|The guidelines for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) to launch operations in India are set to be unveiled soon. A committee set
up by department of telecom (DoT) to examine sector regulator TRAI’s recommendations for allowing MVNOs in India has endorsed the regulator’s proposals with some minor changes.
The committee’s endorsement of TRAI’s recommendations implies that it only requires a formal clearance from the Telecom Commission (the apex decision making body of the DoT) for the policy to be implemented.
MVNOs offer mobile services without owning cellular networks or airwaves (spectrum) on which telecom signals travel. Their business model involves buying airtime from existing operators that own telecom infrastructure and selling it to consumers under their own brand. Companies such as the UK’s Virgin Mobile BT, and Japan’s KDDI have based their telecom strategy on the MVNO model.
At present, there are 360 MVNOs operating globally. The entry of MVNOs will increase competition in the world’s fastest growing mobile market. In August 2008, TRAI asked the government to permit MVNOs and said that entry of such players would be a ‘natural progression towards enhancing free market principles.