India next for Virgin Mobile?

15 Jan 2007

According to the Times of India, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is in talks with Indian wireless operator Tata Teleservices with a view to introducing the Virgin Mobile brand to India. Because MVNOs are not yet permitted on the sub-continent, the newspaper reports that Virgin is planning to become an exclusive franchisee of Tata Teleservices. For this, a new company, likely majority owned by Tata Teleservices will be formed. Products and services will then be bundled under the Virgin name, but will be supported by Tata Teleservices. If the pair can reach agreement on terms and gain the necessary regulatory approvals, Virgin Mobile could be launched as soon as April this year.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, this is not the first time that Virgin has been in discussions with potential Indian partners. In April 2005 Branson was reported to be negotiating with Bharti, Idea and MTNL, though no deal was then struck.