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

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23 Oct 2017

A new MVNO is poised to launch in the US in the form of New York-based Wing, which will launch over the Sprint network. The newcomer, which is backed by entrepreneurs David Arabov and Jonathon Francis, is scheduled to exit its beta testing phase in November, with a full commercial launch expected to follow. According to Fierce Wireless, Wing notched up more than 3,000 registrants for its beta test in its first three days of availability, but Arabov declined to provide any further metrics on the business. The co-founders made their fortunes when they sold media start-up Elite Daily to the Daily Mail US in 2015, for around USD50 million.

Japan Communications Inc (JCI), which is said to have launched the world’s first MVNO service back in January 1997, has announced that it has signed an agreement with Beijing-based Baicells Technologies regarding the joint development of an unlicensed LTE network which will serve as the foundation for future Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in the Japanese market. The platform will be initially be provided to MVNOs, corporations and SMEs.

In Poland, Premium Mobile, which was launched in 2016 over the Polkomtel network, has signed up around 70,000 clients after one year of operation, Puls Biznesu reports. The MVNO expects to account for 100,000 customers by year-end, at which point it claims it will reach ‘break-even’ point in terms of return on investment (RoI). Premium Mobile’s backers include Hungarian tycoon Zoltan Varga, who owns low-cost airline WizzAir.

Dutch B2B MVNO VrieService formally adopted the name Yes Telecom on 12 October. The former was acquired by the latter (itself a subsidiary of KPN) in March 2017. Yes Telecom itself was acquired by KPN back in 2010.

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into Lycamobile’s compliance with its obligations under Regulation (EU) 531/2012, which relates to roaming on public mobile communication networks within the EU. The watchdog will aim to reach a provisional decision by the end of April 2018.

Finally, Dutch solutions provider Artilium has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Pareteum Corporation (formerly Elephant Talk) to jointly pursue new and developed markets, creating accelerated growth and market penetration for both companies. The global collaboration includes the development of new joint products and services, enhanced sales coverage for both companies, increased speed to market, and access to greater knowledge and resources. The alliance will pursue mature markets as well as high growth, underserved developing markets in Latin America and Asia. Further, the two companies note that the arrangement has been strengthened by a strategic minority share exchange.

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