The long envisioned issue of distributing licenses to virtual network providers or the companies that offer telecom services without owning a network infrastructure has earned wings. TRAI has proposed bringing all the virtual network operators within the licensing framework and bestow them to offer various services such as data, voice and video streaming.
Experts call it a bold step by the government and hope that it will make the road for new players to enter the industry easier. Consumers are likely to get more choices once this licensing framework is implemented.
As per the announcement made by TRAI, a separate category of unified licenses will be created for all the VNOs (Virtual Network Operators). Those who want to offer all the services will have to pay an entry fees of Rs. 7.5 crore, while others will pay between Rs. 15 Lakh to Rs. 1.25 crore depending on their service range and tenure of license.
The final decision will be made by the Department of Telecommunications. TRAI has already given its recommendations to DOT. TT staff had covered this matter in 2014 as well hoping that TRAI would clear the air soon-
|Tata Docomo CDMA||Virgin Mobile CDMA (Virgin Mobile)||First pseudo MVNO in India. Fails as it was CDMA.|
|Tata Docomo GSM||Virgin Mobile GSM (Virgin Mobile)||After CDMA did not gain momentum VMI intros GSM connections too. VMI GSM is still operating with moderate amount of userbase who use it for offer.|
|Tata Docomo GSM||Talk24 (with Future Group)||Acts as Future’s Retail customers’ loyalty SIM card. Has more than 2.5+ million customers. Probably the most successful pseudo MVNO in India, thanks to Future Group’s pan India powerful retail existence.|
|MTS India||Vodafone NetCruise||Only EvDO Rev A based data cards. No separate data available.|
|Aircel||Blyk||Launched in 2010, Blyk operates as Ad based free/discounted service provider. Lukewarm response and still operating.|
|Aircel||Simpossible||Started in May, 2013 in Andra & Karnataka. Did not get much traction from them or Aircel. Now totally silent.|
TRAI has recommended 10-year validity for the telecom licenses, which can be reviewed after 3-4 years depending on the experience gathered and technological development.
Bhupendra holds a Post Graduate degree from Christ University. He is an investment banker & trader by profession and a writer by heart.