India’s first MVNO Aerovoyce launches in Chennai
Aerovoyce, a Chennai-based company which had received approval for MVNO operations from DoT, launched its broadband and international calling services on Friday. An MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), is an entity which buys telecom services (calling, data, SMS etc) in bulk from multiple telecom operators, and provides them to its customers, as a part of a differentiated offering. Think of it as an aggregator of telecom services.
Aerovoyce did not disclose the names of its telecom/ISP partners. Note that as per India’s MVNO guidelines, they’re only allowed to partner with one telecom operator per access service time: so, a different partner for data, National Long Distance Voice, International Long Distance voice, etc. However, the Department of Telecom is looking at removing this constraint. As of October last year, DoT received applications from 60 companies that were looking to launch MVNO services. A list here.
Aerovoyce said that it will be focusing on “townships and rural areas” with a population of above 10,000 – 50,000. In the first phase, the company is launching in cities like Salem, Coimbatore, Thanjavur, Cuddalore and Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu circle.
It will also provide commercial VSAT infrastructure for providing Internet in closed buildings and other Value Added Services like movies, sports updates, music, etc. Note that Aerovoyce is yet to launch its national voice and data services. A spokesperson from the company told MediaNama that this is planned in the second phase of its launch although a timeline was not provided.
Currently, the company is offering fiber broadband starting at Rs 249 for a 4Mbps with an Fair Usage Policy (wherein, the connection speed is reduced upon crossing the limit) of 30GB. On the higher end, it is charging Rs 2999 for a 150 Mbps connection with an FUP of 550 GB. It is also offering international calling SIM cards priced at $15 which includes 50MB data and along with 100 minutes of talktime. These services are open to both enterprise and home users.
The company’s international calling SIMs will be made available at Airport kiosks, retail stores, etc. Users can also start recharging online through its website or via its ‘Aerovoyce Customer app’. Pricing plans will be country specific and the company is yet to reveal plans publicly.
Aerovoyce will focus on rural towns and remote areas
While securing the DoT license last month, Aerovoyce’s CEO Sivakumar Kuppusamy told MediaNama that the company will start with Tamil Nadu circle and move onto more circles in the future. It will primarily target users from rural towns and remote areas and aims to get 1 lakh customers within 3 months of launch. The company also claims to have invested more than Rs 300 crore into its MVNO business and additionally plans to bundle ‘ADPAY mobile wallet services with its voice and data connections. Currently, ADPAY provides operator billing, mobile WAP/VAS, mobile ad networks and payment services to telecom companies.
An MVNO license costs Rs 7.5Cr on a pan-India basis
Any company in India can buy an MVNO license with an entry fee of Rs 7.5 crore for offering both data and voice. Pan-India MVNOs will also have to shell out Rs 15 lakh as entry fee, and up to Rs 1.25 crore for both nation and international telecom license.
By Salman SH