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Episode 515

Weekly Business Roundup at 10:00 am on 29th April 2023

Listen to the latest news in business and finance where we talk about Indian students seeking higher education in the United States, registration of properties in the Mumbai municipal, meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and Google Play’s tough stand against popular apps. Also, don’t forget to get your daily dose of share markets.

Weekly Business Roundup at 10:00 am on 29th April 2023.

[Disclaimer: This transcript is auto-generated]
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Let’s begin- Reliance Jio’s approach combining fibre and 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) solutions to tap the home broadband market in India is expected to give the company a strong lead over its competitors, according to analysts. India’s largest telecom operator by market share is not only seen winning on its approach to tap the home broadband space, but also factors such as the speed at which it is connecting homes, cheaper tariffs, bundled offerings, and a strong network of local cable operators, analysts said. Jio currently has around nine million home broadband users with a market share of 31%, as compared to Bharti Airtel’s expected 7.2 million users at the end of March with a 25% market share, according to analyst estimates based on the data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Moving on – Airline major Air India this week said that it has modernised some of its digital systems and is in the process of deploying cutting-edge innovations such as ChatGPT-driven chatbot at an initial investment of $200 million. According to the airline, major progress has been achieved in its efforts to modernise its digital systems, “with many initiatives already completed and several more in advanced stages towards completion”. Besides, Air India said that it has invested in building a cutting-edge digital and technology team with presence in Kochi and Gurugram in India, as well as in Silicon Valley in the United States. The airline pointed out that modernisation of the digital and technology landscape will also benefit all group airlines, including the low-cost carriers.

Now a news related to Adani group – After taking the industry by surprise with its decision to buy 5G spectrum in auction last year, Adani Group now says that it is unable to find suitable use cases and is going to miss the year-one rollout obligations set by the government. Adani Data Networks, which acquired the spectrum in August last year, has decided to approach the department of telecommunications (DoT) seeking additional time to meet the rollout obligations, the deadline for which is August. For missing the timelines, penalties are levied on the companies concerned. At a recent meeting convened by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for a status check on rollout obligations, Adani Group said that it has too little spectrum – 50-100 MHz – and is, therefore, not able to find suitable use cases to roll out any kind of services.

Meanwhile – The coal stock at the thermal power stations stood at about 35 million tonne (MT) on Sunday, 64% higher than previous year, coal secretary Amrit Lal Meena said this week. This allays the fears that coal stocks might fall to precarious levels like last year, leading to power outages in many parts of the country, as the summer peaks. Even the pithead stocks with Coal India (CIL) was 13.6% higher at 65.65 MT on April 23, up from 57.8 MT last year. “Overall stock, comprising of the stocks at coal mine end, thermal power plant end and in transit, is 117.46 MT, which is 37% higher than the corresponding stock of 85.73 MT on April 23, 2022,” Meena told FE in an interview.

In a separate development – In a change of stance, the Centre has decided to pitch for differential taxation of online gaming, with “games of chance” to suffer a higher incidence of goods and service tax compared with “games of skill”. According to an official source, all online games should not be considered as games of chance or betting or gambling. “There has to be a differentiation between games of skill and games of chance,” the source said, adding that the finance ministry will put forth its view when the GST Council takes up the report of a group of ministers on online gaming, horse racing and casinos. Although the final decision will be that of the Council, where both the Centre and states enjoy a veto, the ministry may recommend the highest GST rate of 28% for online games, where the winning is dependent on a certain outcome or, is in the nature of betting or gambling.

Lastly – Travel tech firm Oyo turned cash flow positive during the fourth quarter of FY23, the company informed its employees in a townhall this week, adding that its next goal is to become profitable. Industry sources said that the company told the employees that it ended Q4 with nearly Rs 90 crore surplus cash flow. Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, also told the employees that the firm marked its first financial year of adjusted Ebitda profitability in FY23 and is expected to clock adjusted Ebitda of nearly Rs 800 crore in FY24.

In the weekly round-up of news related to business, finance, and the economy, we talk about Reliance Jio’s approach of combining fiber and 5G fixed wireless access solutions to tap the home broadband market in India, Air India’s modernisation plans and Adani group’s latest update related to 5G spectrum. We also bring latest updates on Centre’s decision related to online gaming.

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Weekly Business Roundup at 10:00 am on 29th April 2023