Rumour Mill: Nokia and Ericsson to become Indian MVNOs

We live in unusual times, but to hear that Nokia and Ericsson have shown interest, apparently, in becoming MVNOs in the Indian market is more than extraordinary.

According to officials within the Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the two European-based manufacturers are among several other foreign companies interested in becoming involved as mobile service providers. One source claimed Nokia was in talks with NTT DoCoMo to enable the handset maker to become an MVNO in India, while Ericsson had meet with DoT executives to brief them on its MVNO plans.

Other firms that have shown interest in starting MVNO services in India include Telekom Malaysia, Mobile ESPN, BT and ValueFirst. BT, Verizon and France Telecom were among the companies that earlier had asked the Indian telecoms regulator (Trai) to open this business segment to outside investors.

However, a new report from Ovum cautions new entrants, pointing to the fact that mobile adoption is now widespread in India's cities and towns and will present a difficult target for those new to the market. It advises MVNOs to segment the market and go after the under-served. "One lucrative example is to target the wealthy segment by offering concierge services--a strategy employed by Dutch MVNO Baron," said Charice Wang of Ovum. "Another potential segment is to target customers that make low-cost international calls, such as those that have family abroad--Lycatel and Lebara have successfully employed such a strategy in Europe."

A further possible hurdle for MVNOs is the upcoming 3G licence auction, which could take place later this month. MVNOs need to make sure they choose the right partners that can allow them to offer the best range of services for their targeted segment.

For more on this story:
Financial Chronicle

Related stories:
Nokia planning Japanese MVNO
Virgin's French MVNO operation on track
Furniture retailer IKEA becomes an MVNO
Luxury MVNO Voce closes down