Saturday, 10 January 2009

MobieTV’s MoVidi success for MOBILKING – Poland

MoVidi (a mobile video sharing service) deployed by MobieTV on MOBILKING’s network has since October generated a lot of interest amongst subscribers. MOBILKING are reporting 3,000 video downloads per month and over 20,000 page views. This shows that users are interested in the service despite the economic downturn. MOBILKING announced that around 38% of users return regularly. MoVidi allows users to post and watch video clips (including videos related to monster trucks, extreme sports and macho content) without installing any special software or tools and can be viewed with various low and high-end mobile phones.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Blyk appoints new CEO – UK

Blyk, an ad-funded youth MVNO, has announced Antii Ohrling, Co-founder and current Executive Director of the company, as Blyk’s UK Chief Executive Officer. He will replace Shaun Greogry who has resigned due to personal reasons. Ohrling along with Pekka Ala-Pietila founded the company in 2006.

Commenting on the development, Antii Ohrling said: “In 2008, Blyk achieved milestones in member and advertiser growth in the UK and it was a pivotal year for Blyk in demonstrating that the model works for both young people and advertisers alike. We thank Shaun for his contribution to this success”.

Also moving for now, Ala-Pietila will lead the Blyk’s international media partnering approach, in order to capitalise on the new and existing growth opportunities for its media model. Recently, the company received an additional GBP 35.6 million (USD 53.86 million) funding to support its international expansion plans. The market is currently awaiting their planned launched in the Netherlands.

KPN To launch Simyo brand in France – France

KPN has announced plans to launch it’s ‘no-frills’ MVNO brand “Simyo” in France on January 11, 2009. Earlier, in September 2008, the company had announced that it had entered into an MVNO partnership with Bouygues Telecom in France.

Simyo, the latest entrant in the French mobile market (consisting of 27 MVNOs / resellers and 3 MNOs), is already present in Germany, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands, mainly as a branded operation running on KPN’s own networks.

KPN states that the new launch is “part of KPN’s strategy to deploy different brands in different markets in Europe and follows the launch of our MVNO in Spain in January last year”. The plan is to use Simyo to further introduce new brands in France running via Simyo and owned by Simyo and also through partnerships.

KPN, via the pay-as-you-go Simyo brand, will charge EUR 0.19 (USD 0.26) per minute for call to all fixed and mobile networks 24-hour a day, which is below the average of EUR 0.32 (USD 0.44) per minute in France.

Simyo was originally launched in Germany in 2005 by E-Plus, a subsidiary of KPN, as a method of enticing business from subscribers who were fed up and confused by the quantity and complexity of offers available to them.

Sprint plans layoffs to cut costs – USA

Sprint Nextel, in order to cut operating costs, has announced plans to layoff 160 employees from its Herndon, Virginia (US), operation in March 2009. According to the company, the downsizing will be done from Xohm operations, which is its WiMAX business that merged with Clearwire in 2008. Though, the company has tried to absorb some employees in Clearwire and some within itself, all staff could not be absorbed.

According to Dan Hesse, Chief Executive Officer of Sprint, the company may cut further jobs. However, the matter will be decided after its fourth quarter results and subscriber numbers. The company is planning to shut its 20 call centers in 2009 to further reduce its costs. Sprint has also maintained that it will provide its WiMAX service under the brand “Sprint 4G” as an MVNO of Clearwire.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

MIRS mulling MVNO service instead of WiMAX – Israel

According to Globes Online, MIRS, a wireless telecommunications company in Israel and a subsidiary of Motorola, is re-examining its plan of rolling out WiMAX service in Israel. It is understood that the company is upset due to repeated delays by the Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) in drafting the WiMAX regulations.

According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, despite receiving approval for two trial WiMAX networks in Tel Aviv and Askelon in July 2008 from MoC, MIRS has still not been able to launch WiMAX services, as the regulator has not finalised dates for a full WiMAX tender. In February 2007, MoC announced its intention to license frequencies for WiMAX service but has not done so. As a result, MIRS is now understood to be mulling the option of launching an MVNO service in the country instead of the WiMAX service.

Policy on MVNOs may be delayed – India

According to the Indian government, the policy on the entry of MVNOs in India will be delayed by at least one week. In December 2008, senior officials of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had expected the MVNO policy to be issued before January 5, 2009. This happened to be the date for submission of applications for 3G spectrum as well, which has now been extended to January 15, further pushing back the auction process to January 30 instead of January 16.

According to DoT officials, the sub-committee assessing the matter has taken a little longer than anticipated in order to prepare/fine-tune the final policy document.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Virgin Mobile USA provides update on Q4 subscriber data – USA

Virgin Mobile USA has provided an update on its Q408 subscriber data. According to the company, they added 216,000 new subscribers in Q4, with churn of 4.8% and now have a total of 5.38 million subscribers (including subscribers of acquired MVNO Helio). These figures are much better in comparison to Q3, where they lost more than 3,000 subscribers with a churn of around 5%. Interestingly the figures are similar to that of MetroPCS (US MNO) who claim to have 5.4 millions subscribers and a churn of 5.1%.

