Friday, 6 March 2009

Nokia and Ericsson deny Indian MVNO entry – India

Nokia and Ericsson have both denied speculation regarding entering the Indian telecoms market as MVNOs. A spokesperson from Ericsson told Total Telecom that “the speculation is completely incorrect”. Further, a spokesperson from Nokia Siemens Networks said: “Nokia is not planning on offering MVNO services in India. We provided input and advice to the TRAI (Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India) to help educate them with our experience of providing services to MVNOs, and that was it.”

The denial came following the news from various local media reports that Ericsson along with Nokia were in contact with Department of Telecommunication (DoT) officials over consolidating their position in the Indian mobile services market. The Financial Chronicle, citing sources, stated that Ericsson briefed government officials about its MVNO plans.

KDDI offers free on-net calls to its subscribers – USA

According to Telecompaper, KDDI Mobile, the US MVNO brand of KDDI, is planning to offer free of charge on-net calls to its subscribers. The new promotion will be accessible to new and existing subscribers using the Nights & Weekends plan. KDDI Mobile uses the network infrastructure of Sprint Nextel for its MVNO offering.

Hong Kong MVNO subscribers up 15% – Hong Kong

Hong Kong telecommunications regulator the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) has announced that subscribers to MVNOs in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong have risen by 15%. Subscribers totalled 834,000 in December 2008, up from 724,000 the previous year.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Azteca Mobile files for bankruptcy – USA

Azteca Mobile, a US based MVNO, has filed for bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court located in Kansas City. The MVNO, which was formed around four years ago and focused on the US and Mexican mobile markets, owes in the region of USD600,000 to Sprint.

It was revealed in court that the company had assets of USD1.9 million and liabilities of USD22.3 million. The company made it known that they had an income of USD1 million in 2007, USD1.6 million in 2008 and USD247,000 to date this year.

Azteca Movil reported that it has sold its 4,500 remaining customers to Cozac Wireless, a subsidiary of APC Wireless. Cozac Wireless has purchased assets of other failing MVNOs in the past such as when it took on the assets of Movida Wireless.

The majority of Azteca Movil’s debt – which totalled over USD 17 million – was owed to Mexico-based Azteca Movil SA de CV a company owned by the television network TV Azteca.

Virgin Mobile introduces Samsung Tocco – UK

Virgin has added the Samsung Tocco to its handset range, offering it on its 18 month plans. The phone has been paired off with Virgin Mobile’s GBP 18 a month tariff, which includes 200 minutes and 500 texts a month. The tariff also comes with three months free line rental and 30p a day option for unlimited mobile Internet usage.

Blyk delays Netherlands introduction – The Netherlands

Youth targeted MVNO Blyk has further postponed its entry to the Dutch mobile market. Blyk originally aimed to have the service up and running by Christmas 2008 but software issues forced a delay until the 2nd of March, the company then issued a press release stating that the service would be active later this year, although no specific date was confirmed.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Celular Line Movil begins MVNO service in Spain - Spain

According to Telecompaper, Celular Line Movil (CLM) has launched its MVNO operations in Spain. CLM will utilise the network infrastructure of Orange and technological platform from KPN to offer prepay mobile services. The company aims to target its service towards the immigrant community living in Spain.

Also in Spain, Eroski Movil, a Spanish MVNO, has waived their call set-up fee for mobile voice calls. According to Eroski, the move will enable mobile customers to save up to EUR 400 (USD 503.69) on their mobile bills each year.

TracFone Wireless extends SafeLink Wireless to Detroit – USA

TracFone Wireless, the largest MVNO in the United States with over 10 million subscribers, will expand their SafeLink Wireless service to cover 415,000 low-income households in the Detroit area.

SafeLink Wireless is a US government supported service which enables qualifying households to receive a free mobile, access to emergency services and free airtime (68 minutes a month) for one year. If all of the free airtime provided is used up then customers can purchase prepaid cards to bolster their minute allowance. This latest expansion of the SafeLink Wireless service comes after the rollout was announced in New York last month, potentially serving 1.5 million low-income New York households.

“More than 415,000 households in Detroit qualify for the Lifeline services – offering these participants the opportunity to have the same access and privileges many individuals take for granted when it comes to using cell phones,” said Jose Fuentes, Director of Government Relations for TracFone. “The SafeLink Wireless service is truly unique because we are providing a service that no other company has made available before – a free cell phone and free monthly minutes to qualifying low income families,” added Fuentes.

Willcom set to commence mobile data service – Japan

Japanese PHS operator Willcom has announced that it will begin offering mobile data services later this month. It has reached an agreement with Japanese MNO NTT DoCoMo for use of its network via an MVNO arrangement.

Willcom will offer data cards manufactured by NetIndex, but marketed under its own brand name. They will initially target business customers before offering services to private individuals later this year.

The service will offer download data rates at a theoretical maximum of 7.2Mbps and will come in at a variety of price points starting at ¥940 (9.61 USD) for the cheapest package and rising to ¥7980 (81.63 USD) for the high-end package.

Yes Telecom offers unlimited HSDPA access – The Netherlands

According to Telecompaper, Yes Telecom has introduced a new subscription plan offering unlimited access to the HSDPA network of KPN. The service will cost EUR 67.95 (USD 85.63) per month and can be accessed via mobile phones or laptops. Users will be able to receive maximum download and upload speeds of 7.2 Mbps and 1.4 Mbps, respectively.

France Telecom has 3.1 million MVNO clients – France

France Telecom has declared its quarterly and full year results. Registering a growth of 2.9%, the company generated EUR 53.5 billion (USD 67.42 billion) of revenue in 2008. The company’s growth in Q4 fell to 1.7% resulting from the economic crunch.

As of December 31, 2008, France Telecom’s net MVNO customer base in Europe increased from previous year’s 1.9 million (including 1.4 million customers from France) to 3.1 million (including 1.8 million customers from France), on a comparable basis.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Masmovil partners with Fring for mobile IM service - Spain

Masmovil has entered into an agreement with Fring to enable its customers to use Fring as a mobile IM service. This will enable customers to access Skype, MSN, Facebook and Twitter free of charge directly from their mobile handsets. However, for customers with no Wi-Fi connection on mobile phones, the Skype service will cost EUR 0.60 (USD 0.76) per hour, using the operator’s 3.5G service.

According to Meinrad Spenger, Chief Executive Officer of Masmovil, the company has added more than 100,000 customers on its network. Masmovil has also launched a new street marketing campaign, ‘Hazte un Masmovil’, whereby participants can earn money if they complete various missions set by the company. Masmovil will pay EUR 80 (USD 101.38) per month to customers who paint their cars with the Masmovil logo.

Uno Mobile introduces new promotional scheme - Italy

According to Telecompaper, Uno mobile, an Italian MVNO, has introduced a new promotional scheme for customers having Carta SpesAmica, a loyalty card from Carrefour, GS and DiperDi supermarkets. The scheme will enable customers to exchange 1,800 smile points accumulated by making purchases at select supermarkets. The scheme will run until June 30, 2009.