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

3 Sep 2018

Singapore’s Singtel is reportedly examining a possible bid for Australian MVNO amaysim, people with knowledge of the matter have informed Bloomberg. The company is understood to be working with Bank of America Corp. to assess options for investing in the Sydney-based company – which also offers fixed broadband and energy products – the sources said.

In related news, amaysim has revealed that its mobile base grew 7.8% in the twelve months ended 30 June 2018, despite challenging market conditions. The virtual operator ended June with 1.158 million mobile subscribers, up from 1.074 million one year earlier. However, despite subscriber growth, mobile revenue was down 7.0% to AUD259.0 million (USD186.2 million). CEO and Managing Director Peter O’Connell commented: ‘While competition in mobile will remain intense in FY19, we are still confident about the sector over the medium to long-term. We continue to achieve strong mobile subscriber growth in July 2018 and expect the roll out of 4.5G and 5G networks in Australia over FY19 and FY20 to provide increased rationality and a slowing of competitive excess.’ However, the operator has noted that it will review its ‘capital intensive’ fixed broadband business, which currently accounts for around 15,000 subscribers.

Sticking with Australia, Vocus Group has reported that its MVNO user base declined to 155,000 by 30 June 218, down from 163,000 one year earlier. The telco reported wireless revenues of AUD56.3 million for the twelve-month period under review, up from AUD53.2 million one year earlier. The group’s New Zealand-based subsidiary, meanwhile, saw its MVNO subscriber base increase to 24,000, up from 21,000 in the year-ago period.

Also in Australia, Kogan Mobile has reported revenue of AUD12 million for FY18, up 233.3% year-on-year from AUD3.6 million, with the provider claiming that it is ‘approaching 2%’ of the 19.7 million mobile phone users it said there are in Australia, which would equate to around 394,000 Kogan Mobile customers. The firm is poised to launch an MVNO in New Zealand later this year, piggybacking on the Vodafone New Zealand network.

On 29 August 2018 Zeeland-based cableco DELTA (part of EQT’s DELTA CAIW group) relaunched MVNO mobile services (‘Delta Mobile’) over the T-Mobile network, offering discounts for bundling fixed and cellular services (having shut its previous MVNO service hosted by KPN in September 2016).

Also in the Netherlands, Vectone appears to have ended its MVNO, ten years after launching over the KPN network. According to an unverified report by Dutch news site Telecompaper, customers have confirmed that services are unavailable, and sales on its website have been terminated. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, the UK MVNO group’s Portuguese unit stopped operating on 4 July this year.

Spain is home to a new discount MVNO named Digame. Based in Valencia, the newcomer will offer 4G services over the Orange Espana network and allow customers to select their own monthly minutes/data allowances.

Elsewhere in Europe, Italian MVNO 1Mobile (formerly Carrefour) has confirmed that it will enable 4G LTE access for its subscribers from 15 September, via its existing wholesale agreement with Vodafone. Local site MVNO News claims that Noitel Mobile, which operates over the TIM network, will enable LTE access from November 2018, meanwhile.

Finally, US-based DataXoom, a four-year-old start-up MVNO focused on business customers, has doubled its revenues and subscribers every year, and today counts roughly 1,000 enterprise accounts, Fierce Wireless reports. The news site quotes CEO Chris Hill as saying: ‘We have solid growth … We’re very focused on a specific segment. All of our customers are enterprise … We make sure to stay in our swim lane. We’ve garnered some level of respect for staying there.’

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