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

28 Oct 2019

Bayede Mobile, the South African MVNO established by King Goodwill Zwelithini, investment firm JR Capital and domestic mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) MVN-X, has confirmed that it will launch on 1 November. Bayede Mobile director Jane Nkadimang has informed local media outlets that the network will be hosted by Cell C and MTN South Africa. Bayede is a Zulu salutation that translates as ‘Hail the King’.

Tuenti Guatemala – the sub-brand inherited by Claro Guatemala following America Movil’s (AM’s) USD333 million takeover of Telefonica Moviles Guatemala (Movistar) in January 2019 – has been rebranded as Sin Pajas by its new owner. The new unit pledges to deliver improved coverage across Guatemala’s 22 departments, unlimited access to social networks, and increased data allowances. Tuenti was believed to serve more than 200,000 users prior to its deactivation.

In reporting its 3Q19 results, Comcast Corporation has confirmed that its Xfinity Mobile MVNO unit reached 1.791 million subscribers, following net additions of 204,000 in 3Q19. Third-quarter wireless revenues jumped 38.1% from USD236 million in 3Q18 to USD326 million in the period under review.

Sticking with the US, fellow cable giant Charter Communications has reported that its Spectrum Mobile MVNO ended 3Q19 with 794,000 subscribers, after quarter-on-quarter adds of 276,000. Third-quarter mobile revenues jumped from USD17 million in 3Q18 to USD192 million. (Note: the MVNO’s ‘full market launch’ took place in September 2018.)

Dmitry Baghdasaryan, deputy general director for operations at Russian ISP Trivon Networks (Virgin Connect) has informed ComNews that its MVNO unit now accounts for around 10,000 subscribers. Mobile services – relaunched in July this year – are currently targeted at the telco’s existing broadband user base, although the company plans to stage a wider launch in the future.

Finally, Austrian MVNO Spusu, which acquired mobile spectrum at auction earlier this year, is set to launch its 5G network in parts of Burgenland and Lower Austria, Der Standard reports. TeleGeography notes that Spusu acquired 30MHz of 3410MHz-3440MHz frequencies for the Lower Austria and Burgenland region in March 2019, paying EUR1.8 million (USD2.0 million). Spusu also plans to participate in a second spectrum auction (for 700MHz, 1500MHz and 2100MHz frequencies), scheduled to take place in spring 2020, although the firm has said it will continue to operate as an MVNO over the network of Drei alongside its 5G business.

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