The Department of Telecommunications has decided to peg the entry fee for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) at a maximum of Rs 85 crore for a pan-India licence. MVNOs do not own spectrum or infrastructure. They buy airtime wholesale from the existing mobile operators and then resell it to consumers under own branding and tariff plans. Usually, MVNOs target a specific-user group such as the youth or women.
Companies with an existing retail and distribution chain are ideally suited to become an MVNO. DoT is expected to spell out the policy to give the licences soon. This will enable international companies, which had missed out on getting a telecom licence, to get a foothold in the fastest growing mobile market. Global players including BT (formerly British Telecom), Verizon and France Telecom have approached the telecom regulator to open up this segment.