The Spanish mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) bandwagon continues to gather pace with the news that regional operator Euskaltel has signed an agreement with cellco Vodafone Spain to launch MVNO service nationwide. Euskaltel is the largest alternative provider of fixed line telecoms service in the autonomous Basque region of northern Spain, where it also resells wireless services of mobile operator Amena, part of France Télécom España. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, in 1997 Euskaltel struck an agreement with Amena to offer services as Euskaltel Móvil in the Basque region. Amena took a stake in Euskaltel in return and the service was launched in January 1998. The agreement expires in early 2007 and the two companies were thought to have been in discussions to extend it and collaborate on the launch of 3G services, though the Vodafone deal has put an end to such assumptions. The Vodafone agreement will now replace the Amena deal and allow for Euskaltel Móvil to expand nationwide from January 2007. It is not now known whether Amena will retain its stake in Euskaltel. Euskaltel Móvil currently has around 460,000 subscribers.
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