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25 Years Ago, the First Mobile Phone Call Was Made in India, Costing Over Rs 8/Minute

On this day, exactly 25 years ago, a telephone call was made. It changed the way we communicate forever and ushered in a communication revolution in India. What was different? It was the first time that a phone call was made using mobile phones – back then, massive large bricks with chunky number keys that look archaic today but way too sleek back in 1995.

The then-Union Telecom Minister Sukh Ram, and erstwhile Chief Minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu, spoke to each other using handheld mobile phones on July 31, 1995. It was a first for India, where two of Nokia’s earliest mobile phones were used, and the network itself – a joint venture between India’s B.K. Modi Group and Australia’s Telstra, was primitive by today’s standards, but completely uncongested.

The call made in July 1995, between the Writer’s Building in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Sanchar Bhavan in New Delhi, was carried over this Modi Telstra’s MobileNet service. That cellular call inaugurated MobileNet services in Calcutta. The company was one of the eight companies licensed to provide cellular services in India. Two licences were awarded each for the four metropolitan cities.

Interestingly, reports state that back then, the initial phone call rates ranged from Rs 8.4 per minute for both outgoing and incoming calls, and in peak mobile phone traffic hours, the cost also went up to Rs 16.8 per minute. For the Modi-Telstra JV network operator, which later became Spice, simply establishing the network itself was a massive cost even after they estimated that their services would reach at least 10 lakh people in the near future, soon after premiering in 1995.

The phones themselves weren’t affordable, either – they would cost upward of Rs 40,000, which after adding 25 years of inflation, is worth over Rs 2 lakh in today’s valuation. While it is not known exactly which mobile phones were used in India’s first ever mobile phone call, they may have been something like the security-focused Nokia 2080, or the mainstream oriented Nokia 350, or for that time, the cutting edge Nokia 880 sleek and rugged mobile phone. It had cutting edge features such as a snap-on, vibrating battery to give you silent call alerts, the ability to read three lines of text at one time to read the then-latest SMS service, and a ‘user friendly keypad’.

Telecommunications in India has come a long way since 1995. Today, just in the wireless mobile telephony market, India has around 450 million users of ‘feature phones’ – a term for non-internet-enabled mobile phones, and close to 400 million users of ‘smartphones’ – swanky sheets of glass that puts the world at your feet. Our telephony costs are next to a fraction of what it was back then – calling comes for free, while data costs less than Rs 4 per gigabyte.

While the question back then was giving one million people in India mobile devices to remain connected through, today, India’s challenge is ‘the next billion’ – an aim to bring India’s massive population online, not just through mobile telephony, but with the interconnectivity of the internet.


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Google says 20 U.S. states 'exploring' contact tracing apps

Google says 20 U.S. states 'exploring' contact tracing apps

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday that 20 U.S. states and territories, representing about 45% of the country’s population, are “exploring” contact tracing apps for the novel coronavirus using a tool it developed with Apple Inc .

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 11:00 PM IST

OAKLAND, Calif. Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday that 20 U.S. states and territories, representing about 45% of the country’s population, are “exploring” contact tracing apps for the novel coronavirus using a tool it developed with Apple Inc .

Google had previously said in May that three states – Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina – would be launching apps using the exposure notification tool.

In addition, the company said 16 countries and regions outside the U.S. had launched apps using the Apple-Google tool.

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The technology enables app users to track encounters with other people through Bluetooth signals and anonymously notify contacts if they later become infected with the virus.

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Facebook brings official music videos to users' feed

Facebook brings official music videos to users' feed

Facebook Inc said on Friday that its users in the United States would be able to view and share official music videos on its platform, in a move to better compete with Alphabet Inc’s video platform YouTube.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 10:56 PM IST

Facebook Inc said on Friday that its users in the United States would be able to view and share official music videos on its platform, in a move to better compete with Alphabet Inc’s video platform YouTube.

