Friday, 27 March 2009

Coriolis opens a new call centre office – France

Coriolis, a French MVNO operating over SFR’s network, has announced the opening of its fifth call centre at Laval in Mayenne, France. The new facility, spanning an area of 2,500 sq. meters, will employ around 250 workers by July 2009. The employees will undergo nearly 70 hours of initial training.

According to Coriolis, employees at the new facility will handle calls from customers on behalf of a large French corporation. In 1992, Coriolis opened its first call centre in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. The total customer base of Coriolis includes 50,000 businesses and more than 5 million individual consumers.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Virgin Mobile moves OOH from Poster Publicity to Bates 141 – India

According to exchange4media, Virgin Mobile has moved its OOH business to Bates 141, which also handles its creative mandate.

Prasad Narasimhan, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Mobile India, commented, “We have moved our OOH business from Poster Publicity to Bates 141 as it handles our entire creative work.”

Sandeep Pathak, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bates 141, commented, “We are delighted to have been able to bring in the OOH business of Virgin Mobile, along with the other duties. It allows us to explore OOH as a strategic fit in the communication plan in an innovative way. The OOH business of Virgin Mobile would be in the range of Rs 30-40 crore.”

Sandeep can be contacted at sandeep.pathak@bates141.com or on +91-22-6617-9000.

Digital Island signs with Telecom NZ – New Zealand

Digital Island, a New Zealand-based telecommunications company, has signed an agreement with Telecom New Zealand for the launch of its MVNO offering in New Zealand. Starting April, Digital Island will carry out a two month trial with their existing customers. Thereafter, Digital will roll-out the complete commercial service from July.

Commenting on the development, Blair Stewart, General Manager of Digital Island, said: “A key reason behind our decision to partner with Telecom is our strong existing relationship along with their proven ability to deliver wholesale products to the NZ market.” He further added, “Digital Island’s mobile services will be sold, serviced and billed directly by Digital Island. The initial product will be on Telecom’s CDMA network with a commitment to migrate onto Telecom’s W-CDMA network within an appropriate timeframe. We will use our own number range, but with number portability can accommodate customers wishing to move from other networks. The handset range will include models from Samsung, Sanyo, Nokia and Blackberry.”

Present on the occasion, Matt Crockett, Chief Executive Officer of Telecom NZ Wholesale, said: “New commercial products like MVNO are important additions to the Wholesale product portfolio as they allow our customers, like Digital Island, to develop their own whole of business propositions. We have been discussing mobile with Digital Island for some time now, and I am delighted to be partnering with them for the pilot and test phase of the project”.

Freenet posts strong 2008 results – Germany

Freenet, a German ISP, has announced its 2008 full year results, registering revenues of EUR 2.87 billion (USD 3.87 billion) as compared to EUR 1.69 billion (USD 2.28 billion) in 2007, an increase of 70%. The company attributed the significant increase in revenues to the acquisition of debitel, a leading European MVNO, in July 2008. Freenet recorded EUR 1.09 billion (USD 1.47 billion) in Q4 2008 as against EUR 417.5 million (USD 563.58 million) in Q4 2007.

However, Freenet’s EBITDA for the year declined to EUR 207.1 million (USD 279.56 million) from EUR 231.7 million (USD 312.77 million) in 2007 on account of EUR 73.5 million (USD 99.22 million) one-off costs in Q4 due to the restructuring of its mobile communications segment.

Freenet’s mobile subscriber base registered a significant increase from 5.7 million at the end of 2007 to 19.12 million at the end of 2008, contributed primarily by the takeover of debitel.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

RACC set to launch MVNO service – Spain

Real Automovil Club de Catalunya (RACC), a Spanish auto club, plans to launch its MVNO services in Spain by the end of March. RACC, by utilising the network of Euskaltel, aims to attract around 40,000 subscribers within the first year of operation, 70,000 in the second and to exceed the 100,000 subscriber mark by 2011. Euskaltel is a telecommunications company headquartered in Derio, Spain.

According to Josep Mateu, Managing Director, and Inaki Prego, Head of RACC Movil, the company plans to invest approximately EUR 7.9 million (USD 10.74 million) and generate revenues of nearly EUR 94.5 million (USD 128.48 million) in three years. The MVNO will use the mobile devices of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and HTC for its RACC auto club members. Other subscribers will have the option to subscribe to RACC Movil’s services by paying a EUR 30 (USD 40.79) fee.

