Indian regulator TRAI has ruled that MVNOs in the country will not be able to hold spectrum assets. The ruling forms part of the regulator’s ongoing investigation into the suitability of MVNOs in the Indian market and follows official complaints from some operators that the MVNO model will break Indian laws on spectrum sharing. “MVNOs will surely have to use spectrum for their operations, but there is no question of ownership [of spectrum] with MVNOs. The DoT (Department of Telecommunications) allots spectrum only to license holders,” said TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra, reports Cellular News.

Although MVNOs are currently not allowed in the Indian market, Virgin Mobile and Tata launched a joint-venture earlier this year, which rivals claim is an MVNO. However, Tata argues that the Virgin operation is merely a ‘franchisee’ as the deal does not involve selling bulk airtime. In separate news, TRAI has given clearance to the recent outsourcing deals made by Bharti and Vodafone Essar. Bharti has outsourced its network management to Ericsson and Nokia Siemens, while both Bharti and Vodafone have outsourced their IT systems to IBM. The regulator said it had studied the agreements to check for any violation of regulations and the impact on government revenues.