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Soon, mobile operators sans network

india Updated: Feb 25, 2009 21:40 IST
HT Correspondent

Soon, you can use the services of a mobile phone operator that will own no network!

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Wednesday permitted Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) to provide services in India. MVNOs do not own spectrum or licence to offer mobile services. They lease radio frequency from mobile service providers such as BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea and sell services under their own brand.

“The detailed guidelines for MVNO shall be issued by DoT after it receives response from telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) on some issues,” a DoT spokesperson said.

In countries like UK, MVNOs are very popular. The first commercially successful MVNO in the UK was Virgin Mobile, which launched its services in 1999 and has over 4 million customers there.

There are a large number of MVNOs in the USA.

In India, Virgin mobile is already selling mobile services under its own brand in association with Tata Teleservices. However, it is not categorized as MVNO operator. Sources said the Telecom Commission wants MVNOs to pay a licence fee of Rs 85 crore for all India operations. The maximum entry fee for Metro and Circle A would be Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore for Circle B states and Rs 1 crore for Circle C states.