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

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26 Oct 2020

South African retailer Pick n Pay plans to launch MVNOs under the Pick n Pay Mobile and Boxercom brands in the near future, the company revealed in its interim results presentation for the six months ended 30 August 2020. MoneyWeb.co.za quotes Pick n Pay CEO Richard Brasher as commenting: ‘In the spirit of innovation … we intend to launch Pick n Pay Mobile and Boxercom in the not-so-distant future… Data is now the crucial elixir of life.’

The planned merger between Russian MVNOs DANYCOM Mobile and MCN has been scrapped, with DANYCOM citing issues with the porting of its subscribers to MCN. DANYCOM – which was recently embroiled in a dispute with network host Tele2 Russia – was supposed to transfer its MVNO user base to MCN, as per a September agreement. Vladislav Deminsky, Development Director of DANYCOM Group, commented: ‘The routing and billing systems have not been tested, there are failures in voice calls. All this negatively affects the provision of quality communication services to subscribers. We assume that this is partly due to the operator’s expertise in the B2B segment. But working in B2C requires different approaches.’

Mexico has a new MVNO in the form of InXel. The newcomer utilises the open access Red Compartida 700MHz wholesale network, which currently covers 63.1 million Mexican citizens. InXel notes that top-ups are available in Walmart branches across the country.

Sticking with Mexico, Grupo Televisa-backed Izzi Movil has added 25,963 MVNO subscribers in 3Q20, to end September with a total of 40,114 mobile customers. The virtual operator launched in June this year, via the Red Compartida network.

Prolific Brazilian MVNE Dry Club do Brasil has helped to launch another MVNO, in the form of Enterp Mobile, which targets members of Rio de Janeiro’s entrepreneur-focused Clube Empreendedor Brasil organisation. The newcomer aims to secure 10,000 active lines by the end of this year and up to 40,000 by the end of 2021. The MVNE has previously helped to launch around a dozen football club-affiliated MVNOs; all partners utilise the TIM Brasil network for connectivity.

UK-based O2 sub-brand giffgaff has enabled 5G access for customers with compatible devices and a ‘Golden Goodybag’ subscription. Customers can order new 5G SIM cards via the company website. O2’s 5G network is now live in 108 towns and cities across the UK.

Polish MVNO Mobile Vikings has announced that it now serves 60,000 subscribers. The figure was disclosed in a September 2020 management report posted on the company’s blog. The virtual operator launched back in December 2013 over the T-Mobile Poland network.

Finally, Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has extended its twice-postponed deadline for MVNO applications until 10 December 2020. The licensing process – which seeks to identify two candidates for new MVNO concessions – was launched in January 2020 with an initial deadline in May, although this was subsequently extended to 10 August and then to 11 November 2020. If the applicant is part of a consortium, the foreign partner must have prior experience as an MVNO. The foreign partner’s stake in the JV cannot exceed 70% (or be less than 15%). However, a foreign company is permitted to participate in multiple consortia. In addition, any companies already in possession of a Facilities Based Unified Telecommunications Services Licence are prohibited from holding a greater-than-5% stake in any new MVNO venture.

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Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Kingdom, Cablevision (Izzi), Communications and IT Commission (CITC), DANYCOM, Dry Company do Brasil (MVNE), Enterp Mobile, giffgaff UK, Grupo Televisa, InXel, MCN Telecom, Mobile Vikings (Poland), Pick n Pay (PnP Mobile)