Other planned launches by the MVNO include a loyalty points system, mobile phone insurance, international mobile device rental services, mapping applications as well as GPS devices. The charge for RACC’s GPRS service has been fixed at EUR 0.50 (USD 0.68) per MB. RACC also plans to launch a flat-rate tariff for the GPRS service by September.

For mobile calls, subscribers will be charged between EUR 0.05 (USD 0.07) per minute and EUR 0.28 (USD 0.38) per minute based on the duration of the plan. RACC also offers a single tariff plan of EUR 0.18 (USD 0.24) per minute, irrespective of the time of day or mobile network called. In addition, under the Family Savings Plan, RACC will offer 10%, 15% and 20% discounts (on the monthly subscription fee) to subscribers acquiring two, three or four lines, respectively.

Videotron opens in Joliette and creates 271 full-time jobs in the region – Canada

Videotron’s new centre will create 271 full-time positions in the region by the summer of 2010. The centre will accommodate a team of customer service and technical support consultants.

Robert Dépatie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Videotron, commented: “We are very happy to open the Centre in Joliette and share our company’s continued growth with its citizens by offering full-time, stimulating positions. This is excellent news for us, for the region and for its population, given the current economic context we are facing at this time.”

Mayor of Joliette, René Laurin, commented: “Videotron’s arrival represents a victory for our city and is proof of our dynamic economic development. The upcoming opening of Videotron’s Client Contact Centre will bring new life to the whole region.”

Later within the week Videotron management also announced that its employees approved, by a 95% yes vote, an agreement in principle between the employer and CUPE (FTQ) union representatives for a five-year agreement regarding labour contracts of unionised employees in Montréal (including Sherbrooke) and Québec City until December 31, 2013, in Saguenay-Lac St-Jean until January 31, 2014, and in Gatineau until August 31, 2015.

20:20 Mobile and Silverbean help Talkmobile increase online sales – UK

Talkmobile, an MVNO of Carphone Warehouse, the UK’s leading independent mobile phone retailer, has registered a 30% increase in its web sales conversion rate over the past month after 20:20 Mobile engaged Silverbean to increase the sales of Talkmobile SIM cards. 20:20 Mobile is the web fulfilment agent for Talkmobile.

Silverbean uses search engine optimisation and analytical data packages to generate web sales. The company evaluated the effectiveness of the site as a sales channel and took measures to increase the efficiency of the purchase process. Moreover, Silverbean ensured the visibility and of the key information to the visitors along with easy navigability.

Commenting on the development, Andrew Beckett, Head of Talkmobile’s online account for 20:20 Mobile, said: “Silverbean worked with us to gain a better understanding of the front-end efficiency of the website. The combination of its expertise in website usability and access to the latest technologies has helped us deliver a huge impact on online sales for Talkmobile."

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

MTV Mobile reaches 1 Mln subscribers – France

MTV Mobile, the mobile service of a leading music channel operator, has reached 1 million customers since the launch of its service in France in April 2008. Launched through SFR, the leading French mobile phone operator, MTV have managed to sell nearly 100,000 of its own branded phones, including the MTV 3.4, released in November 2008. The company is also planning to launch a touch-screen MTV handset in France targeting young mobile users.

MTV Mobile also operates in Italy via an MVNO arrangement with Telecom Italia. However, details regarding the subscriber base are not known.

Phone-ix announces customer numbers – Portugal

Portuguese MVNO Phone-ix has released a summary of its usage figures to coincide with its first anniversary, detailing its users and how many SIM cards it has sold.

Phone-ix President, Estanislau Mata Costa, reported that they have activated an estimated 126,000 numbers with an active user base of some 88,000. He added that although the MVNO was operating ahead of expectations it is still far from breaking even.

