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

11 Dec 2017

Singapore is poised for the arrival of a new MVNO in the form of Zero Mobile, which staged its Beta launch on 1 December. Sign-ups are available online until 15 December 2017, and the newcomer hopes to activate the service for some 5,000 applicants over the Christmas period. According to the Straits Times, Zero Mobile will charge SGD45 (USD33.2) per month for 6GB of mobile data, but customers can get a recurring credit of SGD9 per month for every person they refer to the service, capped at five. With five active referred customers, a Zero Mobile subscriber effectively gets his mobile services for free. The MVNO will piggyback on the Singtel network. Going forward, the Australia-based company hopes to extend the blueprint to other markets, and claims to have done extensive market research in North America, Australia and South East Asia.

In South Africa meanwhile, Afro-urban music and entertainment provider Trace has launched an MVNO under the Trace Mobile name. Trace Mobile operates over the Cell C network, building on an existing branded mobile resale offering, and has used MVN-X to facilitate the launch. In an interview with Digital TV Europe late last month, co-founder, chairman and CEO Olivier Laouchez disclosed that streaming service Trace Play will be an integral part of the MVNO offering. Going forward, Laouchez says that the company is hopeful of being able to launch Trace Mobile in other parts of Africa in the near future, with a target of ‘five or six’ markets which could see launches in 2018.

Telia Company has agreed to acquire approximately 38,000 Norwegian mobile B2C customers from NextGenTel. The transaction is expected to close in early 2018 and is subject to regulatory approvals in Norway. Abraham Foss, CEO of Telia Norway, commented: ‘We are pleased with this agreement and we saw an opportunity when we realised that NextGenTel wanted to prioritise its B2B-segment’.

In Argentina, the National Entity for Communications (Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones, ENACOM) has confirmed that it has officially awarded an MVNO concession to Camara de Cooperativas de Telecomunicaciones (Catel), which represents 31 telecoms cooperatives across the country. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, last month Catel 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.

The Australian arm of multi-country high speed broadband provider MyRepublic has celebrated its one year anniversary in the country by disclosing plans to launch an MVNO. The operator, which now boasts 60,000 fibre-optic broadband subscribers – services are delivered over the National Broadband Network (NBN) – looks set to launch its Singaporean MVNO in the first quarter of 2018, before turning its attentions to Australia.

Finally, Singapore-based mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Plintron has launched a new Internet of Things (IoT) offer, as it seeks to increase its presence in that sector. The vendor claims that its cloud infrastructure, access to data-centres and wholesale cellular access in multiple countries helps to position it as an enabler for IoT businesses.

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