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

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15 Aug 2022

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) is planning to license more companies to operate as MVNOs in Nigeria. Earlier this week, the authority invited applications for the MVNO concessions, which will be classified into five different tiers: virtual operator, simple facilities operator, core facilities operator, virtual aggregator/enabler and unified virtual operator. The regulator added that ‘tier 1-4 entrants are expected to pay 5% of the licence fees as non-refundable administrative charges, while tier 5 entrants [for the unified virtual operator concessions] are to pay NGN50 million [USD119,127] non-refundable administrative fees prior to negotiations with the MNOs.’

Brazilian football club Flamengo has partnered with MVNO service provider Surf Telecom to launch an MVNO targeting Flamengo fans all over Brazil. The new MVNO, which is known as FLA-CHIP will roam over TIM Brasil’s network and provide subscriptions with free and unlimited use of specific apps.

Poste Italiane has confirmed that more than one million SIM cards for its PosteMobile MVNO have been sold online, Mondo Mobile writes. The company claimed that its service allowing potential users to receive an immediate phone call has contributed to the higher sales.

US-based mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) PWG Network Solutions has entered into a multi-year agreement with T-Mobile US. The agreement enhances PWG’s technology stack with T-Mobile’s 5G network, allowing PWG to provide solutions to MVNO customers in the IoT, pre-paid, and Government Services segments.

Elsewhere in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a USD100,000 fine against Q Link, a major provider of government-subsidised Lifeline services, for an alleged security flaw in its app permitting unauthorised access to consumer data. The FCC issued the USD100,000 Notice of Apparent Liability following a delayed response to the initial/subsequent inquiries.

Singapore-based MVNO Circles.Life has been fined USD199,800 by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for failing to run enough customer identity checks in order to prevent fraud. An ACMA investigation found Circles.Life contravened industry rules for mobile number portings 1,787 times between August and December 2021, resulting in 42 customers experiencing fraud-related issues. The company, which was founded in 2016 in Singapore, launched its services in Australia in 2019.

Telecommunications and Internet for All (TEIT), a subsidiary of Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (Comision Federal de Electricidad, CFE), has launched an MVNO aimed at underserved regions to reduce the digital divide, offering a range of pre-paid voice, data and messaging packages. The new CFE TEIT MVNO operates via the ALTAN Redes (Red Compartida) open access LTE network, which already hosts more than 100 MVNOs, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database (GCD). At launch, CFE TEIT MVNO service centres are scattered around the country in smaller settlements under a remit to avoid direct competition with existing operators. GCD notes that CFE oversees the state-backed ‘Internet para Todos’ (Internet for Everyone) programme launched in January 2022 and expanded to cover 3.4 million citizens in April. That month CFE TEIT contracted Hispasat for LTE satellite backhaul in more than 60 remote settlements.

Niger’s first MVNO-to-be, Shap Mobile, has taken a major step towards commercial launch with the award of a Full MVNO licence, reports Agence Nigerienne de Presse (ANP). A government statement reads: ‘The Council of Ministers adopted the draft decree granting the company Shap Mobile SARLU a licence for the establishment and operation of Full MVNO virtual mobile networks for a period of five years.’ The licence cost XAF50 million (USD78,000).

A new Telstra-hosted MVNO, Konec Mobile, has entered the Australian market with a focus on low-cost services, reports CRN. Konec aims to provide an ‘all-in-one solution’ with bundled deals and third-party partnerships for additional products and services. The newcomer’s first retail partner is Big W, while a launch bundle offers Konec’s Essential SIM plan and an OPPO A57 smartphone for AUD199 (USD142).

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