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

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7 Mar 2022

Pay-TV and broadband provider Sky Ireland will enter the Irish mobile market next year using the Vodafone Ireland network, following a wholesale agreement between the two companies. Sky Ireland chief executive JD Buckley said the announcement marked ‘a significant milestone’, adding ‘Sky has a proven ability to launch new services at scale and we are excited about launching Sky Mobile to customers here next year’.

Reading-based Bullitt Group, which operates in the ‘rugged mobile’/‘tough tech’ sector, has announced plans to launch its own MVNO in the UK market. Bullitt Connect will go live as a Full MVNO in April 2022 using the EE network. Transatel is the MVNE for the project. Bullitt Connect says it will target high growth sectors such as logistics and the gig economy. Bullitt is the global licensee for Cat (Caterpillar Inc) and Motorola for mobile phones and related peripherals. Its portfolio is designed to withstand ‘the demands of extreme working conditions and hard knocks of everyday life’.

Colombia has a new MVNO in the form of LOV Telecomunicaciones. The newcomer has been launched using cyan’s BSS/OSS platform. Pitched as a ‘social company’, LOV says: ‘We allocate 50% of profits to social transformation projects, creating a platform with content to improve your life and where you can help make the dreams of many come true.’ LOV utilises the nationwide Tigo Colombia 4G network for connectivity.

Mexican cableco-turned-MVNO Megacable has augmented its wholesale deal with Red Compartida by signing a second agreement with AT&T Mexico. As a result, Megacable will achieve nationwide coverage from this month. Deputy general director Raymundo Fernandez Pendones commented: ‘The main reason for this agreement is to expand our coverage to the rest of the cities where Megacable has a presence.’ As of 31 December 2021 Megacable reported a total of 428,326 MVNO subscribers, up from just 174,463 one year earlier.

Over in the US, Cox Communications has been handed a boost, as its quest to launch an MVNO over the Verizon Wireless network rumbles on. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, Cox signed 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. According to court filings unearthed by Light Reading, on 3 March the Delaware Supreme Court asserted: ‘We reverse the decision … vacate the injunction against Cox, and remand the case so that the Court of Chancery can determine whether Cox and T-Mobile have discharged their obligations to negotiate in good faith as required by Section 9(e) of the Settlement Agreement.’

DISH Network has reported that its net retail wireless subscriptions decreased by approximately 245,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to a net decrease of 363,000 in the year-ago quarter. The company – which owns the Boost Mobile, Ting and Republic Wireless MVNO brands – closed the quarter with 8.546 million mobile subscriptions.

Finally, Florida-based businessman Jeffrey Kaplan has relaunched the dormant Nextel brand, via Nextel Mobile Worldwide. According to its crowdfunding page, the company will operate as an MVNO over the AT&T Communications network and has partnered with Nextel Inc. to licence the ‘iconic’ Nextel intellectual property assets, including the logo and the ‘Nextel chirp’ sound effect. The new iteration of Nextel will offer an array of handheld and vehicular mounted devices aimed at small business clients. Customers will be able to use the ‘Direct Connect’ two-way radio feature and GPS-based location tracking services.

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