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Plintron, A Story of Digital Successes as the World’s Largest MVNE/MVNA service provider

Subhashree Radhakrishnan plintron

“A creative project involving teamwork that contributes to the commercialisation of cutting edge solutions, bringing it to reality and seeing it change people’s lives is a major motivator,” Subhashree Radhakrishnan, Vice Chairman and Co-Founder, Plintron Group replied to The CEO Magazine’s question “What motivates you?”

Plintron, a name that resonates with the leaders in the Mobile Virtual Network services ecosystem, has been navigating seamlessly through the information revolution for more than a decade. Founded in 2008 by visionary leaders Mohan Kumar Sundaram and Subhashree Radhakrishnan, Plintron has established its reputation in Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) / Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) services ecosystem as the world’s largest end-to-end multi-country MVNE / MVNA and CPaaS provider.

Plintron establishes its global presence by having activated more than 150 million mobile connections from launching more than 140 MVNO brands, across 28 countries, in all 6 continents and seamlessly integrating with over 40 Telecom operators.

Plintron is headquartered in Singapore with offices in London, Dubai, New Delhi, São Paulo, and Seattle covering the Europe, North America, LATAM, Middle East and Asian markets. It has a state-of-the-art Global Technology & Support centre in Chennai, India providing 24×7 support to its clients worldwide.

Plintron India is the first national UL-VNO licensee in India and the country’s fifth national telecom service provider. Its current focus is in the Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, & Telangana. It will launch in Kerala this year.

Plintron has been recognised over the years through a range of prestigious awards which includes being ranked in GSMA’s Mobile IoT Innovators, 2017, Ranked ‘India’s Best MVNO and IoT Service Provider’ 2017 by Berkshire media, Ranked India’s Best company of the Year 2020 in CPaaS category by Berkshire Media, Ranked by Business Connect as Fastest Growing IoT Company to Watch Globally – 2021.

Today, Subhashree Radhakrishnan, in the vital roles of the Group’s Vice-Chairman and Director, oversees the specialized multinational technology company for Cloud Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) for MNOs, MVNOs, Enterprises and IoT Businesses. In her leadership role, she has created world-class telecom products adhering to international standards and commercialized in 28 countries with compliance to the local regulatory and consumer experience.

About Subhashree Radhakrishnan :
Since the establishment in 2008, Plintron thoroughly enjoys the leadership position in the market under the supervision of Subhashree Radhakrishnan, the visionary who co-founded and co-chairs the group today. The woman of the hour is also responsible for the group’s engineering, operations, finance, and marketing function. The confident, agile and fierce leader has successfully implemented a unique business model which established PLINTRON as the world’s largest company in its marketplace. Along with being a commerce graduate with a national rank in Economics, an MBA degree in marketing and computer applications certifications, Subhashree is also an avid sports enthusiast with many accolades to her name.

Being a confident individual and a person of detail, Subhashree allows us to see her robust belief in the strength of collaborative teamwork where there is mutual trust, respect, and liberty to share ideas. After working in leadership positions in several large companies, this professional after turning into a businesswoman decided to utilise her capabilities to the fullest and became an entrepreneur in 2008.

Since then, Plintron expanded and grew to be the world’s largest multi-country end-to-end MVNA / MVNE Service Provider, by effectively using its CPaaS, in the period of merely 12 years. Today, they savour their presence in all 6 continents. The brand stands like a strong pillar having launched more than 140 brands & serving the leading MVNOs, MNOs, Enterprises / Brands and IoT service providers. For Subhashree, the value-addition and growth to the brand has been a magnificent narrative and a fulfilling journey.

To learn more about Plintron’s operations, the ideologies of the leader behind the brand, and various other aspects of its journey, Purnima Narang, Editor of the CEO Magazine, had an exclusive chat with the Business Woman of the Year 2021, Subhashree Radhakrishan.

TCM: As a businesswoman, what is the change you are bringing with your company today?
Subhashree: From the growth perspective, the focus is on our products by ensuring new technologies are adopted to keep our product lines competitive in the market. Also ensuring the scalability and adaptability of our people, process and technology in the new territories, as we continue our global expansion.

TCM: Please give us an insight into the MVNE solutions that you offer?
Subhashree: Our multi-country MVNE – Telecom SaaS & CPaaS platform is a world-class high performance adaptive and responsive end-to-end solution which has launched 140+ MVNOs across 40+ MNOs in 28+ countries across 6 continents.

It’s a cloud-based solution that facilitates the fast launch and simplified operations with elastic scalable capacity, flexibility and affordable commercials.

A choice of deployment models is offered – private, public, or on-premises, this integrated solution has a complete Telco SaaS suite, the solution is customisable, and has an inbuilt proprietary library of 400 APIs.

With single Integration, there are less operational hassles and overheads for MNOs with regards to integrating multiple MVNE platforms.

MNOs can also benefit from the Plintron MVNE solution as multiple MVNOs can be hosted together on the same platform as Plintron’s multi tenanted full MVNE platform allows hosting of multiple MVNOs on the same platform, with each one managed independently.

MVNOs benefit from the end-to-end complete Cloud platform with fully integrated Telco NSS/BSS/OCS/OSS/GW Suites along with multi-language support catering to different customer segments and customised to support different market models. It is a plug & play solution which can be launched in a short timeframe and assures both affordable and low entry costs

Plintron solutions are pre-integrated with external payment gateways and can integrate MVNOs to multiple third-party services (including 1000+ VAS providers) as per requirements. The solutions are PCI DSS compliant and fully compliant to local regulations including EU GDPR & EU RLAH.

