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

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12 Dec 2022

Grover, the technology rental firm founded by Michael Cassau in 2015, has launched a US-based MVNO under the Grover Connect brand. The eSIM-based proposition has been launched in association with Telecom-as-a-Service provider Gigs. The Grover eSIM is available to customers at check-outs in the US and will be rolled out to its European markets in the near future. The MVNO utilises the AT&T Communications 5G network for connectivity. Michael Cassau, CEO of Grover, commented: ‘We are very excited to launch Grover Connect in the US today. Our first tests demonstrated that with our own mobile virtual network, our activation rates have improved significantly, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and ultimately to stronger customer loyalty. Thanks to our partnership with Gigs, who enabled us to start our own mobile virtual network in just a few days, we could quickly and easily unlock new and recurring revenue streams.’

In the UK Telecom Plus (trading as Utility Warehouse) has announced that non-executive chairman Charles Wigoder, the Wigoder Family Foundation and a number of other smaller shareholders including family members of Charles Wigoder have sold 3.5 million existing ordinary shares at a price of GBP24 (USD29.3) per share, representing approximately 4.4% of the company’s issued share capital. The GBP84 million placing was conducted through an accelerated bookbuild overseen by joint bookrunners Peel Hunt and Numis Securities. The remainder of the company’s shares held by Charles Wigoder and the Wigoder Family Foundation will be subject to a lock-up which ends six months after completion of the placing. Utility Warehouse, which offers energy, fixed broadband and mobile services reported an MVNO subscription base of 364,062 as of 30 September 2022.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain’s National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) has fined Parlem EUR490,000 (USD515,700) for breaching its obligations to provide the watchdog with certain requested information. As per the CNMC statement: ‘Specifically, the company did not provide the data required by the CNMC for the preparation of the 2020 Telecommunications and Audiovisual Sector Economic Report and the first three Quarterly Statistical Bulletins of 2021.’ Parlem has two months within which to lodge an appeal.

Finally, France has a new sub-brand called Source Mobile. The newcomer was launched by Bouygues Telecom earlier this year, and pitches itself as an eco-friendly mobile proposition. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Source says that it does not sell handsets, noting: ‘It’s better for the planet and you probably already have one.’ Source offers a sole EUR10 monthly mobile plan which includes a 40GB data allowance. Interestingly, for every unused gigabit of data, Source says it will donate 20 ‘drops’ to one of 1,000 good causes (‘associations’); it notes that the average monthly data consumption in France is 13.4GB per month. Since going live, Source has donated EUR4.689 million to such associations.

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