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

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27 Sep 2021

Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group Corporation has confirmed that its subsidiary The Sherpa Company has sealed the acquisition of a 70% stake in domestic MVNO Mobicast Joint Stock Company for a total cash consideration of VND295.5 billion (USD12.95 million). TeleGeography notes that Mobicast was established in October 2016 and launched Vietnam’s second MVNO under the Reddi brand in June 2020. Announcing the transaction, Masan commented: ‘The entry into the telecommunication sector lays the foundation to digitalise Masan’s platforms and build a unified off-to-online products and services solution.’

Brazilian financial institution Banco Inter has relaunched its MVNO proposition. Now branded Inter Cel, the service piggybacks on the Telefonica Brasil (Vivo) network. The service originally launched as Intercel in May 2020 via an agreement with Surf Telecom and TIM Brasil, but did not prove successful. TecnoBlog quotes a Banco Inter presentation as saying: ‘Evolving implies experimenting and taking risks, and in this process, making mistakes is part of it. Among countless new services launched, one did not turn out as we dreamed. But we learned from that experience. We start over. Now we are ready to offer you something better.’

Orange Belgium launched a new digital sub-brand on 24 September under the name Hey!. Orange pitches the service as follows: ‘This new value proposition is based on four pillars: 100% digital, low impact, generous and scalable. Hey! will shake up the market by putting communities at the heart of its products.’

Altice France has agreed to acquire 100% of MVNO/ISP Coriolis. Through its Coriolis Telecom brand, it offers mobile and fixed services to more than 500,000 retail customers and 30,000 companies. The total cash consideration consists of an upfront purchase price of EUR298 million and a deferred consideration of EUR117 million. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

Sticking with Altice France, Echos du Net reports that the company quietly acquired Prixtel this summer from its CEO and founder, David Charles. The deal reportedly took place on 26 June, while Altice has yet to respond to the reports. According to its website, Prixtel currently serves 300,000 customers.

Over in South Africa FNB Connect ended the 2020/21 financial year (i.e. 31 March 2021) with 832,700 subscribers, up 17% from 710,242 year-on-year. The figure was disclosed by CEO Bradwin Roper, in an interview with MyBroadband.

Vocus New Zealand will rebrand as Orcon Group, the NZ Herald reports, assuming its planned ASX/NZX dual-listing goes ahead. The article cites leaked UBS and Goldman Sachs presentations. Vocus NZ entered the MVNO market in 2016 via the takeover of CallPlus and rebranded the service in July 2017.

Finally, Mexico City-based Telecom-as-a-Service provider OXIO has deployed Squire Technologies’ Sigla Platform to provide multi-generation connectivity between MNO’s and their ‘BrandVNO’ customers. OXIO explains that its BrandVNO unlocks the value of telecoms networks for enterprises by enabling them to create their very own branded mobile network in a matter of days without the traditional infrastructure costs, or complexity normally associated with becoming a mobile operator. Miguel Monforte, Head of Telecom at OXIO, added: ‘We have ambitious growth plans in Latin America and beyond.’

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