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

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9 Aug 2021

US satellite TV giant DISH Network – which owns MVNOs Boost Mobile, Ting and Republic Wireless – is preparing to introduce a new post-paid brand in 2022, as it seeks to generate higher revenues. Boost Mobile CEO Stephen Stokols told Light Reading: ‘It gives us an opportunity to take our best [pre-paid] customers and move them over to it.’ Meanwhile, with reference to the recent wholesale deal with AT&T – and what it means for the existing arrangement with T-Mobile US – Stokols told the publication: ‘The intent is to straddle the two. The intent is to have two networks. That’s not abnormal for an MVNO of our size.’ Finally, the executive noted that DISH plans to start activating customers on AT&T’s network in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Staying with the US, the New York Post reports that Mint Mobile is looking for a new buyer, with Altice USA (which rebranded its mobile services to Optimum Mobile last month) said to be the main contender to snap up the provider. Mint uses the T-Mobile US network and is partly-owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. The report indicates that Reynolds holds a 20%-25% stake in Mint, while the company itself is valued at between USD600 million and USD800 million.

Over in Russia, CNews.ru has reported that now-defunct B2B MVNO DANYCOM has filed claims against MegaFon and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) worth a total of RUB7.9 billion (USD108.2 million). As per the report, Danikomo Group, the parent company of Dani Call, which in turns owns DANYCOM, is attempting to claim RUB6.2 billion from MegaFon, and a further RUB1.7 billion from MTS. Industry insiders have suggested that the debt-wracked company is merely attempting to delay ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. DANYCOM operated over the Tele2 network between June 2018 and November 2020.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Aussie Broadband has confirmed that it had signed up a total of 22,454 mobile subscribers as of 30 June 2021, representing a 20% quarter-on-quarter increase, with growth having been attributed to its mobile product relaunch in May 2021 over the Optus network, which included the introduction of 5G-capable tariffs. According to the MVNO, its agreement with Optus has ‘allowed [it] to offer more competitive pricing and a targeted offer to existing customers’.

Brazilian MVNO Fluke has expanded coverage to six more states – Alagoas, Bahia, Espirito Santo, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina – as it looks to sign up 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2021, TeleTime writes. Fluke is working alongside MVNA Telecall, which uses the Vivo network for connectivity.

Finally, Three UK has revealed that revenues at its SMARTY sub-brand increased by 154% in 1H21, reflecting the launch of popular higher data plans during lockdown. SMARTY launched in August 2017 as an online-only proposition.

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