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

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1 Oct 2018

Colombia looks set to see the introduction of a new MVNO in the form of Klik Mobile, which is working towards a commercial launch with European mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) I-New Unified Mobile Solutions. Pitched as a ‘digital’ MVNO, Klik Mobile is expected to be an online-only proposition. Diego Hernandez, CEO of Klik Mobile Colombia, commented: ‘Klik Mobile strives to develop an innovative, simple and competitive offering, extending to our customers an intuitive and pleasant digital environment.’ The virtual operator’s host network has not yet been disclosed.

Germany’s self-styled network-independent telecoms provider 1&1 Drillisch has announced that it is ‘sharpening its brand portfolio’ by discontinuing a total of six mobile sub-brands. The brands set for the chop are: helloMobil, which has been discontinued with immediate effect; Phonex, McSIM and discoPLUS, which will be phased out by the end of the year; and BigSIM and discoSURF, which ceased marketing activities in the summer. Going forward, the company will throw its weight behind its ten remaining brands, which include: winSIM, PremiumSIM, DeutschlandSIM,, discoTEL and simply. Existing customers are not affected and can continue to use their respective tariffs as usual.

Russian banking and financial services firm Sberbank has replaced its Pogovorim (Let’s Talk) MVNO pilot project with a new brand, SberMobile, which is now available in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the Moscow and Leningrad Regions. By the end of 2018, residents of 13 additional regions will be able to use SberMobile, namely: Tula, Tver, Bryansk, Ryazan, Kaluga, Smolensk, Kostroma, Voronezh, Belgorod, Lipetsk, Kursk, Tambov and Oryol. SIM cards are available from Sberbank branches in the aforementioned locations. Like Pogovorim before it, SberMobile operates on the Tele2 Russia network. Sergey Emdin, CEO of Tele2, notes that 15 MVNOs now operate using its network.

Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa, the CEO of Virgin Mobile Polska, has informed local news site Rzeczpospolita that the virtual operator has upgraded its status from a Light MVNO to that of a Full MVNO, as it seeks to increase the flexibility it can offer its 470,000 customers. The executive added that its revenue growth has been stable this year – at around 20% – and Virgin expects to generate sales of around PLN120 million (USD32.4 million) in 2018. The MVNO is not expected to turn a profit until 2019, however.

Finally, T-Mobile US has announced that its MetroPCS sub-brand will be rebranded as ‘Metro by T-Mobile’ from this month, in a move designed to highlight the connection between the two companies, and the superior network coverage offered by the wireless giant. In announcing the change, T-Mobile CEO John Legere noted that MetroPCS has doubled its user base since being acquired in May 2013 (see below), suggesting it now has around 18 million users, compared to 8.995 million in March 2013. Regional cellco MetroPCS was re-launched as a sub-brand in June 2013, following the closing of its USD1.5 billion takeover by T-Mobile the previous month.

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