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

22 Aug 2016

Australian MVNO amaysim has announced that its total user base reached 966,000 as of 30 June 2016, up 34.5% from 718,000 the year earlier. The company reported statutory net revenue of AUD253.5 million (USD193.3 million) for the financial year ended 30 June, up 19.2% on FY15, alongside statutory gross profit of AUD85.4 million, up 43.5% on an annualised basis. The results were boosted by the acquisition of fellow MVNO Vaya, which was sealed on 1 January 2016. Julian Ogrin, amaysim’s CEO and managing director, commented: ‘We have just reported a solid result for our first year as a publicly listed company … The amaysim group’s performance demonstrates our ability to continue to acquire new customers with an appealing, competitive and profitable suite of products and to improve key metrics such as online customer engagement, churn and the profitability of our subscriber base, while managing our costs.’

Blue Wireless, a new MVNO which claims to piggyback on the networks of all three Singaporean mobile providers (Singtel, StarHub and M1), has officially commenced operations. The virtual operator seeks to target small businesses in areas lacking fibre-optic connectivity, with Ivan Landen, chief wireless officer, commenting: ‘Our service model evolves around providing a reliable service experience, regardless of location. This is something all companies need, big or small.’ According to the company website, Blue Wireless has regional outposts in Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong, and offers ‘managed wireless internet access services’ in a total of 16 Asia-Pacific countries.

Mexico has a new MVNO in the shape of Simpati Mobile, which has launched over the Movistar Mexico network. Raul Santamaria y Santamaria, CEO and founder of the MVNO, has told reporters that the new player will seek to ‘democratise’ the mobile sector with a female-friendly service, noting that he sees the demographic as strategically important.

According to Fierce Wireless, citing a source familiar with the matter, San Franciso-based MVNO CREDO Mobile (formerly Working Assets Wireless) has changed wholesale providers, moving from Sprint to Verizon Wireless. The unnamed source claims that Credo switched to Verizon for all of its new customer activations, except for those subscribers utilising the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) scheme. The MVNO will still use Sprint’s network for those customers due to its open stance toward BYOD. The source noted that Credo currently has around 100,000 customers.

State-run Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is in talks with ‘six to seven’ would-be MVNOs, including tablet maker Datawind and mobile wallet firm Oxigen, regarding potential virtual network launches. BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava told the Economic Times: ‘We are formulating a uniform VNO framework that will allow transparent access on a non-exclusive basis, so that any company can come and engage with us, and obtain voice minutes and data in bulk to resell it to their customers.’ As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, in June this year the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) paved the way for the introduction of MVNOs by officially authorising Unified Licence Virtual Network Operators (UL VNOs). A whole raft of tiered concessions are available, although a full unified licence is priced INR75 million (USD1.12 million), encompassing mobile, internet access, fixed line and VSAT access. All applicants must be Indian companies, registered under the Indian Companies Act of 2013, while the ‘total composite foreign holding’ must be in line with the government’s foreign direct investment policy.

Finally, Filipino media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation, has reported that its MVNO unit ABS-CBN Mobile closed out June 2016 with 520,000 customers, down 13% from the start of the year and significantly lower than the 1.7 million figure reported in early 2015. On a more positive note, chief financial officer Aldrin Cerrado told reporters that the MVNO has succeeded in cutting its operating costs, thanks to the signing of a deal with its host network provider Globe Telecom that resulted in a halving of its annual wholesale fees from PHP400 million (USD8.65 million) to PHP200 million. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database the MVNO launched commercial services in Q4 2013.

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