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

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7 Feb 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has announced the launch of two new MVNOs, one year after issuing them with operating licences. The companies in question are Integrated Telecom Mobile Company (Salam Mobile) and Future Networks Communications (Red Bull Mobile). The newcomers will join Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia and Jawraa Group (Lebara Mobile Saudi Arabia) in the Saudi MVNO sector. Speaking on the sidelines of the LEAP22 global technology conference last week, Omar bin Abdulrahman Al-Rejraje, Deputy Governor of Regulation and Competition at CITC, commented: ‘Expanding the telecom service market is an important step towards transforming the Kingdom into a digital society, in line with Saudi Vision 2030. The entry of two new players to the sector will also promote competition and ensure the product offering and customer experience continues to improve.’

UK-based MVNO Truphone has secured a five-year partnership agreement with BT Wholesale covering MVNO access services. Truphone notes that the deal gives it access to the EE LTE network, which covers ‘more than 86% of the UK landmass’. Alex Tempest, Managing Director, BT Wholesale said: ‘Alongside Truphone’s success in Enterprise mobile, we have been particularly impressed with Truphone’s capability and ambitions in IoT.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Truphone originally launched MVNO services over the Vodafone UK network back in January 2010.

Over in Brazil, Roraima-based ISP SOW Telecom has launched MVNO services under SOW Movel name. The telco will target local users with the new mobile proposition, although nationwide coverage is available. The ISP currently serves 1,500 fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscriptions. The service has been enabled by Grupo Datora, the co-owner of IoT-focused MVNO ARQIA. While the identity of SOW’s network partner has not been divulged, ARQIA uses TIM Brasil for connectivity.

Sticking with Datora, the company – which also specialises in IoT, VoIP, colocation and wholesale services – has scrapped plans for an initial public offering (IPO). Datora has blamed ‘changes in the current conditions of the Brazilian and international capital markets’ for its decision. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, Datora filed an IPO request with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios, CVM) back in September 2021.

Finally, Mexican cableco Megacable has reported that it ended 31 December 2021 with a total of 428,326 MVNO subscriptions, up from 174,463 one year earlier. ARPU for 4Q21 was MXN89.4 (USD4.3), compared to MXN90.3 in 4Q20. The MVNO launched over the open access Red Compartida network in January 2019.

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