News Digest: Mobile Handset Growth, Trade Deficit, Forbes 50 Indian Women & more…

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Last week of February has been sedate to say the least – In the world of finance, MCX IPO was star performer, with the issue being over-subscribed by almost 55 times on investor frenzy over the sole listing of the commodity exchange. The allotment is expected around 5/6th of March; whereas listing by the end of the week.

Among other news, the state-owned energy giant ONGC’s auction almost fizzled out, thanks to reports of last minute bail-out by the insurance behemoth LIC; which was disgracefully dubbed as ‘success’ by the face-saving government. Here are few highlights of the last few days:

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Shut your Mobile while Driving

The latest news that has hit headlines in today’s morning newspapers is jail term and higher fine for traffic law offenders, including drunken driving, jumping traffic signals and use of mobile phones behind the wheels.

The Union Cabinet has approved amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act to increase penalties manifold to as much as Rs.500 for talking on mobile phone while driving (including hands-free instruments), and subsequent violations up to Rs.5000.

Indian Mobile market grew 10% in 2011

The growth in subscriber additions in the telecom sector is having a positive rub-off effect on Indian handset market as well, with the sales registering 10% YoY growth at 183 million units in 2011. Moreover, Nokia retained its top spot by retaining almost one-third market share in terms of unit shipments.

Interestingly, the shipments for multi-SIM handsets grew 61% YoY, constituting more than half (57%) of the total Indian mobile handset market.

Forbes List of Asia’s 50 Power Business Women

International Women’s Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements across the world, from the fields as varied as politics, business, education, etc.

Just prior to this crucial event, Forbes has released its list of Asia’s 50 power business women, mainly crowded by Indians, Chinese and Taiwanese people. Following are the 8 Indian women who made a cut into the elite list:

  • Vinita Bali – Britannia Industries
  • Shobhana Bhartia – HT Media
  • Ekta Kapoor – Balaji Telefilms
  • Chanda Kochhar – ICICI Bank
  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – Biocon
  • Zia Mody – AZB & Partners
  • Shikha Sharma – Axis Bank
  • Mallika Srinivasan – Tractors & Farm Equipment

India’s Trade Deficit for January 2012 at $14.7 bn

India’s January exports came in at $25.35 billion, up 10.10% year on year – taking the cumulative exports for the 10 month period of the fiscal year 2012 to $242.80 billion.

The value of imports in the country surged by 20.30% YoY to arrive at $40.10 billion; marred by higher crude oil import bill. To sum it up, India’s trade deficit for January got screwed at $14.70 billion vs. $10.30 billion logged during January 2011. Trade deficit during the fiscal stood at $148.60 billion as against $105.90 billion YoY.

Sunil Mittal hints at tariff hike if charged for spectrum

Yesterday, we briefed on how mobile media usage has surpassed TV in consumer time spent. InMobi’s Mobile Media Consumption report states that consumers spend 27% of their media time on mobile, compared to 22% on television.

With the apex court canceling 122 licenses of new telecom operators in the 2G spectrum allocation case, telecom czar Sunil Mittal has raised alarm bells saying that mobile tariffs will have to be raised if incumbent operators like Bharti are made to pay extra for the spectrum that has been allocated to them.

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