Facebook, which had 2.7 billion monthly active users in the last quarter, said it inked deals with Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group among others.

Universal as a group is home to Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Post Malone, while Sony’s big names include Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keyes. All the three music houses boast a host of back catalogues.

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Bloomberg News first reported the news earlier on Friday.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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Apple tops Saudi Aramco as most valuable publicly listed company

Apple Inc’s stock hit a record high on Friday after reporting blockbuster quarterly results, helping the iPhone maker briefly overtake Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable publicly listed company.

Apple’s stock surged to as high as $412.22 a share, putting its market capitalization at $1.762 trillion, according to the share count provided by Apple in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Saudi Aramco , which has been the most valuable publicly listed company since going public last year, had a market capitalization of $1.760 trillion as of its last close, according to Refinitiv data.

Last up 6.2% at $408.78 in midday trading, Apple’s market capitalization stood at $1.748 trillion. After Apple bought back $16 billion worth of shares in the June quarter, it had 4,275,634,000 outstanding shares, as of July 17, according to the filing.

Apple briefly becomes world’s most valuable company https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/rlgpdnxerpo/Pasted%20image%201596208713359.png

With Friday’s stock gain, Apple’s has surged about 40% year to date, with investors betting that it and other major U.S. technology companies will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic stronger than smaller rivals.

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Ankita Lokhande Speaks About Sushant Being Aware Of Nepotism In Bollywood | CNN News18

In its quarterly report, Apple announced a four-for-one stock split, with trading on a split-adjusted basis starting on Aug. 31. It will be Apple’s first share split since 2014.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Demand for Tesla vehicles remained strong during pandemic, Musk says

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk said in a podcast released on Friday that demand for the company’s electric vehicles remained strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with consumers preferring to shop online.

Musk, talking to Automotive News’ Daily Drive podcast, said having a traditional dealer network – something he considered in the past – appears increasingly unnecessary.

“We saw strong orders through the whole pandemic, we still had a good order volume,” Musk said. “I guess people are less inclined to want to go to a dealership, do the test drive and hang out in the lobby and that kind of thing.”

Asked about a 2020 meteoric stock rally that has pushed Tesla shares up more than 240% from the start of the year and made the company the world’s most highly-valued carmaker, Musk said the market would eventually sort itself out. He added that as long as Tesla made great cars, investors would be happy.

In a May 1 tweet, Musk said Tesla’s share price was “too high,” at a time when shares where trading at around $700 – roughly half of where they are now. Shares on Friday were down 2.2% at $1,454.

In the podcast interview, Musk also praised the Chinese work ethic and criticized U.S. attitudes.

“China rocks in my opinion,” Musk said. “There are a lot of smart, hard-working people and … they’re not entitled, they’re not complacent, whereas I see in the United States increasingly much more complacency and entitlement.”

Also Watch

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Tesla has built a factory in Shanghai and seen a sharp increase in Chinese demand for its Model 3 sedans. The company recently has also launched a hiring spree in Shanghai as it ramps up production and prepares to manufacture its new Model Y sport utility vehicle at the plant.

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GM partners with EVgo to add 2,700 new fast chargers in U.S

GM partners with EVgo to add 2,700 new fast chargers in U.S

General Motors Co has partnered with electric vehicle charging station provider EVgo to add 2,700 new fast chargers, which can be accessed by the general public in the United States over the next five years, the automaker said on Friday.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 10:08 PM IST

General Motors Co has partnered with electric vehicle charging station provider EVgo to add 2,700 new fast chargers, which can be accessed by the general public in the United States over the next five years, the automaker said on Friday.

The move comes as GM is expected to launch many new electric vehicles in the coming years and the partnership will bolster the public fast charging network for electric vehicle drivers.

“We need millions of EVs on the road to make a meaningful impact (on reducing emissions),” said GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra.

“We know how important the charging ecosystem is for drivers, one that includes access to convenient and reliable public fast charging.”

