New Delhi: The government is actively considering allowing mobile number portability - wherein users switch operators without changing numbers - and mobile virtual network operators that lets another operator piggyback on someone else’s network in the country.
“The government is working on many more initiatives to further improve the telecom sector. Mobile Number Portability is around the corner, which will enable subscribers to change their operators while retaining their number.
“This will not only give more choice to customers but also lead operators to further improve their services to retain their customers. The possibility of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) is also being considered”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at the India Telecom 2008 here.
MVNOs neither own infrastructure nor spectrum. They have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy Minutes of Use (MOU) in bulk for sale to their own customers.
Utilising mobile telecommunications as a means to interact with the end-user, the MVNO can create significant additional brand-value and optimized customer experience for the intelligent virtual operator.
However, counter arguments to MVNO entry in India are begging a hard look. According to COAI, MVNO will not suit the Indian telecom market in view of constantly reducing tariffs, falling ARPU and low margins. Many international MVNO players have been approaching the Indian government asking the DoT to take a re-look at the many benefits it promises.
Giving green signal to the MVNOs, TRAI recommended an entry fee of Rs5 crore for Metro/Category ‘A´, Rs3 crore for Category ‘B´ and Rs1 crore for Category ‘C´ service areas.
UK based MVNO Virgin Mobile has partnered with Tata Teleservices (TTSL) in order to enter the Indian market but under a franchise agreement to offer innovative service.