All about 3G and what it means for you

August 5, 2008

On August 1, 2008, India joined the elite list of countries to announce a policy for third generation mobile service that will enable customers to enjoy voice, video, data and downloading facilities on their mobile phones.

The much-awaited 3G policy would allow up to 10 players in a service area including foreign companies. India has 60 Mhz of 3G spectrum available. The auction will take place in the 2.1 Ghz band.

The government has set a base price of Rs 2,020 crore (Rs 20.20 billion) for each bid for a pan-India license. Initially, there will be three to five operators to sell the 3G services, including state-run BSNL and MTNL. The state-run telecom firms have an edge to start the 3G services earlier than others as they do not have to bid for the spectrum as they only have to match the highest bid in their respective circles.

When will 3G services in India start?

There is no firm date set for the auction of 3G spectrum, but it is likely to take place before February 2009 since the government may need the money to keep its deficit within control; current estimates put the initial entry fee bids that the government will get at anywhere between Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) and Rs 40,000 crore (Rs 400 billion).

In that case, by about December 2009, India may get broadband-type internet speeds on mobile phones. That, in turn, will allow users to view movies on their mobile phones, conduct video telephony while on the move, and so on.

What will 3G mean for you

3G is short for third-generation mobile telephony services. 3G guidelines will revolutionise the country’s cell phone services, clearing the way for high-speed mobile connectivity in India.

3G phones work in higher bandwidths of 15-20 MHz. Currently, mobile phones work on 2G or 2.5G, and use 30-200 KHz bandwidth. Bandwidth is a measure of the width of a range of frequencies used while transferring data from one point to another and is measured in hertz.

How do 3G services help us?

3G services enable video broadcast and data-intensive services such as stock transactions, e-learning and telemedicine through wireless communications

All telecom operators are waiting to launch 3G in India to cash in on revenues by providing high-end services to customers, which are voice data and video enabled. India lags behind many Asian countries in introducing 3G services.

Packet-based data provides several advantages over the existing circuit-switched techniques used for carrying mobile voice. It allows higher call volumes and support for multimedia data applications, such as video and photography.

Users will be charged on how much data they transmit, not on how much time they are connected to the network, because with 3G you are constantly online and only pay for the information you receive.

Number portability

There is good news for all mobile phone users in India. The roadmap to introduce mobile number portability that will give cellphone users the freedom to choose their service provider while retaining their numbers has been readied too.

Cheaper, and better, phones

With 3G mobile services, which provide high-speed downloads of data, movies and videos, around six month away, mobile phone makers are getting ready to offer handsets for as little as Rs 3,500, against the currently available minimum price of over Rs 8,000.

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies is already in talks with leading Indian operators of GSM mobile services to sell a 3G entry-level phone within $80 to $100.

South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics has the KU250 3G phone model, which is positioned as one of the cheapest phones in this category around the globe. “We will launch an adaptation of this model in India for around $100.

Motorola India also expects prices to fall dramatically. It expects the prices of phones to come down to Rs 4,000-5,000. Motorola has about three 3G models that range from Rs 14,000 to Rs 19,000.

Also, contrary to common belief, 3G will not be a premium service. Operators said a start-up package could cost around Rs 299, which is roughly what consumers pay for a fixed broadband service. Unlimited downloading may require subscribers to pay Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 a month.

What do 3G handsets look like?

3GSM phone designs are based on functionality and customer needs. To allow new Internet and multi-media services, bigger viewing screens are the norm. Thus, the size of 3G is likely to be bigger, yet some mobile phone manufacturers could offer small handsets too.

Can you receive 3GSM services from your current mobile handset?

3GSM is a new technology and thus you cannot access 3G multimedia services using existing GSM handsets. So you will need to upgrade your mobile to be able to use these services.

What exactly do 3G spectrums do?

Third Generation or 3G is a generic term used for the next generation of mobile communication systems.

With 3G spectrums, your mobile can work for you even while you sleep. It sets your travel schedule and checks for jams along your route, whether you take the car/bus or the train. It can double up as cash and plastic money, a one-instrument payment system to pay for your tickets and purchases by simply texting the bank.

It can be your one-stop entertainment box that holds music files, downloads programmes you love while you’re on the move.

It can work out what to do with incoming phone calls and messages — direct voice calls to voicemail when you are in a meeting, for instance, but providing a discreet text summary of the caller and the nature of the call.

What is spectrum?

Spectrum refers to a range of radio frequencies. The bandwidth of a radio signal is the difference between the upper and lower frequencies of the signal.

For example, in the case of a voice signal having a minimum frequency of 200 hertz (Hz) and a maximum frequency of 3,000 Hz, the bandwidth is 2,800 Hz (3 KHz). The amount of bandwidth needed for 3G services could be as much as 15-20 Mhz, whereas for 2G services a bandwidth of 30-200 KHz is used. Hence huge bandwidth is required for 3G.

