Friday, 17 April 2009

Noverca Italia beings operations – Italy

Noverca Italia has announced that it has begun operating as an MVNO. Noverca Italia, who are owned by the Acotel Group, will offer standard mobile telephony as well as location based services, VoIP and mobile banking.

SIM cards are available for purchase from the Noverca Italia website and select branches of the Intesa Sanpaolo bank will also offer Noverca Italia SIM cards initially, with the remaining of the bank’s branches receiving them by the end of May. It has been reported that SIM cards will be obtainable from Lottomatica sales points by May.

The service uses Telecom Italia’s network and looks to provide GSM, UMTS (HSDPA) and GPRS services.

freenet.de to revamp mobile portal – Germany

German MVNO freenet.de has reported that it will renovate its online portal, transferring to a new content delivery system provided by CoreMedia, part of its "Digital World" launch.

As part of this overhaul freenet.de will revise its mobile portal. The portal itself will be modified and streamlined although mobile content will be expanded. The mobile portal will also be made platform independent, allowing it to be accessed from a wide variety of handsets.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Virgin Media focuses on its own brand of stores – UK

Virgin Media, who owns the number one British MVNO Virgin Mobile, is seeking to take advantage of low rental prices to expand their high street presence. Virgin Mobile’s retail presence was severely affected by the collapse of both the Woolworth and Zavvi (formerly Virgin Megastore) chains in quick succession. Following on from the latest store opening in Birmingham the MVNO is looking at cherry picking the prime unused retail units to open new Virgin Media stores.

Virgin Media has also confirmed Ian Driver as its Head of Sales, following the departure of Rob Shardlow this month.

Dicame signs network rental agreement with DNA – Finland

Dicame has entered into a network rental agreement with DNA, a Finnish mobile phone operator, which will enable GSM Suomi, a Finland-based mobile operator, to continue its GSM operations on DNA’s network.

The move came after the purchase of MVNO GSM Suomi’s operations by Dicame. The deal follows a breach of contract and as a result DNA terminated GSM Suomi’s network lease agreement. Without other alternative arrangements, GSM Suomi’s services would have come to an end from 14 April.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

People Telecom acquired by M2 – Australia

People Telecom has been acquired by fellow Australian telecommunications company M2. Both companies operate as MVNOs in Australia with People Telecom using the Vodafone Australia network and M2 Mobile using Optus.

The takeover of People Telecom has been in the pipeline since December 2008 and the deal is expected to be worth approximately AUD 19,000,000. Shareholders in People Telecom were offered 0.0916 M2 shares and AUD 0.6886 – with an additional consideration of AUD 0.0068 – for every People Telecom share.

Vaughan Bowen, Chief Executive Officer of M2 said: "It's an acquisition of a very sensible and complementary nature. We're not taking the business on as just a customer bolt-on. The actual business of People Telecom will continue to be run as an entity unto itself, the People Telecom brand will be maintained, their head office operations in Sydney will be maintained, and there's a strategic advantage in that because our business is very Melbourne-centric."

With the acquisition of People Telecom M2 is hoping to generate AUD 250,000,000 a year in revenue, which will make it a leading ‘non-infrastructure’ telecommunications company.

Fastweb appeals for EIB finances – Italy

Italy’s Fastweb has reportedly submitted a proposal for funding to the European Investment Bank (EIB). According to media reports Fastweb is seeking to obtain a loan of EUR 350,000,000 from the EIB, as part of an overall investment package totalling EUR 850,000,000.

Lebara Mobile sponsors IPL – UK

International calling focused MVNO Lebara Mobile, who uses the Vodafone UK network, has announced its plan to sponsor the Indian Premier League (cricket) coverage on Setanta Sports.

The deal will encompass all IPL broadcasts on Setanta Sports and Lebara Mobile is expected to focus on promoting Lebara Family, a service offering free mobile calls and texts to other Lebara Mobile customers.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Virgin Mobile’s GSM offering – India

Virgin Mobile may partner with its existing CDMA network provider, Tata Teleservices, for GSM network services as well.

According to Jamie Heywood, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Mobile India: “We are getting into the GSM segment via the Tatas network. We have a commercial agreement with Tata to offer our service on the GSM network. The agreement is technology-agnostic.”

Tata Teleservices has GSM licences for 19 circles, out of which it has already received the GSM spectrum for 13 circles, circles being geographic areas which India is divided into by the regulator. This will provide Virgin Mobile the opportunity to reach out to a larger population. Heywood said: “At present, around 70 percent of the total mobile subscriber base in the country is GSM and entry into that space will help us expand our business reach.”

Virgin Mobile has denied the GSM entry as an MVNO in India and is again part of a franchisee model. Heywood added: “Globally we have been offering services in both the models — as an MVNO and also as a franchisee. In India, we will be offering our services as a franchisee operator. We have been a GSM operator in the UK, France, South Africa and Australia. We offer CDMA services in the US and Canada.”

Page Plus signs distribution deal with Circle K – USA

Page Plus, operating on the Verizon Wireless network, has entered into a distribution agreement with Circle K for the sale of Page Plus prepaid phones and service plans. The new addition is seen as a significant move for the company as Circle K is one of the largest nationwide chains of convenience stores.

