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

25 Feb 2019

Denmark’s TDC Group has struck a takeover deal for domestic B2B MVNO Firmafon. The smaller company was founded in 2009 and currently serves more than 4,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs). According to TDC, the deal does not require regulatory approval and should be completed in March 2019. Peter Engelbrecht, CEO of Firmafon, commented: ‘We have been looking for a long-term owner, and TDC is good for us because they want to further develop Firmafon. We share a vision of offering the best digital customer experiences and look forward to making our products even better as part of the TDC Group.’ Going forward, TDC will seek to preserve the Firmafon name as an online-only sub-brand, alongside the likes of Telmore, Fullrate, Hiper and Blockbuster.

Romania’s DIGI Communications has reported that its Spanish MVNO DIGI Mobil ended 31 December 2018 with 1.343 million subscribers, up from 896,000 year-on-year. The virtual operator targets the Romanian diaspora in Spain, which is understood to represent almost 20% of the country’s foreign population. The Spanish unit also claimed 8,000 fixed broadband customers and 3,000 fixed voice subscribers, following the launch of its new fibre service, which leverages a wholesale deal with Telefonica Espana. The Italian DIGI Mobil MVNO unit, meanwhile, grew its customer base from 170,000 to 195,000 by end 2018, while the group’s data-only Hungarian MVNO ended the year with 15,000 users.

US-based IZON Network (also known as IZON Golf), which provides GPS and ‘Total Course Technology’ for the golf industry has announced that it has partnered with an as-yet-unnamed virtual operator to launch its own MVNO. Tim Ummel, CEO of IZON, commented: ‘This partnership will allow us to work directly with all major cellular carriers at a much more granular level … As an MVNO our team can now provision lines directly with the carriers from one central dashboard, manage all of those lines in real time and provide our customers the absolute best service and forward-looking management of all of their devices deployed out in the field.’

Finally, PLDT Hong Kong has announced that it has commercially launched a joint mobile data trading service in association with DENT Wireless. With this service PLDT HK customers are able to trade unused mobile data with other users via the DENT app. The ‘Mobile Data Exchange’ service is powered by blockchain technology and utilises the DENT token as the currency for trading. PLDT HK customers who sell their unused mobile data and receive DENT tokens can then use these to top-up themselves or others (‘gifting’) in Hong Kong, the Philippines and 43 other countries around the world via the DENT app. DENT claims to currently have twelve million users across 45 countries.

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Denmark, Hong Kong, Spain, United States, DENT Wireless, DIGI Mobil (Spain), Firmafon (Denmark), IZON Network (IZON Golf), PLDT Hong Kong, TDC (YouSee)