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    1. TRAI recommends setting up independent body to look into consumer complaints

      TRAI recommends setting up independent body to look into consumer complaints

      India’s telecom regulator TRAI is looking to set up an independent complaint/grievance resolution body or an ‘ombudsman’ for the telecom industry, in order to “address consumer complaints more efficiently”. The regulator has issued recommendations (pdf) to renovate the existing grievance redressal mechanism into a three-tier approach:

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    2. Nearly 40% connections in India above 4 Mbps: Akamai

      Nearly 40% connections in India above 4 Mbps: Akamai

      India has 38% connections above the 4 Mbps threshold, according to a study conducted by content delivery network Akamai Technologies for its Q4 2016 State of the Internet report. Overall, connections above 4 Mbps saw 28% increase from the previous quarter, and 123% from the same quarter last year. However, despite this, the country was still the 2nd lowest ranked in the Asia-Pacific region and overall 102nd in the world.

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    3. mCent browser provides free ‘unrestricted’ Internet browsing supported by ads

      mCent browser provides free ‘unrestricted’ Internet browsing supported by ads

      Data cashback platform mCent has launched mCent Browser, an ad-sponsored mobile browser that provides free ‘unrestricted’ Internet usage to users. The browser is currently available for Android users in emerging markets like India and provides free data of 10 MB per day in an initial phase. Data freebies will be restricted to 70 MB per week.

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    4. Ola and Uber Drivers in Mumbai protest over surge pricing and low earnings

      Ola and Uber Drivers in Mumbai protest over surge pricing and low earnings

      Online cab aggregators Ola and Uber’s problems continue to mount. On Friday, drivers from both Ola and Uber took to the streets to protest reducing income, penalties and reducing incentives from the companies, reports the Hindustan Times. The strike was led by the Action Committee of Maharashtra against Ola and Uber and threatened to go on an indefinite strike from March 21.

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    5. Google splits Hangouts into Meet for video and Chat for communication

      Google splits Hangouts into Meet for video and Chat for communication

      G Suite, Google’s workplace tool offering, is splitting its Hangouts app in two parts, Hangouts Meet for video chat and Hangouts Chat for regular communication. The new Chat app looks like it’s designed to compete with the likes of Slack.

      Similar to Slack, Hangouts Chat displays the list of users on the left, but still has no equivalent of the ‘channels’ feature Slack offers.

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    6. Paytm does a U-turn on charging 2% fee while loading money via credit cards

      Paytm does a U-turn on charging 2% fee while loading money via credit cards

      Paytm has done a U-turn on charging 2% fees to customers opting to load money via a credit card. The payments company said on its blog today that it is suspending 2% charge on credit cards keeping users’ convenience in mind.

      The company said that the 2% charge was necessitated as many users used credit cards to top up the digital wallet and transferring the money back into their bank accounts at zero transaction cost and getting free loyalty points.

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    7. Pradeep Kumar Pujari given temporary charge as secretary of telecom: report

      Pradeep Kumar Pujari given temporary charge as secretary of telecom: report

      Pradeep Kumar Pujari, the Secretary for Ministry of Power has been given additional charge as Secretary for Telecom, reports ET. Pujari replaces J.D Deepak who was shifted from the post temporality and moved to the Department of Commerce. According to the report, Pujari’s appointment at DoT is temporary. Prior to his work with the Ministry of Power, Pujari also held several other secretarial and advisory position with the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Agriculture Ministry.

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      Mentions: Bsnl Mtnl Trai
    8. Govt has put out a consultation on security and privacy measures for wallets

      Govt has put out a consultation on security and privacy measures for wallets

      The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) has issued a consultation paper (pdf) which calls for developing a framework for security of digital wallets operating in the country. Right now, wallets have no prescribed security standards to adhere to. Section 43 A of the Information Technology Act which deals with data protection is applicable to wallets but it allows corporations to determine what security practices and procedures are adequate.

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    9. ‘Public Data Offices can serve as last-mile WiFi hotspot providers’: TRAI

      ‘Public Data Offices can serve as last-mile WiFi hotspot providers’: TRAI

      Telecom regulator TRAI has recommended (pdf) setting up of Public Data Offices (PDOs) that provides “last-mile” WiFi connectivity in areas where connectivity is low. It proposed a model wherein small entrepreneurs and shop owners could set up WiFi hotspots (or PDOs) by acquiring bandwidth from multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and re-sell bandwidth as data to end customers at a cheaper rate.

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      Mentions: Google OTP Mac
    10. UCWeb will recruit writers in India for aggregating news content

      UCWeb will recruit writers in India for aggregating news content

      Alibaba-owned UCWeb has launched a revamped version of its blogging platform named We-Media with an initial investment of Rs 50 million. The company said that it will now start paying bloggers and writers for contributing content through a revenue sharing model. It will also recruit 1000 writers in India and Indonesia markets, and according to the company, these writers can earn up to Rs 50,000 a month for writing content on UC News—an aggregated news content platform.