Prior to the deal, Page Plus used to distribute its offerings through independent stores and regional convenience store chains. The rollout will take place in Arizona and Florida by the end of this month, followed by a nationwide rollout to over 2,000 stores.

Commenting on the agreement, Dean McDowell, Chief Financial Officer of Page Plus, said: “We are extremely excited to partner with Circle K. They have an excellent reputation for being one of North America's most popular and successful convenience stores. This partnership will really help us meet the increased demand we are seeing for our prepaid phones and services. In addition, we have recently added some very economical rate plans that bundle large amounts of airtime with large amounts of text messaging. Heavy users are seeing the advantage of these plans and they are creating a lot of demand.”

Personal launches MVNO service – Uruguay

Personal, the mobile unit of Telecom Argentina, has announced the launch of its MVNO service in Uruguay. Personal will utilise the network infrastructure of the Uruguayan state-run telecom carrier Antel to launch its operations in the country. The new MVNO, launched under the Telecom Personal brand, will offer both mobile telephony and SMS services.

The launch of Personal may bring forward the launch of MVNO market hopeful, SECOMunica, who were expected to launch mid 2008 in Uruguay.

NTT Com introduces flat-rate MVNO offering – Japan

NTT Com, a unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp (NTT), has introduced a flat-rate tariff plan for secure mobile broadband Internet access using the NTT DoCoMo’s HSDPA network. The service, which NTT Com will provide as an MVNO, will be expanded through partnerships in a number of fields for increased compatibility with telemetering systems.

NTT Com is offering two flat-rate plans – Mobile Flat Plan (already launched) and Mobile W Flat Plan (to be launched in September 2009). Under the Mobile Flat plan, users will have to pay JPY 4,980 (USD 49.624) per month, while Mobile W Flat Plan will cost between JPY 2,480 (USD 24.712) and JPY 5,630 (USD 56.101), depending on the usage level.

Gamma adds SIM-only deals to its service offerings – UK

Gamma Telecom, a UK-based MVNO, has added SIM-only deals to its portfolio of services in order to help partners win new business. The move will enable dealers to offer a broader range of handsets to business-to-business customers, as well as allowing them to pitch for machine-to-machine businesses. Gamma Telecom utilises 3 UK’s network infrastructure to run its services.

Commenting on the new option, Rob Davis, Senior Product Manager at Gamma Telecom, said: “Some companies will want to choose devices before their plan and this will allow our partners to do this. While telematics is a huge market with opportunities of up to 250,000 connections with some companies doing things such as car tracking and controlling remote wireless video cameras.”

Gamma Telecom is also aiming to expand to the data market owing to the growing sales in the net books and laptops market.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

MTV Mobile partners with GO for mobile offering – Malta

MTV Mobile, the mobile service of a leading music channel operator, is expected to launch its full-fledged mobile services in Malta. The company has partnered exclusively with GO to launch its services, which will be very similar to that offered in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.

MTV Mobile will primarily target the youth segment and will offer its own ‘Powered by GO’ SIM card, which will give customers access to exclusive music, video and Internet content together with a number of events and parties both locally and abroad.

Commenting on the agreement, Bhavneet Singh, Executive Vice President of MTV’s Emerging Markets Group, said: “We’re really pleased to launch MTV Mobile in Malta with GO. Our aim is to continue rolling out the MTV brand across all available media platforms – both on and off-air – to ensure that fans can interact with their favourite brand whenever and wherever they want. The MTV brand already enjoys a strong youth following in Malta and we’re certain that GO, with their extensive expertise and knowledge of the Maltese communications landscape will be the perfect partner to help us launch MTV into the digital space.”

Norbert Prihoda, Chief Operating Officer of GO, added: “It’s time to be you’ is the tagline to welcome MTV in the Maltese market. We want this brand to appeal to all the young at heart, who are creative, who want something different, at a good price, with exclusive content – and above all backed by the reliable service provided by GO.”

The new mobile offering is likely to be more of a branded SIM operation rather than a full MVNO, with network and back office functions being performed by GO and MTV concentrating on sales and marketing.

Tommy Telecom signs Heads of Agreement with Elephant Talk – The Netherlands

Tommy Telecom, a rapidly growing MVNO in the Netherlands, has entered into a Heads of Agreement contract with Elephant Talk Communications, an international telecom and multimedia content distributor operating as an MVNE, in the Netherlands. The agreement will allow Tommy Telecom to instantly migrate its entire customer base to Elephant Talk’s MVNE platform.

Commenting on the development, Bas Falkenburg, Business Development Director of Tommy Telecom, said: “We chose the flexible Elephant Talk MVNE platform since it compliments our strategy of combining mobile telephony and the internet to create a digital magazine platform to better facilitate access to our media- and retail partners. The state-of the art technology of Elephant Talk's platform allows us to support the customer migration in a matter of weeks and will help us along with the marketing power of the Tommy Telecom team, create many new successful products for the Dutch consumers.”

Martin Zuurbier, Chief Technical Officer of Elephant Talk, added: “We believe strongly in the additional value we can create while working together with Tommy Telecom. This is an impressive example of the flexible capabilities of our platform. Elephant Talk has one of the most advanced full MVNE systems in the world combined with superior project managers for a fast integration including a directly incorporated flexible CRM/Billing solution which offers a wide range of possibilities designed specifically for an individual client.”