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

4 Mar 2019

King Goodwill Zwelithini – the reigning King of the Zulu Nation – has teamed up with JR Capital to develop a new MVNO in South Africa called Bayede Mobile. The new virtual operator will be hosted on the MVN-X platform and will run on the Cell C network. A press statement issued by the new player read: ‘Powered by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini, and supported by the private sector and government, Bayede Mobile will help reach those with little-to-no access to basic mobile infrastructure, at an excellent rate.’ The new MVNO expects to launch in mid-2019.

US-based MVNO Project Fi (formerly Google Fi) has confirmed that it has expanded its wholesale agreement with Sprint to include access to 5G mobile technology. TeleGeography notes that the MVNO, which launched its ‘Wi-Fi first’ proposition back in 2015, utilises the networks of Sprint, T-Mobile US and US Cellular for mobile connectivity. Matt Klainer, vice president of Consumer Communications Products at Google, commented: ‘Connecting our customers to great high-speed coverage is a vital part of the Google Fi service, made possible by our carrier partners. We’re thrilled to have Sprint working towards an upgrade for the Fi network to include 5G.’ Sprint recently noted that its commercial 5G service will launch in May, in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City.

Australia’s Vocus Group has reported that its MVNO user base climbed to 169,000 by 31 December 2018, up from 159,000 one year earlier. The group’s New Zealand-based subsidiary, meanwhile, saw its MVNO subscriber base increase to 26,000, up from 24,000 in the year-ago period.

Finally, NTT Communications Corporation completed its previously announced acquisition of a majority stake in Paris-based MVNE Transatel on 28 February 2019. Since its inception in 2000, Transatel has launched over 170 MVNOs, and expects to increase its operational presence in Asia following the successful conclusion of the takeover.

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