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

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17 Jan 2022

The ongoing MVNO-related dispute between Cox Communications and T-Mobile US reached the Delaware Supreme Court last week, Fierce Wireless reported. Cableco Cox is keen to enter the US MVNO sector and selected Verizon Wireless as its MVNO partner after a request for proposal (RFP). Cox went on to sign an MVNO agreement with Verizon on 16 January 2021 and hoped to launch its new mobile service in three markets on 15 October 2021. However, T-Mobile attempted to derail the process, citing a 2017 legal settlement between Cox and the now defunct Sprint. T-Mobile argued that its 2020 takeover of Sprint made it the legal successor and should therefore benefit from the 2017 agreement; last year the Delaware Court of Chancery agreed with T-Mobile. The Fierce Wireless report quotes Cox as saying: ‘The total cost of Verizon’s proposal was USD90 million less than T-Mobile’s (USD203 million versus USD293 million) and 9% below Cox’s business case, while T-Mobile’s proposal was 32% above it.’

New York-based World Health Energy Holdings (WHEN Group), a cybersecurity company with proprietary technologies developed to protect individuals and enterprises from online threats, has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to acquire CrossMobile, a licensed Full MVNO in Poland. Under the terms of the LoI, WHEN Group will initially purchase 26% of CrossMobile with the option to ultimately acquire a controlling interest. WHEN Group CEO Giora Rosenzweig said: ‘The acquisition of CrossMobile will give WHEN Group a strong foothold in one of the most advanced telecom markets in Europe. Securing a Polish Full MVNO licence will enable WHEN Group to service not just Poland, but the entire population of 540 million in the EU, while providing the company the necessary infrastructure to accelerate the market launch and marketing of our proprietary cybersecurity solutions.’

Miami-based Cuentas, a provider of mobile banking and payment solutions, has signed a binding LoI to acquire the operations and distribution network of pre-paid wireless and digital provider SDI Black 011 (SDI). The deal will include the Mango Mobile and Black Wireless MVNOs. Cuentas intends to leverage these assets to accelerate the reach of its pre-paid debit card and digital wallet via retail, mobile and other channels. The deal is expected to close by May of this year.

Elsewhere, Enreach, the unified communications group backed by investment company Waterland Private Equity, has further increased its presence in Spain with the addition of Telsome, which operates as a business cloud telephony provider and MVNO. Enreach, which previously acquired Spanish cloud communications provider masvoz in November 2019, noted: ‘The acquisition of Telsome enhances Enreach’s Spanish footprint with new MVNO capabilities and a successful SME channel. This will enable Enreach to accelerate the rollout of its converged contact portfolio into the Spanish market in 2022 including its leading integrated mobile solutions, all delivered by the group’s unified platform.’

Munich-based MVNE Cyan has been selected by Austria’s Educom to upgrade its status from a branded reseller to a 5G-capable MVNO. Cyan will deploy its ‘Seamless BSS/OSS & MVNE Platform’, which it says allows MVNOs to achieve ‘maximum independence from host operators’. Educom, which launched over the A1 Telekom Austria network in October 2016, offers mobile and internet plans tailored for students, pupils, apprentices, and employees of educational institutions. As per a press release announcing the Cyan contract, the MVNO now operates over the Hutchison Drei Austria network.

Finally, US-based SurgePays has confirmed that its SurgePhone Wireless MVNO ended 31 December 2021 with 30,000 subscriptions in seven states, up from 13,000 at end-September. SurgePhone – which launched in four states in August last year – utilises the AT&T Communications and T-Mobile US networks to provide data and voice services to underserved consumers. The company, which also operates via the LocoRabbit brand. Chairman and CEO Brian Cox stated: ‘Our mobile broadband channel has gone from zero to nearly USD3 million in monthly revenue in less than six months. We are positioned for continued hyper-growth in 2022 with a goal of achieving over 200,000 subscriber activations. We believe the infrastructure we have built positions us to serve the underbanked market at a grassroots level better than any company in the sector. Our SurgePays FinTech software enables community stores to become the financial tech-hubs for underbanked and underserved neighbourhoods and now our mobile broadband devices are providing essential internet access in the homes of our target customers.’

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