Growing Mobile VAS in India: Data MVNO: The Disruptions

There are four game-changing developments that will take place in India over the next year which have the potential to upset the distribution of profits in the Indian mobile industry: mobile number portability, MVNO licencing, 3G and mobile payments.What does it take to build a Data MVNO business?

  • Rs 80 crore for a national MVNO licence
  • Partnership with one of the operators to ride on their network
  • Focus on and differentiation via data services (Tata Docomo had a great opportunity to do this with its launch recently, but didn’t – it focused on voice pricing which if successful can be replicated by others quickly, and also only attracts bottom of pyramid customers)

My estimate is that this will require an investment of about Rs 200+ crore, and has the potential to deliver a topline of about Rs 2,000+ crore in 3 years for the market leader. More importantly, it will create a direct relationship with top of the pyramid, high-spending customers which can be monetised in multiple ways beyond data (invertising for businesses is one example).

The Data MVNO is an excellent example of an innovation that can be Made in India, and Made for the World.