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

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25 Oct 2021

Isle of Man-based technology and platform provider plan.com has announced a new MVNO agreement with BT Wholesale, which will include access to EE’s 4G and 5G networks, as well as including VoLTE and VoWiFi functionality. Established in 2014, plan.com says its ‘specialises in the provision of innovative connectivity and productivity solutions to businesses throughout the UK’. Its platform is designed to operate seamlessly across devices, services and networks. The new MVNO service will be available to plan.com business customers in early 2022.

Brazilian IoT-focused MVNO ARQIA has partnered with floLIVE, a provider of advanced 5G network solutions, to provide ‘compliant local connectivity’ for IoT in Brazil. The partnership allows ARQIA to allocate its international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) range to floLIVE’s IMSI library; ARQIA’s IMSIs provide access to TIM Brasil’s network. Curtis Govan, floLIVE’s Americas President, commented: ‘Permanent roaming is a real challenge for IoT devices that do not simply roam for three months and then return “home”. Some countries such as China, Turkey and Brazil do not allow permanent roaming and mandate the use of a local SIM for IoT devices. With this partnership, floLIVE’s customers will be able to include Brazil in their global IoT connectivity roadmap – compliant with all national regulations and permanent roaming safe.’

Over in South Africa, Huge Group and Cell C have settled their dispute over the latter’s termination of services to MVNO Huge Telecom, which has dragged on since 2019. Huge had sought to prevent Cell C from cutting off communication services to its clients, an action which it said affected more than 20,000 of its customers. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, Huge Telecom’s MVNO model involved the use of GSM networks to deliver a fixed line replacement service to its SME clients.

Tesco Mobile Ireland has agreed to refund a number of customers after a billing error. The Irish MVNO recently undertook a review of its billing system to determine whether its customers were being charged for services beyond the cancellation of their contracts (i.e. post-cancellation charges). Tesco Mobile has advised industry watchdog ComReg that 27,500 customers were impacted by the post-cancellation charges, to a value of EUR388,000 (USD451,650). The refund process is now underway.

Finally, while football-themed MVNOs are increasingly commonplace around the world, Italian virtual operator Rabona Mobile has gone one step further, and acquired a 10% equity stake in Ascoli Calcio 1898, a football team which plays in Italy’s Serie B. Rabona owners Maurizio and Stefano D’Alessandro have declared themselves ‘satisfied and enthusiastic’ about the new tie-up. Rabona Mobile launched in May 2013 over the TIM network, before switching to Vodafone Italy in March 2019.

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