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

21 Jan 2019

Mexican cable giant Megacable has launched its long-awaited MVNO under the Mega 4.5G brand. The service, which is restricted to existing Megacable subscribers, utilises the Red Compartida open-access 700MHz network for connectivity. To celebrate the launch, Megacable is offering users a complementary 90-day subscription, which includes a 10GB monthly data allowance as well as unlimited calls and SMS – but only in selected areas. Locations included in the promo are listed as Tepic and Xalisco (in the State of Nayarit); Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, Tonala, Tlajomulco (Jalisco); Colima, Villa de Alvarez, Comala and Cuauhtemoc (Colima); Leon (Guanajuato); Queretaro, El Pueblito and Juriquilla (Queretaro); Toluca, Metepec, San Mateo Atenco, Zinacantepec and Lerma (Mexico State); Puebla, Cholula and Cuautlancingo (Puebla); and Morelia (Michoacan). Note: the promotional period expires on 28 February. TeleGeography notes that Red Compartida went live in March 2018 covering 32.2% of the population at launch. Going forward, the network must cover 50% of the population by 2020, and 92.2% of the population by 2024.

China’s 21Vianet Group has announced that it will close its Hong Kong MVNO service, which operates under the Vave brand, on 1 February 2019. The firm launched mobile services in 2015 under an MVNO licence it was awarded the previous year. The virtual operator used HKT as its network host.

Finally, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has confirmed that it has reorganised its group structure ahead of the launch of Rakuten Mobile Network in October 2019. Rakuten – which has operated an MVNO over the NTT DOCOMO network since November 2014 – intends to initiate an ‘absorption-type split’, which will see the MVNO (Rakuten Mobile), as well as the Rakuten Communications Corp unit transfer to Rakuten Mobile Network. The switch is expected to take effect on 1 April 2019.

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Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, 21Vianet Group (Vave), Megacable (incl. Mega 4.5G), Rakuten Group, Rakuten Mobile