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

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26 Jun 2017

Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has extended its Tuenti sub-brand to Guatemala. Tuenti aims to provide an end-to-end digital experience, with a key focus on its over-the-top (OTT) multi-platform app that increases customer engagement. The service went live on 23 June. TeleGeography notes that social network-turned-MVNO Tuenti was launched in Spain in December 2010, before going live in Mexico, Argentina and Peru (all 2014) and Ecuador (2015).

Elsewhere in Latin America, Correios Cellular, which is owned by the Brazilian post office, is now operational in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Campinas, and has signed up around 21,000 active users since its launch in March this year. Despite the underwhelming take-up, company officials have maintained that the MVNO is on target to reach its previously stated 500,000-subscriber target by end-2017.

According to Macedonian regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC), market newcomer Lycamobile Macedonia claimed a 1.16% share of the overall wireless market at 31 December 2016, equivalent to 23,786 subscribers. The MVNO, which launched in July 2016 over the one.Vip network, previously accounted for a market share of 0.37% in 3Q16, or 7,860 end-users.

German low-cost MVNO Drillisch plans to move upmarket after its merger with United Internet’s 1&1 brand, its chief executive has indicated. Drillisch CEO Vlasios Choulidis told Reuters: ‘The perception that Drillisch stands for cheap deals will change. We will be at the same level with the three big operators. We will continue to be able to offer the best value for money, but at higher prices we will also be able to offer more. Our products will be better and prices will rise accordingly.’

UK-based MVNO group Vectone is poised to launch in Italy, local website MVNO News reports. The newcomer will operate as a Full MVNO over the Telecom Italia (TIM) network. According to the company’s website, Vectone is currently active in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Serbia, and serves ‘over five million customers’.

Also in Italy, MVNO News has reported that corporate-focused MVNO Noitel, which also offers services over the TIM network, has signed up 40,000 subscribers, a figure it expects to increase to 50,000 by the end of the summer.

Finally, Spanish MVNO-turned-full service provider Grupo MASMOVIL will become the first Spanish company to move from Spain’s Alternative Stock Market (Mercado Alternativo Bursatil, MAB), to the Main Market. CEO Meinrad Spenger expects the process to be finalised in July this year. Since its listing on the MAB in 2012 MASMOVIL claims that its share price has grown twenty-fold. So far this year, the stock has risen over 110%, which has positioned the company’s market capitalisation at over EUR1 billion (USD1.1 billion), becoming the largest company in stock value, revenues and EBITDA in the Spanish junior market.

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Brazil, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, North Macedonia, Spain, 1&1 (formerly 1&1 Drillisch), Correios Celular (Brazil), Grupo MASMOVIL (incl. Yoigo), Lycamobile North Macedonia, Noitel, Sin Pajas (formerly Tuenti Movil Guatemala), United Internet, Vectone Mobile Holding