One SIM, 9 Numbers? BlackBerry plans to roll out Virtual SIM Provisioning in India by year end
BlackBerry, which has been busy restructuring itself as an enterprise and security company, is all set to bring Virtual SIM Provisioning (VSP) to India. VSP basically is a virtual identity solution for mobile operators, that allows multiple numbers to be active on a single device or SIM card.
BlackBerry is looking to get this technology into India by the virtue of its acquisition of London based virtual identity solutions player, Movirtu. The acquisition happened in September 2014, and BlackBerry is already rolling out similar solutions in Africa, Sunil Lalvani, Managing Director, BlackBerry India told us.
The VPS could come in handy for BYOD scenarios, where the lines between personal and professional mobile usage of employees are often blurred. “On a virtual SIM platform, both a business number and a personal number can be used on a single mobile device, with separate billing for voice, data and messaging usage on each number. As a result, employees can switch between business and personal profiles easily without carrying multiple devices or SIM cards, and charges are appropriately billed to the company and the employee,” Lalvani said.
Additionally, in conjunction with the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) platform, enterprise customers will be able to apply IT policies to the business number without impacting the usability of the device for personal use.
According to Lalvani, a solution like VSP can have a significant market in a country like India, where 3 million dual SIM handsets are sold every month. Lalvani said that Blackberry is in talks with several carriers in India to roll out the technology and a probable timeline would be end of 2015, given the regulatory processes involved. “We have the technology ready today. We are just dealing with regulatory framework.”
As of now, all the numbers on the virtual SIM will have to be activated by a single carrier, which, Lalvani said is not a technology but a regulatory issue. “The technology to have different carriers enable different accounts on a virtual SIM is available. But the KYC (know-your-Customer) norms hinder carriers from doing that,” he said.
While the revenue models for operators and enterprises are yet to take shape completely, BlackBerry will get its revenue on the basis of per SIM virtualized.
BlackBerry, which has been focusing on its enterprise offerings, said that according to latest financial numbers, 42 per cent of its business is coming from hardware, 47 per cent from services and about 10 per cent from software solutions.