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

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11 Jan 2021

Toronto-based Data On Tap has announced that it has been approved as Canada’s first Full MVNO by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Since applying for Proposed Full MVNO status in early 2019, the company notes that it has launched a public alpha of its dotmobile smartphone app and attracted nearly 10,000 founding members. In September last year Data On Tap signed its first wireless network access agreement with Iristel, a regional provider serving the Far North and Northern Quebec. Algis Akstinas, CEO of Data On Tap, commented: ‘This approval clears us for the launch of our wireless service as a Full MVNO in 2021. We are blazing a trail for new kinds of wireless service providers, and a Canada where network infrastructure investments (towers), affordability and better service innovation can co-exist.’

France’s Bouygues Telecom has announced that it has completed its takeover of Euro-Information Telecom (EI Telecom). The deal closed on 31 December, following the receipt of approval from the *French Competition Authority (Autorite de la Concurrence)* on 22 December. The EUR530 million (USD651 million) deal was agreed in June 2020. EI Telecom was previously 95%-owned by French bank Credit Mutuel-CIC (through its subsidiary Euro Information), with domestic media group NRJ in possession of the remaining 5% stake. TeleGeography notes that EI Telecom operates a number of MVNO brands, including *Credit Mutuel Mobile*, *CIC Mobile*, *NRJ Mobile*, *Auchan Telecom* and *Cdiscount Mobile*. The various brands currently serve around two million mobile subscribers.

On 6 January Brazilian football club Fluminese confirmed that it has launched its planned FLUmobile MVNO in association with Dry Company do Brasil. The MVNE has previously helped to launch multiple football club-affiliated MVNOs, including the likes of Chip do Vascao (CR Vasco da Gama), Cruzeiro Celular (Cruzeiro Esporte Clube), Esquadrao Celular (Esporte Clube Bahia), Sao Paulo Celular (Sao Paulo FC) and Sport Cel (Sport Club do Recife). All Dry-affiliated MVNOs utilise the TIM Brasil network. Announcing the launch, Dry says that it now has 50 MVNOs, who serve a combined 400,000 users.

Finally, Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia has announced the signing of a strategic agent banking agreement with the Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB). The partnership, which has already been endorsed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), aims to ‘build, develop and commercially execute a unique value proposition and strategically positioned solutions for the end user’. Erik Dudman Nielsen, CEO of parent company Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA), commented: ‘The post-pandemic world has sharpened the customer’s digital expectations and we look forward to continuously expanding and innovating through enhanced digital capabilities that will not only meet our customer’s expectations, but also elevate Virgin Mobile’s position as a true global leader in digitalisation.’

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