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

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7 Dec 2015

Colombia’s first ever MVNO, Uff Movil, which launched back in November 2010, has changed hands, it has been revealed. According to a report by Colombian news site El Tiempo, Bancolombia has sold its 80.59% controlling stake in Uff Movil for an undisclosed fee, with the buyer named as the US company MVNO Holdings, which is based in Florida. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the financial group acquired its stake from the company’s founder, Carlos Julio Ardila, in August 2012. The deal was carried out via Bancolombia’s Panamanian subsidiary Banagricola, and valued the unit at COP21 billion (USD8.34 million).

The Serbian unit of Belgian retailer Delhaize has launched a pre-paid virtual operator under the name Maxi Mobile. As part of a launch promotion, shoppers who make a purchase worth RSD1,000 (USD8.91) at any branch of Maxi, Shop & Go or Mini Maxi will be eligible to buy a Maxi Mobile SIM card for just RSD1, down from RSD200; the SIM will be pre-loaded with RSD200 worth of credit. The new MVNO piggybacks on the Mobilkom Serbia (VIP Mobile) network.

The Italian post office, Poste Italiane, has issued a statement denying media reports suggesting that it is planning to divest its MVNO division, PosteMobile. A statement attributed to the company reads: ‘With reference to some press reports published today, Poste Italiane wishes to clarify that the corporate structure simplification process, launched some time ago, does not include plans for the divestment of PosteMobile.’ Local news daily Corriere della Sera had previously reported that Poste Italiane CEO Francesco Caio was considering spinning off the MVNO as a result of its poor recent financial performance.

Lycamobile Group owner Subaskaran Allirajah arrived in Sri Lanka late last week for meetings related to a possible business agreement with Hutchison Telecom Lanka, local news site reports. Earlier this year the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) published a consultation paper on the introduction of MVNOs in Sri Lanka, with stakeholders invited to submit comments by 3 August. The visit by Mr Allirajah has prompted speculation that Lycamobile has set its sights on becoming Sri Lanka’s first MVNO.

Spirent Communications’ device intelligence business unit has announced that its long-standing device management contract with Sweden’s Tele2 Group has been extended to support the company’s new MVNO operation in Austria. Tele2 Austria mobile users will benefit from the vendor’s Mobilethink Device Guides solution, which will allow them to solve device-related issues in ‘a matter of seconds’.

Finally, in other vendor-related news, Dutch mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Teleena has announced that it has expanded its global footprint with the signing of four new international MVNO contracts, covering Canada, Turkey, China and Australia. While the identities of the new MVNOs have not yet been divulged, the vendor states: ‘After rapid growth in Holland and Europe, the new deals show Teleena’s ambition to become a leading global enabler for mobile service providers’.

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