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TRAI seeks opinion on Unified Licence for Virtual Network Operators

The authority had recommended introduction of VNO in May, 2015 and subsequently the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) issued guidelines and licence agreement for the grant of UL in May last year.

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New Delhi, March 20 : With the aim to accommodate technological evolution and changing market requirements, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday released a consultation paper on introduction of an Unified Licence (UL) regime for Virtual Network Operators (VNO).

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The TRAI has sought comments from stakeholders.

The Unified License (UL) regime is expected to exploit the benefits of convergence, spectrum liberalisation and facilitate delinking of the licensing of networks from the delivery of services, so as to enable the telecom service providers (TSPs) to optimally and efficiently utilise their networks and spectrum by sharing active and passive infrastructure.

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“TRAI released a Consultation Paper on Introduction of UL (VNO) for Access Service authorisation for category-B licence with districts of a state as a service area. TRAI has issued this Consultation Paper, raising specific issues for consideration of stakeholder,” the authority said in a statement.

The authority had recommended introduction of VNO in May, 2015 and subsequently the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) issued guidelines and licence agreement for the grant of UL in May last year.

The TRAI has sought to know from stakeholders whether the existing Direct Inward Dialling franchisees should be mandated to migrate to UL (VNO) category-B based licensing regime or should the licence duration be kept for 10 years, which is at par with other licences issued under UL (VNO) policy.

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OnePlus opens maiden authorised offline store in India

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Mumbai, Jan 20: Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus on Saturday announced the launch of its maiden “OnePlus Authorised Store” in the country here.

Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India, said in a statement, “The new ‘OnePlus Authorised Store’ is designed to complement our online first business strategy and also attract new users, while serving as a destination for our fast-growing community to experience and purchase OnePlus products”.

The store is part of the smartphone player’s focus on creating more offline touch points across key cities to allow users to experience the phone sales, the company  asserted.

The company is offering a free “Bullet V2” earphone on the purchase of any OnePlus smartphone to buyers who will pay visit the “OnePlus Authorised Store”.

Last year in September, the company joined hands with several Croma stores to provide easy access to OnePlus products at a conveniently located store.

The company also launched its flagship “Experience Store” in Bengaluru last year for the OnePlus community to witness products as well as collaborate and share innovative ideas.

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New Facebook update to prioritise trustworthy news, says Zuckerberg

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San Francisco, Jan 20: After tweaking its News Feed to allow users to see more updates from family and friends than posts from businesses, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now announced to prioritise news that is trustworthy, informative and local.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Zuckerberg said it’s important that News Feed promotes high-quality news that helps build a sense of common ground for its over two billion users.

Here’s how this new update, starting in the US from next week, will work.

“As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source,” the Facebook CEO said.

The idea is that some news organisations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly, he added.

“To make sure the news you see, while less overall, is high quality. I’ve asked our product teams to make sure we prioritise news that is trustworthy, informative, and local.

“And we’re starting next week with trusted sources,” Zuckerberg added.

According to him, the new update will not change the amount of news people see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news they see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.

The earlier News Feed update to show more updates from family and friends will result in less public content, including news, video, and posts from brands in your News Feed, he noted.

“After this change, we expect news to make up roughly four per cent of News Feed — down from roughly five per cent today. This is a big change, but news will always be a critical way for people to start conversations on important topics,” the Facebook CEO said.

He said that Facebook has got a feedback from the community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors, including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.

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WhatsApp unveils new service to target small businesses

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New Delhi, Jan 19: To help businesses communicate better with their customers globally including in India, WhatsApp on Thursday launched “WhatsApp Business” – a free-to-download Android app for small businesses.

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The new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.

“People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil,” the Facebook-owned app said in a statement.

Currently, “WhatsApp Business” is free to download on Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. The app will roll out for other countries, and in India, in the coming weeks.

“WhatsApp Business will make it easier for people to connect with them, and vice versa, in a fast and simple way,” the company said.

The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website.

It will also save time with smart messaging tools – quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.

“People will know that they’re talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number,” WhatsApp said.

People can continue using WhatsApp as usual as there’s no need to download anything new.

“People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam,” the company added.

For over 80 per cent of small businesses in India and Brazil, WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers and grow their business.

In India, 84 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, andA80 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.

Glassics is a fashion eyewear company that tested WhatsApp Business first-hand to message customers quickly and build personal relationships with them.

“WhatsApp Business helped us develop stronger relationships with our customers. We were able to respond faster to customers with features like away messages and quick replies, and offer a better overall experience,” said its co-founder Devesh Nichani.

WhatsApp Business gives users a verified green checkmark badge next to account name. Businesses will be able to create a company profile with information such as address, business hours, and description of product or service offered. Its messaging tool will help businesses manage consumer chats — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy. It also has a web interface.

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