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

10 Feb 2020

A new Birmingham-based MVNO called Zevvle has launched in the UK over the EE network, promising to deliver greater transparency for mobile customers. The newcomer pledges to charge users for data by the byte on a tiered pricing basis and deliver near real-time updates via its app.

Israeli telco Annatel, which was founded in 2004 in order to provide customised telecoms solutions to the French-speaking and English-speaking Israeli population, has launched a Full MVNO. The service is powered by Summa Networks’ carrier-grade Home Subscriber Server (HSS) and Home Location Register (HLR) technology. The identity of the network partner has not been disclosed.

The Dutch supermarket chains Dirk and DekaMarkt have announced they will terminate their MVNO services at the end of this year. Dirk Mobiel stopped offering top-ups on 31 December 2019 ahead of a full shutdown on 31 December 2020, while DekaMobiel SIM purchases and top-ups ceased on 1 January 2020, and the service will be discontinued on 31 December 2020.

Another European brand which is set to disappear this year is tele.ring, a discount sub-brand of network operator T-Mobile Austria. The name will be discontinued from 23 March 2020, with all subscribers switching to T-Mobile’s main Magenta Telekom brand. TeleGeography notes that T-Mobile Austria purchased rival wireless network operator tele.ring for EUR1.3 billion (USD1.56 billion) back in October 2005.

Tuenti Ecuador has announced that it has reached the one million subscriber milestone – less than five years after launching commercial services. Tuenti, a sub-brand of Movistar Ecuador, launched in May 2015.

Polish telco Telestrada has announced that the active subscriber base of its MVNO Lajt Mobile totalled 72,615 at the end of 2019.

The dispute between Free Senegal (formerly Tigo) and Sirius Telecoms Afrique – the would-be Senegalese MVNO that received a licence back in June 2017 – continues to rumble on, with local press reports suggesting that Free officials have demanded an XOF5 billion (USD8.4 million) ‘technical support’ fee from the newcomer in exchange for wholesale access. The start-up, which is backed by Mbackiyou Faye, intends to operate under the Promobile brand, but a recent change of ownership at Free has seemingly halted its progress.

Finally, Lycamobile Tunisia has signed a strategic partnership with La Poste Tunisienne, which will see the postal service sell the MVNO’s products via its retail branches and through its website. The virtual operator launched in November 2015 over the Tunisie Telecom network and claimed 243,020 subscribers as of 3Q19.

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