Samsung plans Rs 500 cr investment to ramp up mobile production

Samung.jpgSouth Korean electronics major Samsung is planning to invest over Rs 500 crore to ramp up its mobile production capacity in India, industry sources said.

"Samsung is working to invest Rs 500 crore in its mobile production facility in India. It had approached government in this regard to take benefit of policy announcements and other incentives. The investment proposals have been cleared at Department of Electronics and IT (DEITY) level," a source said.

When contacted, Samsung India spokesperson said: "We are looking at strengthening our manufacturing presence in the country, to fulfil our growing needs in the market. However we are not able to provide further details at this stage."

The company in April had said that it will manufacture its latest high-end smartphone Samsung Galaxy S4 in its Noida facility, but had not disclosed the investment that it would make in the manufacturing facility.

Noida facility manufactures about 3.5 to 4 crore phones annually, including 12 smartphones models such as Galaxy S3.

Samsung had last announced investment of USD 70 million (around Rs 315 crore) in September 2011 to ramp up its mobile production capacity from 1.2 crore per annum to 3.6 crore per annum.

As per latest report by market research firm IDC, Samsung led the Indian smartphone market with shipment of around 20 lakh smartphones accounting for 32.7 per cent of the total smartphones shipped in January-March 2013 period.

Samsung plans Rs 500 cr investment to ramp up mobile production

Samung.jpgSouth Korean electronics major Samsung is planning to invest over Rs 500 crore to ramp up its mobile production capacity in India, industry sources said.

"Samsung is working to invest Rs 500 crore in its mobile production facility in India. It had approached government in this regard to take benefit of policy announcements and other incentives. The investment proposals have been cleared at Department of Electronics and IT (DEITY) level," a source said.

When contacted, Samsung India spokesperson said: "We are looking at strengthening our manufacturing presence in the country, to fulfil our growing needs in the market. However we are not able to provide further details at this stage."

The company in April had said that it will manufacture its latest high-end smartphone Samsung Galaxy S4 in its Noida facility, but had not disclosed the investment that it would make in the manufacturing facility.

Noida facility manufactures about 3.5 to 4 crore phones annually, including 12 smartphones models such as Galaxy S3.

Samsung had last announced investment of USD 70 million (around Rs 315 crore) in September 2011 to ramp up its mobile production capacity from 1.2 crore per annum to 3.6 crore per annum.

As per latest report by market research firm IDC, Samsung led the Indian smartphone market with shipment of around 20 lakh smartphones accounting for 32.7 per cent of the total smartphones shipped in January-March 2013 period.

Nokia makes profit from $20 phone, the Nokia 105, teardown reveals

Amid all the scrutiny on its high-end Lumia Windows Phone smartphones, Nokia is apparently providing a master lesson in how to make a profit from a basic mobile phone that costs only €15 ($20).

The Nokia 105

According to a teardown by analysts at IHS, the ultra-low-cost Nokia 105 has been designed in such a simple and integrated way that the company is able to achieve a modest profit even after materials and manufacturing costs--which total $14.20--are taken into account.

"By keeping features the same for nearly a decade, the Nokia 105 can integrate nearly all system functions into a single chip, dramatically reducing the cost to produce a cellphone," said Wing Lam, principal analyst for IHS. "The 105 allows Nokia to participate in the [ultra-low-cost handset] market targeting specific regions and consumers."

The 105 is part of Nokia's 1100 line that targets emerging markets including Africa, India, and Latin America.

"While much attention has been lavished on smartphones, the market for simple handsets remains very important to Nokia," said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. "Non-smartphones, including ULCH cellphones like the 105, accounted for 90 per cent of Nokia's shipments in 2012."

In the first quarter of 2013, Nokia shipped 5.6 million Lumia products, 500,000 Symbian-based devices and 55.8 million mobile phones, of which 5 million were the lower-end Asha smartphones.

The 105 is based on a single, highly integrated chip, the Intel PMB7900, which combines baseband and the RF transceiver enabling GSM/GPRS functions, IHS said. This reduces the total number of integrated circuits to three, compared to six for the previous Nokia 1110.

Nevertheless, while the ultra-low-cost market is important, Nokia still needs to do more to compete in the lucrative smartphone market. Further scorn was poured on its Windows Phone strategy today: Barron's quoted Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu as saying that the company should adopt Android before the year is out, "rather than continue to rely on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system and lower-cost feature phones such as its 'Asha' line."

For more:
- see this IHS release
- see this Barron's blog post

Related Articles:
Nokia basks in afterglow of M&A interest
Huawei challenges rivals with 'world's slimmest' smartphone
Nokia to stop shipping Symbian smartphones this summer
Nokia overhauls Asha operating system, adds in-app payments
Nokia exec highlights improved Lumia marketing coordination with Microsoft, carriers
Nokia unveils Lumia 925, T-Mobile to exclusively launch it in the U.S.

Nokia makes profit from $20 phone, the Nokia 105, teardown reveals

Amid all the scrutiny on its high-end Lumia Windows Phone smartphones, Nokia is apparently providing a master lesson in how to make a profit from a basic mobile phone that costs only €15 ($20).

The Nokia 105

According to a teardown by analysts at IHS, the ultra-low-cost Nokia 105 has been designed in such a simple and integrated way that the company is able to achieve a modest profit even after materials and manufacturing costs--which total $14.20--are taken into account.

"By keeping features the same for nearly a decade, the Nokia 105 can integrate nearly all system functions into a single chip, dramatically reducing the cost to produce a cellphone," said Wing Lam, principal analyst for IHS. "The 105 allows Nokia to participate in the [ultra-low-cost handset] market targeting specific regions and consumers."

