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

12 Dec 2016

Digi Mobil, the European MVNO unit operated by Romanian cable group Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS) has confirmed that the number of active SIM cards connected to its virtual network in Spain reached 598,000 at 30 September 2016, up from around 560,000 a year earlier. Monthly blended ARPU increased 1.8%, to EUR11.5 (USD12.1) on a twelve-month basis. Digi Mobil’s Spanish revenues climbed 9.5% year-on-year, to reach EUR20.7 million in the quarter ended 30 September, with the parent company crediting the growth to its introduction of ‘more attractive mobile and data offers’. Elsewhere, RCS&RDS claimed 74,000 customers for its Italian MVNO at the end of September 2016, up from 55,000 a year earlier.

A new MVNO has launched in Italy in the form of NTmobile, a unit of British-Italian telecoms firm Nextus Telecom. NTmobile will use the TIM network, which supports coverage of 99.8% of the population, while Noverca has acted as the mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) to facilitate the launch. A press statement released by Nextus Telecom noted that NTmobile uses a three-in-one ‘standard-micro-nano rechargeable SIM’ and promises end-users ‘unbeatable low rates’ for calls to Europe and Asia.

South Korean retail group Home Plus is considering discontinuing its budget MVNO service, the Korean Times reports. The MVNO, which was launched in March 2013 via KT Corp’s network, is said to be in talks with industry regulator, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, regarding its future plans, but stressed that a final decision is still pending, and the customers remain its ‘top priority’. According to the article the MVNO’s user base peaked at 21,000 in 2014, but has since dwindled to just 9,700.

Lowi, a no-frills sub-brand affiliated to Spanish mobile operator Vodafone Spain, extended 4G LTE access to its entire user base on 1 December, 2016. 4G connectivity was introduced on selected packages in July 2016. The unit, which launched in December 2014, is owned by Vodafone Group’s MVNE unit Vodafone Enabler Spain (formerly Vizzavi Espana), and not managed by Vodafone Spain itself.

Pareteum (formerly Elephant Talk) has announced that UK-based Sol Mobile is deploying its enhanced Global Mobility Cloud Platform product offering that allows it to connect directly through the Cloud to the Pareteum platform for SIM connectivity, voice, SMS and roaming solutions. Sol Mobile supplies MVNO services through its partnership agreement with Limitless Mobile Group, which provides mobile services in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

Finally, NifMo, the Japanese MVNO operated by ISP Nifty looks set to change hands, with domestic telco KDDI said to be putting together an acquisition. The MVNO currently piggybacks on the NTT DOCOMO network.

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