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.
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