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

4 Feb 2019

Atlanta-based Cricket Wireless, which has operated as an AT&T sub-brand since its takeover in March 2014, has announced that it has reached the ten million subscriber milestone, having successfully added more than five million new customers since its acquisition. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the legacy CDMA network belonging to Cricket Wireless was officially shut down on 15 September 2015, and after that date connectivity has been offered exclusively over AT&T Mobility’s nationwide 3G and 4G networks. Previously, Cricket passed the nine million subscriber mark in April 2018. John Dwyer, President of AT&T’s Pre-paid Portfolio, commented: ‘Cricket turns 20 in March of this year, and it is clear that 2018 was our best year ever. 2019 is shaping up to be even better.’

Sticking with the US, cable giant Charter Communications – which offers mobile services under the Spectrum Mobile brand name – has confirmed that it ended 2018 with 134,000 mobile accounts, after net adds of 113,000 in the fourth quarter. The MVNO confirmed its ‘full market launch’ in September 2018, following a successful soft-launch earlier that summer. The MVNO utilises the Verizon Wireless network, as well as leveraging Charter’s 500,000-strong Wi-Fi hotspot network.

Over in Senegal, Sirius Telecoms Afrique, which received an MVNO licence back in June 2017, has staged a launch ceremony at the headquarters of the Authority for Regulation of Telecommunications and Posts (L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes, ARTP) – although a commercial launch is not anticipated until June this year. The watchdog granted three MVNO licences simultaneously, with the recipients being: Sirius, owned by Mbackiyou Faye; You Mobile, which is backed by international music star Youssou N’dour; and Origines SA, which is owned by fellow musician El Hadj Ndiaye. The wholesale contracts inked with Senegalese mobile network operators (MNOs) are valued as follows: You Mobile (Orange, XOF400 million [USD682,618]); Origines (Expresso, XOF300 million); and Sirius (Tigo, XOF300 million).

Spain has a new MVNO, in the form of Fi Network. Alongside mobile services, the Villena-based company – which is registered as Wewi Mobile – also offers fibre-optic broadband connectivity and ‘rural Wi-Fi’ services. According to Spanish technology site Xataka Movil, the MVNO utilises the Orange Espana network for connectivity.

According to unconfirmed local press reports, Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) has issued MVNO licences to Rio de Janeiro-based B2B operator TeleCall and start-up Digaa Telecom. Both virtual operators are expected to use the Telefonica Brasil (Vivo) network.

Finally, Teleena, the Netherlands-based MVNE and IoT connectivity specialist that has been wholly owned by India’s Tata Communications since October 2018, has been renamed as Tata Communications MOVE Nederland. Tata bought an initial 35% stake in Teleena in January 2017, before acquiring the Dutch firm outright last year.

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TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database is now home to the telecoms industry’s fastest-growing collection of MVNO data, covering more than 90 countries and 1,000 virtual operators. If you would like to find out more, please email