saini during final arguments in the case.

This amount was given in the garb of legitimate financial transaction, that is as loan/share application money, he added.

Grover further said that the payment was in reality illegal gratification for and on behalf of Raja and his associates in lieu of illegal favours extended to the STPL for the grant of Unified Access Services (UAS) licence.

The ED further said that its investigation has revealed that the return of Rs.200 crore has been shown along with an additional sum of money in order to show this illegal payment as legal and bona fide financial transactions.

The amount was returned on the date Raja was summoned for questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

After hearing the prosecution for a while, the court posted the matter for July 27 for further arguments.

Along with Raja, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and others are facing trial in the money laundering case relating to the allocation of 2G spectrum.

The accused have been booked under various sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

-IANS

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EU Countries may Exclude High-Risk 5G Providers Under New Guidelines

EU countries can restrict or exclude high-risk 5G providers from core parts of their telecoms network

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5G
A 5G logo is displayed on a screen outside the showroom at Huawei campus in Shenzhen city, China's Guangdong province. VOA

EU countries can restrict or exclude high-risk 5G providers from core parts of their telecoms network infrastructure under new science and technology guidelines to be issued by the European Commission next week, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The non-binding recommendations are part of a set of measures aimed at addressing cybersecurity risks at national and bloc-wide level, in particular concerns related to world No. 1 player Huawei Technologies.

The guidelines do not identify any particular country or company, the people said.

“Stricter security measures will apply for high-risk vendors for sensitive parts of the network or the core infrastructure,” one of the people said.

5G
Australia’s ban on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s involvement in its future 5G networks and its crackdown on foreign covert interference are testing Beijing’s efforts to project its power overseas. Pixabay

EU digital economy chief Margrethe Vestager is expected to announce the recommendations on Jan. 29.

Other measures include urging EU countries to audit or even issue certificates for high-risk suppliers.

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EU governments will also be advised to diversify their suppliers and not depend on one company and to use technical and non-technical factors to assess them.

Europe is under pressure from the United States to ban Huawei equipment on concerns that its gear could be used by China for spying. Huawei, which competes with Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson has denied the allegations. (VOA)

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“Didn’t Get Financial Help from Chinese Government in Billions”, Says Huawei

The tech behemoth also said that it reserved the right to take legal actions against the WSJ for "a number of disingenuous and irresponsible articles"

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Huawei
Huawei emphasised its research and development spending as the reason for its ongoing success, noting that over the last 30 years it has spent between 10 to 15 per cent of its annual revenue developing new technologies and products. Wikimedia Commons

Reacting to reports that it got as much as $75 bilion in state support from China, Chinese telecom and smartphone giant Huawei has denied the alleged special treatment and called them “wild accusations”.

Tens of billions of dollars in financial assistance from the Chinese government helped fuel Huawei Technologies Co.’s rise to the top of global telecommunications, a scale of support that in key measures dwarfed what its closest tech rivals got from their governments, claimed a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Reacting to it, Huawei responded in a string of tweets on Thursday: “Once again, the WSJ has published untruths about Huawei based on false information. This time, wild accusations about Huawei’s finances ignore our 30 years of dedicated investments in R&D that have driven innovation and the tech industry as a whole.”

The tech behemoth also said that it reserved the right to take legal actions against the WSJ for “a number of disingenuous and irresponsible articles”.

Huawei
Reacting to reports that it got as much as $75 bilion in state support from China, Chinese telecom and smartphone giant Huawei has denied the alleged special treatment and called them “wild accusations”. Wikimedia Commons

The company emphasised its research and development spending as the reason for its ongoing success, noting that over the last 30 years it has spent between 10 to 15 per cent of its annual revenue developing new technologies and products.

