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

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19 Nov 2018

New South African MVNO Standard Bank Mobile is expected to launch on 21 November, MyBroadband reports, citing a press invitation issued by Standard Bank. The new service promises to provide a ‘next level connection’ to end-users. Standard Bank follows in the footsteps of fellow bank FNB, which launched its FNB Connect service in June 2015, using the Cell C network. FNB Connect passed the 600,000-subscriber milestone at end-December 2017. Rumours regarding Standard Bank’s intentions have swirled since February this year, when the organisation hired former Virgin Mobile South Africa CEO Steve Bailey to its executive team.

Sticking with South Africa, the ruling political party African National Congress (ANC) is considering the launch of an MVNO ahead of the 2019 general election, with a view to earning money to bankroll the political campaign and sharing ANC-related content with supporters. The Mail & Guardian reported that the MVNO is expected to be called 1912 Mobile as a reference to the year of the ANC’s founding, and will utilise the *Cell C * network. However, the plans have already been thrown into disarray, with the newspaper report citing ‘allegations of greed, litigation threats and claims of a conflict of interest’.

Romania’s DIGI Communications has reported that its Spanish MVNO DIGI Mobil ended 30 September with 1.213 million subscribers, up from 813,000 year-on-year. Third quarter revenues in Spain jumped from EUR24.6 million (USD28.1 million) to EUR32.9 million on an annualised basis. The group’s Italian DIGI Mobil MVNO unit, meanwhile, grew its customer base from 158,000 to 202,000 during the same time frame, with sales increasing from EUR4.8 million to EUR5.8 million.

Finally, Russian MVNO SberMobile now provides mobile services in 14 regions of Russia, namely: Moscow, Moscow Region, St. Petersburg, Leningrad Region, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kostroma, Kursk, Lipetsk, Oryol, Ryazan, Smolensk, Tambov and Tver. By the end of the month, SberMobile is expected to add Tula, Kaluga and Bryansk to its footprint. In September this year Russian banking and financial services firm Sberbank replaced its Pogovorim (Let’s Talk) MVNO pilot project with a new brand, SberMobile. Like Pogovorim before it, SberMobile operates on the Tele2 Russia network.

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