How is 3G different from 2G and 4G?

While 2G stands for second-generation wireless telephone technology, 1G networks used are analog, 2G networks are digital and 3G (third-generation) technology is used to enhance mobile phone standards.

While 2G is focused on voice, 3G supports high-speed data of at least 144 kbps enabling broadband Internet access on the mobile, and ‘triple play’ features like mobile TV and converged communication services.

3G helps to simultaneously transfer both voice data (a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging e-mail, and instant messaging. The highlight of 3G is video telephony. 4G technology stands to be the future standard of wireless devices.

Currently, Japanese company NTT DoCoMo and Samsung are testing 4G communication.

Which companies got 3G license in India?

3G spectrum has been provided to GSM players like Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar (then Hutch) to carry out an interface check on a non-commercial basis ahead of the start of 3G mobile services.

As per the guideline, any licensed telecom operator can bid for 3G spectrum and the radio waves will be auctioned in 5-10 blocks depending on the availability. Each successful bidder will be allocated only one block in a service area.

Spectrum will be auctioned in the 450 Mhz, 800 Mhz band for EVDO (for CDMA players) and in 1900 band when it is available.

What led to spectrum imbroglio in India?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, in its recommendations, had suggested an increase in the subscriber norms by two to six times. However, with GSM operators opposing the move, the issue was referred by the DoT to its standards setting organisation, the Telecom Engineering Centre.

The latter recommended hiking the minimum subscriber number even beyond what the Trai had suggested. Earlier formulae had suggested the subscriber number be a mid-point between what the Trai and TEC suggested or a 25 per cent ‘tightening’ of the existing policy.

What are the issues regarding 3G for providers and users?

3G has successfully been introduced in Europe. But several issues continue to hamper its growth.

  • High spectrum licensing fees for the 3G services.
  • Huge capital required to build infrastructure for 3G services.
  • Health impact of electromagnetic waves.
  • Prices are very high for 3G mobile services.
  • Will 2G users switch to 3G services.
  • Takes time to catch up as the service is new.
  • In how many countries does 3G exist?

    There are about 60 3G networks across 25 countries. In Asia, Europe and the United States, telecom firms use Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) technology. The WCDMA standard provides seamless global evolution from today’s GSM with support of the worlds’ largest mobile operators.

    WCDMA technology is built on open standards, wide ranging mobile multimedia possibility, and vast potential economies of scale with the support of around 100 terminal designs to operate 3G mobile networks.

    3G services were introduced in Europe in 2003.

    In which country was 3G spectrum first introduced?

    Japan was the first country to introduce 3G on a large commercial scale. In 2005, about 40 per cent of subscribers used only 3G networks. It is expected that during 2006 the subscribers would move from 2G to 3G and upgrade to the next 3.5 G level.

    The success of 3G in Japan also shows that video telephony was the killer application for 3G networks. Downloading music was the biggest draw in 3G services.

    India, which has 287 million wireless subscribers, saw its mobile user base grow 25 times in the last five years making it the second largest wireless market in the world after China.

    Source: Rediff


    FDA Law Enforcers Protect Consumers’ Health

    August 5, 2008

    When it comes to fighting crime, most Americans think of the FBI, state troopers, sheriffs’ agencies, and police departments. Much less known is a battle waged against certain kinds of criminals by law officers whose badges identify them as “FDA-Special Agent.”

    The men and women of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) represent the consumers’ front line against companies and individuals who endanger the public’s health. These criminals carry out unlawful actions involving pharmaceuticals, foods, and other products regulated by FDA. OCI focuses on violations of two laws—the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Anti-Tampering Act.

    The Role of Special Agents

    FDA’s Special Agents are stationed in multiple cities throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. “We operate much like every other federal law enforcement organization,” says Terry Vermillion, founding Director of OCI.

    “We gather facts and present them to the local U.S. Attorney’s Office,” he says. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office determines if and who will be prosecuted and OCI does the investigative work to support the effort.”

    Special Agents:

    • come to FDA mostly from other federal law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Postal Inspection Service, and Drug Enforcement Administration
    • bring years of prior federal criminal investigative experience using traditional law enforcement methods, professional contacts, and investigative techniques
    • investigate FDA-related crimes typically involving counterfeit, unapproved or illegally diverted drugs, product tampering and substitution, fraudulent health treatments, and allegations of fraud in new drug applications and clinical trials
    • have all the legal powers and capabilities of a well-equipped federal law enforcement organization
    • have federal statutory authority to obtain and execute arrest and search warrants, carry firearms, and gather evidence to enforce United States criminal law
    • obtain specialized training as polygraph examiners, computer forensics examiners, firearms instructors, and technical surveillance specialists (if selected to do so)

    A Collaborative Approach

    FDA’s Special Agents frequently investigate criminal wrongdoing by large companies. If these investigations lead to prosecution, the guilty officers and employees often receive federal prison sentences, while the company can expect to receive multimillion-dollar fines and restitution payments.

