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China based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Snail Mobile doesn’t have confirmed plans to set up operations in India, a company spokesperson has told MediaNama. An Economic Times report yesterday suggested that Snail Mobile will “shortly enter India” by setting up MVNO operations, citing plans for an expansion into multiple foreign markets.

In an email, Snail Mobile told MediaNama that it plans to enter foreign markets, but there is no official confirmation regarding India plans, even though they are interested. The company has to, according to the spokesperson, “deliberate on target markets, dates, business models and make a detailed plan before carrying them out”. Executing the plan, the executive said, “requires time, staff, money and local resources.”

“Snail Mobile is just launching our international business strategy and we need time to make specific marketing plans. India is a very important booming market, but the US, Europe are also on our short list and Snail already has a branch and existing market there. In a word, before the top could give me any credible information about market expansion, I can say nothing confirmed by now.”

The company was founded in 2014 and offers mobile data and voice services through SIM cards in China as well as for roaming users abroad in 40 countries. Its parent company Suzhou Snail Digital Technology claims to provide a gaming platform with over 85 million users spread over 100 countries. Snail even offers its own gaming console and an online store for purchasing games.

Previously in April a PTI report claimed that India based mobile manufacturer XIUS, had partnered with UK based Hebitel to launch MVNO services in India. A different ET report at the same time claimed that XIUS is looking to tie up with companies like  Virgin Mobile, Lebara Mobile and Tune Talk to launch MVNO services in India through a partnership agreement. MediaNama written to XIUS for a confirmation and will update the story once we hear from them.

Entry of VNOs in India

Last month, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued guidelines regarding Virtual Network Operator policy, allowing any Indian company to offer telecom services in India. Read the Lowdown of guidelines here.

Entry of MVNOs in India was approved by DoT in March wherein any company looking to offer telecom services in India will have to follow regulations under the Unified License agreement, with an entry fee of Rs 7.5 Crore. VNOs who don’t want to offer all services will have to shell out Rs 15 lakh for national level Internet services to Rs 1.25 crore for long distance telecom license—as suggested by the TRAI through a recommendation paper released on May 2015.

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Can Whatsapp launch an MVNO in India? (Editor: now it can)

Image Credits: Flickr user Michael Dorausch under  CC BY-SA 2.0