NEW DELHI: State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Tuesday launched country’s first Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) service together with Chennai-based Aerovoyce and multinational firm Plintron, in a bid to disrupt the Indian telecom space with low-cost tariff.
The commercial rollout that include voice and data services at ultra-affordable plans may also put arch rival Reliance Jio’s rural network expansion ambition in a fix.
The current Aerovoyce offerings range from Rs 29 to Rs 79 per month. However, the base plan includes unlimited Aerovoyce to Aerovoyce voice calls while Rs 79/monthly plan includes unlimited calls and 2GB data every day.
The state-run telco aims ant an opportunity of nearly Rs 1,000 crore annually from the MVNO business that, according to analysts, has a market potential of Rs 2,800 crore or $4 billion in India. The telco expects the segment to contribute at least Rs 650 crores in FY 2019 to its topline.
“After the market disruption in 2016, we have started looking at other aspects such as satellite telephony, and MVNO is one of those areas” BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava said, adding that the new business is a part of its strategy to take on competition.
Both Aerovoyce and Plintron have integrated their systems to offer services using BSNL’s spectrum.
Other firms including Hughes Communications have shown interest in virtual operator business with the government-driven operator.
Shrivastava believes that a recent change in licence conditions by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reinvigorated the MVNO business.
Aerovoyce, a part of AdPay Mobile Payment India, is one of the 70 companies that have received MVNO licence in 2015. In December 2016, the firm conducted a pilot in all of the BSNL’s operating circles.
“Our focus areas will be rural, tier-II and tier-III cities to bring best affordable services in sync with the Digital India initiative,” AeroVoyce founder and chief executive Sivakumar Kuppusamy said.
In view of ongoing cut-throat competition, the MVNO service provider is also planning to further launch a family plan that, according to Kuppusamy would allow services to all family members at a mere cost of Rs 79 and it would include insurance cover, IPTV and 100% cash back on a purchase of device.
The new plan for family will, however, be launched on August 1, 2018.
Plintron has also introduced Internet of Things (IoT) focused service branded as eSIM4Things.
The state-owned operator has also launched robotics process automation (RPA) in partnership with EY. The platform, according to the companies, would be used for income tax processes. BSNL is among to enhance cash flow upto Rs 300 crore by leveraging this solution at which it spent Rs 12 lakhs.
“BSNL is very agile organisation and the RPA would lead to benefit of Rs 300 crores in cash flows,” EY telecom practice leader Prashant Singhal said, adding that the new bot would create efficiency and would not take away any job.
The bot will help telco to look into data across all operating circles and monitor customers tax deduction.
EY analyst also expects BSNL to increase the number of bots to 10 by 2019.