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

19 Feb 2018

America Movil (AM) has reported that its US MVNO operations, which include Tracfone and a number of other brands, finished 2017 with 23.132 million subscribers – down 1.3% from 26.070 million one year earlier. AM notes that the fourth quarter of 2017 saw it experience net disconnections of 685,000 Safelink subscribers, although brands such as StraightTalk and Total Wireless registered net gains of around 74,000 in the same period. Despite the annual decrease in net users, twelve-month revenues for 2017 jumped 4.1%, to USD7.843 billion.

The People’s Operator, the self-styled ‘cause-based commercial MVNO’ that is active in the US and the UK, has reported revenues of GBP3.55 million (USD4.98 million) for the twelve months ended 31 December 2017, in line with management forecasts. UK ARPU for FY2017 was GBP11.02 (down from GBP13.22 in FY2016) for pre-paid customers, and GBP9.78 (FY2016: GBP12.50) for pay monthly subscribers. US ARPU, meanwhile was reported at USD20.15 (FY2016: USD22.09).

Danish MVNO Plenti will officially be merged with TDC sub-brand Telmore from 18 March 2018, following the conclusion of TDC’s takeover of the former. TDC previously transferred all Plenti customers from the Hi3G Denmark (3) network onto its own infrastructure in December 2017. Confirming the imminent merger, Jens Gronlund, CEO of Telmore, commented: ‘Many of Plenti’s customers are big consumers of entertainment, and after switching to TDC Group’s network data usage has increased on average by almost 40%.’ As previously reported by TeleGeography’s MVNO Monday, TDC announced the acquisition of Plenti in September 2017. TDC paid DKK74 million (USD12 million) for 100% of the virtual operator, which currently serves 90,000 mobile subscribers.

Finally, Japan Communications Inc (JCI) – which is said to have launched the world’s first MVNO service back in January 1997 – has announced that it has set up a joint venture (JV) with Japanese travel agent H.I.S., which will see the two parties develop a new MVNO. According to Reuters, the JV will be capitalised at JPY50 million (USD470,222), with JCI taking a 40% stake.

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