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

13 Aug 2018

French MVNO La Poste Mobile reported a subscriber base of 1.43 million at 30 June 2018, after 46,000 net additions in the first six months of the year. Post-paid subscriptions are said to account for 1.36 million of the virtual operator’s total user base. Previously, La Poste Mobile reached the one million customer milestone in January 2014, only to fall short of its self-imposed two million target by 2017. Created in 2011, La Poste Mobile is a joint venture owned by French post office company La Poste (51%) and SFR (49%).

Over in Japan, ISP-turned-MVNO IIJ has reported that its IIJmio consumer MVNO subscriber base reached 1.036 million at 30 June 2018, up from 965,692 one year earlier. In the enterprise sector, meanwhile, IIJ reported that its ‘Mobile MVNO Platform Service’ accounted for 887,026 subscribers at the same date, up from 639,659 year-on-year. Discussing the telco’s future plans, Eijiro Katsu, IIJ’s COO and President, commented: ‘We’re also preparing and developing chipSIM and eSIM solutions for IoT projects; eSIM platform services [are] to be launched in Spring 2019.’

Sticking with Japan, the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) has reported that its MVNO unit, mineo, passed the one million subscriber milestone in April 2018, up from around 900,000 at end-2017. The figure was disclosed in the utility firm’s financial report covering the three months ended 30 June. KEPCO also noted that mineo – which already utilises the NTT DOCOMO and KDDI (au) networks for connectivity – has signed an additional wholesale deal with Softbank Mobile, which will take effect in September 2018.

Elsewhere, Japanese mobile network operator (MNO) KDDI reported that its three MVNO subsidiaries – UQ Mobile, J:COM and BIGLOBE accounted for a combined user base of 1.970 million at end-June 2018, up from 1.070 million in the year-ago period.

Og Inc, which founded Japanese MVNO Sakura Mobile in 2014, has confirmed that the virtual operator reached the 50,000-subscriber milestone in June, up from just 3,000 in April this year. The MVNO piggybacks on the NTT DOCOMO network and targets its service at foreign visitors; English language support is said to be available for users with long-term plans.

Finally, Japanese e-tailer Rakuten has confirmed that the retail network used by its Rakuten Mobile MVNO now comprises 218 stores across 46 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The retail branches are expected to be used when the company launches its new MNO in October 2019. In January 2018 Rakuten announced that it had reached the 1.5 million mark, a figure that it said made it the country’s largest MVNO.

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