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

23 Jul 2018

Peruvian MVNO newcomer Cuy Movil is expected to inaugurate its virtual network in the fourth quarter of 2018. The virtual operator received a licence from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones, MTC) back in September 2017, and went on to secure a wholesale deal with Claro Peru in April this year. This contract was then approved by the Supervisory Agency for Private Investment in Telecommunications (Organismo Supervisor de Inversion Privada en Telecommuniciones, Osiptel) last month, paving the way for the launch. Mariano de Osma, CEO and co-founder of Cuy Movil, has informed Semana Economica that the MVNO’s target audience is university students. As such, the company is said to be close to securing agreements with 15 universities, and will start in Lima before shifting its attentions to Callao.

US MVNO Ting, which is owned by Canadian internet firm Tucows, has informed Fierce Wireless that it has signed up more than a quarter of a million virtual customers. Company executive Michael Goldstein told the news site: ‘We are at a really interesting moment in the life of Ting Mobile. I would say we got to our first 286,000 subscribers (on 165,000 accounts) by zigging where everyone else was zagging.’ However, he opted not to comment on recent reports linking Ting with a takeover bid for The People’s Operator USA (TPO USA). Ting has reportedly offered USD75 for each TPO USA customer, and expects to pay approximately USD700,000 for the customer base.

America Movil (AM)-backed Tracfone has reported that its total MVNO user base dropped 8.2% in the second quarter of 2018, to 22.126 million. The bulk of the losses were attributed to Tracfone’s SafeLink unit, which saw its user base plummet 35.9% year-on-year, to 3.265 million. SafeLink is one of a large number of ‘Lifeline’ programme-affiliated US MVNOs that have been hit hard by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) crackdowns in recent months. On a brighter note, the company’s Straight Talk brand grew 5.8% on an annualised basis, to reach 8.993 million. Tracfone reported that total revenues for 2Q18 dropped 0.4%, to USD1.9 billion.

Finally, Russian B2B-focused MVNO MCN Telecom has informed Telecom Daily that it is in the process of securing international partners as it seeks to extend its business model to new markets. Following an analysis, MCN says that it seeks to offer fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) to corporate customers in an unspecified number of markets. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, MCN Telecom switched on its virtual network in Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk and Rostov-on-Don in December 2017. MCN is hosted on the Tele2 Russia network, and utilises an MVNE platform supplied by long-distance operator Multiregional Transit Telecom (MTT).

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