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

18 Nov 2019

Angola could be set to receive its first MVNO in the near future, local news reports have suggested. Angola’s President Joao Lourenco has issued an order authorising the ‘sub-concession’ of state-owned Angola Telecom’s Unified Global licence to a start-up company named Angorascom Telecomunicacoes to offer mobile services, Lusa news agency reported last week. Presidential Order No. 193/19, dated 4 November 2019, delegates regulator INACOM and the Ministry of Telecommunications & Information Technology to deal with the necessary technical and legal aspects of the sub-concession ‘to ensure the promotion of competition in the provision of electronic communications networks and services throughout the national territory’. Angorascom is a branch of the multinational Orascom group, adding that the new company would be a ‘partner’ of the telco. Several online news sites have concluded that Angorascom will offer MVNO services, although this has not yet been confirmed by the company itself.

Romania’s DIGI Communications has reported that its Spanish MVNO DIGI Mobil ended 30 September 2019 with 1.728 million subscribers, up 42.5% from 1.213 million 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 49,000 fixed broadband customers and 19,000 fixed voice subscribers, via its new fibre service, which leverages a wholesale deal with Telefonica Espana. The Italian DIGI Mobil MVNO unit, meanwhile, grew its customer base from 202,000 to 227,000 by end of 3Q19.

Over in Japan, ISP-turned-MVNO IIJ has reported that its IIJmio consumer MVNO subscriber base reached 1.076 million at 30 September 2019, up from 1.048 million one year earlier. In the enterprise sector, meanwhile, IIJ reported that its B2B ‘Mobile MVNO Platform Service’ accounted for 1.091 million subscribers at the same date, up from 936,037 year-on-year.

Finally, Brazilian mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Surf Telecom, and its Indian partner Plintron, have announced that they have reached the one million MVNO subscriber milestone in Brazil. Yon Moreira, Surf Telecom’s President, stated: ‘With customers in more than 5,000 cities in a continental area bigger than Europe, Surf Telecom was [recognised] as the fastest growing pre-paid telecom company in 2018 by the local regulatory agency, *Anatel*’. Surf Telecom has facilitated the launch of a number of Brazilian MVNOs in recent years, including Correios Celular, Veek, GospelCel and the IoT-focused Eseye. Surf-affiliated MVNOs use TIM Brasil as a network partner.

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