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“Every tech company in China is entitled to subsidies, as long as they meet conditions. Over the past decade, Huawei has received government subsidies amounting to less than 0.3 per cent of our total annual revenue. The figure was just 0.2 per cent for 2018,” the company added in a tweet. (IANS)

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Fresh Telecom War between Reliance Jio and Older Operators, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea

One of our competitors has imposed a rate of 6 paise for all off net calls made to other operators to cover the termination charge

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Telecom, War, Reliance
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman R.S. Sharma did not respond to calls for queries on Jio' s contention that it has been forced to take the step due regulatory undertainty created by Trai issuing a consultation paper to review whether the regime timeline needs. Flickr

A fresh telecom war between Reliance Jio and older operators — Airtel and Vodafone-Idea — erupted on Wednesday after the Mukesh Ambani-led Jio said it would charge 6 paise per minute for making calls to other networks, even as Airtel described it as pressure tactics by Jio to reduce interconnection charges.

On account of taking a hit of Rs 13,500 crore due to network connection charges, or interconnet usage charges (IUC), Reliance Jio on Wednesday said it will charge customers 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to rival networks till IUC charges are eliminated. This is the first time that Jio users will pay for voice calls which has been free so far since September 2016.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman R.S. Sharma did not respond to calls for queries on Jio’ s contention that it has been forced to take the step due regulatory undertainty created by Trai issuing a consultation paper to review whether the regime timeline needs to be extended.

In a statement here, Airtel said: “One of our competitors has imposed a rate of 6 paise for all off net calls made to other operators to cover the termination charge of Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC). They have gone on to suggest that Trai has re-opened this issue”.

Telecom, War, Reliance
On account of taking a hit of Rs 13,500 crore due to network connection charges, or interconnet usage charges (IUC), Reliance Jio on Wednesday said it will charge customers 6 paise per minute for voice calls made to rival networks till IUC charges are eliminated. Flickr

“On 19th September, 2017, when Trai reduced the IUC from 14 paise to 6 paise and proposed a move towards Bill and Keep (zero IUC) with effect from January 1, 2020, they had specifically mentioned that the Authority shall keep a close watch on developments in the sector, particularly with respect to the adoption of new technologies and their impact on termination cost.

“The Authority, if deems it necessary may revisit the scheme of Termination charge applicable on Wireless-to-Wireless calls after one year from the implementation of the regulation”, the statement said.

Trai had, in 2017, slashed the IUC to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise, and had said that the regime would end by January 2020. Last month, however, Trai weighed the option of deferring the date for scrapping IUC.

The regulator a floated a fresh consultation paper to see if there is a need to revise the applicable date for scrapping the IUC, given the continuing imbalance in inter-operator traffic.

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The paper also sought to discuss with stakeholders what parameters should be considered to decide on an alternate date, if any. At the time Trai decided to scrap the IUC, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had resisted the change, while Jio was in favour.

Jio said that the possible change of timeline for eliminating IUC, has led to uncetainity about the IUC phase-out deadline and it cannot continue to be at a loss of Rs 13,500 crore on acocunt of IUC by offering free voice calls to rivals’ networks from its own.

“The consultation paper has created regulatory uncertainty and therefore Jio has been compelled, most reluctantly and unavoidably, to recover this regulatory charge of 6 paise per minute for all off-net mobile voice calls so long as IUC charges exist,” the Jio statement said.

Trai’s aim was to evaluate two factors – the adoption of VoLTE, which TRAI assumed would bring the cost down and that the growth of smaller-sized operators would result in symmetry of traffic would ensue. Both these factors have not materialised.

Telecom, War, Reliance
This is the first time that Jio users will pay for voice calls which has been free so far since September 2016. Pixabay

There are still over 400 million 2G customers from the poorest sections of society living in rural areas paying less than Rs 50 per month who still cannot afford to buy a 4G device. Second, there is still significant asymmetry of traffic.

Accordingly, Trai issued a consultation paper in September 2019 to reassess the timeline of the shift from 6 paise to a zero charge.

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The telecom industry is in a state of deep financial stress since the last three years with several operators having gone bankrupt and thousands of jobs lost. Given the massive 2G customer base in India the cost of the call at 6 paise is already significantly below the real cost of the call. (IANS)