MNP will not be game changer, Uninor

by Sharon Lobo    Jun 01, 2010

The forever delayed mobile number portability (MNP), which could provide relief to a number of mobile subscribers who are unhappy with their current service provider, does not seem to be a game changer for a telco, according to Stein-Erik Vellan, Managing Director, Uninor.

Vellan, at the launch of Uninor’s GSM service in Mumbai, also said that according to his experience in other countries, MNP only provides a level playing field for telcos and enables better services to subscribers. Uninor, the fourteenth mobile operator in Mumbai, launched its services simultaneously in four other circles including Kolkata, Maharashtra and Goa, Gujarat and West Bengal.

At this launch, Uninor introduced a new concept of Dynamic Pricing (DP) called ‘24X7 Badalta Discount Plan’. This plan offers users discounts that range from 5 percent to 60 percent, depending on the location and time — with each cell phone tower broadcasting a different discount. Discounts for a particular location will change every hour. These call rates are applicable to all local calls made. To avail this facility, Uninor subscribers have to recharge their account with a special DP recharge of Rs. 48.

According to Olav Sande, EVP - Mumbai Hub, Uninor, the three circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra and Goa, and Gujarat account for 20 percent of the total telecom revenue in India. As a result, Uninor has setup a network of 60,000 point-of-sale (POS) to tap this huge market. Of these, twelve thousand are present in Mumbai. The company has also setup 72 exclusive Uninor stores of which 21 are present in Mumbai.

Uninor did not participate in the recently concluded 3G auction in India. When asked if the lack of 3G service would hamper teh company’s growth in India, Vellan said that Uninor did not participate in the 3G auctions as they are yet to be allotted the 2G spectrum they had paid for, which includes the Delhi circle. Vellan also added that some cities within a few circles were yet to be allotted the spectrum.

Additionally, Rohit Chandra, EVP-Operations, Uninor said that in the circles where they launched their service on December 3, 2009, most of the VAS subscribers in these circles (including UP-East, UP-West, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh) could be provided with 2G EDGE networks. As a result, no 3G service would not hinder the company’s growth.