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

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12 Feb 2018

A new MVNO is poised for launch in Singapore, in the form of Zero1. The new player is open for pre-registration, ahead of its commercial switch-on in March. Zero1 is not to be confused with the similarly named Australian-backed Zero Mobile, which launched in Singapore last year. According to the Straits Times, Zero1 piggybacks on the Singtel network. CEO Stuart Tan told the newspaper that Zero1 hopes to sign up 50,000 subscribers in its first year of operation. Further, it plans to set itself apart from rivals by offering free voice roaming via its Zero1 app, which is expected to be launched in June. With the app, subscribers will be able to make and receive calls from any Singaporean mobile or landline number for free while roaming overseas.

South Africa’s Standard Bank is building an MVNO, Tech Central reports, citing well-placed industry sources. The bank has hired Steve Bailey, the former CEO of both Virgin Mobile South Africa and local mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) MVN-X to work on the launch, and is said to be in the process of ‘aggressively hiring’ a team with proven telecoms skills. If the launch proceeds as anticipated, Standard Bank will be the second big retail bank in South Africa to launch an MVNO, following the introduction of First National Bank’s FNB Connect service in 2015.

VOO, the Belgian cable operator run by Wallonia utility firm Nethys (formerly Tecteo) and Brussels-based BruTele, has confirmed that it has agreed a new wholesale partnership with Telenet, which will see VOO switch to the network used by Telenet’s BASE subsidiary. Since 2013 VOO has piggybacked on the Orange Belgium network, but that deal is set to expire in December this year. The contract with Telenet/BASE runs until 31 December 2023.

Russian MVNO Aiva Mobile, which is owned by long-distance operator Multiregional Transit Telecom (MTT), has announced that its user base has reached 100,000. Following launches in Rostov and Krasnodar this month, Aiva is now active the following locations: Moscow and Moscow Region; St Petersburg and Leningrad Region, Sverdlovsk and Yekaterinburg; Novosibirsk and Novosibirsk Region, Rostov-on-Don and Rostov Region; and Krasnodar and Krasnodar Territory. According to MVNO Monday, Aiva previously claimed a user base of 80,000 in December 2016. The Russian Aiva Mobile MVNO launched in July 2014, and targets ethnic communities with ties to the former Soviet Union. In addition, the Aiva Tajikistan MVNO was launched in October 2014.

Finally, Australian MVNO amaysim has reported that its mobile user base increased to 1.127 million by 31 December 2017. Fixed broadband customers climbed from 5,000 to 13,000 since June 2017, while energy customers increased to 185,000 – up 18% since the acquisition of Click Energy on 1 May 2017. amaysim expects to generate statutory net revenue of approximately AUD292 million (USD228 million) to AUD294 million in the six-month period under review. Commenting on the expected half year result, Julian Ogrin, CEO and managing director, said: ‘amaysim built its success on being a bold challenger brand. After completing our diversification strategy in 2017, we relished the opportunity to invest in our business. We have been out in the market with new verticals, competitive products and a successful marketing campaign. This has been a strategic decision and the investment will see the Group benefit in future periods.’

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Australia, Belgium, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Aiva Mobile (Russia), amaysim (incl. Vaya), BASE Company, Standard Bank Mobile (South Africa), VOO, Zero1