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

27 Jun 2016

The underperforming Brazilian MVNO market is expected to witness the launch of a new player before the end of the year, in the form of pre-paid virtual operator Veek. In an interview with Mobile Time, company founder Alberto Blanco shared the company’s strategy, which will essentially see users receive credit for subscriber referrals. It is understood that Veek will piggyback on the TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) network, via a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) arrangement with Surf Telecom. Company founder Blanco boasts previous experience in the telecoms sector: he was the man in charge of Oi’s rebranding exercise at the turn of the millennium.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Maxcom of Mexico has awarded an MVNE contract to XIUS, an operating brand of India-based Megasoft Limited. Maxcom is expected to launch two new MVNOs in Mexico this September, operating over the network of market leader Telcel. Of the two brands being launched, one will be owned by Maxcom as part of its quad-play offering, while the other will be part of an alliance with supermarket chain Soriana. According to the vendor it will provide Maxcom with a turnkey solution that comprises of a customisable Mobile Services Platform (MSP) as the central MVNE platform, constituting essential core network, OSS and BSS functionalities, to enable an independent MVNE construct.

Norwegian FTTH broadband provider Altibox has acquired a 50% stake in local MVNO Hello through a share issue, stepping up its existing MVNO activity. The other 50% of Hello’s shares will be owned by the founder and chairman, Nadir Nalbant, CEO Thomas Sandakerveien, and a group of small shareholders. The MVNO operates over the Telenor Norge network.

Kenya has a new MVNO in the shape of SEMA Mobile, which bills itself as ’Kenya’s leading community network’. Focused on ‘closed user groups’ such as churches, the start-up claims that its platform ‘enables communities to connect and collaborate around the things they care about through a customised mobile solution’. According to local press reports, SEMA Mobile is owned by Mobile Decisioning Africa Group (MODE), a FinTech company, and operated in association with Chase Bank. The MVNO piggybacks on the Airtel Kenya network.

Ontario-based Chill Telecom has set out plans to launch a new MVNO in Canada. The company, which has been founded by Israeli entrepreneur Roujeh Ramadan, claims to have signed up 200,000 ‘pre-registered’ customers alongside 12,000 ‘early adopters’, who have pledged funds to help the company get off the ground. Local telecoms website Mobile Syrup notes that Chill Telecom will operate via a wholesale deal with Telus, although Mr Ramadan claims to be in ongoing negotiations with two operators, and says an announcement will be made in two months’ time. The MVNO is expected to go live in late-2016 or early-2017.

PTV Telecom, a full-service telco operating in Cordoba, southern Spain, has partnered with Atos and Huawei to become a Full MVNO. According to a report by Silicon.es, Atos will supply its SMSC, TAS and Telco Network Products, which will be integrated with Huawei’s fixed core network infrastructure. The Chinese vendor, meanwhile, will provide PTV’s Full MVNO platform, including Circuit-Switched Core, Packet-Switched Core, Fixed Core Network, Service Platform and Network Management System/OSS capabilities.

Vodafone Australia has announced that it will be allowing MVNOs Macquarie Telecom, Lebara, Pivotel Prepaid, Hello Mobile and Go Talk to access its 4G network from the end of the month. Kogan Mobile and TPG Mobile already have access to the Vodafone 4G network. Lebara will gain access on 30 June, followed by Macquarie Telecom, Pivotel Prepaid, Hello Mobile, and Go Talk on 6 July. Vodafone’s head of wholesale Paul Tierney said: ‘Provided they have a 4G capable device, customers of these MVNOs will be able to enjoy the Vodafone 4G network for browsing the internet, and streaming, uploading, and downloading content.’ The announcement by Vodafone follows Telstra in April making its 4G network available to MVNOs AldiMobile, Woolworths, Telechoice and Better Life.

Finally, according to an unverified report by Telecompaper, UK-based MVNO group Lebara reported revenues of EUR652.6 million (USD725 million) for 2015, up 0.9% on an annualised basis. The Dutch website, which cites a filing with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, adds that the company’s reported an unspecified operational loss for the year under review, due to higher costs incurred by the dual launch of its ‘Lebara Talk’ and ‘Lebara Play’ products.

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

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database is now home to the telecoms industry’s fastest-growing collection of MVNO data, covering more than 80 countries and 800 virtual operators. If you would like to find out more, please email sales@telegeography.com

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