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

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15 Mar 2021

US satellite TV giant DISH Network has announced the takeover of Republic Wireless, an MVNO that uses the T-Mobile US network. Upon closing, DISH says it will assume approximately 200,000 customer relationships, the Republic Wireless brand and other supporting assets. DISH – which is in the process of rolling out a nationwide 5G network – has now snapped up three US MVNOs to expedite its entry into the US wireless market. These are: Boost Mobile, which was acquired from Sprint/T-Mobile for USD1.4 billion on 1 July 2020; Ting Mobile, which was acquired on 1 August 2020; and Republic Wireless. TeleGeography notes that Republic Wireless was formed in 2010 and started testing its ‘Wi-Fi first’ proposition in public beta mode in 2012, ahead of a full commercial launch in 2013. The MVNO initially utilised the CDMA Sprint network, although it augmented this connectivity by signing an additional GSM wholesale deal with T-Mobile in 2016.

Comcast has indicated that its Xfinity Mobile MVNO unit is on track to achieve profitability this year – more than four years after its April 2017 launch. The service is carried by the Verizon Wireless network, but data traffic is offloaded to Comcast’s Wi-Fi network wherever possible. However, CFO Mike Cavanagh has stressed that the MVNO will reach profitability ‘without any offload’. Cavanagh added: ‘I think we’re real. There’s no one that doubts that anymore. Where do we go next is more the question … I think we have a lot of runway ahead.’ The remarks were made at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, and reported by Light Reading. The MVNO ended 31 December 2020 with 2.826 million subscribers, up from 2.052 million one year earlier.

Finally, Swiss telecoms retailer mobilezone has published its 2020 annual report, in which it confirms that its in-house MVNO business TalkTalk increased its post-paid user base from 26,800 to 31,300 in the year ended December 2020. The MVNO uses the Sunrise network. The company also operates High Mobile in Germany, but no subscriber figure has been provided for that unit.

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