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

16 Mar 2020

US mobile market leader Verizon Wireless has launched a new mobile phone service using the 25-year-old Yahoo! brand that it acquired for USD4.5 billion in 2017, alongside all of the latter’s operating businesses. Guru Gowrappan, the former Alibaba executive who became Verizon Media CEO last year, told CNN Business that the new mobile service is part of a plan to diversify the unit’s revenue streams. Yahoo! Mobile operates over Verizon’s nationwide LTE network and offers unlimited talk, text and data for USD39.99 per month.

Mexico also has a new MVNO in the form of Newww, a data-driven proposition which operates over the open access 70MHz Red Compartida network. After a slow start, Red Compartida has now signed up a series of MVNO partners, including the likes of AlmaTel, Megacable, MXLINK and VADSA.

Meanwhile, Turkcell has announced that the ‘marketing partnership’ between its German MVNO Turkcell Europe (Lifecell) and Telekom Deutschland Multibrand will end on 30 April 2020. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the MVNO launched in March 2011 following the signing of a five-year ‘wholesale traffic purchase’ agreement the previous year. In August 2014 the terms were modified to change the business model to a ‘marketing partnership’.

Another MVNO facing closure is Singapore’s Zero Mobile, after the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) suspended its licence and blacklisted its directors for failing to address billing disputes with a number of its former subscribers. The Australian-owned MVNO – which launched in December 2017 over the Singtel network – terminated its existing pricing plans at the end of last year, ahead of a planned ‘repositioning’ of its business model. However, the watchdog has observed that 230 ex-subscribers were impacted by the cessation, prompting it to take action. If Zero Mobile fails to comply with the IMDA’s direction to resolve all billing disputes, it will cancel Zero Mobile’s licence on 18 March 2020.

Finally, Atlantic Broadband, the eighth largest cable operator in the US, has announced the availability of 4G LTE backup service for its business internet customers. Supported by Altaworx, which aggregates services from two unnamed nationwide wireless operators, the service will not be marketed as an MVNO, but will protect against internet interruptions. Rickie Richey, CEO at Altaworx, commented: ‘Altaworx is proud that our unique LTE backup product was selected by Atlantic Broadband Business as part of their redundancy and business continuity offering.’

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