Government of India-owned mobile network operator BSNL has joined hands with Aerovoyce and Plintron, both Chennai-based companies, to launch India’s first Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). Plans are set to start at just Rs 29 per month, which will enable the new service to take on established mobile network operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio.
The idea of an MVNO is relatively new in India, and has gained traction after a change in the rules enabled the easy entry of players into this space. Various companies including Aerovoyce currently hold licenses for running MVNOs in India. The concept allows a company to operate a mobile network without owning any infrastructure such as mobile towers and systems.
MVNOs can simply sign on with an existing mobile network operator that does own spectrum and infrastructure, piggybacking on the operators network while offering its own services, plans, pricing and customer support. In this case, the new MVNO will operate all over India, using BSNL’s existing infrastructure while having its own plans. The use of the BSNL network will mean that Aerovoyce-Plintron will be able to offer its services across the country. BSNL operates one of the most extensive networks in the country, and is in many cases the only operator with services in remote areas.
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The new plans start at very affordable prices, offering unlimited calls and up to 2GB data on BSNL’s 3G network per day. The prepaid plans come with 28-day validity for the basic plans, and are designed to offer afforable connectivity to the masses. Plintron is expected to bring its expertise as an MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler) into the agreement.