MVNOs to leverage infra sharing, faster service roll out: TRAI

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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today said mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) would leverage infrastructure sharing to roll out services faster but may require separate regulatory norms.

The TRAI consultation paper addresses a gamut of issues related to the introduction of MVNOs in the country. It talks about the concept and definition of MVNO, various models, the need and timing for its introduction, regulatory approaches, and spectrum sharing.

It also discusses licencing and regulatory issues such as eligibility, scope of service, licence fees, obligations, FDI, tariff and service quality.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had sought recommendations on the need and timing for introduction of MVNO, and the various terms and conditions for granting license to operators in a paper dated March 20, 2008.

MVNOs offer mobile services to the subscribers generally under their own brand name. They operate through commercial arrangements with licensed Mobile Nertowrk Operators (MNOs) and buy bulk minutes of traffic and resell them to their own subscribers.

MVNOs share spectrum of the parent MNO as they don't have spectrum of their own.

The service has gained popularity in the last few years with over 300 registered MVNOs operating throughout the world. Virgin Mobile is offering similar services in the country in a partnership with Tata Teleservices.

''Infrastructure sharing can be effectively leveraged to roll out services at a faster rate and at a lower cost thereby increasing the availability of telecom services at more affordable cost for the common masses,'' a statement said.

TRAI has already submitted its recommendations on infrastructure sharing in April this year.

The Paper also discusses the possible business strategies of the MVNOs such as offering services with low price, focussing on specific customer segment, offering differentiated Value Added Services and international clustering.

Existing operators like Airtel have argued that the MVNO model may not be successful under the current tariff environment.

UNI SR SBA AS1630

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