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Virtual telephony to be a reality in India soon

Virtual Mobile companies, or Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), could soon offer mobile telephony in India, reports Archana Khatri. Read more ...

india Updated: Dec 14, 2007 23:13 IST
Archana Khatri

Virtual Mobile companies, or Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), could soon offer mobile telephony in India.

“The use of spectrum may have more than one owner and it is time for us to study this and move in that direction,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief Nriprendra Misra said on Friday. This implies that companies with spectrum would be allowed to share the resource with the MVNOs.

TRAI's reccomendations on mobile TV would also be sent to the department of telecommunications (DoT) early next week, said Misra, adding the spectrum band for mobile TV would be auctioned. Mobile TV is expected to bring television right onto our palms.

MVNOs are mobile service providers who do not own the radio frequency (spectrum) or the telecom infrastructure but provide services to customers through the spectrum and infrastructure they share with the traditional mobile operators on a commercial basis.

A MVNO buys minutes of use (MOU) in bulk from traditional mobile operator but have their own SIM card, branding, marketing, billing, and customer care operations.

MVNOs could actually result in greater competition in the telecom space leads to a correction in telecom tariffs. Telekom Malaysia, Virgin Mobile, Mobile ESPN and ValueFirst are among the international players to have shown interest in the Indian telecom space.

In an internal note written in November to Communications Minister A. Raja, the DoT had also favoured sharing of spectrum on commercial basis “as it results in better usage of spectrum”.

The telecom regulator had called for a consultation on MVNOs from different stakeholders around two years ago. Telecom operators had then not welcomed it fearing that MVNOs would eat into the revenue of incumbent operators.

Nripendra Misra also said that with Universal Access Service License offering multiple services, the license gets delinked with spectrum.