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

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13 Feb 2023

Beyond ONE, an investment firm which is part of Priora Management Holding Dubai, has acquired regional MVNO group Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA). VMMEA has MVNO operations in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait under the Virgin and FRiENDi brands, plus a licensing arrangement with Du in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to allow Du to operate its Virgin Mobile UAE sub-brand. Priora Management Holding Dubai is owned by Swiss businessman Remo Stoffel and Beyond ONE CEO Markus Tagger. As per the terms of the deal, Virgin Group will retain a minority stake in VMMEA and a seat on the board.

Sticking with the Middle East, Mobily and Lebara have renewed their existing agreement in Saudi Arabia, extending the wholesale contract until 2026. Lebara, which launched in Saudi Arabia in December 2014, says it has delivered an ‘outstanding financial performance especially in the past two years’.

New US MVNO MobileX is on course to launch within a matter of weeks, founder Peter Adderton has informed Light Reading. Mr Adderton told the site that the new player will run on an AI-based platform that will determine how much data customers will need, and bill them accordingly. The executive noted that his own bill fell from around USD100 per month to around USD14 per month when he switched his personal mobile service onto the MobileX platform. MobileX will operate via the Verizon Wireless network. During the interview Adderton also confirmed that the June 2022 merger agreement between Mobile X and industrial monitoring firm Electro-Sensors failed to come to fruition due to the economic situation in the US.

South Korea’s KB Kookmin Bank has announced that the subscription base of its Liiv M (Liv Mobile) MVNO unit has exceeded 400,000. The virtual operator – which launched in December 2019 over the LG Uplus network – added connectivity from KT Corp and SK Telecom in 2H22.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Tokai Holdings has announced that its LIBMO MVNO ended December 2022 with 65,000 mobile subscriptions, up by 9,000 year-on-year.

Finally, over in Russia, Rostelecom says it has helped KSK Group to launch its own corporate KSK Mobile MVNO service. Vitaly Andryushin, director of Rostelecom’s Tver branch, commented: ‘After activating the SIM cards branded under the customer’s design, instead of the operator’s name on the phone screen, corporate subscribers will see the logo of their company.’ Around 5,000 SIM cards have been supplied under the agreement.

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