India's leading GSM mobile service operator Airtel is planning to launch "Virtual Phones" or Virtual SIM, a technology that allows users to use as many as 10 different numbers from a single phone.
Virtual SIM developed by Bharti-owned Comviva Technologies, the application comes embedded with the SIM card and offers users to "opt" for his number whenever the user requires it.The user group will be password protected with each user having his own password to access his phone.
Airtel is reportedly undertaking field trials of the service. Comviva, in co-operation with South African operator MTN, already has the service in South Africa. Airtel expects the technology to be operational in two months time and India might see the first services roll out in the rural areas of the country.
According to Airtel, no other operator in India has a similar technology currently and for the same reason, the implementation of this technology will provide Airtel an early head start in this segment.
The idea is to provide subscribers more value with just a single instrument. While there have been cases of one SIM using two numbers, if Airtel's plans bears fruits, it will be the first time that users will get as many as ten numbers from a single SIM and that too, with just one handset. Singapore's SingTel and UAE's Etisalat already have this system in place where users have been assigned two numbers on the same SIM card.