TCM: Indeed this is a state of the art Platform. Why don’t you tell us about your MVNA Telecom as a Service solution as well?
Subhashree: Today, the innovative MVNA Telecom as a Service (TaaS) model from Plintron is a comprehensive end-to-end one-stop shoppe solution that offers complete hassle-free, easy launch and management of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services.

A MVNA, being a licensed telecom operator resells airtime to its customers bundled with mobile network services. The mobile network services are offered through MVNE Services. PLINTRON provides MVNA services bundled with its MVNE Services to mobile virtual network operators (“MVNOs”) across the globe. Plintron supports the telecom industry’s most comprehensive rollouts for mobile network operators (“MNOs”), MVNOs and Enterprises.

Plintron’s MVNA model benefits MVNOs with its pre-integrated retail & payment outlets for SIM sale/top-up. Additional benefits are Integrated Revenue and Customer Management (IRCM) solution in a SaaS model and multiple third party & VAS provider integrations which mean pre-integrated payment gateways and third party VAS integrations/APIs. This increases the options for the MVNO.

Plintron also accelerates launch as it provides faster integration, localisation, and multi-language customisation to launch MVNOs.

With manageable minimum purchase commitments, the entry barriers and investments to start services reduces and the MVNO clientele avails the best wholesale pricing which makes this an affordable solution with lower OPEX.

Plintron leverages its global MVNA experience to increase the wholesale business of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), by deploying a local country team to work as an extended arm of MNO wholesale team and work with individual MVNOs on their sales & marketing, GTM and customer care, and to handle all legal & regulatory obligations.

Thus, Plintron’s MVNA Telecom as a Service solution, enables brands to launch their own branded mobile telecom services for their consumer base with a view to aid customer retention and additional revenue streams. The mobile services will be packaged and offered as a brand extension to Mobile services. This will be attractive to any brands who attract a heavy footfall at their stores or high visitors at their digital marketplaces. Starting their own mobile services which will increase their business value, revenues, customer loyalty and stickiness. Plintron will provide end-to-end service and support to operate the mobile service for the customers who can sell it in their specialised segments.

Hence the branded resellers can concentrate on their core competence of sales, customer service and marketing while leaving all the telecom and regulatory related services for Plintron to manage.

TCM: In the journey, did you deal with the challenge of acceptance? If not, what were the other challenges you overcame?
Subhashree: In this journey of over a decade, the biggest challenge was and continues to be meeting time to market needs consistently without compromising on the quality of products and services. Through our journey to establish Plintron as a world leader, our singular focus is on quality, adoption of cutting-edge technologies, localisation for each market, customisations as required by customers and above all, excellence in customer service. So far we have been successful in achieving our goals by surmounting the challenges presented by the fast-moving industry.

TCM: How did you differentiate yourself and your brand from the competition?
Subhashree: Our products and solutions are completely indigenous. Being agile in the changing digital world is a key differentiator between us and the rest of the solution providers. Along with agility, we at Plintron offer scalable, flexible, customised, and affordable Cloud Platform solutions. This unbeatable combination has aided us to secure our position as one of the top-most leaders in our industry.

TCM: How did you build your team? What are the activities that allow you to keep your team motivated?
Subhashree: We formed the Plintron team with a group of most passionate people with the right set of skills and attitude, willing to implement something new and challenging. We believe in empowering our people, every function head is the CEO of his function and we have successfully adopted a collaborative working model. Today, in the telecommunication industry, the brand moves ahead with a family of over 1000+ staff strengths and extended families. Our continuous product development, modern experimental practices and new territory expansion keeps our team highly engaged, excited and motivated as they cater to the needs of the global market.

TCM: How did you handle adversity and doubt? What are the achievements you are most proud of ?
Subhashree: It is my robust belief, any problem, issue, or failure should be considered as an experience and learning with the focus on ensuring that it does not repeat.

As we continue to grow, we are indeed proud to be World’s largest multi-country MVNA / MVNE service provider with our indigenous CPaaS platform and solution, partnered with 40+ mobile network operators world-wide, operating in 28 countries across 6 continents

TCM: What does success look like in the current role and for the company?
Subhashree: Success, at Plintron, is ensuring that we achieve our expansion plans to be in 50+ countries by the next 5 years along with successfully commercialising our new lines of business and by ensuring each of the operating companies exceeds their goals both in terms of customer acquisitions and market share.

TCM: What are the questions you ask after each breakthrough?
Subhashree: After each breakthrough, these are the questions that hit my mind “What did we do right?”, “What could have been done better?”, Most importantly, “Did everyone associated with it enjoy the journey towards the breakthrough”

TCM: How do you plan on growing your business in the upcoming years?
Subhashree: We continue to nurture our existing customers. As per our best estimates, we have a rapid business expansion plan to be in 50+ countries over the next 5 years. Alongside we will improve our brand visibility, form strategic partnerships that complement our current line of business and to reach a wide swath of customers quickly.

TCM: If you were to answer a young female executive’s question of ‘How can I be a good leader?’ What would you advice?
Subhashree: Commitment is the key to whatever you do. Brighten your path first and then hold the torch to light another’s path. Do any task as if “the buck stops with you”. Both the journey and destination matters. So take your team along, focus and enjoy the journey as much as the outcome.

For closing remarks, Subhashree quoted be inspired by what Dr Kalam said, “Have dreams that does not let you sleep”