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

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14 Nov 2022

The US has a new MVNO in the form of Cell Phones For Soldiers Mobile, an offshoot of non-profit organisation Cell Phones For Soldiers. Launched in conjunction with MVNE Reach Mobile, the MVNO will kick off a pilot programme on Veterans Day with the Boston Veteran community. Eligible veterans will receive six months of free service, including 1GB of mobile data and unlimited calling and texting within the US, as well as receiving a free cell phone. Following the pilot program, Cell Phones For Soldiers Mobile will launch a nationwide mobile service which will be available to the military community and its supporters. The MVNO will piggyback on the T-Mobile US network. Founded in 2004, Cell Phones For Soldiers says it has provided more than 400 million minutes of air-time to servicemen and women deployed around the world, by recycling more than 25 million cell phones reducing the impact on landfills.

Metro by T-Mobile, the pre-paid sub-brand operated by T-Mobile US, has launched in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, company officials have announced. Wency Baerga, senior sales director for T-Mobile Puerto Rico, commented: ‘In the past, being a pre-paid customer meant lesser quality equipment, service, and coverage. That’s over today.’

Sticking with the sub-brand sector, AT&T Communications unit Cricket Wireless has confirmed that it has reached the 13 million subscriptions milestone. In a press release the operator notes: ‘Based on net adds in Q3 2022, AT&T has the fastest growing pre-paid portfolio – which includes Cricket Wireless. This is the fourth consecutive year where more customers chose Cricket Wireless or AT&T PREPAID than any other pre-paid provider in the US.’

Over in Mexico, Izzi Movil has augmented its existing wholesale deal with Red Compartida with connectivity from AT&T Mexico. The MVNO, which is backed by Grupo Televisa, originally launched in June 2020.

Fellow Mexican MVNO OXIO has opted for a similar tactic, adding connectivity from Telcel this month, after launching via the Red Compartida network. According to its website, OXIO offers a ‘BrandVNO’ service, which ‘lets you create your own Telecom-as-a-Service instance in minutes, with none of the cost or complexity’.

Sticking with Mexico, HMD Mexico and Konic, an MVNO powered by Plintron, have announced a strategic partnership where a Konic SIM card with four months unlimited data usage will be offered with select Nokia handset models. Various online marketplaces are currently selling the bundle, namely the TotalPlay Shop and Mercadolibre. TeleGeography notes that Plintron obtained an MVNO licence from Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, IFT) in May 2021, after signing a wholesale contract with open access 700MHz player Red Compartida that month.

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