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

19 Dec 2016

iD, the UK MVNO owned by the Dixons Carphone Group, has reportedly attracted 450,000 customers since its launch in May 2015. Mobile News quotes Dixons Carphone Group chief executive Seb James as saying: ‘MVNO iD has done very well and we have now reached 450,000 users … This makes it the fastest-growing MVNO in UK history – making it much faster than either Tesco Mobile or giffgaff and we continue to add thousands of new subscribers every single week. I’m looking forward to hitting that half-million mark and then I’ll be sure to tell you when we hit the million.’ The MVNO piggybacks on the Three UK network.

In Italy Fastweb Mobile has relaunched as a ‘Full MVNO’ over the TIM network. ISP Fastweb has offered virtual services over the Three Italia since its launch in September 2008. SIM card availability is currently restricted to Milan, although coverage will be extended on a nationwide basis by the end of January 2017.

Staying with Italy, a new corporate MVNO has launched, in the shape of SimPiu – an offshoot of Digitel Italia. According to Italian website MVNOnews.com the virtual operator, which piggybacks on the Telecom Italia (TIM) network, expects to achieve Full MVNO status in 2017.

Self-styled ‘freemium’ US MVNO FreedomPop has unveiled a new wholesale partnership with AT&T Mobility, launching SIM cards and an LTE mobile hotspot that can be used on the carrier’s GSM network. FreedomPop launched over the Sprint network in 2013.

Finally, M-Budget, the MVNO brand operated by Migros, Switzerland’s biggest retailer, has deployed software from California-based MATRIXX, in order to offer its users an intuitive self-service ‘cockpit’, where they can purchase add-ons, add roaming, monitor consumption, and change account options – all through their mobile device. The platform has already deployed by network host Swisscom for its own mobile service. According to the press release the MVNO currently accounts for more than 500,000 customers.

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Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Fastweb, FreedomPop, M-Budget (Migros), Telecom Italia (TIM)