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

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21 Aug 2017

US cable giant Comcast has announced it has completed the nationwide rollout of its new Xfinity Mobile MVNO service, which is now available across all sales channels in all of Comcast’s operating markets. The virtual operator piggybacks on the nationwide Verizon Wireless network, and also leverages Comcast’s existing 18 million-strong hot-spot network. Each Xfinity Mobile customer receives an initial allocation of 100MB of shared data across all lines associated with their account to get them started, and subsequently has two data options to choose from: ‘Unlimited’ (USD45 per month, per line on up to five lines with no usage limits); and ‘By the Gig’ (USD12 per GB of shared cellular data across all lines on an account).

Over in Russia, the Ministry of Communications & Mass Media (MinSvyaz) has prepared a draft order which could see mobile network codes (MNCs) issued to MVNOs, thus simplifying the route to market for virtual operators. According to Telecom Daily, if approved, the measure will eliminate the requirement for MVNOs to pay the current RUB3.25 million (USD55,000) fee, as they will now share the same identification status as mobile network operators). According to the article, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) has issued 85 MVNO licences to date. The most recent concession was reportedly awarded to VoIP provider MCN Telecom, which expects to start selling its own SIM cards in September this year.

The future of Scarlet Colombia – the planned MVNO unit controlled by Dutch Caribbean-focused WiMAX provider Scarlet – hangs in the balance, after local reports emerged suggesting that the Curacao-based firm is poised to declare bankruptcy. The would-be operator disclosed plans to enter the Colombian MVNO sector in March this year, over the Tigo Colombia network; its website is still ‘under construction’.

Finally, in Brazil, Porto Seguro Conecta, the country’s leading MVNO by subscribers, has passed the half-a-million subscriber milestone. According to data supplied by the National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel), the virtual operator ended June with 517,582 customers. The insurance company-backed MVNO launched in August 2012, over the TIM Brasil network.

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