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

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10 Aug 2020

Polish telco Play Communications has announced that its subsidiary P4 (Play) has completed its previously agreed acquisition of 100% of the shares in Virgin Mobile Polska. The takeover price amounted to PLN59 million (USD15.7 million) on a cash and debt free basis. The transfer of shares took place on 9 August 2020. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, the deal was agreed in April this year. The MVNO was previously owned by Delta Partners TMT Emerging Markets Growth Fund II and Dirlango Trading & Investments. Virgin Mobile Polska launched in August 2012, reselling capacity on the Play network, and currently claims around 400,000 subscribers.

Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, self-styled ‘MVNO Factory’ Tele2 Russia and satellite navigation system GLONASS have announced that their planned MVNO venture went live on 1 August. The IoT-focused MVNO will seek to support GLONASS’s work with emergency response systems and cargo monitoring services. A press release from Tele2 notes: ‘The project will help improve road safety in the country and improve the quality of monitoring of commercial vehicles and cargo.’ The contract was signed in November 2019; more than 20 MVNOs are currently operating over the Tele2 network. Tele2 notes that the total number of MVNO subscribers using its network reached 3.75 million at end-2019 – an increase of 115% year-on-year.

Over in Senegal, the Authority for Regulation of Telecommunications and Posts (L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes, ARTP) has ordered Free Senegal (formerly Tigo) to forfeit 2% of its daily turnover (backdated to 12 June 2020) as a penalty to withholding wholesale access from Sirius Telecoms Afrique – the would-be Senegalese MVNO that received a licence back in June 2017. The start-up, which is backed by Mbackiyou Faye, intends to operate under the Promobile brand, but has found its efforts thwarted thus far.

New Brazilian MVNO Fluke has extended its services to the whole of Sao Paulo State, following ‘soft launches’ in Ribeirao Preto, Sao Carlos and Araraquara. Fluke is working alongside MVNA Telecall, which utilises the Vivo network for connectivity.

Sticking with Brazil, Veek, the MVNO that shut down on 25 July 2019, has relaunched in association with B2B telco-turned-MVNE AmericaNet, rather than original partner Surf Telecom. The relaunch took place of 29 July over the TIM Brasil network. Founder and CEO Alberto Blanco told Minha Operadora that the MVNO hopes to sign up between 40,000 and 50,000 subscribers by year-end.

Finally, US cable giant Charter Communications added 325,000 Spectrum Mobile lines in the second quarter of 2020, to end June with 1.697 million wireless subscribers.

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