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

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16 Nov 2020

Kong Seng Paging, Macau’s first – and to date only – MVNO licensee, has requested that its licence be revoked. The Post and Telecommunications Bureau (Correios e Telecomunicacoes de Macau, CTT) has confirmed that the Order of the Secretary for Transport and Public Works No. 50/2020 was published in the government’s Official Gazette, authorising the cessation of the concession, which was first issued back in 2002. Explaining its decision, Kong Seng Paging noted ‘the virtual mobile service has not been used by customers over time’.

Chilean ISP Mundo Pacfico has commercially launched its Mundo Movil service, following a ‘soft launch’ this summer. The extended trial saw the service tested by 2,000 users. The multi-play operator, which operates via cable and fibre networks, signed a mobile wholesale deal with the Movistar Chile back in early 2019.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Brazil’s Banco BMG has launched an MVNO under the name BMG Chip. The newcomer has been launched by Surf Telecom, which works alongside MNO TIM Brasil.

Sticking with Brazil, Fluke has reportedly received a cash boost from so-called ‘angel investors’, which will allow it to extend its Sao Paulo-based services to six additional states. Fluke is working alongside MVNA Telecall, which uses the Vivo network for connectivity. The people behind the MVNO describe themselves as ‘a team of restless and unhappy young people, united for the purpose of building a more just and practical world’.

In Mexico, Megacable has reported that its MVNO user base passed the 100,000 milestone in 3Q20. At the end of the quarter, subscribers reached 108,472, representing roughly 64,000 net additions during the period. The cableco noted: ‘This project continues to focus on strengthening our portfolio and increasing our subscriber retention capacity.’ As previously reported by MVNO Monday, Megacable re-entered the MVNO sector in January 2019, using the open access 700MHz Red Compartida network.

US satellite TV giant DISH Network, which completed the acquisition of Boost Mobile on 1 July 2020, closed the third quarter of 2020 with 9.42 million wireless subscribers, which it said represents a net decrease of 212,000 quarter-on-quarter.

Also in the US, Verizon Wireless has reportedly signed new, improved MVNO agreements with cablecos Comcast and Charter Communications. Light Reading quotes Verizon EVP Ronan Dunne as telling attendees of an investor event: ‘We have expanded and extended our relationship in order to make sure that the customers at Charter and Comcast would have access to the enhanced engineering capabilities that we’ve been delivering … I think we’ve created the conditions to ensure that we’re their primary provider of connectivity for the foreseeable future.’

Elsewhere, Romania’s Digi Communications has reported that its Spanish MVNO DIGI Mobil ended 30 September 2020 with 2.211 million subscribers, up from 1.728 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 168,000 fixed broadband customers and 60,000 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 to 253,000 by the end of September 2020.

Finally, South Africa’s Huge Group has updated its shareholders on the progress of the migration of Huge Telecom customers from Cell C to the MTN South Africa network. Huge Telecom’s MVNO model involves the use of GSM networks to deliver a fixed line replacement service to its SME clients. Huge currently serves 16,000 customers, who use a total of 43,000 telephone lines. Of this figure, 85% have been migrated to the MTN network to date. The switch in hosts was prompted by what Huge refers to as a ‘longstanding dispute with Cell C’.

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