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Jio’s 4G availability ‘hugely impressive’: OpenSignal

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(Image: OpenSignal)

OpenSignal has published a report on Indian mobile telecommunications, with Reliance Jio winning on 4G availability and latency while Airtel clocked the fastest download speeds and Vodafone’s Idea was the fastest for uploads.

For its Indian Mobile Network Experience Report: November 2018 [PDF], the network coverage mapping company recorded 10.5 billion measurements across 1.8 million unique devices between June 1 and August, 29, 2018.

Calling Jio “remarkable” and “hugely impressive” with its rapid rate of customer growth, OpenSignal said it scored 96.7 percent on 4G availability, trailed by more than 20 percentage points by Airtel, on 73.99 percent; Idea, on 73.17 percent; and Vodafone, on 72.59 percent.

“The operator has managed to achieve availability scores of over 95 percent in all of India’s regions, despite huge variations in topography, and in the face of massive increases in subscribers and data consumption,” OpenSignal said.

“4G Availability scores of over 95 percent are very rare, particularly remarkable in a relatively new LTE market like India … Jio has recently secured infrastructure assets from now-defunct rival RCOM, while it is now turning its attention to the fixed-line sector, meaning we expect to see no let-up in the Jio success story.”

Jio also won across latency, with an average of 72.2 milliseconds. Vodafone followed, on 80.42ms; Airtel on 86.53ms; Idea on 88.78ms; and BSNL on 114.48ms.

Jio additionally tied first with Airtel and Vodafone on the new category of “video experience”, which analyses how customers experience video streaming including load time, stalling rates, and picture quality.

However, Airtel remained the winner across download speeds, providing an average of 7.53Mbps on average for its customers — 9.96Mbps on its 4G network and 2.53Mbps on 3G.

“The operator continues to raise the stakes through extensive network investment, recently unveiling some wide-ranging expansion plans in Karnataka, the Uttar Pradesh East and West telecoms regions, and Rajasthan, as well as deploying Massive MIMO mobile technology in urban Kolkata,” OpenSignal said.

“Competition in India’s mobile market remains at fever pitch, and Airtel seems determined to remain a serious contender.”

It was followed on download speeds by Jio, on 5.47Mbps; Vodafone, on 5.2Mbps; Idea, on 4.92Mbps; and BSNL, on 2.7Mbps.

Across upload speeds, however, Idea was the fastest with speeds of 2.88Mbps. It was followed by Vodafone, on 2.31Mbps; Airtel, on 1.9Mbps; Jio, on 1.58Mbps; and BSNL, on 0.78Mbps — although OpenSignal noted that BSNL has been approved by the regulator to deploy a nationwide LTE network across its holdings in the 2100MHz spectrum band.

“The Indian mobile competitive landscape is set for further upheaval with the merger of Idea and Vodafone,” OpenSignal added.

“The merged Vodafone Idea will be India’s largest operator in terms of subscriber share, and the company’s combined customer bases, and network and infrastructure assets, will undoubtedly make it a force to be reckoned with.”

Despite this, OpenSignal said it is predicting the Indian telco price war to end soon, saying there are questions over whether Jio’s aggressive price offerings are sustainable.

“With a major 5G spectrum auction expected within the next couple of years, India’s mobile operators face some tough decisions about where to focus their investment … India has already seen a savage round of mergers and exits in the past few years, and competition does not appear to be subsiding,” OpenSignal said.

“Quite simply put, something has to give. And Jio is signalling the beginning of the end with its move away from unsustainable free offerings towards tiered paid data models that are more familiar in the rest of the mobile world.

“This will hopefully take some of the pressure off operator margins, and as fierce competition and subscriber growth begins to plateau as the market matures, India’s operators will have more breathing space to focus on other ways to differentiate, such as bundling and service quality, as opposed to a race to the bottom on price.”

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Hertz massive Tesla Model 3 EV order sends interest rocketing

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Hertz today made a whopper of an announcement, revealing that it will be ordering 100,000 Teslas over the next year and adding those EVs to its fleet. Not only that, but Hertz will also install several thousand chargers at its network of locations around the US and Europe. With this move, Hertz says that it will “offer the largest EV rental fleet in North America and one of the largest in the world.”

Specifically, Hertz said today that it would purchase 100,000 Tesla Model 3s and those cars will start being available at airport and neighborhood locations across the US and Europe in November. At first, Hertz says its EV fleet will only be available in major markets within the US and “select cities” in Europe, but it seems the company is looking to expand availability rather quickly.

By the end of 2022, Hertz says it plans to have these Tesla Model 3s available in 65 markets, expanding further to 100 markets by the end of 2023. In all, Hertz plans to install 3,000 Tesla superchargers at various locations in the US and Europe as well. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this announcement sent Tesla’s stock on something of a surge this morning, but even more important is the impact this could have on the public perception of electric vehicles.

