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

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12 Oct 2020

Russian MVNO SberMobile has signed a memorandum of understanding with network host Tele2 Russia and Chinese vendor Huawei, which will see the three parties test ‘5G use scenarios’ and explore ‘5G technological capabilities’. Ruslan Gurdzhiyan, CEO of parent company Sberbank-Telecom, commented: ‘5G unlocks fundamentally new digitisation opportunities for businesses of any size in a wide variety of industries. Sber has a unique ecosystem that includes all the components for the end-to-end digitisation of companies, from equipping homes, offices, and even vehicles with smart devices, to creating modern ‘digital twins’ of enterprises that send data in real-time. We have the most advanced technology stack that can be scaled up and adapted to 5G requirements.’

Elsewhere, Brazil has a new MVNO, in the form of Show Mobile. The newcomer says it has enlisted ‘big names in showbusiness’ to provide exclusive content and ‘create a new relationship channel between the fan and his favourite artists’. The first musical act to partner with the MVNO is boyband KLB. Show Mobile is affiliated with Uni Global Telecom and Yes Celular and will use the TIM Brasil network.

Romanian telecoms group Digi Communications has announced that its subsidiary Digi Spain Telecom (trading as DIGI Mobil) has extended its wholesale agreement with Telefonica Moviles Espana (Movistar) until 30 September 2026. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, DIGI served 2.098 million wireless customers as of June 2020, making it Spain’s largest MVNO by subscribers.

US MVNO Pix Wireless has reportedly ceased offering connectivity via the Verizon Wireless network, and questions remain over its future plans. Verizon-powered ‘Pix Silver’ services were discontinued on 20 September. The virtual operator – which previously offered connectivity via all four nationwide networks – remains active, but PrePaidPhoneNews.com has suggested that it has also stopped accepting activations for its ‘Pix Indigo’ (T-Mobile) and ‘Pix Yellow’ (Sprint) packages.

Sticking with the US, Pure Talk USA has rebranded itself as Pure Talk, after dropping the word USA from its name. In addition, the MVNO – which is owned by Telrite Holdings and uses the AT&T network – has redesigned its logo and website.

Finally, Optus has extended 5G mobile access to its post-paid wholesale partners. Post-paid MVNOs currently using the Optus network include the likes of 2SG, Acurus, Amaysim, Bendigo Telco, BTB, Circles.Life, Commander, Dodo, iPrimus, Moose Mobile, Southern Phone and Vocus. Optus notes that SpinTel is the first MVNO to enable 5G mobile access for its customers. Optus currently operates more than 900 live 5G sites across Australia, although coverage is not yet available in Tasmania or the Northern Territory. Previously, in July this year, Optus made its ‘5G Home Broadband’ service available to its MVNO partners.

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