The 105 is part of Nokia's 1100 line that targets emerging markets including Africa, India, and Latin America.

"While much attention has been lavished on smartphones, the market for simple handsets remains very important to Nokia," said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. "Non-smartphones, including ULCH cellphones like the 105, accounted for 90 per cent of Nokia's shipments in 2012."

In the first quarter of 2013, Nokia shipped 5.6 million Lumia products, 500,000 Symbian-based devices and 55.8 million mobile phones, of which 5 million were the lower-end Asha smartphones.

The 105 is based on a single, highly integrated chip, the Intel PMB7900, which combines baseband and the RF transceiver enabling GSM/GPRS functions, IHS said. This reduces the total number of integrated circuits to three, compared to six for the previous Nokia 1110.

Nevertheless, while the ultra-low-cost market is important, Nokia still needs to do more to compete in the lucrative smartphone market. Further scorn was poured on its Windows Phone strategy today: Barron's quoted Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu as saying that the company should adopt Android before the year is out, "rather than continue to rely on Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system and lower-cost feature phones such as its 'Asha' line."

For more:
- see this IHS release
- see this Barron's blog post

Related Articles:
Nokia basks in afterglow of M&A interest
Huawei challenges rivals with 'world's slimmest' smartphone
Nokia to stop shipping Symbian smartphones this summer
Nokia overhauls Asha operating system, adds in-app payments
Nokia exec highlights improved Lumia marketing coordination with Microsoft, carriers
Nokia unveils Lumia 925, T-Mobile to exclusively launch it in the U.S.

Verizon 700 MHz LTE: We’re Done!

Verizon Wireless announced today that its 4G LTE network now covers 500 markets in 49 states and will launch next month in Alaska. It began building out its 700 MHz-based, LTE network in December 2010.

Verizon’s LTE network, using 20 Mhz on the 700 MHz band, is now available to more than 99 percent of its 3G footprint and to more than 95 percent of the entire U.S. population. Today, some 57 percent of Verizon Wireless’ data is carried on its 4G LTE.

With Verizon’s nationwide 4G coverage, the company is now planning the gradual retirement of its 3G CDMA networks on the 800 MHz band and 1.9 GHz PCS band. Verizon will start refarming PCS spectrum for LTE in 2015.

This year Verizon will start turning on LTE cell sites in its newly acquired Advanced Wireless Services spectrum. Verizon plans on launching LTE small cells using the 1.7/2.1 MHZ AWS band to add capacity in urban cores. Verizon paid $3.6 billion to buy cable’s (AWS) spectrum in 2011 (from SpectrumCo). Cox Communications also agreed to sell Verizon Wireless its 20MHz slice of AWS spectrum for $315 million.

Verizon will deploy 5,000 AWS sites by the end of 2013, and a lot more next year. Verizon says AWS will mostly be used for small cells in urban cores. T-Mobile is deploying LTE-A in the AWS band in some markets this year, while Clearwire is deploying LTE-A in the 2.6GHz band this summer.

The two dominant owners of AWS spectrum, by far, are now Verizon and T-Mobile. Both have comprehensive nationwide coverage. After AT&T lost their $39 billion merger bid with T-Mobile, they forfeited much of their AWS holdings to T-Mobile.

Verizon later swapped AWS spectrum with T-Mobile to give both sides more contiguous spectrum within the AWS-1 band.

As part of the failed merger deal, AT&T agreed to pay T-Mobile a cash payment of 3 billion dollars and AWS spectrum in 128 Cellular Market Areas, including 12 of the top 20 markets.

Verizon says their 700 MHz C band and AWS will be the two bands that will be for roaming. The big test will be whether Verizon will lock out T-Mobile on the AWS band.

Both AT&T and Verizon told the FCC that roaming was technically impractical for smaller LTE operators using the 700 MHz “A” block. That froze out the phones and LTE service of smaller operators, making them isolated islands, lowering their worth.

Trying to cut-off T-Mobile’s AWS service from roaming might be a tougher sell since both Verizon and T-Mobile’s AWS service share more power and operational specs. How Tom Wheeler plays his cards may be revealing.

According to Verizon Wireless Chief Network Officer Nicola Palmer, by late 2014, Verizon will launch its first all-VoIP LTE-only phone. But VoLTE is not just about squeezing more voice calls into a given channel. With their large LTE footprint, LTE-only smartphones and single-mode LTE devices could be cheaper by eliminating 3G voice fall-back.

Palmer said Verizon’s service would include video-casting and other real-time multimedia communications features. As an IP service, VoLTE could be integrated into other applications such as over-the-top video applications.

Verizon is already testing VoLTE in trials and plans to launch the service, at first using traditional CDMA-LTE combo phones. Later it plans to launch cheaper VoIP-only phones.

According to Juniper Research, the total number of LTE subscriber globally is estimated to be 105 million this year and is expected to nearly double to 220 million world-wide in 2014.

The real growth of LTE happens in 2014-2017 as the Asia-Pacific region kicks in with their TD-LTE systems in China and India, with Japan and South Korea also adding significant numbers. The primary bands for LTE world-wide is expected to be 1800 MHz and 2600 Mhz. Unfortunately, the PCS and AWS bands in the United States are not globally aligned, so the 2.6 GHz band appears to be the most likely to provide global roaming.

Some 915 million LTE global subscribers are forecast by 2016, eclipsing one billion in 2017.

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