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

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17 Sep 2018

Isle of Man-based Manx Telecom has revealed that its business incubator, Vannin Ventures, and the lead investment in its portfolio, Goshawk Communications are poised to launch a new MVNO in the UK. The telco notes that Vannin has signed a wholesale contract with BT Group to use the EE mobile network to support a new virtual operator targeting the eleven million UK consumers who experience hearing loss. The MVNO is expected to go live in 2019, but Goshawk itself will launch on 19 September, on the Isle of Man. Gary Lamb, CEO of Manx Telecom, commented: ‘I’m delighted to be able to announce not just the imminent Isle of Man launch for Goshawk, but also the fact that the proposition will be delivered over the EE mobile network via a multi-channel launch, reaching millions of people in the UK. Goshawk’s technology can make a vast improvement to the quality of calls not only for the hard of hearing, but also for every mobile user who is seeking greater call clarity.’

Quebec-based cable and mobile operator Videotron has confirmed to MobileSyrup that it is behind a new no-frills mobile brand named Fizz which is launching a three-month beta testing phase in Quebec and Ottawa. Videotron added that it will provide more information ‘later this year when Fizz officially launches.’ The no-frills sub-brand will operate over Videotron’s LTE network without any retail store presence, with the aim of competing in the low-budget market against so-called ‘flanker brands’ owned by the ‘big three’ mobile network operators including Rogers’ Chatr, Bell’s Lucky Mobile and Telus’ Public Mobile.

Telecom Italia (TIM) sub-brand Kena Mobile, which went live in March 2017, has reportedly been granted a new block of one million numbers. Local site MVNO News says that the numbers feature the ‘3501’ prefix, which augments the operator’s original ‘3500’ prefix. The site notes that Kena is likely to witness strong subscriber uptake when it introduces 4G LTE services later this year. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, the reseller reached the 500,000-subscriber mark in June this year. Kena is technically a subsidiary of Noverca, the mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) that has been wholly owned by TIM since October 2016.

Mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Effortel – which currently manages close to five million subscribers across its multi-country platform – has enlisted Bucharest-based JUNO Software to develop and implement a customised software communications platform. The platform is expected to enable real-time monetisation of mobile services and open up new revenue streams for the MVNE’s MVNO clients. Effortel’s main MVNO clients are based in Belgium (VOO and Carrefour Mobile Belgium); Italy (Carrefour Uno Mobile Italy, Daily Telecom, Optima, Taza Mobile and Total); Russia (TTK); Taiwan (Carrefour Telecom Taiwan); and Kenya (Equitel).

Finally, US MVNO TruConnect has acquired a ‘unique and proprietary eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) acquisition platform’ from fellow virtual operator FreedomPop, in order to better align itself with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements for registering subscribers to the government-subsidised Lifeline programme. TruConnect currently offers Lifeline service to residents in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The LA-based firm was founded in 2011 and formerly known as TruConnect Mobile. Based on the MVNO’s coverage map, TeleGeography understands that it uses the T-Mobile US network for connectivity.

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Canada, Isle of Man, Italy, United Kingdom, United States, Audacious (incl. Goshawk), Effortel, Fizz, JUNO Software, Kena (incl. Noverca), Manx Telecom, TruConnect, Videotron