Virgin Mobile will be launching its GSM services in Maharashtra next week. Sharing the company’s plans with Telecom Yatra, Prasad Narasimhan, chief marketing officer,Virgin Mobile, said, “We will be launching our GSM services in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra by next week and by end of this financial year we plan to launch in the rest of India.”
The company, which has been offering CDMA services since 2008, began offering its GSM services in South India (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) followed by Orissa recently. Virgin Mobile provides only prepaid services to its subscribers. The company has floated Rs 500 crore over next six months for the promotion and branding activities for its GSM services.
Virgin Mobile will launch its GSM services in all the circles where TTSL (Tata Teleservices Ltd), with which the brand shares its network, has its presence for GSM operations.
Incidentally, TTSL’s other brand, Tata Docomo is also into providing GSM services. Commenting on the same, Narasimhan explains that Tata Docomo has a mass market while Virgin Mobile is only focused on urban youth. This includes value added services such as social networking, closed user group calling, and movie ticketing. Launched in 2008, Virgin Mobile made its pan-India foray as a CDMA service provider in a 50-50 joint venture with TTSL and commenced its operations in all the circles where TTSL had its license for CDMA services.
The company which operates as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) globally faced initial glitches while launching its services in India. At that time the COAI (cellular operators association of India) had opposed its entry in the country on regulatory grounds. However, the company still maintains that it is a brand franchise under the TTSL umbrella and not an MVNO in India. An MVNO refers to a set up which leases network services of an already established operator to provide its services.
TTSL’s Tata Docomo has rolled out GSM services in 14 of India’s 22 telecom circles in a span of under six months from its launch in August 2009. The combined subscriber base of TTSL is 58 million.