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

9 Sep 2019

US cable group Altice USA has announced the commercial launch of its long-awaited MVNO unit, Altice Mobile. The service went live on 5 September, and the MVNO pitches itself as ‘a new nationwide mobile service created for today’s consumer, who craves seamless, simple and reliable connectivity’. Priced at USD20 per month for existing Optimum or Suddenlink cable customers, Altice Mobile offers users unlimited data, SMS, voice calls, hotspot usage and video streaming. Altice Mobile is also available to non-Optimum and Suddenlink customers who live in or near the company’s 21-state footprint, including throughout New York City, for USD30 per line per month.

Australian online retailer has launched an MVNO in New Zealand, over the Vodafone New Zealand network. Kogan Mobile’s online-only digital service is offered on a pre-paid basis, with 30-day, 90-day and 365-day subscriptions available. CEO Ruslan Kogan, commented: ‘Customers drive every decision we make, and we work tirelessly to deliver better value. We know that Kiwis are looking for prepay mobile options with unlimited standard calls and texts to New Zealand and Australia, and huge data inclusions, that don’t break the bank or cause bill shock – that’s why we’re launching Kogan Mobile in New Zealand.’ TeleGeography notes that Kogan Mobile Australia re-entered the wireless space in late-2015, in association with Vodafone Australia. That move came two years after its original Telstra-powered MVNO shut down.

Over in Kyrgyzstan, KT Mobile – a subsidiary of national fixed line operator Kyrgyztelecom – switched on its delayed MVNO on 15 August, it has been confirmed. The new unit operates under the Salam brand and uses the ‘0880’ prefix. SIM cards have initially been made available in capital Bishkek, at MegaCom retail branches. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, the telco missed its scheduled 8 May launch date, after a number of behind-the-scenes issues, including a spate of resignations by senior KT Mobile personnel. Back in December 2018 state-owned mobile network operator (MNO) MegaCom won a contract to partner KT Mobile in developing nationwide cellular services. The deal also saw KT Mobile share its long-dormant mobile frequencies with MegaCom for a fee, to allow the latter to upgrade network quality and expand coverage in remote and hard-to-reach settlements.

UK B2B provider Gamma Communications has reported solid growth from its MVNO service, reporting 60,000 mobile subscribers at 30 June 2019, up 20% from 50,000 at end-2018. Broadband subscribers increased 10% from 94,000 to 103,000 during the same time frame. In July 2017 Gamma completed its transition to a Full MVNO on the Three UK network, having ended its five-year ‘Thin MVNO’ association with Vodafone UK. The process also saw Gamma acquire its own core network.

Finally, Gamma adds that its Dutch B2B unit, Dean One – which was acquired in October 2018 – has doubled its MVNO user base, to ‘over 4,500 connections’ as of 30 June 2019. The telco notes that the ‘deal signed with T-Mobile has been well received by both the retail and wholesale channels’; prior to December 2018 the MVNO utilised the KPN network.

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Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Altice USA (Optimum), Gamma Communications, Gamma Communications NL (formerly Dean One), Kogan Mobile New Zealand, Kyrgyztelecom (incl. KT Mobile)