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

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30 Jan 2017

Paris-based MVNO/MVNE Transatel has announced that international coverage offered by its Transatel DataSIM service has been extended to 20 new locations across the Caribbean and Latin America, including a number of French overseas territories (Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthelemy, French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique) and special municipalities of the Netherlands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Sint Maarten). Other new locations served include Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Dominica, Guyana, Panama, Suriname, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines. The expanded coverage is a result of a new contract with regional powerhouse Digicel Group. The DataSIM network now seamlessly covers 100 countries, the press release notes.

Italian MVNO Linkem Mobile, which launched in December 2014 over the TIM network, has confirmed that it plans to discontinue its services from 17 April 2017. No reason has been given for the decision, while Linkem has advised customers to lodge mobile number portability (MNP) requests by 30 May 2017.

Sticking with Italy, long-time MVNO Fastweb has announced that it has activated 4G LTE and ‘4Gplus’ (LTE-Advanced [LTE-A]) services for end-users. The LTE network is capable of delivering down/uplink speeds of up to 100Mbps/40Mbps, to 95% of the Italian population, while the 4Gplus network supports transmission speeds of up to 300Mbps in a total of 527 municipalities. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, Fastweb re-launched as a Full MVNO over the TIM network in December 2016, ditching the wholesale deal with Three Italia that had been in place since September 2008.

In the UK, retail group Carphone Warehouse has announced that its MVNO unit iD Mobile has passed the 500,000 post-paid subscriber mark, after adding around 250,000 contract customers in the eight months since May 2016, when it celebrated its one-year anniversary. The parent company observes that its net additions have given it the fastest ever post-paid growth by a UK MVNO. Adam Dunlop, General Manager at iD Mobile, commented: ‘The first half a million contract customers is just the start from iD and we will shortly be announcing some exciting new developments to add to our offer for both new and existing customers.’

Also in the UK, Mobile Today has claimed that mobile giant EE has not yet extended the use of its 800MHz LTE network – as launched in November 2016 across 700 sites nationwide – to its MVNO partners. An EE spokesperson told the news site: ‘Significant infrastructure work needs to take place before this service can be offered, and of course we’ll ensure our MVNO customers are informed of developments.’

In Spain meanwhile, Orange Espana-backed low-cost brand Simyo has passed the 800,000-subscriber mark, it has been announced. Simyo credits its growth to its extensive list of ‘create your rate’ tariff combinations, which is said to comprise 2,000 potential price plans. Simyo was acquired by Orange Espana – from Dutch telco KPN – back in December 2012. The unit initially launched over the Orange network in January 2008.

Finally, socially-conscious German MVNO Goood is expected to extend its services to Austria from next month, after exceeding its EUR70,000 (USD74,850) crowd-funding target by EUR204,000. The MVNO allows its German users to donate 10% of their respective bills to the good cause of their choice. While it has not yet been disclosed which Austrian network the MVNO will piggyback on, Goood executive Claudia Winkler previously worked as chief marketing officer for Telekom Austria Group, suggesting a tie-up with A1 Telekom Austria could be on the cards.

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Aruba, Austria, Barbados, Bonaire, Curaçao, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Martinique, Panama, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint-Martin, Sint Maarten, Spain, Suriname, United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Digicel Group, EE, Fastweb, Goood (Germany), OpNet (formerly Linkem Group), Simyo Espana, Telecom Italia (TIM), Transatel Group

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