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      Mentions: Alibaba Group
    11. Paytm to charge 2% for loading money via credit cards; parallels with PayPal

      Paytm to charge 2% for loading money via credit cards; parallels with PayPal

      Paytm will now be charging 2% fee if a user uses a credit card to load money on its wallet, the company informed via a blog post. The digital payments company said that this was necessitated due as many users used credit cards to top up the digital wallet and transferring the money back into their bank accounts at zero transaction cost and getting free loyalty points.

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    12. RBI yet to provide clarity over Tata’s $1.17B payout to NTT Docomo: report

      RBI yet to provide clarity over Tata’s $1.17B payout to NTT Docomo: report

      Tata Group’s payout of $1.17 billion in damages to Japanese telco NTT Docomo cannot be approved and is illegal, since it involves the transfer of shares to a foreign company, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the Delhi High Court yesterday, according to this ET report. The court, however, was skeptical about RBI’s intervention and questioned whether there is a need for a special permission from RBI for the payout.

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    13. MTNL ‘not aware’ of potential merger deal with BSNL

      MTNL ‘not aware’ of potential merger deal with BSNL

      State-owned telco MTNL said that it was “not aware” of discussions to merge operations with BSNL, as reported by PTI on Tuesday. In a reply to the stock exchanges, MTNL said that “we are not aware of any such news…as and when such directions/proposal comes from the administrative of MTNL, we will inform the stock exchanges accordingly”. Note that the government earlier evaluated options to merge both BSNL and MTNL into a single unit in 2015, but the deal never fell through.

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    14. Facebook launches advanced measurement tools for all advertisers

      Facebook launches advanced measurement tools for all advertisers

      Facebook has launched advanced measurement for all advertisers, as a part of its Facebook Business Manager offering. The product was previously available only for large enterprises, and will now be available for all advertisers.

      The new features will include tools focused on reach and attribution. The tools were previously offered by Atlas, an online advertising company that Facebook acquired from Microsoft in 2013.

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      Mentions: Microsoft Instagram
    15. RuPay transactions on online sites during April 2016-January 2017 is 61.79M

      RuPay transactions on online sites during April 2016-January 2017 is 61.79M

      For the period between April 2016 and January 2017, 61.79 million transactions took place on e-commerce websites using RuPay cards. The value of these transactions stood at Rs 4,139 crore. Meanwhile, RuPay card usage at POS terminals for the time period stood at 139.26 million transactions and the value of these stood was Rs 21,227 crore.

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    16. Ola’s connected car platform Play now available to all Rental users

      Ola’s connected car platform Play now available to all Rental users

      Ola has started providing its connected car platform Ola Play for Ola Rental users, allowing users to control the car and driver consoles from their smartphones or through the devices mounted in the car. The company had launched Ola Play in November last year, for select Prime users in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, eventually extending it to all users.

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      Mentions: Qualcomm SMS Sony Liv
    17. Indian Government launches open development platform OpenForge

      Indian Government launches open development platform OpenForge

      The Indian Government has launched an open collaborative development platform called OpenForge, for the development of e-governance applications. The portal can be used by open source developers, governments, startups, academia/students, corporations, industries, scientific institutions.

      Announcing OpenForge: Govt of India’s open collaborative development platform! Think “Github for Indian eGovernance” https://t.co/GsmK09GhQC

      — Amit Ranjan (@amitranjan) March 7, 2017

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      Mentions: Amit Ranjan Aadhaar
    18. IDFC Bank is first off the block to launch Aadhaar Pay sans MDR

      IDFC Bank is first off the block to launch Aadhaar Pay sans MDR

      IDFC Bank has become the first bank to launch the Aadhar Pay. The solution is called IDFC Aadhaar Pay and the bank said that it launched it after a pilot in 16 states where they on boarded over 1500 merchants on their smartphones. It added that it is targeting a reach of 50,000 – 75,000 merchants in the next two years. These will be IDFC Bank’s extended points-of-presence.

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    19. RS Sharma’s “work done” principle does not make sense for financial services

      RS Sharma’s “work done” principle does not make sense for financial services

      by Anand Raman

      This post is triggered by the recently published Op-Ed piece in the Indian Express: Conditions for a less-cash India by Shri RS Sharma, Chairman TRAI (with a disclaimer that the views are his own and not of the authority).

      Before venturing into discussing some of the points mentioned by Mr. Sharma, it is important to lay down some of my own views that I feel I have clarity on, with respect to digital payments.

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