En­ter VNOs! Tele­com Act II Fi­nally Takes-off in In­dia

At the “VNO - Herald­ing a New Era’, roundtable or­ga­nized re­cently by VNO Fo­rum and Voice&Data mag­a­zine, stake­hold­ers brain­stormed on what would cat­alyze growth and healthy com­pe­ti­tion in the VNO sec­tor.

Voice&Data - - SPECIAL REPORT - Tele­com Sec­re­tary, DoT

It was way back in 1996, when pri­vate play­ers were al­lowed to en­ter into the tele­com arena along with ap­pre­hen­sions about the way for­ward, with reg­u­la­tory and busi­ness vi­a­bil­ity chal­lenges sur­mount­ing them. To­day, the vir­tual net­work op­er­a­tors (VNOs) are at the same cusp when their fu­ture is vague, but not bleak in­deed.

The his­tory of VNOs goes back to the 1990s, when the con­cept was first de­vel­oped in Western Eu­rope. They ac­tu­ally buy band­width in whole­sale from the li­censed tele­com op­er­a­tors and then repack­age it in the form of voice calls, data packs, etc, to the con­sumers un­der their own brand.

In In­dia, TRAI first floated a Con­sul­ta­tion Pa­per in May 2008 and rec­om­mended open­ing up of the sec­tor then. Even though the rec­om­men­da­tions were not ac­cepted by the then Govern­ment, VNOs first found men­tion in the NTP 2012. And ear­lier this year, the Tele­com Com­mis­sion of In­dia, the top pol­icy mak­ing body in the Depart­ment of Tele­com, paved the way for MVNOs to set up op­er­a­tions in the coun­try.

The Com­mis­sion ap­proved TRAI’s rec­om­men­da­tion for VNOs al­though JS Deepak with some mod­i­fi­ca­tion. Fol­low­ing that more than 70 ap­pli­ca­tions were re­ceived for the VNO li­censes and some of the ap­pli­cants ap­ply­ing for pan-In­dia per­mit are Datawind, Ne­traj Tech­nol­ogy, Ometa Net Pri­vate Ltd, Sis­te­mos In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Ad­pay Mo­bile Pay­ment In­dia, Pow­er­net Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Tashee Build­con, AK Edu Tech­nolo­gies, In­tech In­fratel and Varoaan Ser­vices, among oth­ers.

At a re­cent VNO Fo­rum event— ‘Herald­ing a New Era’, or­ga­nized by Voice&Data, spon­sored by XIUS and Eric­s­son, in­dus­try stake­hold­ers came un­der one roof to brain­storm the fu­ture

Vir­tual Net­work Op­er­a­tors (VNOs), or tele­com ser­vice re­sellers, are bet­ter placed to en­able tele­com ser­vice providers uti­lize net­work ca­pac­ity and share ac­tive as well as pas­sive in­fra­struc­ture in the new $4 bil­lion mar­ket op­por­tu­nity

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