Commenting on the subscriber growth, Dan Schulman, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Mobile USA, said: “Our new offers have helped lead to strong customer growth and improved retention as consumers look for value and flexibility during uncertain economic times. Our hybrid plans continue to grow in popularity, accounting for over 50% of our gross ads in October and November and 29% of our subscriber base at the end of November. We expect the growth of these plans to lead to continued improvement in ARPU trends in the fourth quarter of 2008.”

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

ThuisConnect partners with Elephant Talk for MVNO launch – Netherlands

ThuisConnect has entered into a Heads of Agreement contract with Elephant Talk Communications, a provider of telecom, media streaming and distribution services primarily to the business-to-business (B2B) community, for the launch of its MVNO service in the Netherlands. The company is expected to launch its services by the end of the first quarter/spring of 2009. The company also plans to roll out its services in other countries throughout Europe in the third quarter of 2009; starting with Spain, France and Belgium.

ThuisConnect will launch its “Telco to Home, Health Care Support” service using Elephant Talk’s fully integrated MVNE platform. All of the company’s subscribers will be connected to ThuisConnect’s platform with full medical backup and control, with monitoring for diabetes, thrombosis, heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients via a mobile device and/or a DSL/fiber connection. It is estimated that subscriptions would reach 70,000 by the end of 2010 and 110,000 by the end of 2011.

Commenting on the agreement, Sytse Boonstra, Chief Executive Officer of ThuisConnect, said: “According to our view on the Dutch telecommunications market, only two parties were attractive candidates. For the mobile services, we truly believe that Elephant Talk is by far the best platform available to us. Together with our other partner performing as the largest telco of the Netherlands, we are able to reach our target group immediately. We also believe communicating Life-Convenience Services from home will become more and more important in the upcoming years.”

Martin Zuurbier, CTO/COO of Elephant Talk, added: “The integration of voice and data services for Life-Convenience Services like health care and personal safety management is possible because of the structure of our systems which make such integration relatively simple to carry out. Simple adjustments in our system are one of the benefits of selecting our integrated Technical Mobile and CRM/Billing platform. The mobile telephone will contribute enormously to the elderly who need the Life-Convenience Service the most. It really combines all forms of communication in one hand, which is realised by our Agreement with ThuisConnect."

Clearwire launches cheaper WiMAX service – USA

Clearwire Corporation, a provider of high-speed wireless Internet services, has launched its mobile WiMAX service in Portland, Oregon. Plans for “Clear” home Internet service start at USD 20 per month, with speeds up to 786 Kbps, which can further reach up to 3 Mbps with an additional USD 10 per month. Users can also access speeds up to 6 Mbps by paying USD 40 per month. The company has also introduced on-the-go plans starting at USD 30 per month, which allows users the data download up to 200 MB. By paying USD 40 per month, they can download up to 2 GB of data. However, both the plans include a USD 10 per GB coverage fee. Users can also opt for an unlimited Internet usage plan by shelling out USD 50 per month.

The current pricing of the company is lower than that offered last year by Sprint Nextel (in partnership with Clearwire under the ‘Xohm’ brand) in Baltimore at USD 35 per month for home and USD 45 per month for mobile users. Meanwhile, Sprint Nextel plans to offer its own WiMAX service under the brand “Sprint 4G” through an MVNO relationship with Clearwire.

In the coming months, Clearwire will replace the Xohm brand in Baltimore with its own “Clear” brand. The company also plans to provide cheaper mobile WiMAX modems at USD 50 (USB laptop-plug-in modem from Motorola) as against Xohm’s home modem at USD 80 and Sprint Nextel’s “Sprint 4G” modem at USD 150. The modems of the company can be leased for USD 5 per month.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Pepephone introduces new mobile offer – Spain

According to TMCnet.com, Pepephone, a Spanish MVNO, has introduced a new plan to lure postpaid subscribers of other operators to switch to its service in January. Under the new plan, subscribers opting to switch will be able to make mobile calls at EUR 0.06 (USD 0.08) per minute (plus VAT) for life as against the standard rate of EUR 0.09 (USD 0.13) per minute (plus EUR 0.15 (USD 0.21) call connection fee). However, the scheme will apply only to those customers who have been using services of other operators for at least two months.

Hong Kong MVNO subscribers nearing one million – Hong Kong

According to Telecompaper, 3G mobile phone users in Hong Kong reached 2.67 million as of October 2008. Out of the total, around 846,788 mobile customers were connected through an MVNO.