Virgin Mobile, Tata Teleservices may tie up for its India launch

3 March, 2008:

Virgin Mobile may tie up with Tata Teleservices to launch its products and services in India. However, the it is still unclear what type of services the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) would provide in India. Richard Branson has been keen on India for a long time now and also has plans to launch a domestic airline in the country.

According to reports, even as the entry seems certain, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has sent a letter to the Department of Telecom seeking clarity on whether or not MVNOs are allowed. It is a known fact that an MVNO is a mobile operator that neither owns spectrum nor has its own network infrastructure. Instead, it buys airtime from cellular operators in bulk and resells it under its own branding.

As per the COAI letter, India’s telecom policy does not either permit MVNO or the reselling of airtime. It has urged the DoT to clarify whether the policy has been amended to allow for introduction of MVNO players.

India would be Virgin Mobile’s seventh market after Australia, Canada, France, the UK, the US and South Africa, if it is allowed to enter the market. Virgin Mobile operates as an MVNO in all these countries.





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