Mobile World Live’s Asia editor Joseph Waring provides a regular update on developments in the world’s second largest mobile market.

Foxconn interested in Nokia’s factory
Contract manufacturer Foxconn has reportedly expressed interest in taking over Nokia’s Chennai factory, which was the largest handset facility in the world but is now no longer in use.

Foxconn has said it plans to invest $2 billion in India to expand production outside of China. In addition to being a major supplier for Apple, it also assembles handsets for Indian vendor Micromax, which sources said is considering taking as much as a quarter of Foxconn’s production at the local plant, which employed 8,000 people at its peak.

However, India smartphone maker Lava last week was reported as being in advanced talks to acquire Nokia’s handset factory in Chennai. The two companies signed a nondisclosure agreement, the Economic Times said.

DoT sets base price for auction
India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has recommended increasing the reserve prices of the 900MHz band by 23 per cent and the 800MHz band by 17 per cent. The base price of the 1.8GHz band was raised only slightly.

The suggestions are sure to raise the ire of operators, which will argue the February spectrum auction will put a burden on their bottom lines and slow the government’s Digital India initiative.

The proposal will be sent to the telecom minister for approval.

TATA Docomo upgrades 3G network
India’s TATA Docomo has upgraded its 3G network in three regions using Nokia Networks’ single radio access network.

Nokia has supplied HSPA+ base stations, radio network controllers, a network management system as well as provided network planning and optimisation and project management services.

The operator is ranked seventh in the country with a 7 per cent market share and 64.5 million connections, according to GSMA Intelligence. Almost a quarter of its connections are 3G. It added almost 1.7 million new connections in Q3.

Ericsson launches ‘Connect to Learn’
Ericsson has introduced its ‘Connect to Learn’ global education initiative in India with support from three non-governmental organisations.

Connect To Learn aims to provide information and communications technology to schools in resource-poor areas to ensure children have access to learning resources and a quality education.

Ericsson is partnering with Smile Foundation to offer job-oriented skills and placement assistance to underprivileged youth in Delhi and Mumbai. The programme provides training in basic computers and retail sales management, along with proficiency in spoken and written English through 20 centres to be set up in the areas.

A project with Plan India focuses on increasing access to opportunities for self-development for 15,000 girls. Ericsson will establish 12 learning centres in Delhi as knowledge hubs for girls.

Ericsson is also collaborating with the Pratham Education Foundation to establish Learning Excellence Programmes in about 15 schools in the villages of Gurgaon.