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

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5 Sep 2022

The UK has a new MVNO in the form of Velotel, which is targeted at cycling enthusiasts. In a press release to celebrate the launch on 25 August, the newcomer wrote: ‘At Velotel we are mad about cycling and anything to do with riding bikes. We also have decades of experience in the mobile network industry. So, we have taken our two passions and combined them to create a mobile network offering for cyclists that is truly unique and hopefully brings you more joy and value than your traditional grudge purchase each month.’ Via a range of affiliate partners, Velotel subscribers will receive access to products such as a pro cycling team membership club, third-party liability accident cover and a premium membership to a leading cycling safety app. The MVNO operates via the EE network.

Another MVNO that went live at the tail-end of August was Cox Mobile, an offshoot of US cableco Cox Communications. The service went live in Hampton Roads (Virginia), Omaha (Nebraska) and Las Vegas (Nevada) on 29 August, and is exclusively available to Cox’s residential broadband subscribers. The MVNO will be extended to the cableco’s remaining markets on a rolling basis throughout the rest of the year. As previously reported by MVNO Monday, Cox signed an MVNO agreement with Verizon Wireless on 16 January 2021 and hoped to launch its new mobile service in three markets on 15 October 2021. However, T-Mobile US attempted to derail the process, citing a 2017 legal settlement between Cox and the now defunct Sprint Corp. T-Mobile argued that its 2020 takeover of Sprint made it the legal successor and should therefore benefit from the 2017 agreement. A decision in favour of T-Mobile was overturned by the Delaware Supreme Court in March this year. TeleGeography notes that Cox has experienced a number of ‘false starts’ in the US wireless market, dating back to the 1990s. These include multiple network rollout attempts and an MVNO with Sprint Nextel, which was active between 2008 and 2011.

Over in Singapore, meanwhile, M1 unveiled ZΩH as its latest MVNO partner on 25 August. The new virtual operator has been launched by enterprise ICT provider Lifeway Singapore and will target enterprise customers. Alen Ng, Head of Corporate Development at M1, commented: ‘With our 5G rollout, we look forward to supporting ZΩH’s enterprise customers and bringing state-of-the-art features to them.’

Telpin, the Argentine telecoms cooperative based in Pinamar, has teamed up with new MVNO imowi to offer mobile services within its regional footprint. Deputy manager Leandro Laudano told DPL News: ‘The plan is to market 4,000 mobile lines in a year.’ The MVNO launch allows Telpin to become a full-service operator; the co-op already offers fixed broadband, fixed voice and pay-TV services via its localised fibre network. imowi, which launched Full MVNO services over the Movistar network in January this year, ultimately intends to serve multiple regional telecoms cooperatives across Argentina. (Note: Pinamar is a seaside town situated on Argentina’s Atlantic coast.)

Finally, in Brazil the municipality of Marica, which is situated in Rio de Janeiro has launched a new MVNO targeted at students of Escola Municipal Caic Elomir Silva, a school situated in Sao Jose de Imbassai. The MVNO, which is called Marica Telecom and operates over the TIM Brasil network, has been launched in association with the Marica Development Company (Codemar).

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Argentina, Brazil, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States, Camara de Cooperativas de Telecomunicaciones (Catel, imowi), Cox Communications, Marica Telecom, Telpin, Velotel, ZΩH