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

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9 Mar 2020

Singapore-based MNO M1 has announced a new MVNO partnership with Geenet, a company which provides Wi-Fi services to 20 foreign worker dormitories across the city-state. Geenet, which claims to have ‘the largest market share for dormitory Wi-Fi’ in Singapore, provides a free service in communal areas and offers premium paid Wi-Fi services at higher speeds to residents looking to stay connected beyond the shared spaces. At present, more than one-third of dormitory residents subscribe to a paid Wi-Fi plan, and Geenet has seen an increase in the number of subscribers over the years. Ho Teck Hong, managing director at Geenet, commented: ‘We are pleased to be the first MVNO in Singapore to partner M1 to offer an integrated Wi-Fi and mobile services to our customers, enabling them to be connected in the dormitories and everywhere else in Singapore.’

Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has issued Internet of Things Virtual Network Operator (IoT-VNO) licences to Dawiyat Integrated Telecommunications & Information Technology and MachinesTalk. The two licensees must now secure wholesale agreements with domestic mobile operators, before targeting the smart meter, logistics and transport segments. The concessions were awarded by Mohammed Al-Tamimi, governor of the CITC, at the third Saudi International Exhibition & Conference for IoT. The event commenced in Riyadh yesterday (8 March).

Following last week’s takeover report in MVNO Monday, Spanish alternative operator Grupo MASMOVIL has officially confirmed that it has agreed to buy Lycamobile Espana from UK-based Lycamobile Group. MASMOVIL will pay cash consideration of approximately EUR372 million (USD420 million) for the MVNO, on a debt-free transaction basis. The payment will be spread in three instalments: the group will pay EUR307 million at closing; EUR30 million six months after closing; and a final payment of EUR35 million twelve months after closing. As of end-December 2019 Lycamobile accounted for around 1.5 million lines, with an average ARPU slightly above EUR7. In 2019 the MVNO generated revenues of EUR132 million and EBITDA of EUR45 million. MASMOVIL expects the deal will help it generate synergies that will reach EUR70 million in 2021.

UK-based Tesco Mobile has activated services over O2’s 5G network for users with compatible handsets, which include the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G. SIM-only 5G plans start at GBP15 (USD19.6) per month, meanwhile. O2 launched its 5G network in October 2019 and today customers in 24 locations can benefit from the new network.

Finally, South African mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) MVN-X has disclosed that it ended 2019 with a total of 450,000 active MVNO subscribers using its platform, up from 275,000 in 2018. Confirming the company’s progress, CEO Valde Ferradaz commented: ‘The market is in a growth state and, with our new Cerillion-built] systems in place, we are expecting further growth, to circa 800,000 subscribers in 2020 and anticipate reaching more than one million active subscribers by end 2021.’

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