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

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13 Nov 2017

In Argentina, the Camara de Cooperativas de Telecomunicaciones (Catel), which represents 31 telecoms cooperatives across the country, has signed a wholesale agreement with Movistar Argentina, which will allow its members to launch regional MVNOs in provinces such as Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Santa Fe, La Pampa, Mendoza, Misiones, Chubut, Rio Negro and Santa Cruz. TeleGeography notes that Argentina’s first ever MVNO was Nuestro Movil, which was launched by the Federation of Telephone Services Cooperatives in the South (La Federacion de Cooperativas del Servicio Telefonico de la Zona Sur, Fecosur) in July 2010. Going forward, the country is expected to witness a flurry of virtual activity in the coming months, with MVNO licence holders now including: Virgin Mobile Argentina, media group Teledifusora and Buenos Aires-based cableco TeleCentro.

Austria has a new MVNO in the form of SIMfonie, which has been launched by Vienna-based utility firm Wien Energie. SIMfonie will operate over the A1 Telekom Austria network and use a branded reseller business model. To coincide with the launch, Wien Energie is offering SIMfonie customers who subscribe to its ‘Optima Float Cap Stromtarif’ package free energy for 30 days. The promotional offer expires on 31 December 2017.

In the US, additional details regarding the scope of the recently announced MVNO agreement between Altice USA and Sprint have emerged. Speaking during a conference call with reporters to discuss the move, Tarek Robbiati, CFO at Sprint, commented: ‘[Altice] are restricted to sell within their footprint, but we are very happy if they are expanding their footprint.’ The multi-year Full MVNO agreement, will see Altice USA – the holding company that controls cablecos Cablevision and Suddenlink – follow in the footsteps of larger cable rivals Comcast (Xfinity) and Charter (Spectrum), both of which have activated dormant wholesale agreements with Verizon Wireless in recent months. A projected launch date for Altice USA’s MVNO service has not yet been disclosed.

Finally, Spanish MVNO-turned-full-service operator Grupo MASMOVIL has reported total third quarter revenues of EUR340 million (USD397 million), alongside a quarterly net profit of EUR3 million. The group, which operates MVNOs Pepephone and Llamaya, alongside MNO Yoigo, reported a consolidated mobile user base of 4.7 million at 30 September 2017, which included quarterly net adds of some 192,000 post-paid wireless customers.

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