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

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22 Mar 2021

Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) has announced that it has awarded the country’s first MVNO licence to a consortium comprising Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA) and STC Kuwait. In awarding the concession, the watchdog says that it hopes the introduction of a new player ‘will lead to increased competition, lower prices, and the provision of modern services’.

South African retail group Shoprite has disclosed plans to enter the country’s fast growing MVNO sector, MoneyWeb reports. The article quotes remarks made by Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht, who was discussing the company’s financial results for the six months ended 31 December 2020. He noted: ‘Very soon we will launch our own virtual network to enhance our customer data even further.’ When the launch comes to fruition, it will mean that Shoprite follows in the footsteps of rival retailer Pick n Pay, which launched PnP Mobile over the MTN South Africa network in November 2020.

Over in Italy, a new MVNO is scheduled to launch this summer. Feder Mobile, which is affiliated with Feder, a smartphone and tablet accessory retailer based in Catania. According to Italian site MVNO News, the company received an Enhanced Service Provider (ESP) authorisation from the Ministry of Economic Development (Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, MiSE) on 18 January this year.

Russian MVNO VTB Mobile, a subsidiary of state-owned VTB Bank, has reportedly extended its services to Kaliningrad and Volgograd. According to Telecompaper, MVNO services are available to anyone, regardless of whether or not they are VTB Bank customers. VTB Mobile launched on 25 September 2019 in Moscow city/region over the network of Tele2 Russia and was later extended to St. Petersburg.

Finally, Vedomosti reports that Russian mobile operator Beeline is planning to address the issue of its decreasing subscriber base by belatedly embracing the MVNO sector. TeleGeography notes that Tele2 Russia currently dominates the Russian wholesale market and has achieved consistent growth in recent years via its self-styled ‘MVNO Factory’.

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