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Aerovoyce to launch MVNO service with BSNL on Tuesday

Tamil Nadu-based Adpay Mobile Payment will formally launch its mobile services on Tuesday in a tie-up with state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

The company, which will operate on the MVNO model, has sent out press invites for the inauguration function to be held on Tuesday.

Under the MVNO or mobile virtual network operator model, a company does not create its own network, but leases capacity from an existing mobile player for running its operations.

BSNL has been facing problems drawing customers to its business due to various aspects, one of which is its image as a government company.

The operator has decent amounts of spare network capacity — especially on the voice side — across India, though it does not have much data capacity to spare. It is expected that BSNL’s network and capacity, along with a private player’s marketing skills, could be a winning combination.

BSNL already offers the cheapest data and voice rate in India, and provides 3 GB of data per day for 90 days for around Rs 333.

It is not yet clear how big Aerovoyce services will be in the beginning and whether it will include BSNL’s 3G data service, which is already under some level of congestion due to its ultracheap data packs.

Big telecom operators in India, who do not like competition, have not been very enthusiastic about allowing virtual operators in the country, and lobbied hard to ensure that they would have limited existence outside the host network.

While MVNOs wanted full rights over the phone numbers used by their subscribers, the government did not allow them to get phone numbers allocated under their names or to carry over these phone numbers when they switched from one upstream provider — such as BSNL — to another.

Similarly, the DoT did not allow MVNOs to buy the capacity from more than one operator. Doing so would have helped virtual operators choose the cheapest or the least-congested operator at any one time. (However, there have been reports that this restriction has since been removed, but there’s no clarity on this front yet.)

Nevertheless, around 60 companies have shown interest in starting such services in the country.

Just last month, Aerovoyce launched its broadband and international calling services, starting with Tamil Nadu.

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