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

5 Nov 2018

Russian national fixed line operator Rostelecom has confirmed that it passed the one million MVNO subscriber mark in the three months ended 30 September. According to its most recent financial report, the telco ended the third quarter of 2018 with 1.1 million MVNO subscribers, representing an increase of 58% year-on-year, from 670,000. Rostelecom launched its MVNO in November 2016 over the Tele2 Russia network, as it sought to target the quad-play market. Furthermore, in a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) project, the telco’s 3Q18 report also notes that it introduced the possibility of purchasing a dual landline number/mobile number service in an additional 16 cities in the third quarter, increasing the FMC service’s availability to a total of 200 localities.

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) ended its financial year (31 August 2018) with 265,000 MVNO subscribers, representing an increase of 80% year-on-year. Mobile ARPU increased 24% y-o-y, meanwhile, to HKD147 (USD18.8) per month. The ISP drew attention to the ‘successful execution of its quad-play price strategy’ and noted: ‘This spectacular growth was made possible by the company’s progressive marketing efforts and the launch of high usage data plans to suit its customers’ needs.’

Project Fi, the ‘Wi-Fi-first’ MVNO launched by internet giant Google back in April 2015, is poised to be rebranded as Google Fi in the coming weeks. Citing promotional artwork included alongside the Google Pixel handset, the development has been reported by US website 9to5google.com. Cellular connectivity was supported by Sprint and T-Mobile US from launch, while wholesale access from US Cellular was added to the Project Fi proposition in June 2016.

Finally, Quebec-based cable and mobile operator Videotron has extended beta testing of its Fizz Mobile sub-brand to all interested parties in Quebec and the Greater Ottawa region, moving away from its initial invite-only approach. Beta testers are offered cut-price tariffs for the duration of their trial, with a CAD56 (USD42.7) per month 8GB plan discounted to CAD6 for the three-month testing period. 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.

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Canada, Hong Kong, Russia, United States, Fizz, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN), Project Fi (Google MVNO), Rostelecom