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

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27 Feb 2023

Swansea-based B2B operator Uplands Mobile has resurrected defunct UK MVNO The People’s Operator (TPO), which entered administration back in February 2019, less than seven years after its launch. Confirming the relaunch, Uplands MD Paul Hooper told Mobile News: ‘When TPO originally launched conditions were very different. There was not as much of a refurbishment market or an environmental focus … There is a shift towards buying refurbished products that have a longer shelf life and still provide a flawless user experience. TPO is capitalising on this market swing by offering customers a more sustainable way of purchasing and recycling their old devices.’ While the original MVNO piggybacked on the Three network, Uplands is an O2 ‘direct partner’, suggesting the new MVNO also uses that network for connectivity. TPO was originally set up as an ethical mobile operator by its three co-founders, Andrew Rosenfeld, Tom Gutteridge and Mark Epstein, while Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales also took a stake in the company for a short period.

A1 Slovenia, part of A1 Telekom Austria Group, has launched the new fully digital sub-brand re:do. The operator says the newcomer addresses all customer groups, but is expected to be more attractive to the youth segment, with no contracts, simple, flat-rate pricing and full control via an app. Users can choose between an eSIM or a physical SIM card, and are offered a free 14-day trial before payments start. The single tariff plan provides unlimited voice calls and messaging in Slovenia and the EU/EEA, plus unlimited data transfer within Slovenia for EUR15 (USD16) a month. A1 adds that the re:do business model could be rolled out to its other European markets in future.

Singapore has also seen the launch of a new sub-brand this month, with M1 introducing a new SIM-only brand called Maxx. Maxx offers a SGD10 (USD7.5) package, which includes 10GB of local data, 310 minutes of local calls and 350 local SMS. For SGD15, meanwhile, a user will receive 100GB of local data, unlimited local calls, 100 local SMS and 2GB of roaming data that can be used in Malaysia and Indonesia. The newcomer promises to deliver: ‘Only fully loaded benefits. No contract. No excess charges.’

Global managed services provider AireSpring has unveiled a new mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) division called AireSpring Wireless. The new unit aims to provide MVNOs with a complete product offering which includes a turnkey platform and fully integrated front-end and back-end tools. Based in the US, the MVNE says it has partnered with AT&T Communications.

Mexican cableco-turned-MVNO Megacable ended December 2022 with 356,769 mobile subscriptions, down 16.7% year-on-year from 428,326 in December 2021. The net decrease was due to a disconnection programme involving inactive pre-paid mobile lines. As a result, most of the remaining MVNO accounts correspond to post-paid services, boosting the unit’s revenue growth.

Elsewhere, Aussie Broadband, which offers MVNO services via the Optus network, ended 31 December 2022 with 50,951 mobile subscriptions, up from 35,242 one year earlier.

Finally, Altice USA has reported that its Optimum Mobile MVNO unit ended 31 December 2022 with approximately 240,000 mobile subscriptions, representing 4,000 net additions quarter-on-quarter and 54,000 net additions on an annualised basis. The MVNO service has now achieved 5.6% penetration in terms of the cableco’s residential broadband subscription base.

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Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Slovenia, United Kingdom, United States, AireSpring Wireless, Altice USA (Optimum), Aussie Broadband, Maxx, Megacable, re:do, The People’s Operator (TPO - UK)

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