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

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18 Jul 2022

Bridgetown Holdings, the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) formed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Richard Li, is considering a potential merger with Singapore-based MVNO Circles.Life, Bloomberg reports. According to the news agency, which cites people familiar with the matter, negotiations are still in the early stage, but Bridgetown values the combined entity at between USD1.5 billion and USD2.5 billion. Given discussions are at a preliminary stage, each party could pursue other transactions, the insiders cautioned. Launched in 2016, Circles.Life currently operates MVNOs in Singapore, Australia and Taiwan, while the company’s cloud native proprietary platform, Circles-X, has been used by telcos in a number of major markets across Asia. Circles.Life is backed by investors such as Sequoia Capital, Warburg Pincus and EDBI.

Over in Latin America, Brazil has a new MVNO in the form of Um Movel, an offshoot of regional player Um Telecom. The newcomer – which has been plotting its MVNO launch for more than two years – has launched in Moreno, with SIM cards going on sale today (18 July). While the MVNO will chiefly be targeted at Um Fibra customers in Pernambuco, the MVNO offers nationwide coverage via the TIM Brasil network.

Finally, Pareteum Corporation and certain affiliates have announced the successful completion of the sale of their business, which was approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on 30 June 2022. Following the consummation of the transaction, Pareteum’s Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) business and associated contracts will operate under Circles MVNE (Circles Global) and Pareteum’s MVNO, IDM, iPass and SMB businesses and associated contracts will operate under Channel Ventures Group (CVG). Bart Weijermars, Pareteum’s former interim CEO, commented: ‘We are pleased with this outcome and the opportunity this provides for the business, our employees and customers to move forward with new owners … Positioning the business for sustained future success under new ownership was our stated goal at the beginning of our restructuring process and we could not have achieved this result without the hard work and support of our employees, as well as the dedicated partnership of Circles Global and CVG and our customers and suppliers throughout this process.’

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