DoT has finally cleared the Tata-Virgin deal and declared that Virgin Mobile India, the company formed under the tie-up, is not operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in India.
COAI again claimed that Virgin Mobile was offering full-range mobile services like a licence holder in violation of existing regulations and the services were similar to those offered by Virgin as an MVNO in other countries like the UK and Australia. The DoT had then sought clarification from Tata Teleservices (TTL) on certain points, including usage of the Indian operator’s network or spectrum by Virgin.
The DoT based its final decision on Tata Teleservices’ arguments that it had no partnership for use of network or spectrum with Virgin and Virgin Mobile India was set up purely for non-license activities [source].
Tata Teleservices has maintained a clear stand that it is not selling any bulk airtime to Virgin, and the deal is more about obtaining a trademark license from UK-based Virgin Group to use the Virgin Mobile brand for marketing mobile services for youth.
This obviously doesn’t please GSM providers and the war goes on (let’s hope the battle turns out good for the end consumers).