16 March 2009

Nokia MVNO in India Still Possible

Week ago Rethink Wireless speculated whether Nokia would become MVNO in India (which I commented here).

This week Indian operator statistics show how newcomers are struggling to gain any foothold. Over a year HFCL (Punjab) and Shyam (Rajasthan) managed to gather 300000+ users each. Since Rajasthan has 56,6 million and Punjab 24,3 million population, the market must be extremely tough.

Nokia's luxury brand Vertu MVNO should focus into wealthy areas, like Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kolkata. Ultra high density urban areas with enough people, enough money, enough socializing, enough personal interest. Obviously.

Would Indian operators allow that? Nokia partnered in Japan with NTT Docomo for "Vertu Club" starting Q2 2009. NTT Docomo owns 26% of Tata Teleservices, which has almost 32 million subscribers. Tata has a joint venture with Virgin Mobile, which is positive sign.

Things look good for Vertu Club India. Vertu users have "enough" money and care more about value service than price. Furthermore Vertu MVNO is hosted by NSN in Singapore, having natural close ties to Nokia handset manufacturer. This is not only business, but also marketing. Nokia handsets, NSN hardware, Nokia services, NSN services. No need to worry about profit.