    Many times when OCI initiates an investigation, other federal law enforcement agencies that have a jurisdictional interest will join the investigation. Many OCI cases have an international aspect. Since being founded in 1992, OCI has developed good working relationships with many foreign law enforcement counterparts, which aid in bringing criminals outside the United States to justice.

    Field investigations are enhanced by OCI’s skilled investigative analysts and technical specialists. In addition, the FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, provides valuable forensic laboratory support by performing many different laboratory tests related to suspect products involved in OCI investigations.

    How to Report Suspected Crime

    OCI has six field offices and six resident offices located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Field offices are located in New York; Washington, D.C.; Miami; Kansas City, Kan.; Chicago; and Los Angeles. Resident offices are located in San Francisco; Austin, Texas; New Orleans; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Atlanta; and Boston.

    Consumers can alert OCI to suspected criminal activity involving FDA-regulated products by contacting the OCI office located in their region:

    OCI headquarters: 240-276-9500

    • · New York: 201-547-3851
    • · Washington, D.C.: 240-276-9400
    • · Miami: 954-476-5400
    • · Los Angeles: 949-366-4600
    • · Kansas City, Kan.: 913-384-7400
    • · Chicago: 630-769-5520
    • · San Francisco: 510-637-3480
    • · Austin, Texas: 512-349-2599
    • · New Orleans: 985-871-5152
    • · San Juan, Puerto Rico: 787-281-4863
    • · Atlanta: 404-253-2317
    • · Boston: 978-531-5850

    This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Health Information Web page (www.fda.gov/consumer), which features the latest updates on FDA-regulated products. Sign up for free e-mail subscriptions at www.fda.gov/consumer/consumerenews.html.

    For More Information

    FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs
    www.fda.gov/ora/


    10 emerging careers to watch out for

    August 5, 2008

    “According to the International Business Report, 2008, by consultancy firm Grant Thornton International, India alone will make up 30 per cent of the worldwide net increase in employment with 142 million new jobs by 2020,” says Sampath Shetty, vice president, permanent staffing, TeamLease Services, a staffing solutions company.

    Retail

    Growth stimulus: “The vast middle class, strong income growth, favourable demographic patterns and organised retailing growth estimated at 40 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next few years are some of the factors that will drive the retail boom,” says Rajeev Gaur, COO, TimesJobs.com, an online jobs database.

    Requirements: “The need would be around 15,000-20,000 people in each of these retail chains. So, in all, the requirements would touch 80,000-85,000 every year in the next three to four years, of which frontline sales staff will be 80-85 per cent,” says Vishal Chhiber, head, HR of Kelly Services India, an HR solutions firm.

    The remaining jobs, says Nihar Ranjan Ghosh, senior VP HR, Spencer’s Retail, “will be in retail-specific areas like visual merchandising, plannogramming (the science of maximising space efficiency in the store) and supply chain management. Retail management graduates and general MBAs will be wanted.

    Real Estate/ Infrastructure
    Growth stimulus: Growth in infrastructure and real estate developments with gradual opening up of FDI in certain sub-sectors will be the main reasons for the boom. “The percentage of middle class people in metros and Tier-2 cities who are buying their own property has increased from about 35 per cent in 2003 to 60 per cent today,” says Prodito Sen, VP marketing and corporate affairs, Alpha G: Corp Development, a real estate developer.

    Requirements: “This will recreate a need for civil engineers, a tribe we forgot during the IT boom,” says Shabbir Merchant, chief value creator, Valulead Consulting, a leadership development firm. “The requirement is for 1.5 lakh engineers if the land bank we have is to be translated into construction,” says Chhiber. Infrastructure projects would need more such engineers.

    “Other functions like residential and commercial real estate brokers, real estate appraisers, property mangers and real estate consultants would also be in demand,” says Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, a property advisor and transaction firm.

    Healthcare/Pharma

    Growth stimulus: Hospital chains are expanding all over India, even in smaller towns.

    Requirement: “An acute shortage of doctors is expected over the next few years, especially anaesthetists, radiologists, gynaecologists and surgeons, particularly neurosurgeons. The need would be for 45,000-50,000 doctors for the 50-odd healthcare companies expected to start operations in India,” says Chhiber.

    “People with a Masters in Hospital Administration (MHA) will be in demand as they are key elements to a hospital’s efficiency,” says Vishal Bali, CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals Group. A study by consulting firm Technopak says, “Many big hospital projects have either been delayed or stopped because of this manpower shortage.”

    “With the rule of thumb being  four MHA people per hospital, around 2,000 hospital chains will need 8,000 such people over the next five years,” adds Bali.

