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

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2 Nov 2015

Porto Seguro Conecta, the MVNO backed by Brazilian insurer Porto Seguro, has selected Swedish vendor Ericsson to upgrade its virtual network to incorporate 4G LTE technology. Ericsson will provide the operator with the latest software upgrades to ensure a high performing network, while the contract also includes the deployment of the Ericsson Evolved Packet Core and IP Multimedia Subsystem. For the next three years, Ericsson will also provide customer support and managed services to the firm. The 4G component of the network is expected to be live by the end of 2015. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Porto Seguro Conecta – which launched in August 2012 over the TIM Brasil network – is the country’s largest MVNO with 329,936 subscribers.

Elsewhere in Brazil, EUTV Brazil (also known as Surf Telecom) has announced that it has received a Tier 1 licence from the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) to provide full mobile services for end users, as well as delivering mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) and mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) platforms to Brazilian MVNOs. The company also revealed that Elephant Talk has been selected as the provider of its core virtualised software services platform.

Tele2 Austria has confirmed the launch of its long-awaited MVNO service, which went live on 23 October. The virtual network, which utilises T-Mobile Austria’s radio infrastructure, will provide nationwide network coverage for the business-to-business (B2B) segment. The MVNO uses the ‘0690’ prefix and claims to be a full MVNO, presiding over its own core network.

After widespread speculation, US cable giant Comcast has said that it will activate a dormant MVNO deal signed with Verizon Wireless back in 2011. Speaking during the cableco’s third-quarter earnings call, CEO Brian Roberts acknowledged that an MVNO business model is in the works, saying: ‘We’re going to trial some things and test some things after we activate’. Roberts added that it will take about six months to trigger the agreement. In December 2011 Verizon announced that it had acquired a total of 122 AWS spectrum licences from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks. Under that agreement the three cable operators secured the rights to resell Verizon’s wireless services at a later date.

Meanwhile, self-styled ‘ethical MVNO’ The People’s Operator (TPO) has confirmed that its UK-based subscriber base has reached 50,000. TPO, backed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, allows customers to direct 10% of their monthly bill to a charity of their choosing. CEO Mark Epstein told TechWeekEurope: ‘It’s been a period of explosive growth. We’ve had more than 400% growth so far this year, we’re hitting all our targets in the UK where we have 50,000 customers. We’re really proud we can compete … We floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, which was a big achievement for the business. It reinforced the credibility of the business model and reinforced the viability of it’. The virtual operator, which launched in November 2012, is hosted by EE’s network.

Finally, Indian cloud communications firm Plintron has revealed that it has been tapped to provide operational support for the recently launched Lycamobile Tunisia. Mohan Kumar Sundaram, co-founder and chairman of Plintron, commented: ‘We are delighted to expand our MVNE business through our Cloud Communication Platform into the African market … As we roll out this launch, our next target markets in the African region include MVNO licensed countries’.

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TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database is now home to the telecoms industry’s fastest-growing collection of MVNO data, covering more than 60 countries and 100 virtual operators. If you would like to find out more, please email