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

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27 Mar 2023

European B2B operator edpnet, which offers MVNO connectivity in Belgium and the Netherlands, has been acquired by Belgian telco Proximus as part of its judicial reorganisation process. The takeover, which is valued at EUR20.5 million (USD22.1 million), has been validated by the Enterprise Court of Dendermonde. In total, edpnet serves 13,500 MVNO subscriptions alongside 46,000 fixed broadband subscriptions. Post-closing, Proximus says that it will maintain edpnet as a separate entity within the group, ensuring maximal continuity for customers and employees.

South Korean smart grid/bio firm INSCOBEE has revealed that the Pretty sub-brand launched by its Free Telecom (freet) MVNO unit in 2020 enjoyed strong growth in 2022. According to a report by News Pim, sales at the budget unit increased 16.6% in 2022, to KRW68.6 billion (USD52.6 million), which represented its highest annual sales figure to date. Pretty targets the so-called ‘MZ generation’ (i.e. Millennials and Generation Z) and serves 550,000 subscriptions. A company official told the news site: ‘The MVNO business is playing a role as a stable cash cow by achieving the highest annual sales, based on continuous monthly sales growth last year.’ Pretty launched over the KT network in November 2020 and the following January it added connectivity from LG Uplus and SK Telecom.

Sticking with South Korea, the aforementioned Free Telecom (freet) has signed a contract with Hana Financial Investment to facilitate its listing on the electronic stock market KOSDAQ in the first half of next year. KOSDAQ is a trading board of Korea Exchange (KRX) that was established in 1996.

Bulgarian pay-TV/fixed broadband operator Bulsatcom has disclosed plans to enter the MVNO sector. In an interview with Capital, CEO Petar Rizov confirmed that he is poised to request wholesale offers from the country’s incumbent mobile operators. Mr Rizov told the publication: ‘I have absolutely no commitment to anyone, and we will choose the best offer … Bulsatcom has all the prerequisites for success: a strong brand, a very large customer base and we have over 200 commercial outlets. What better foundation to launch a successful MVNO?’

Brazilian MVNO Veek has revealed that it currently serves 20,000 subscriptions, a figure that it aims to increase to 300,000 within six months and to one million by the end of the 2023. The metrics were disclosed by Alberto Blanco, CEO of Veek, during a panel at the Forum of Innovative Operators, which was organised by Mobile Time and TeleTime. After the failure of its original MVNO (2017-2019), Veek relaunched in July 2020 and uses the TIM Brasil network for connectivity.

Finally, DISH Network has opted not to acquire the Ting brand from Canadian internet firm Tucows, a recent 10-K filing from the latter company has revealed. The filing, which was reported by Best MVNO, explains: ‘Additionally, as part of the DISH Purchase Agreement executed in the year ending 31 December 2020, the company granted DISH the right to use the name Ting and its associated domain name over a 24-month period which was then subsequently extended until the end of 2023, after which DISH has an option to purchase the brand from the company. If after this period DISH opts to purchase the Ting brand from the company, we will need to rebrand our Ting Fiber internet business. However, DISH has formally refused their option to purchase the Ting brand. Any actions taken by DISH as part of the transactions contemplated by the DISH Purchase Agreement may impact the Ting brand’s reputation. These actions could range from poor service quality, bad customer experience, privacy concerns, data breaches, and other events that could negatively impact the Ting brand permanently.’

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