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

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1 Feb 2016

Peru’s Supervisory Agency for Private Investment in Telecommunications (Organismo Supervisor de Inversion Privada en Telecommuniciones, Osiptel) has approved the final set of measures relating to the planned introduction of MVNOs in the country. The decision, published in the official gazette (El Peruano) on 24 January, stipulates that mobile network operators (MNOs) must agree wholesale terms with would-be MVNOs within a period of 60 days. The regulatory body will then verify that the agreed terms respect the principles of non-discrimination, equal access and free and fair competition, before approving any such agreement.

In related news, Virgin Mobile Peru is expected to be operational by June this year, a representative of Osiptel has informed the media. Tatiana Piccini told the Andina News Agency: ‘We have been informed that Virgin Mobile will start operations between May and June’. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, despite the lack of any formal licensing procedure in Peru, Virgin Mobile Latin America was granted a 20-year MVNO concession in December 2015.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Correios, the Brazilian postal service, has reportedly resumed the selection process for a network partner ahead of its long-gestating MVNO launch. According to TeleTime, interested companies must submit proposals by 17 March. Once it is up and running, the company seeks to attract around 500,000 new users to its service per year. Correios suspended the process back in June 2015 after breaking off its partnership with Italian counterpart Poste Italiane.

Regional Spanish cable operator/MVNO Euskaltel, which operates in the Basque Country, has denied reports suggesting that it is planning to switch the mobile network utilised by its recently acquired subsidiary R Cable, from Vodafone to Orange. The change of network would have replicated Euskaltel’s own move from Vodafone to Orange in 2014. Euskaltel president Alberto Garcia Erauzkin says that the company’s management will explore the issue when the contract with Vodafone expires. In June last year, Euskaltel reached an agreement with Orange to launch 4G services over the latter’s network, while R Cable is restricted to 3G via its agreement with Vodafone. That being said, R Cable does own 2600MHz 4G spectrum in its local Galicia market.

Fellow Spanish MVNO Pepephone, meanwhile, is set to change hands after four months of negotiations. According to El Confidencial ProA Capital, a venture capital firm led by Fernando Ortiz has agreed to pay EUR120 million (USD129.9 million) for the virtual operator, which has been operational since March 2007. The current owners of Pepephone are Javier Hidalgo (50%), Grupo Atento de Inversiones (40%) and Cristango Investments (10%). The MVNO was acquired from tourism firm Globalia in February 2012.

The Belgian Competition Authority has approved the takeover of local MVNO duo Mobile Vikings and Jim Mobile by Medialaan, MVNO Dynamics reports. Both MVNOs are currently owned by the MNO Base, with the sale representing one of the agreed conditions of Telenet’s planned takeover of the cellco. Telenet’s takeover of Base still requires final approval from the European Commission.

Finally, in unveiling its new ‘2016 – 2018 Strategic Plan’ during its Capital Markets Day in London last week, Denmark-based TDC Group has revealed plans to launch an MVNO in Norway in 2016. The MVNO is expected to take the name of TDC’s local cableco subsidiary, Get, which was acquired in September 2014 for USD2.2 billion. The MVNO will form part of the unit’s new multi-play offering.

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