Phone-ix is part of CTT – Correios de Portugal, the national postal service, and operates over TMN’s network.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Slovenian mobile market reaches over 100% penetration - Slovenia

The Slovenian mobile market has reached 100.1% penetration, up from the previous quarter’s total of 99%, according to the Slovenian Agency for Post and Electronic Communications. The two MVNOs currently active in Slovenia, Debitel and Izimobile account for 4.8% and 2.5% of the market share respectively. This level of market penetration could be the point of entry for value add focused MVNOs targeting increased ARPU from the existing subscriber base which may be underperforming. This may come from a content focused operation or a concierge style highly priced all in operation.

Virgin Mobile offers Nokia E63 on its network – UK

Virgin Mobile UK has announced the availability of the Nokia E63 on its network for GBP 149 (USD 215.58) on a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) basis and GBP 18 (USD 26.04) on a monthly basis. With this, Virgin Mobile has become the first network in the UK to offer a 3G QWERTY handset (Nokia E63) on a PAYG basis. Virgin will offer 3G Internet access (limited to 25 MB per day) for 30p (USD 0.43) a day. Additionally, the company will offer free mobile instant messenger on Nokia’s “affordable” E-series device for six months.

According to Virgin Mobile, the easy set-up guide of E63 will make access to e-mail services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail far simpler. Some other features of the Nokia E63 include a 2-megapixel camera, music player, FM radio, Wi-Fi and expandable memory.

Elephant Talk to Acquire Controlling Interest in ValidSoft Limited – The Netherlands

Elephant Talk Communications, an international telecom and multimedia content distributor operating as an MVNE in The Netherlands, has announced that it has entered into a letter of intent to acquire a controlling interest in ValidSoft Limited.

ValidSoft provides a real-time, cost effective solution for banks, online buyers and regulatory agencies in securing all financial transactions, while greatly reducing operational costs.

Steven van der Velden, Chief Executive Officer of Elephant Talk Communications, commented: “ValidSoft’s software, in combination with our telecommunications network infrastructure, can greatly reduce fraud thus save banking institutions and governments billions of dollars in the immediate future.”

Advantage Cellular’s Founder in legal dispute with Centernet – UK, Poland

Simon Earle, founder of Advantage Cellular, is in the middle of a severe legal dispute with Centernet, a polish MVNO, on the payment of shares and the balance of a service contract owed to him.

After leaving Advantage in August last year, Earle has been serving as a director and shareholder in the business. He has a remaining 20% stake in Xebra, which owns a 61.25% share in Advantage Cellular and Advantage Business Solutions. In all, Earle holds 38.25% stake in the two units that makes it equivalent to 51% when combined with his Xebra holding.

Ortel to take-on IDT subscribers – Belgium

Ortel Mobile, an ethnic market MVNO subsidiary of KPN operating in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, plans to acquire the Belgian subscriber base of IDT Mobile, a leading telecommunication services provider, at the end of March.

Ortel Mobile will provide the former IDT Mobile customers with a EUR 2.50 (USD 3.39) credit welcoming gift. However, neither company have disclosed the number of customers involved and the financial details of the transaction.

Noverca agrees network deal with Telecom Italia – Italy

Noverca, a subsidiary of Acotel Group, has entered into an agreement with Telecom Italia, under which Noverca will use Telecom Italia’s network to provide its own mobile services, Internet access and value added services. Noverca will also receive SIM cards, data access to GSM/GPRS and UMTS/HSDPA networks, dedicated numbers and a host of other telephony services from Telecom Italia. Noverca is expected to launch its commercial services later this year.

The Acotel Group provides wireless services and applications, security equipment and network infrastructure services.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

FRiENDi mobile claims first MVNO call made in SAMENA region – Oman

Dubai based FRiENDi mobile has announced that it has made the first MVNO call in the SAMENA (South Asia, Middle East, North Africa) region using its own technical platform. The call was made in Oman, using the Oman Mobile network, between FRiENDi Chairman Mohamed Yousuf Alawi Al Ibrahim and FRiENDi Chief Executive Officer Antti Arponen.

Antti Arponen commented: “This is a cause for celebration in the FRiENDi mobile team, and is actually a small piece of regional telecom sector history, as it is the first call ever made by a Mobile Reseller/MVNO in the region, which proves that FRiENDi mobile is ready for launch and that the Mobile Reseller/MVNO model is indeed now arriving in the SAMENA region.”

FRiENDi mobile is expected to wrap up its testing programme within the next few weeks and full operations in Oman are anticipated soon after.