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

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4 Dec 2017

Canadian telecoms operator Bell Mobility will officially launch its new Lucky Mobile pre-paid sub-brand today (4 December), with monthly plans starting at CAD20 (USD15.8). Initially available to consumers in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, the service will be eventually extended to 17 zones covering most major cities across the country including Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and surrounding areas. Going forward, Lucky Mobile will introduce an app that enables talk and text over Wi-Fi in 2018. Blaik Kirby, President of Bell, commented: ‘Whether you’re a student or young person just entering the workforce, a senior on a fixed income, a new Canadian who hasn’t yet built up a credit profile or anyone looking for the easiest and most affordable wireless experience, Lucky Mobile puts you in control.’

Danish MVNO DLG Tele has officially adopted the new MIT Tele branding, parent company Telia Denmark has announced. Telia acquired full ownership of the MVNO – a 50/50 joint venture with agricultural firm Dansk Landbrugs Grovvareselskab (DLG) since 2007 – for an undisclosed sum in January 2016. According to Telia, MIT Tele currently counts 180,000 subscriptions spread across its portfolio of wireless, broadband and pay-TV products, and the ‘MIT’ branding reflects its core business areas (ie. mobile, internet and TV). The rights to use the DLG name are due to expire on 1 January 2018.

According to Gabonese press reports, UK MVNO giant Lycamobile Group has inked a strategic partnership with Lebanese holding company Bintel Group, which operates mobile services in Gabon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Republic of Congo under the Azur brand. The contract, which was signed on 17 November, will reportedly see the two parties work together on the development of international traffic, the financing of cash requirements, and the deployment of 3G in Gabon and 4G in the CAR and Congo. TeleGeography notes that the Republic of Congo was included in a Lycamobile presentation at the recent MVNOs Europe event in Europe, where it was highlighted as a ‘planned country launch’ – underlining the group’s future interest in that particular market.

A new player has entered the MVNO space in Poland, namely Folx. According to local technology site, Folx not only piggybacks on the Play network, but also shares certain shareholder and management personnel. The new MVNO is said to be owned by Warsaw-based Beta, which reportedly shares a corporate headquarters with Play. Further, the article notes that Beta’s supervisory board includes figures associated with Olympia Developments and Novator Partners – the co-owners of Play.

Finally, elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Czech Republic-based Kaktus – a sub-brand of the local T-Mobile unit – has confirmed that its user base now stands at 80,000. The youth-focused unit launched back in October 2013.

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Canada, Central African Republic, Congo, Rep., Czech Republic, Denmark, Gabon, Poland, Azur RCA (Centrafrique), Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), BinTel Ltd, Equateur Telecom Congo (Azur Congo), Folx, Kaktus, Lucky Mobile, Lyca Group, Mit Tele, Play (P4), USAN Gabon (Azur)

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