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

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27 Mar 2017

freenet Group, which styles itself as the largest network-independent supplier of mobile communications services in Germany, has reported revenues of EUR3.362 billion (USD3.629 billion) for the twelve months ended 31 December 2016, up from EUR3.118 billion one year earlier. Of the top-line figure, the freenet’s mobile business generated a total of EUR3.126 billion. Gross profit for the period under review was reported as EUR898.7 million, up from EUR790.4 million one year earlier. freenet reports that ‘mobile communications customers’ reached 12.06 million at year-end, down slightly from 12.24 million one year earlier, while post-paid ARPU remained unchanged, at EUR21.4.

Filipino media giant ABS-CBN Corp, which operates an MVNO under the ABS-CBNmobile brand name, has confirmed that its user base reached 904,000 at end-2016, up significantly from 493,000 in 2015. ABS-CBN chief financial officer Aldrin M. Cerrado told reporters that the group is hoping that its mobile business will break even this year, noting: ‘We were able to bring down the losses by about PHP100 million (USD1.99 million), since it was close to PHP700 million before, now it’s about PHP600 million, and we hope to at least break even for 2017.’

CTExcel, the international MVNO business operated by Chinese communications giant China Telecom, could activate its planned Hong Kong MVNO as early as this month, local portal E-Zone reports. TeleGeography notes that the company’s first international MVNO CTExcel UK went live in May 2012, with a French operation following in October 2013. The Chinese firm went on to launch CT Excel US in May 2015, with its Australian unit going live in 2016.

Best Cellular, a US MVNO based in Hotchkiss, Colorado, is in discussions to expand into Italy and Brazil, CEO Curtis McCoy has informed Fierce Wireless. The virtual operator, which has offered services over the networks of all four national US mobile operators since 2002, is also keen to scoop up subscribers belonging to its failing MVNO rivals, in a bid to boost its competiveness. McCoy told the website: ‘We are finally in a position to acquire the customer base of failing MVNOs like: Ring Plus, enVie Mobile, Defense Mobile, etc. Each acquisition we make gives us more pull to get lower wholesale costs from the carriers.’

Finally, in the Netherlands, Yes Telecom, the corporate-focused former MVNO unit that has been owned by KPN since 2010, has reportedly struck a takeover deal for VrieService, a KPN-based MVNO that serves SME customers in the North of the country. No financial details of the takeover have been disclosed.

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Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Philippines, United States, ABS-CBNmobile (MVNO), Best Cellular, CTExcel Group, freenet, VrieService (part of Yes Telecom), Yes Telecom (Netherlands)