Friday, 27 February 2009

Simyo to give customers free SIM card exchange - Germany

Simyo have announced that they will be offering a free SIM card exchange for their customers. The announcement explains that customers who possess legacy GPRS SIM cards will be able to exchange them for new 3G SIM cards. The cost of the exchange was EUR 10 prior to the new policy coming in to effect. The free offer will run until the 31st of March.

IKEA set to offer MVNO services - Spain

According to El Economista (local newspaper), IKEA, a Swedish Group, has collaborated with Telefonica, British Telecom and Vodafone to launch fixed, mobile telephony and Internet services in Spain. IKEA will launch its MVNO service under the brand name Ventaja Movil (Mobile Advantage) using Vodafone Spain's mobile network.

Ventaja Movil customers will receive free mobile calls (no call set-up fee) within the same network on payment of EUR 10 (USD 12.81) per month. National calls to other mobile operators’ networks are available at EUR 0.10 (USD 0.13) per minute along with the call set-up fee of EUR 0.15 (USD 0.19). Customers who choose to switch their mobile numbers to Ventaja Movil will also be provided with discounts on mobile handsets.

Call in Europe introduces French MVNO Zero Forfait - France

Call in Europe, a US-based telecommunications company, has launched a French MVNO Zero Forfait (zero package) in Europe. The MVNO will use the network infrastructure of SFR, the French mobile operator, to offer its service. The service does not include any commitment, recharge or monthly fee.

The MVNO will charge 19 cents (USD 0.24) per minute for calls made to landlines and mobile phones in France. Customers can also make calls to 5 numbers at 9.5 cents (USD 0.12) per minute. However, customers will be required to spend a minimum of EUR 15 (USD 19.12) every quarter in order to keep the connection running. Call in Europe aims to attract around 80,000 customers by the end of 2009.

Lebara Mobile signs distribution agreement with Martin McColl - UK

Lebara Mobile, a UK-based ethnic market MVNO, has partnered with Martin McColl to sell Lebara Mobile airtime and SIM cards through its 1,250 stores across the UK. Under the terms of the agreement, Martin McColl will exclusively sell the SIM cards for the first 12 months.

The alliance enables Lebara Mobile’s 600,000 customers to purchase SIM cards and airtime from Martin McColl newsagents or convenience stores, as well as at over 95,000 other retail outlets throughout the UK. Lebara Mobile will benefit from Martin McColl's expanding customer base across the country.

Commenting on the development, Jon Fawcett, Head of Group Marketing for Lebara Mobile, said: "We are very excited about our new relationship with Martin McColl's. We have consistently said that getting the right distribution strategy is vital to MVNO success and it is exclusive relationships such as this that will underpin our continued success. We are committed to developing relationships with key national retailers and to maximize the potential they represent for both us and our retail partners moving forward."

Paul Taylor, General Manager Marketing of Martin McColl, added: "The partnership we have formed with Lebara Mobile enables us to expand our mobile service offering and grow the international calling category within the Martin McColl store network. We look forward to helping our customers across the UK to minimize their bills by taking advantage of Lebara Mobile's low-cost, high quality mobile services."

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Virgin Mobile India looks to increase Bengal market share - India

Virgin Mobile India is eyeing up a potential increase in revenue from the Bengal region from the current 10% of its total revenue it collects from the area.

“We are expanding our reach in West Bengal as we expect almost 14 per cent of our revenues to come from West Bengal.” said M A Madhusudan, Chief Executive of Virgin Mobile. He continued: “We currently have 4-5 handsets in the market that are priced between Rs 1,499 and Rs 4,000. While we are concentrating on more value-added-services (VAS), the new handsets that we would launch would be priced higher to support the VAS.”

Prasad Narasimhan, Chief Marketing Officer of Virgin Mobile, commented: “Our focus areas will continue to be on VAS for differentiation. Around 14 per cent of our revenues come from VAS currently, which also includes SMSes ... We are currently talking to content providers for offering video and audio content on our mobiles. We are looking to partner with social networking sites and also Bollywood content providers for more VAS.”

NRJ Mobile to launch new subscription plans - France

French youth-targeted MVNO NRJ Mobile has introduced a set of new monthly subscription plans, called BeLive. The new BeLive subscription plan will include unlimited texts across the board but will appeal especially to music fans with the inclusion of a pair of concert tickets.

The new set of tariffs, which are subject to a two year contract, start off at €19.90 for 60 minutes, €24.90 for 90 minutes and eventually rise to €29.90 for 240 minutes of talk time a month. Annual subscriptions are also available for an additional €4 a month. Once all of the included talk time is used up the handset will only receive incoming calls but pre-paid cards can be used to top up the balance.

Fastweb profits up amid economic downturn - Italy

Fastweb, the second largest Italian phone company and MVNO operator, has released its financial results, ending the financial year with an optimistic set of figures. Fastweb saw its sales rise 19% to €1.71 billion and its net profit rose to €6.1 million, up from a loss of €124.7 million last year.

ERG Petroli partners with Vodafone to launch MVNO service - Italy

ERG, a leading oil and energy company in Italy, has formed an alliance with Vodafone to launch its MVNO service. ERG Petroli, a subsidiary of ERG, will provide MVNO services at its petrol stations under the brand name ERG Mobile by using Vodafone’s network capacity. Under the terms of the agreement, ERG will handle full customer relationship and pricing, while Vodafone will provide a platform for the integration of systems of both companies.

