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

18 May 2020

Brazilian bank Banco Inter is poised to launch MVNO service on 20 May, under the Intercel brand name, Exame reports. The bank currently serves five million account holders and 400,000 of its customers regularly top up their mobile accounts at one of the bank’s branches, giving it a substantial customer base to target with its new cellular service. The MVNO proposition will be launched in association with MVNE Surf Telecom, which leverages the TIM Brasil network.

Sticking with Brazil, Veek, the MVNO that shut down on 25 July 2019 is planning to relaunch from next month and has enlisted 650 participants as it stages Beta testing. The new MVNO will operate in association with B2B telco-turned-MVNE AmericaNet, rather than original partner Surf Telecom. Veek founder Alberto Blanco told Mobile Time that he prefers to think of the rebooted business as a ‘mobiletech’ company, rather than an MVNO.

Elsewhere in Latin America, IENTC Telecomunicaciones, a B2B ISP based in Queretaro, Mexico, has selected Telia Carrier’s IP Transit backbone services to support its recent MVNO launch. IENTC says that the contract will help it to provide reliable, low-latency, high-capacity services to subscribers and enterprises ‘without compromising customer experience’. The MVNO launched earlier this year using the open access Red Compartida wholesale network.

Romania’s DIGI Communications has reported that its Spanish MVNO DIGI Mobil ended 31 March 2020 with 2.019 million subscribers, up 35% from 1.496 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 113,000 fixed broadband customers and 44,000 fixed voice subscribers, via its fibre service, which leverages a wholesale deal with Telefonica Espana. The Italian DIGI Mobil MVNO unit, meanwhile, grew its customer base from 201,000 to 238,000 by end of 3Q19.

Finally, US cable giant Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge has indicated that the company is considering replacing wholesale partner Verizon Wireless with AT&T Communications. Speaking on an investor call, the chief executive noted: ‘We have a good relationship with AT&T. We have had discussions about the MVNO. They’re interested in having a relationship with us, and we’re interested in having a relationship with them.’

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