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

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6 Aug 2018

US MVNO Rok Mobile has confirmed that it is no longer using the Verizon Wireless network for connectivity, and that all current customers on the Verizon network will need to port their service to an alternative operator. A statement issued by the company noted: ‘Rok Mobile has decided not to move forward with utilising Verizon Wireless service on our platform. Unfortunately, this has caused an inconvenience for our customers and since 30 July we have been in the process of notifying them to port to a different carrier … We will continue to support our other wireless carriers and those customers that are on that service.’ The wholesale deal with Verizon was initiated in July 2015, complementing existing contracts with Sprint and T-Mobile US.

The unique selling point of ROK Mobile – which launched in 2014 – was initially the fact that it had agreements in place with major and independent music labels to offer a music catalogue with more than 20 million tracks. TeleGeography notes that the MVNO’s website now foregrounds its telemedicine and pharmacy savings benefits, suggesting a major strategic shift has taken place.

Swisscom has confirmed that its Italian subsidiary Fastweb has extended its 4G MVNO contract with Telecom Italia (TIM) until end-2020. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the ISP initially launched a Light MVNO over the 3 Italia network in 2008, before switching to TIM in December 2016. The MVNO is believed to account for more than one million customers.

Finally, Russian national operator Rostelecom passed the one million subscriber milestone during the second quarter of 2018, meaning that its user base more than doubled year-on-year. The MVNO launched in November 2016, over the network of Rostelecom’s 45%-owned subsidiary Tele2 Russia.

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Italy, Russia, United States, Fastweb, ROK Mobile, Rostelecom

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