The automaker declined to say how much money it was putting into the initiative, but said the fast charging stations will be available to customers starting early 2021.

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EVgo currently owns and operates more than 800 fast charging locations across 34 U.S. states.

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First Amendment group files new suit against Trump over blocked Twitter users

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK A group on Friday filed a new lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump demanding he unblock additional Twitter users from viewing his account.

Trump lost a prior lawsuit in May 2018 on behalf of other Twitter users and agreed to unblock those accounts. The new lawsuit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in U.S. District Court in Manhattan is on behalf of five additional individuals who remain blocked.

The White House and Twitter did not immediately comment.

Katie Fallow, senior staff attorney at the Knight Institute, said “it shouldn’t take another lawsuit to get the president to respect the rule of law and to stop blocking people simply because he doesn’t like what they’re posting.”

A federal appeals court in July 2019 in a 3-0 ruling upheld the ruling and the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Appeals Court in March declined to reverse that ruling. The Trump administration has until Aug. 20 to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to seek review.

“The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” wrote Circuit Judge Barrington Parker.

Trump has made his @RealDonaldTrump account, which he opened in 2009, a central and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda and to attack critics to his more than 84 million followers.

Trump in May attacked Twitter for tagging his tweets about unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.

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The appeals court said Trump’s account bears “all the trappings of an official, state-run account” and is “one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business.”

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Tesla demand remained strong during pandemic with consumers shopping online – Musk

Tesla demand remained strong during pandemic with consumers shopping online - Musk

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk in a podcast released on Friday said that demand for the company’s electric vehicles remained strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with consumers preferring to shop online instead of crowding into dealership shops.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 9:44 PM IST

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk in a podcast released on Friday said that demand for the company’s electric vehicles remained strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with consumers preferring to shop online instead of crowding into dealership shops.

Musk, talking to Automotive News’ Daily Drive podcast, said having a traditional dealer network – something the CEO considered in the past – appears increasingly unnecessary.

“We saw strong orders through the whole pandemic, we still had a good order volume,” Musk said. “I guess people are less inclined to want to go to a dealership, do the test drive and hang out in the lobby and that kind of thing.”

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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Twitter bans account of former KKK leader David Duke

Twitter bans account of former KKK leader David Duke

Twitter Inc said on Friday it has permanently suspended the account of David Duke, a former leader of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan, as the social media company tries to curb the spread of hateful content on its website.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 8:44 PM IST

Twitter Inc said on Friday it has permanently suspended the account of David Duke, a former leader of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan, as the social media company tries to curb the spread of hateful content on its website.

Duke’s account had been suspended for repeatedly violating Twitter’s policy on hateful content and harmful links, the micro-blogging site said.

Under Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, any threats of attacks directed at people on the basis of their religion, race or ethnicity is prohibited on its website.

Twitter has long been under pressure to clean up hateful content on its platform and has come under the scanner to control misinformation especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The KKK is the oldest white supremacist group in the United States and its roots trace back to the Reconstruction period in the South that followed the Civil War.

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In addition to anti-Black views, the KKK has expressed anti-semitic, anti-immigrant and anti-gay views.

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Apple briefly overtakes Saudi Aramco to become the world's largest company

Apple briefly overtakes Saudi Aramco to become the world's largest company

Apple Inc shares surged as much as 7.1% to a record high on Friday after reporting blockbuster quarterly results, helping the iPhone maker briefly overtake Saudi Aramco to become the world’s largest public company.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 31, 2020, 8:38 PM IST

Apple Inc shares surged as much as 7.1% to a record high on Friday after reporting blockbuster quarterly results, helping the iPhone maker briefly overtake Saudi Aramco to become the world’s largest public company.

Shares of the company rose to a record high of $412 in early trading. Closing at that level will give it a market capitalization of $1.786 trillion.

Saudi Aramco , which has been the largest public company since going public last year, had a market capitalization of $1.76 trillion as of last close.

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