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

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30 Oct 2017

Xfinity Mobile, the MVNO unit launched by US cable giant Comcast Corp in May 2017, has passed the 250,000 subscriber milestone, Fierce Wireless reports, citing an earnings call transcript published by Seeking Alpha. The report quotes Comcast CEO Brian Roberts as saying: ‘Our newest connectivity business, Xfinity Mobile, really highlights the value of our broadband service by bundling access to the best high speed internet data with a unique wireless offering. We are pleased with the early results, surpassing 250,000 customer lines in a short period of time since our launch in May, and we are poised to scale the product from here.’ The service piggybacks on the Verizon Wireless network, and also leverages Comcast’s 18 million-strong Wi-Fi hotspot network. The MVNO service is currently restricted to cable subscribers, however.

Elsewhere in the US, Charter Communications has indicated that its long-stated mobile ambitions will not be restricted to an MVNO business model. According to Fierce Wireless, which cites a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Charter has outlined plans to pursue an ‘Inside-Out’ strategy starting with a Wi-Fi-first MVNO, which will be expanded via its own LTE small cells. Charter executives met with FCC officials earlier this month, as the cableco emphasised the importance of 3.5GHz spectrum to its overall wireless strategy. The service will launch in 2018, using the Verizon Wireless network.

In Brazil, corporate telco America Net, which offers a complete suite of local, national and international long-distance fixed telephony solutions via its next generation network (NGN), has disclosed plans to launch an MVNO. According to TeleTime, the telco received an MVNO licence from the National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) in late 2016, and seeks to launch mobile services in 2018. No host network provider has been named.

Over in Italy, Welcome Italia, which offers integrated telecoms services to businesses, is expected to launch as a Full MVNO over the Telecom Italia (TIM) network by end-2017. According to local site MVNO News, network testing is now complete, and the telco will use the ‘3783’ number prefix when operational.

Finally, Sberbank-Telecom, a subsidiary of Russian banking and financial services firm Sberbank, plans to soft-launch its Tele2-enabled MVNO in Moscow in late-December/early-January 2018, under the ‘Let’s Talk’ banner. According to Vedomosti, the MVNO is already active in St Petersburg, having gone live in August this year.

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