New Delhi: State run BSNL has once again become the first telco to commercially launch a new service of Virtual Network Operator and aims to garner Rs 650 crore in the current fiscal through partnerships.
The telco has partnered with two virtual network operators (VNOs) Plintron and Aerovoyce, becoming the first telco in the country to launch such services.
There are at present 68 VNOs in the country and after the Department of Telecom recently removed double taxation for VNOs which had a cascading effect, the service has become very attractive .
The issue of double taxation has been the major reason for subdued growth of VNO services in India. Though there are around 67 firms, which had taken licences for VNOs but most of them did not launch services due to cascading taxes. However, now the VNOs only have to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) on the value added, a move which will spur them to kickstart the VNO framework.
VNOs provide telecom services without owning spectrum or network infrastructure. They usually buy bandwidth from an operator and then sell it to users with their own branding and tariff packages. The tariffs are decided by the parent telco and the VNOs.
"We are targeting all the companies which have got a licence for VNO. In the FY 19, we are aiming to get Rs 500 crore through our partnership with Plintron and Rs 150 crore from Aerovoyce," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said. He said the change in licence conditions recently has made VNOs a sound business proposition. The VNOs can make money by offering a lot of value added services to consumers.
He said India will become first country in the world to go beyond mobile VNO to offer services like landline, broadband and FTTH using VNO Policy of the Government.
BSNL was the first telco to launch internet telephony service 'Wings' and within 15 days of its launch, it has received over 4,000 bookings for the new offering.
VNO's can extend marketing of large telcos in those areas where telcos are not available by offering innovative packages and prompt services. As they cater to small areas, they can help users to familiarise with Internet by handholding.
VNOs also can help BSNL save on sales and marketing costs in hinterlands.
BSNL also announced the first Robotic Process Automation in collaboration with global consulting firm Ernst and Young which will help several organizations to automate and perfect their internal processes effectively and at reasonable cost.
“This is a big step towards BSNL’s digital transformation which will enable BSNL to manage its resources more effectively and create new operational efficiencies across business processes. The bot solution was developed by E&Y. The E&Y team identified the issue of excess TDS and designed the bot which is being deployed across the 48 circles where BSNL operates", he said.
Shrivastava said there would not be any job loss due to adoption of bots.
Net telephony, VNO services are the new revenue sources BSNL is trying to monetise to spurce up its revenues which is under pressure due to competition.