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

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29 Oct 2018

Australian MVNO amaysim has entered into an Asset Sale Deed with regional operator Southern Phone Company to sell its fixed line broadband customer base for approximately AUD3 million (USD2.1 million), payable in two tranches. amaysim expects to complete the transaction by the end of October 2018, and Southern Phone expects to migrate the customers onto its own platform in November. As of 30 June 2018 the fixed broadband service accounted for just 15,000 subscribers, TeleGeography notes. amaysim CEO Peter O’Connell, said: ‘The decision to exit broadband was not easy and was made in light of unsustainably high wholesale costs, intense competition and the need to allocate the company’s capital appropriately. This transaction will enable the company to simplify its operating structure, defend and grow its core mobile and energy businesses, and invest in its technology platforms.’

Sticking with Australia, a new MVNO has emerged under the Moove Mobile brand. The newcomer, which operates over the Telstra network, is offering three SIM-only monthly plans from launch, one of which promises 1GB of data and unlimited calls and SMS for just AUD0.05. (Note: after the first month, the promotional tariff increases to AUD9.90 per month.)

Over in the US, cable giant Comcast has confirmed that its Xfinity Mobile MVNO unit, which launched over the Verizon Wireless network in April 2017, has passed the one million subscriber mark, following net additions of 228,000 in 3Q18. The MVNO ended 30 June with 781,000 subscribers, meaning it ended the third quarter with 1.009 million users.

Meanwhile, fellow cableco Charter Communications says that its Spectrum Mobile service – which launched over the Verizon network in July this year – has signed up 21,000 subscribers. The service was expanded to Charter’s full cable footprint at the beginning of September. Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge has indicated that he expects the MVNO unit to reach break-even point at around two million subscribers.

Polish MVNO Klucz Mobile, which targets the Ukrainian community and international travellers, and claims a subscriber base of around 50,000, has confirmed that it will utilise x-Mobility’s appVNO service to introduce advanced roaming options for its subscribers. Denis Morozov, founder of Klucz Mobile, commented: ‘We have many loyal subscribers from the Ukrainian and Indian diasporas in Poland … The main new offer will be free incoming calls while roaming. Not only that, but future visitors to Poland will be able to get a Polish mobile number through the app before they arrive.’ TeleGeography notes that Klucz Mobile launched in 2013, over the Polkomtel (Plus) network.

Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defence (Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica, CADE) has approved the takeover of Porto Seguro Conecta, Brazil’s largest MVNO by subscribers, by its network host TIM Brasil. The watchdog found no competitive concerns and approved the deal without restrictions.

Italian pay-TV provider Sky Italia is considering entering the country’s MVNO sector, in a move which will essentially see it attempt to replicate the strategy used by its UK parent company, Sky. Earlier this year, Sky signed a wholesale broadband contract with Open Fiber to launch a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service from 2019. Local press reports now suggest that an MVNO agreement is also on the cards.

Finally, Telecom Italia (TIM) sub-brand Kena Mobile, which went live back in March 2017, has confirmed that it will make 4G services available to its entire user base from 31 October. 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.

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