ERG Mobile will offer voice, SMS, roaming and data services. The mobile service will be integrated with the existing loyalty programs of ERG, allowing users to accumulate benefits with top-ups.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Bebo broaden its Canadian mobile services - Canada

Social networking site Bebo has extended its Open Mobile platform across Canada, including to Canadian MVNO Virgin Mobile. The original soft launch of Bebo Open Mobile took place at the tail end of December 2008. Bebo Open Mobile Messaging users will be able to receive alerts and updates direct to their handsets.

Virgin Mobile Canada has also implemented Bebo Open Mobile Internet which contains tailored navigation and customer specific options. Bebo has seen its page views rocket to an extra 43% during January 2009, largely due to the Open Mobile service.

Tesco Mobile introduces budget tariff - UK

Tesco Mobile has responded to the difficult economic climate by offering a new £10 a month SIM-only tariff. The new tariff will operate on a rolling monthly basis, rather than a 12 or 18 month agreement, in line with many other SIM only deals. Although the tariff is £10 a month the user will receive £40 in flexible credit, the equivalent of 400 minutes or 800 texts a month and is available online or in store.

Lance Batchelor, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Mobile and Tesco Telecoms said: “We know that people see their mobiles as a necessity and won’t give them up for anything. This tariff is designed to help anyone who is trying to get more minutes and texts out of their pay-as-you-go top ups or is wanting cut their monthly mobile subscription and unused minutes.”

Macquarie Telecom returns to profit - Australia

Australian telecommunications company Macquarie Telecom, who operate a business targeted MVNO, has doubled its first half earnings.

Macquarie Telecom returned a net profit of A$3.12 million (2.03 million USD) compared to a loss of A$1.61 million for the previous corresponding period.

O-Tel launches MVNO service in South Africa - South Africa

O-Tel, a licensed national telecom operator, launched its MVNO services last week in South Africa. O-Tel will use networks of existing operators by using Vodacom's 3G networks or Telkom’s ADSL network. The company will compete against dominant players, such as Vodacom and MTN, in South Africa's emerging telecom market. O-Tel will leverage on affordable subscriber tariffs.

Commenting on the new launch, Mohammad Patel, Chief Executive Officer of O-Tel, said: “O-Tel can provide anyone within Telkom ADSL or Vodacom 3G coverage with a telephone line for ZAR 99 (USD 9.88) per month with no contract necessary. Unfortunately few of the almost 533 companies to which licenses were awarded will be able to take advantage of their new-found favourable position to challenge the existing telecoms status quo because many of them have chosen to build their own networks.”

O-Tel received its individual Electronic Communication Network Services license from the Independent Communications Authority, South Africa’s media regulator, in January this year.

Virgin Mobile posts fall in Q4 revenue - UK

Virgin Mobile, the biggest MVNO in the UK, today announced that it added 70,800 customers to its burgeoning post paid service but lost 224,000 prepay customers during the same period; nearly double the disconnections from the service that it experienced in the previous quarter.

Virgin Mobile also announced its second quarter financial results with its total revenue from the quarter standing at £141.1 million (197.7 million USD), down £10.5 million (14.7 million USD) compared to the same quarter in 2007.

Responding to the figures Virgin Media Chief Executive Officer Neil Berkett said: "During the quarter, we built upon the foundations we put in place to deliver a differentiated and highly competitive consumer proposition in 2009.

"Record numbers of customers are now using Virgin Media's services, despite the current economic environment. We are successfully giving people more reasons to choose us and they are buying more products from us than ever before, with 56 per cent of our customers now buying three services or more."

Monday, 23 February 2009

Mobile customers on the rise - France

According to Arcep, the French telecom regulator, there were 58 million mobile customers in the French telecom market. The country witnessed a rise in its mobile penetration rate from 88% to nearly 91%. MVNO customers accounted for over 5 percent of the total mobile subscribers in the country.

Israeli ISP NetVision contemplates joining mobile market - Israel

NetVision is reported to be considering entering the soon-to-be deregulated Israeli mobile market. If such a move took place the company would establish itself as an MVNO and would most likely utilise the network of its sister company, Cellcom Israel.

Although no concrete information has been obtained from the company, an executive confirmed that the matter was ‘under consideration’.

NetVision’s plans are thought to have been prepared in response to the possibility of main rival 012 Smile Communications market entry, who have declared an interest in the sector but as of yet haven’t released any formal details or plans.

This fervent new MVNO speculation comes on the back of draft legislation announced by the Israeli Ministry of Communications in January 2009 which will allow the introduction of MVNOs in the Israeli mobile sector.

Luxury phone maker Vertu opens 1st store - Japan

Vertu, the discerning luxury phone brand, has unveiled its first ever Japanese store in the exclusive Ginza district of Tokyo. The new store will see Vertu sell its high end, hand-crafted mobile phones, which often include materials such as gold, sapphire and rubies in their construction, at a cost of up to ¥6 million (64,400 USD).

Vertu will begin offering services as an MVNO in the fast-paced Japanese mobile market, partnering with NTT DoCoMo for use of its network, under the name Vertu Club. This foray in to the Japanese MVNO market will allow Vertu to offer bespoke services to its customers, such as Vertu Concierge, which provides a round the clock service to advise its customers about travel, entertainment, restaurants and events for example.