    In pharma, demand will be created in research and development (R&D). The requirement would be for 15,000-20,000 scientists every year.  “Another area which would see a demand is pharma regulation and documentation officers,” says V Suresh, senior vice-president and national head (sales), Naukri.com, an online jobs portal.

    Financial services

    Growth stimulus: There will be a lot of new entrants and existing players diversifying with new product lines.

    Requirements: “A lot of portfolio managers — not necessarily fund managers, but those who manage portfolios beyond a certain amount — will be required. They will be working with banks and financial institutions. The requirement will be for 25,000-30,000 every year,” says Chhiber.

    Suresh adds, “The salaries in private banking would be 200-300 per cent more than in retail or corporate banking.”

    Judhajit Das, HR chief of ICICI [Get Quote] Prudential Life Insurance, foresees maximum jobs growth in retail financial services, with 80 per cent of them being in sales and distribution. The biggest employers will be the insurance and banking sector,” he says.

    Gaur has some numbers: “Over 50,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the banking, financial services, and insurance sector in the current year. Banks are expected to hire 15,000-20,000 people in the next one year.”

    Hospitality/facilities management

    Growth stimulus: With hotel rooms being added across the country at a rapid rate to keep up with growing tourist inflow, hi-tech townships being developed and malls and multiplexes coming up at every corner, people will be needed to service and maintain them.

    Requirements: “Over 2.5 lakh rooms will be needed in the next five years to meet the demand from both the domestic and international guests. Over the next two or three years, we will need over 1 lakh more rooms. An average of 1.5 service personnel per room will mean an overall shortage of at least 1.5 lakh people across a whole range of hotel-related jobs in India, especially food production, food and beverage services, housekeeping and front office operations,” says Satish Jayaram, principal, Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad.

    According to Chhiber, the manpower growth prediction for facilities management is 20-25 per cent. Ashwin Puri, CEO, Property Zone, a firm that develops and manages shopping centres says, “Technical maintenance people need to understand aspects such as provision of adequate power supply, safety issues, water supply, sanitation, signages, and so on. For soft services, hospitality management experience is preferred.” A mall will need five to six such managers.

    Consulting services

    Growth stimulus: With existing businesses growing more complex and numerous startups on the cards, there will be demand for consultants specializing in human resources (HR) and startups.

    “Apart from recruitment specialists, another area of demand in the HR space will be ’employer brand specialists’ as organisations move away from a me-too approach and actively seeking differentiation,” says Merchant.

    Requirements: Considering that with every 50-75 people recruited, one HR job gets created, TimesJobs.com estimates that 28,000 more HR jobs will be created in 2008.

    Gautam Ghosh, senior manager, HR consultancy Tvarita Consulting, foresees an explosion in demand for start-up consultants and business strategists as more and more consumer-oriented portals mushroom across the country.

    Entertainment

    Growth stimulus: There would be about two new TV channels every month and 20-25 new FM channels every year.

    Requirements: “About 4,000-5,000 people will be directly employed by TV channels every year,” says Chibber.

    “In radio, the demand would be for production people, anchors, technical and distribution sales professionals: jobs for 2,500 people in the next two years,” he adds.

    Information Technology

    Growth stimulus: “Despite stagnation in the industry, a lot of project-based or contractual hiring and increasing domestic IT requirements would lead to organic growth,” says Chhiber.

    Requirements: Veerendra Mathur, CEO, Focus Infotech, a strategic IT HR and managed solutions firm, says, “Professionals who have a holistic knowledge and can do multitasking like coding, testing, designing and communicating with clients will be in demand.”

    “India will need 4.9 lakh professionals in the IT exports market, 11.1 lakh in the domestic IT industry and 20.5 lakh in the ITES-BPO sector by 2012,” says Chhiber.

    Customer services

    Growth stimulus: Companies will put more and more stress on customer service to stay ahead of the competition.

    Requirements: According to Chhiber, frontline technicians who have skills required to service and manage customers will be in demand. “About 1.5 lakh trained people every year would be needed,” he adds.

    Telecom

    Growth stimulus: The telecom industry is growing faster in small towns and will also see a lot of organic growth. Jobs will also emerge in telecom when people employed here opt to shift to other emerging sectors.

    Requirements: “The employment growth rate in telecom industry is expected to increase by seven per cent to ten per cent every year,” says Gaur.  “Jobs in demand would be telecom, mechanical, software and telecom test engineers, project managers, network security specialists and operation managers.”  According to data from FICCI, telecom will see 0.5 million new jobs by 2010 and 1.5 million by 2015.

    Ghosh stresses the increasing demand for people who have a blend of two functional skills, like a financial services person with business and marketing skills. “In a dynamic job space in a growing economy,” he sums up, “people with the right skill sets will always be sought after.”

    Source: Rediff