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

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26 Apr 2021

Virgin Mobile Kuwait has secured funding from Wafra Investment International and Impulse International as it prepares to launch commercial MVNO services in 4Q21. Ghazi Al Hajeri, CEO of Wafra, stated: ‘Debt funding of USD13 million has been provided by Wafra to allow expansion of the Virgin brand into the Kuwait market.’ For its part, Impulse contributed USD7 million. Both investors have secured a seat on the newcomer’s Board of Directors as part of their investment.

Spanish MVNO Finetwork has informed Cinco Dias that it is on course to reach 650,000 subscribers by the end of this month. CEO Manuel Hernandez revealed that the virtual operator witnessed explosive growth in 2020, when its user base climbed from 90,000 to 500,000. The executive also noted that Finetwork generated revenues of EUR55 million (USD66.5 million) in 2020 alongside EBITDA of EUR15 million. The article adds that the company, which is majority-owned by businessman Elda Pascual Perez, has not ruled out a future IPO, although its financial position is ‘very healthy’. Finetwork launched in 2019 over the Vodafone Spain network.

Sticking with Spain, local press sources have suggested that Orange Espana will follow up the planned elimination of its Amena sub-brand by migrating all of its Republica Movil subscribers to Simyo, which will be positioned as its sole no-frills brand. It is understood that SIM cards will not need to be replaced as part of the transition. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, Orange agreed the takeover of Republica Movil in November 2018. The MVNO, which launched over the Orange network back in 2013, served 130,000 subscribers at the time of its acquisition.

UK MVNO iD Mobile has announced that it has activated 5G for its users. A statement on the company’s website notes: ‘The wait is over! 5G is finally here and is being rolled out across the iD Mobile network. All iD customers will be able to access the 5G network as long as they have a 5G compatible device, and the device has been tested and approved by us for use on our network.’ In February 2021 parent company Dixons Carphone announced that iD Mobile had extended its network partnership with Three UK. The MVNO launched in May 2015 and now serves more than one million subscribers.

Finally, Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, Anatel) has issued a new ‘Monitoring Report’ regarding the country’s mobile sector, which confirms that it has now licensed a total of 105 MVNOs. Of this figure, ten hold a Autorizada de Rede Virtual (Authorised Virtual Network) concession, while the remaining 95 have Credenciada de Rede Virtual (Accredited Virtual Network) status. The main difference between the licence types is that Accredited MVNOs do not need to have their wholesale arrangements approved by Anatel, whereas Authorised MVNOs do. Interestingly, the regulator notes that just four of the Authorised licensees had an active subscriber base at end-2020.

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