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

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1 Nov 2021

China Telecom Americas and its US MVNO unit CTExcel have been forced to shut down their operations by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). On 26 October the US watchdog adopted an order ending the company’s ability to provide domestic interstate and international telecoms services within the US. The ‘Order on Revocation and Termination’ directs China Telecom Americas to discontinue any domestic or international services within sixty days. TeleGeography notes that China Telecom Americas is the largest foreign subsidiary of China Telecom Corporation and has the stated aim of ‘advancing transpacific enterprise connectivity’. The company, which is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, launched CTExcel over the T-Mobile US network in May 2015.

Sticking with the US, TracFone Wireless saw its total MVNO subscriptions drop to 20.149 million as of 30 September 2021, down 3.5% year-on-year. The Straight Talk brand continued to account for the lion’s share of subscriptions at end-September, despite its base slipping to 9.511 million. SafeLink, a notable participant in the government-subsidised Lifeline programme, saw its subscriptions drop to 1.730 million, meanwhile. Total revenues for the quarter under review climbed 2.4% from USD2.043 billion to USD2.091 billion, while EBITDA jumped 17.1% from USD251 million to USD294 million.

US cableco Charter Communications added 244,000 Spectrum Mobile subscriptions during the third quarter of 2021, to end September with a total MVNO base of 3.184 million. Of this figure 3.085 million were residential subscriptions, with the remaining 99,000 classified as small/medium business accounts.

Finally, fellow cable operator Comcast Corp added 285,000 Xfinity Mobile lines in 3Q21, to end September with 3.668 million MVNO subscriptions.

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