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

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17 Jul 2017

UK-based MVNO giant Lycamobile Group has confirmed that it has been granted a formal MVNO licence in Ukraine, and plans to launch services in the region ‘imminently’, in partnership with national telecoms operator Ukrtelecom and its 3G mobile unit TriMob. Lyca Group chairman, Allirajah Subaskaran, commented: ‘We are delighted to have been granted a licence in Ukraine and to be partnering with Ukrtelecom and TriMob to expand our product offering to the region in the coming weeks.’ London-based Lycamobile currently claims 15 million MVNO customers across five continents.

Ambitious Asia-Pacific fibre provider-turned-MVNO MyRepublic expects to launch virtual services in Indonesia by the first quarter of 2018, with Australia following shortly after, IndoTelko reports. CEO Malcolm Rodrigues is quoted as saying: ‘After Singapore and Indonesia, Australia will be the next country [to receive a] MyRepublic mobile service.’ Future markets earmarked for MVNO launches include: Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Philippines, the report adds. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, MyRepublic expects to stage a commercial MVNO launch in Singapore as early as October this year.

Dixons Carphone is expecting the sale of Irish MVNO unit iD Mobile to be in place within the next eight weeks, the Irish Independent claims, but sources have suggested that the virtual operator is unlikely to be acquired by a domestic rival. The MVNO, which has just under 30,000 customers in Ireland, is understood to be engaged with several bidders including private equity firms and international players that are considering a move into the Irish market. The unit posted a trading loss of GBP10 million (USD13 million) in FY2016/17, compared to GBP6 million in the previous year, prompting Dixons Carphone’s decision to offload it.

Spanish MVNO-turned-full service provider Grupo MASMOVIL has become the first Spanish company to move from Spain’s Alternative Stock Market (Mercado Alternativo Bursatil, MAB), to the Main Market, and will now begin trading on the Official Stock Exchanges of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. The company notes that its market capitalisation is now in excess of EUR1.2 billion (USD1.4 billion). MASMOVIL’s total revenues for the first quarter of 2017 reached EUR297 million, up 8% versus Q1 2016. Further, the company achieved recurring EBITDA of EUR45 million in the first quarter, an increase of 128% compared to 1Q16. In operational terms, MASMOVIL acquired 163,000 combined mobile post-paid and fixed broadband customers during Q1 2017, giving it more than 4.6 million unique customers.

Finally, sticking with Spain, the National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) has opened a pair of investigations into local MVNOs FreedomPop Espana and Parlem Telecom, for possible breaches relating to the allocation of numbering resources. The watchdog notes that its action does not pre-judge the final outcome of the investigation, which could run for up to twelve months.

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