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

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17 May 2021

Brazil has a new MVNO in the form of Alo TODOS, which has been launched by the team behind the Cartao de TODOS social inclusion initiative. The latter is made available to citizens in socioeconomic classes C and D and helps more than 3.8 million families to gain access to low-cost health, education and leisure services. According to TeleTime, an MVNO pilot project commenced back in June 2020, covering the cities of Vitoria da Conquista (BA), Vale do Aco (MG) and Paulista (PE). The MVNO has been facilitated by MVNE Surf Telecom and uses the TIM Brasil network for connectivity.

Dutch MVNO Youfone – which signed a wholesale agreement with Belgian full-service telco Proximus in January this year – has launched commercial mobile services in the Belgian market. On its new website the company notes that advantages include its savings scheme, which allows customers to save ‘Youcoins’, which can be used to gain extra data or a discount on their monthly invoices. Rotterdam-based Youfone, which was founded in 2008, focuses on the consumer segment, and currently serves over 400,000 customers in the Netherlands.

Romania’s DIGI Communications has reported that its Spanish MVNO DIGI Mobil ended 31 March 2021 with 2.496 million subscribers, up 23.6% from 2.019 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 249,000 fixed broadband customers and 86,000 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 12.6% from 238,000 to 268,000 by end of 1Q21.

Elsewhere, Poste Italiane has confirmed that its PosteMobile MVNO user base reached 4.8 million at 31 March 2021, up from 4.5 million one year earlier. In its most recent financial report, the postal service said that it had signed a new wholesale contract with Vodafone Italy ‘enabling telco traffic cost reduction starting from the second half of the year’. In other news, Poste Italiane has confirmed that broadband pilot scheme successfully introduced for employees in preparation of a full rollout to its customer base by the end of May.

Finally, UK-based MVNO group Lycamobile has been awarded a National Telecommunications Operator (NTO) licence in Uganda to make it the country’s fourth national operator alongside Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), MTN and Airtel. As an NTO licensee, Lycamobile must deploy networks covering 90% of Uganda within five years, while it must also commit to listing 20% of its shares on the local bourse. Lycamobile Group entered the Ugandan market in January 2020 when it acquired fixed-wireless operator Tangerine, and it went on to launch commercial services in April that year using Tangerine’s existing concession.

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