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OnMobile Denies Claims Of Preferential Treatment From BSNL

OnMobile Global has deemed a report in the tabloid Afternoon, published yesterday, as baseless, and written with malicious intent. The newspaper report had alleged, among other things that in 2008, BSNL had reduced the number of franchisees for VAS down to three, primarily in the interest of OnMobile; that OnMobile was made a partner in marketing and advertisement of VAS; that the company received payment in 10 days while the stipulated period was 30 days for other companies; that the contract with OnMobile was for a period of three years, while others were contracted for just one year.

In response to queries sent by MediaNama to the company, an OnMobile spokesperson has said that the article is “baseless and defamatory and has been written with a malicious intent. We are in talks with our lawyers to consider our legal options.” The company has also categorically denied the validity of the allegations that the company used the short code 12555 to promote its IPO, and that it received any payments from BSNL for its IPO. The company has also stated, with reference to the 10 day payment cycle mentioned in the article, that “at all times, any contract with OnMobile, followed BSNL standard practice for stipulated payments in place at that time.”

Readers should note that no source has been cited for much of this information, and while there is a mention of A. Raja, no clear links have been identified between A. Raja and OnMobile Global, in the deal. Some of the allegations do appear to be on shaky ground – telecom operators do promote specific services provided by VAS companies that they believe can yield substantive revenue. This is a practice followed across telecom operators, referred to as “marketing support”.

Last month, there were speculative reports that OnMobile was selling stake to TCS, which the company had denied.

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