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

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13 Jul 2020

VTB Mobile, the MVNO launched by Russian bank VTB in September 2019, has confirmed that it has reached the 100,000-subscriber milestone. Maxim Sharkov, CEO of VTB Mobile, commented: ‘We are pleased that our customers are showing such a high level of interest in VTB Mobile. Now we are seeing a steady monthly increase in new connections. This is largely due to the fact that customers get the maximum benefits from the combination of mobile and banking services. Among them are bonuses when using bank products, a wide network of branches in Moscow and St. Petersburg, integration with VTB remote service channels and additional security tools.’ The newcomer became the latest financial institution to enter the domestic MVNO space, following in the footsteps of Sberbank-backed SberMobile and Tinkoff Mobile, a subsidiary of Tinkoff Bank. VTB Mobile operates over the network of Tele2 Russia and was launched in association with MVNE Effortel. SIM cards are currently available in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Israel Post is offering its first-ever mobile phone package, in association with Golan Telecom. The service, which will be made available at 90 post office branches around Israel, will be branded Mobile Post. According to Globes, the main package will cost ILS16 (USD4.6) per month and include 11GB of data, 3,000 minutes of voice calls, 3,000 texts and 60 minutes of international calls.

Congstar, the discount sub-brand of Telekom Deutschland (TD) which was established in July 2007, has reportedly upgraded its pre-paid users on to its LTE network at no extra cost. The move follows the recent transition of the telco’s post-paid user base to 4G speeds. In addition, new customers will gain access to VoLTE technology from 20 July, while the service will be activated for existing subscribers from late-August.

Orange Wholesale France has announced that it has launched an eSIM offer for Light MVNOs, with Prixtel confirmed as the first virtual operator to utilise the new proposition. David Charles, CEO and founder of Prixtel, commented: ‘We are delighted to be the first French Light MVNO light to benefit from this technological advance, eSIM, which will be the norm in the coming years. This illustrates our promise to better serve our customers by offering them the latest innovations in mobile networks.’

In other eSIM-centric news, UK-based eSIM.net Group claims that it has launched the ‘world’s first 5G eSIM service by a European-based MVNO’. The MVNO’s flagship product, the ‘Pay As You Go eSIM’ plan, operates over 5G networks in nine countries, namely: Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Monaco, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. In non-5G markets the service falls back onto 3G or 4G networks.

Finally, UK MVNE x-Mobility has informed MVNO Monday that it has enabled the launch of a new ‘AppVNO’ in Kenya. Follow Me Talk – a smartphone financing company in Kenya – is launching a new telecoms service to disrupt the market in Kenya. The company is keen to offer a full telecoms service on top of the smartphones it sells. Going forward, the vendor notes that Kenyan subscribers will have the ability to retain a UK or US number alongside their domestic phone number.

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France, Germany, Israel, Kenya, Russia, Congstar, eSIM.net Group, Follow Me Talk, Israel Post, Orange France, Prixtel Mobile, VTB Mobile, x-Mobility