Thursday, 3 September 2009

Virgin Mobile looking for another franchise – India

Still not an “MVNO”, only a franchise agreement, Virgin Mobile India has expressed and interest to MTNL in their franchise agreement for the MTNL 3G network in Mumbai and Delhi.

MTNL is majority state owned operator which invited bids to a franchise agreement back in July. The agreement will see a 3rd party attempt to sell subscriptions to MTNL’s 3G network prior to the private sector MNOs launching their services.

Kuldip Singh, Technical Director at MTNL has been quoted by Business Line of India as stating: “Virgin Mobile and Spice Group have bid for our 3G franchise deal. We will finalise the bidder(s) in a month”.

Spice Group recently sold its MNO operation to Idea Cellular. Virgin Mobile India currently operates a reseller / franchise agreement with Tata Teleservices. Virgin launched their own mobile operation selling services to subscribers which they retain as their subscribers back in March 2008. The two companies clearly point out that this is not an MVNO as minute of use are not sold and although contested by other Indian MNOs the regulator sided with Tata and Virgin.