Hertz says that EVs will comprise more than 20% of its global rental fleet when the order is complete. In addition to placing this order, Hertz has also hired NFL star Tom Brady for an ad campaign centered around renting, driving, and charging these Tesla Model 3s. On Hertz’s website, we see that charging will be included in EV rentals, but only for a limited time. Beyond February 1st, 2022, it sounds like renters will have to foot the bill for charging.

It’s an ambitious plan, but in today’s announcement, Hertz cautions that the order of 100,000 Tesla Model 3s may be impacted by factors outside of its control. Specifically, the company is talking about the global semiconductor shortage, which could impact the production of computing hardware for some time to come. In any case, look for the option to rent a Tesla Model 3 to start popping up at Hertz locations next month.

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Bently Mulliner to unveil new bespoke collections at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

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Bentley Mulliner has curated three new bespoke design collections for its American clientele. The Mulliner Nauticus Collection will debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this October 27 to 31, 2021. The Nauticus Collection includes four Continental GT V8 Convertible models dressed in a fancy yachting theme.

The Continental GT Nauticus Collection has Aegean Blue and Ghost White paint with custom 22-inch Aegean Blue polished wheels. Wearing Bentley Mulliner’s carbon fiber Styling Specification, each Nauticus Bentley also gets a carbon front splitter, side skirts, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser. Also, the interior is resplendent in Brunel, Linen, and Portland leather in bespoke color splits, while the center console is home to open-pore chevron light veneers.

“This timeless classic further highlights the infinite possibilities and abilities in which to blend art and technology into a unique emotion and experience,” said Peter Brandt, Holmann Automotive Vice President and General Manager of Bentley Fort Lauderdale. “The individuality and distinctiveness of the Mulliner design aesthetics perfectly align with our pursuit of creating unique customer experiences.”

Meanwhile, Bentley of Manhattan commissioned the Mulliner Skyline Collection for the Flying Spur, Continental GT Convertible, and Bentayga luxury SUV. As expected, the Skyline Collection draws inspiration from the breathtaking skyscrapers of the Big Apple.

All members of the Mulliner Skyline Collection will wear a unique Onyx black paint applied by hand and robots, said Bentley. Other noteworthy features include 22-inch black and silver alloy wheels, darker exterior trim, LED welcome lighting, and premium silver interior trim.

Last but not least is the Mulliner Miami Collection, inspired by Miami’s colorful lifeguard stations and pulsating art scene. The collection includes the Flying Spur, Bentayga, and Continental GT finished in bright Orange, Blue, and Lime Green paint. Inside, Bentley’s Miami Collection gets two-tone painted piano veneers, Klein Blue leather upholstery, and bespoke quilting, among many others.

“Our dealers are very involved in each of their local markets and communities with appreciation to maximize the ability to promote Bentley’s craftsmanship,” said Mike Rocco, Vice President of Sales & Operations for Bentley Americas. “The opportunity to expand inventory offering to customers and present a truly unique experience through the Personal Commissioning Guide is remarkable.”

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Vazirani Ekonk is possibly the world’s lightest electric car

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Indian electric automaker Vazirani is not as mainstream as Tesla and other legacy EV makers, but what will soon change with the launch of Ekonk performance EV. The Ekonk is a low-drag performance concept that signifies the birth of Vazirani’s assault in the burgeoning EV category. The name ‘Ekonk’ is a derivative from Indian scriptures representing the divine light, “where for the first time design and innovation comes together,” said the company.

From the looks of it, the Ekonk is a dedicated performance contender, and it’s doing it the old school way: By shedding weight. Vazirani claims Ekonk is the world’s lightest electric car, and losing pounds in an EV is hard to do without losing a wheel or two. Tipping the scales at around 1627 pounds (738kg), the Ekonk is almost as lightweight as other three-wheeled EVs like the Arcimoto (590 kg) and Daymak Spiritus (620 kg).

In addition, Ekonk is lighter than the Aptera solar EV (816 kg), and it has four wheels instead of three, so Vazirani may be up to something here. How did they do it? “Biomimicry – studying how animals and humans use breathing to regulate their body temperatures – combined with some ancient Indian manufacturing techniques resulted in the invention of the DiCo technology,” said Chunky Vazirani, CEO of Vazirani.

Vazirani’s proprietary DiCo battery cooling technology “allows the batteries to cool directly with the air, as opposed to needing liquid cooling,” adds Vazirani. The carmaker adds DiCo is the first solid-state direct cooling system that utilizes nanoparticle technology to enhance the range and performance of any EV.

The automaker did not mention the battery capacity, but it did say Ekonk can rush to 60 mph from a dead stop in 2.5-seconds and has a top speed of 192 mph. Also, we have no idea how many motors are hiding underneath Ekonk’s aerodynamically optimized body shell, but Vazirani claims 722 horsepower and mountains of torque.

Additionally, Ekonk is a proper driver’s car. Vazirani said Ekonk has no driver aids, with just the electric motors and the wheels separating the driver from the road. It’s not a bad-looking thing, either, but the absence of a fixed or foldable roof means this car is a genuine track toy. If you don’t like a speedster, Vazirani also has the Shul hyper EV (with two doors and a roof) with the same DiCo battery cooling technology.

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