We earlier covered Airtel’s pilot project of virtual phone numbers (Airtel to launch Virtual Phone Numbers – You can have 10 numbers on a single SIM!) – the technology developed by Comviva (earlier Bharti Telesoft).
The technology enables upto 10 users to share the same mobile phone and at the same time have their own numbers. The technology requires the user to dial a given number from the specific mobile phone and activate the SIM though a password. Once that is done, the user can receive and make calls and even recharge the account through a pre-paid coupon.(source)
The software is embedded in SIM card itself and the trial was done with MTN, the South African GSM telecom operator, which has launched the multiple SIM in Cameroon (acquired 30K new users).
The virtual number technology is as good as a community based phone service that can drastically cut down the TCO, i.e. total cost of ownership of the phone, and hence a perfect fit for Rural India.
Rural India’s teledensity stands at 20% and even though there is a huge opportunity, the price sensitiveness is a big hindrance to adoption (read: The flip side of going Rural: A look at the challenges in cracking the Indian rural market).
And that’s where such technology that can drastically cut down the cost will help the operators gain customers.
What’s your opinion?