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

20 Jan 2020

UK-based MVNO giant Lycamobile Group has notched up a new African market, following the launch of Lycamobile Uganda. This development expands Lycamobile’s global footprint to 24 counties. Allirajah Subaskaran, Lyca Group founder and chairman, commented: ‘As the world’s largest MVNO with a sustained focus on Africa, it is a natural move for Lycamobile to venture into Uganda. We are currently operational in South Africa and considered Uganda in the East African region because of the market potential and ease of doing business.’ While the press release asserts that Lycamobile ‘has established countrywide infrastructure’, local news site PML Daily notes that the new MVNO has signed a wholesale agreement with fixed-wireless 4G player Tangerine, which it says is ‘already in most towns in Mukono, Kampala and Wakiso’. Lycamobile will use the ‘072’ prefix.

Elsewhere, Brazil has a new MVNO in the form of NetLight Movel, which has been launched by Varginha-based converged services provider FoneLight. M2M-focused MVNO Datora Mobile Telecomunicacoes (trading as ARQIA) has fulfilled mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) duties for the regional operator. ARQIA uses the TIM Brasil network for connectivity.

UK-based Sky Mobile has announced that it has activated 5G access for its subscribers. It will initially be available in 21 cities and towns across the UK, including London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff, with plans to extend connectivity to a total of 50 UK destinations by this summer. Sky Mobile says customers can connect to the network via a range of 5G-ready phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G and Samsung Galaxy A90 5G. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Sky Mobile launched in January 2017 over the O2 network and now serves more than one million subscribers.

Finally, Irish sub-brand GoMo – which was launched by eir in October 2019 – has reached the 100,000-subscriber milestone. As a result, the newcomer has withdrawn its introductory EUR9.99 (USD11.11) ‘lifetime’ subscription offer. The deal has been replaced with a EUR12.99 package, which will run until 1 March. Industry insiders have suggested that the cut-price GoMo service was the brainchild of Xavier Niel – the French billionaire who seized control of eir back in April 2018. The tycoon has enjoyed significant success by slashing mobile tariffs and triggering price wars through Free in France and Iliad in Italy.

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