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

14 Jan 2019

The long-awaited launch of Lycamobile Uganda is edging closer, with the UK-owned MVNO group recently launching its website ( and placing adverts for a wide range of vacant positions – including network engineers, base transceiver station (BTS) engineers and back office support staff. The new player – which the ITU says is in possession of number ranges with the prefixes ‘7330’, ‘7331’ and ‘7332’ – is expected to launch in conjunction with local TD-LTE player Tangerine.

Finnish mobile operator DNA has agreed to purchase the entire share capital of European Mobile Operator Oy. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Moi Mobiili Oy has offered MVNO services to residential and business customers since 2016, over the DNA mobile network. The parties have agreed not to disclose the sale price, while the transaction will take immediate effect. Going forward, Moi Mobiili will continue to serve customers under its own brand. Jukka Leinonen, CEO of DNA, commented: ‘In recent years, DNA has grown both organically and through acquiring companies that complement our operations. The acquisition of Moi is therefore a natural continuation in implementing our growth strategy.’

Tuyo Movil, the MVNO arm of Televisora de Costa Rica (Teletica), has announced that it is set to shut down in April. From 15 January the virtual operator will cease activating new services and will no longer accept recharges from its current users. However, any existing customers with a balance on their account will be able to continue using the service for up to 90 days. The MVNO will shutter its service for good on 15 April 2019. Tuyo Movil, which launched in June 2011 over the Grupo ICE (Kolbi) network, saw its subscriber base peak at 109,000 in September 2012, before dropping to just 4,000 in December 2017 (most recent official data).

Over in Switzerland, a pair of MVNOs have switched network providers this month. UPC – Switzerland’s largest cable operator by subscribers – has completed the transition of its mobile customers from Salt to Swisscom. The switch took place automatically, and customers can continue to use their existing UPC SIM cards. UPC claimed 137,800 MVNO subscribers as of 30 September 2018.

The second Swiss switchover involves Coop Mobile, following the expiration of its wholesale contract with Salt on 9 January. All existing Coop Mobile users automatically became Salt customers – signed up to the telco’s ‘Salt Swiss Flat’ tariff. Further, Coop ‘superpoints’ can now no longer be redeemed by MVNO subscribers. To replace the discontinued service, Coop Mobile has launched a brand new MVNO, which operates using the Swisscom network.

Finally, Italian football-themed MVNO Rabona Mobile has confirmed that it will switch network providers from March 2019. Subscribers will move from Telecom Italia (TIM) to Vodafone Italy, gaining access to the new host’s 4G LTE network in the process. Unlike many football-themed virtual operators, Rabona Mobile is not affiliated with a specific club, but instead references a skilful type of trick. The MVNO is expected to launch its own footballing reality TV show in the near-future.

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