The Virtual Network Operators Association of India (VNOAI) has proposed to work with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to help it generate an additional wholesale revenue stream from VNOs operating on its existing network, which will also enhance the operator’s market share by 3 per cent. Representatives from VNOAI met P. K. Purwar, chairman and managing director, BSNL, to propose and review a future roadmap for building a strong marketing relationship between VNOs/mobile VNOs (MVNOs) and the operator.

According to VNOAI, VNOs will also bring differentiation and customised services to customers in niche segments. For example, with the convergence of banking and telecom, many innovative banking and fintech MVNOs may ride on the BSNL network duly marketed by the VNOs. Similarly for rural, converged broadband with mobile bundled services can be delivered to the rural population by the VNOs, making the vast network reach of BSNL in the rural areas duly serviced by the rural VNO brands. The association added that BSNL is uniquely positioned to launch VNOs, as being a government-owned entity it has massive unutilised infrastructure in tier 2/3 cities and rural India. VNOs can help in better utilisation of the unused BSNL capacity, generate additional revenue with better average revenue per user (ARPU) and improve the profitability of the operator.

R.K Upadhyaya, director general, VNOAI, said that large telecom network capacities are currently underutilised due to a low customer base. The relationship proposed by VNOAI to BSNL will help recover the spectrum cost invested by the government in the bailout package and provide enhanced revenue growth figures for the next six years across market segments at no additional cost to the operator. He added that globally, telecom service providers and VNOs coexist, utilising innovative new technologies to serve the customers effectively. Considering that the government has infused significant public money into BSNL there needs to be specific targets and timeframe for BSNL to increase its market share and monetise the investments. There is thus a need for BSNL to make the DoT’s VNO policy successful in India.