MVNO Monday: a guide to the week’s virtual operator developments

4 Apr 2016

India’s Telecom Commission has opened the door to would-be virtual network operators (VNOs), by approving the introduction of a new category of unified licence, the Economic Times reports. Licence fees for the new concessions will vary depending on the service to be resold by the VNO, with a comprehensive licence costing INR75 million (USD1.12 million); the licences will be valid for ten years. The Commission is said to have accepted in full the recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Going forward, retail giant Future Group aims to be one of the first MVNOs to enter the market. CEO Kishore Biyani told Business Line that he would shortly initiate discussions with Tata Teleservices with a view to leasing spectrum and infrastructure.

LINE, the Japanese arm of South Korean internet content provider Naver Corp, has announced plans to launch MVNO services in Japan later this year, under the LINE Mobile brand name. The virtual operator, which will piggyback on the NTT DOCOMO cellular network, has pledged to differentiate itself by offering end users free access to Facebook, Twitter and its in-house messaging app, LINE.

IZI Mobil, the largest MVNO in Bosnia & Herzegovina by subscribers, will cease operations on 1 May 2016, local news site Indikator reports, citing sources at the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA). The virtual operator, which is owned by its Slovenian namesake, launched in June 2012, but has failed to provide genuine competition, with its user base said to be around 20,000.

Russian fixed line operator Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS) has revealed that its MVNO subscriber base currently totals 150,000, up from 120,000 at the end of 2015 and 20,000 one year earlier. Chief marketing officer Dmitriy Kulakovskiy told ComNews that he expects the subscriber base to total 200,000 by the end of the year. The MVNO launched in September 2014 over the network of its parent company Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).

Elsewhere in Russia, broadband operator ER-Telecom, working under the Dom.ru brand, has launched a pilot MVNO project in the city of Kirov. If successful, the operator plans to offer MVNO services in all the 56 regions where it is present. The identity of its network partner has not been disclosed.

The future of Tesco Mobile Hungary continues to hang in the balance, with local news site Index.hu reporting last week that the MVNO’s user base will be taken over by network partner Vodafone Hungary from 16 April. It remains unclear, however, as to whether the Tesco Mobile brand will be preserved or discontinued. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Tesco Mobile Hungary launched in September 2011 as a 50/50 joint venture between UK supermarket chain Tesco and Vodafone Hungary.

Finally, Spirent Communications has announced that its Tweakker device intelligence solution has been selected by French MVNO Bazile Telecom ‘to automate its on-boarding subscriber processes’. Tweakker has been installed at its customer care centre in Aix-en-Provence. Founded in 2005, Bazile Telecom is solely focused on serving the growing elderly population of France, and most of its 16,500 post-paid subscribers are aged over 65, while more than one-third are aged over 80. The MVNO operates on the Orange France network.

We welcome your feedback about MVNO Monday. If you have any questions, topic suggestions, or corrections, please email editors@commsupdate.com

Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Hungary, India, Japan, Russia , ER-Telecom (Dom.ru), IZI Mobil (Bosnia), LINE Mobile, Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS), Spirent Communications, Tesco Mobile Hungary, Tweakker

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