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

4 Nov 2019

Orange Espana is close to agreeing a takeover for Spanish mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) SUMA Movil Espana, El Economista reports. The Madrid-based firm – a subsidiary of Grupo Ingenium Tecnologia – also has sister companies in Colombia and Chile, although these business units will be excluded from the deal with Orange. SUMA currently supports at least 16 active MVNOs using its platform, including the likes of BT Espana, Suop, Aire Networks and MovilDia. In March this year SUMA noted that another ten MVNOs were said to be in the process of launching using its platform.

New Brazilian MVNO Fluke is poised to stage a ‘soft launch’ before the end of the year and will distribute 5,000 SIM cards in Sao Carlos (Sao Paulo State) to allow would-be users to trial the service. The pre-paid, youth-oriented brand has indicated that the pilot will last six months, after which it will aim to pursue funding to allow it to expand to other states. Joaquin Molina, Fluke’s chief operating officer, told MobileTime that the company’s founders connected their first call late last month. Fluke is said to be working alongside Telecall, which offers MVNA services alongside its B2B MVNO.

Russian MVNO DANYCOM ended the third quarter of 2019 with more than 300,000 subscribers, up from 93,000 at end-December 2018. At that date the virtual operator claimed a presence in a total of 53 Russian regions, up from 27 at end-2018.

Sticking with Russia, Sonet, which trades as Easy4, will seek to target the international traveller market, after inking a distribution deal with seven major domestic airlines. The airlines in question have been named as: Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, Rossiya Airlines, UTair Airlines, Aurora, Yakutia, RusLine and Royal Flight. The company notes that its SIM cards will be sold on board the aircrafts themselves. The ‘Promo Easy’ tariff includes 3GB of data or 500 minutes of calls in a total of 150 international destinations.

Vodafone UK’s youth-focused sub-brand VOXI has activated 5G for its subscribers. 5G access is priced at GBP30 (USD38.8) per month via an ‘Endless Data’ subscription, although this introductory offer is set to expire in February 2020. In line with Vodafone’s network, VOXI users can access 5G in parts of the following locations: Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bootle, Bristol, Cardiff, Droylsden, Eccles, Glasgow, Horwich, Huyton-With-Roby, Isles of Scilly, Lancaster, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Newbury, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Prestwich, Salford, Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent, Stretford, Wallasey, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

Finally, Telecom Italia (TIM) completed its ‘merger by incorporation’ with domestic MVNE Noverca on 31 October 2019. As a result of the transaction, Kena Mobile, which went live back in March 2017, is now a subsidiary of TIM. TeleGeography notes that Noverca has been wholly owned by the Italian giant since October 2016.

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