Videocon plans to offer pan-India mobile services as VNO

Videocon Telecom, which sold its spectrum in six circles to Airtel this year, now plans to offer pan-India mobile services, including 3G and 4G, in the next 6-8 months but as a virtual network operator (VNO).

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 29, 2016, 08:50 AM IST
Videocon plans to offer pan-India mobile services as VNO

New Delhi: Videocon Telecom, which sold its spectrum in six circles to Airtel this year, now plans to offer pan-India mobile services, including 3G and 4G, in the next 6-8 months but as a virtual network operator (VNO).

"We are in final stage of applying for the Virtual Network Operator licence and expect to file application in a week. MVNO roll-out usually is very quick, generally it should take about 6-8 months depending on the number of circles," Videocon Telecom CEO Arvind Bali told PTI.

A VNO provides telecom services like mobile landline and Internet, but only as a retailer for full-fledged telecom operators such as BSNL and Airtel.

In March, Videocon Telecom sold its 1800 Mhz band spectrum in six circles for Rs 4,428 crore to Bharti Airtel. However, it still holds 2G spectrum in Punjab.

"One of the key reasons for us to exit the mobile telecom space earlier was us being predominantly a 2G player and hence being technologically outdated. The telecom space in India and worldwide is fast adopting to newer technologies i.E. 4G," Bali said.

He said that while by upgrading Videocon's network to a 2.75G EDGE Network, the company was somewhat able to compete in market against 3G players, but fast shift towards 4G would have made it obsolete and really uncompetitive.

"The two key factors that we feel will be strong for our comeback will be us able to provide 4G/3G data to our customers, which was earlier a limitation for us, and hence we never had a level playing field with others," he added.

"Providing newer generation of technology would have mean lacs of crores of investment in spectrum and infrastructure, which we were not prepared for, and hence we decided to exit the space," Bali said.

The company at present has pan-India internet service provider licence and also provides 2G mobile services in Punjab circle.

With VNO licence, it plans to first upgrade mobile data services in the state and then expand to other circles.

"We plan to launch services in a phased manner, our first and foremost priority will be Punjab where we already have a 3 million subscribers base (approx 10 per cent market share), followed by Haryana, Gujarat, MP and Delhi," Bali said.