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

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10 Oct 2022

Telekom Srbija has launched a new MTEL-branded MVNO in Switzerland. According to its website, MTEL Schweiz is a 100% subsidiary of MTEL Austria, which is wholly owned by MTEL Global, in which Telekom Srbija holds a 59% stake. TeleGeography notes that the Serbian group previously launched MVNO services in Austria in October 2015 over the A1 Telekom Austria network, before signing a new agreement with Magenta in October 2020. The identity of the Swiss network host has not yet been disclosed. Going forward, the group’s general manager, Vladimir Lucic, has disclosed that the company plans to launch mobile services in North Macedonia on 26 October, augmenting its existing pay-TV proposition, which went live in November 2021. Germany and the US have been named as future target markets, meanwhile.

Elsewhere, Chile has a new MVNO in the form of Smobi. According to local technology website Pisapapeles, the new player is the brainchild of Juan Robles, who previously helmed the short-lived Colo Colo Movil, which ran between 2014 and 2015. According to the report, Smobi will piggyback on the Movistar Chile. Although the company’s website remains under construction, an October launch is anticipated.

Sticking with Latin America, Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Communications, MTC) has awarded MVNA/MVNE Plintron Peru an MVNO concession. The licence award comes a matter of days after the regulatory authorities in neighbouring Chile awarded Plintron a licence. The company already holds licences in Mexico and Colombia. Going forward, Plintron expects to be operational by December 2022 and says it will be able to enable any brand to launch an MVNO within six-eight weeks. To date, more than 15 Peruvian companies have expressed a desire to enter the MVNO sector, Plintron notes.

Finally, Spain’s National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) has initiated disciplinary action against Xfera Moviles, a subsidiary of Grupo MASMOVIL, regarding its recent acquisition of regional ISP/MVNO Ahimas (Ahi+). As per the regulator’s paperwork, Xfera did not notify the CNMC regarding its June takeover of the smaller operator, thus breaching of the Law for the Defence of Competition. TeleGeography notes that Ahimas – which targets rural markets with fewer than 25,000 inhabitants – launched MVNO services over the MASMOVIL network back in 2016.

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