India approves Virgin Mobile-Tata venture

India has given the green light to the tie-up between telecoms operator Tata Teleservices and UK's Virgin Mobile, after it was convinced the combination was legal, the Economic Times newspaper said, quoted in a Reuters report.

India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had sought clarification from Tata Teleservices after a obbying group, Cellular Operators Association of India, had demanded that the government inquire into the legality of the joint venture.

The DoT had decided the tie-up would not operate as a mobile virtual network operator, based on Tata Teleservices' argument that it had no partnership for use of network or spectrum with Virgin and the cooperation was purely for non-licenced activities, the report said.

Earlier this month, Virgin Mobile, a unit of British communications group Virgin Media , launched a youth-focused service in India through Tata Teleservices.

This had the lobbying group demanding that the government find out if the tie-up meant Virgin was entering India as a mobile virtual network operator: MVNOs, which do not own networks or spectrum, but rent them from other operators, are not permitted in India.