Summary:

Broadband services provider IOL Netcom is the latest to enter the telephony arena. Close on the heels of Shyam Telecom gaining spectrum for…

Broadband services provider IOL Netcom is the latest to enter the telephony arena. Close on the heels of Shyam Telecom gaining spectrum for its CDMA roll-out, IOL has teamed up with MTNL as a ‘lead consortium partner’ to offer CDMA mobile services in Mumbai and Delhi. The firm plans to introduce its ‘IOL Mobile’ brand in the next 90 days and aims for an ARPU of Rs 450 per month (current cross operator average is around Rs 230) and targets a base of 1 million in the next few months. According to the report, IOL plans to offer IPTV, broadband and VoIP in addition to the regular voice services. Why would a traditional operator allow a consortium partner to subvert the system and conduct voice over IP? IOL does have a pedigree with the internet, having recently changed its name from IOL Broadband to IOL Netcom. Besides IOL has a standing deal with MTNL in the past to offer VoIP services in addition to IPTV. In January 2007, IOL had raised Rs. 39 crores by means of a preferential allotment of shares to Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs). Prior to that, the company had received Rs 5 crore in investment from Bennet, Coleman & Co (BCCL) and Rs.7 crore from Maula Trading Co. Regardless, the space is getting crowded, with new operators launching in each circle. About time till someone starts giving handsets out for free. One Mobile Per Child anyone?

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