Friday, 24 April 2009

Fastweb introduces Eee PC 1003H Go – Italy

Italian MVNO Fastweb, who uses the 3 network for their network infrastructure, has announced that existing customers will be offered the new Eee PC 1003H Go with a mobile data plan for EUR 30.90 a month. The Eee PC 1003H Go is equipped with integral 3G/HSPA connectivity.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Penta seeks buyer for Mobilking – Poland

Penta Investment is reportedly in discussion with potential suitors who are interested in purchasing Mobilking, their ailing MVNO, according to Managing Partner Jozef Janov.

Mobilking’s future has been uncertain since the beginning of March after it failed to reach revenue generation targets. PTC, the MNO which provides infrastructure to Mobilking, is thought to be one possible buyer. Polish operators have commented that the link between PTC and Mobilking is perhaps deeper than first thought, with Mobilking’s systems entwined with PTC’s quite extensively, making any potential sale problematic.

Market rumours suggest that PTC would be the preferred buyer, although MNI and the owners of NFI Magna Polonia are supposedly in the running.

OneSimCard.com looks to attract United Mobile customers – USA

Low cost international calling focused MVNO OneSimCard.com has announced that it will attempt to entice former United Mobile customers with an offer of a replacement SIM card. Former United Mobile customers will receive a new OneSimCard.com SIM with USD 10 credit free once they have sent their old United Mobile SIM to OneSimCard.com. The new offer comes as United Mobile has reportedly begun terminating services and cutting off customers.

Commenting on the offer Alex Filippov, General Manager of OneSimCard.com said: “United Mobile customers were dealing with a product that is very similar to ours in terms of functionality. New customers will be squarely in their comfort zone when using an OneSimCard SIM with their international cell phones while travelling.”

The OneSimCard SIM can be used in over 170 countries across the globe, offering up to 80% savings compared to standard MNO roaming charges.

Primus creates local jobs – Canada

Canadian telecommunications company and MVNO Primus Canada has pledged to create up to 200 new jobs in Edmundston, New Brunswick.

The job creation comes as Primus Canada, who uses the Rogers Communications network for its services, announced its plans to restructure its customer service operation. The plans call for the recall of their technical support team back to Canada, which is currently outsourced to India. The shift back to Edmundston – which is where the 200 jobs will be created – was prompted by customers complaining about levels of service received from overseas customer service representatives.

Rob Warden, Vice President of Residential Marketing for Primus Canada said: “Our customers have told us they prefer to deal with Canadian representatives and we’re responding to their feedback. While we hold all our representatives – wherever they are located – to a high standard, we have also come to believe that the best way to serve our customers is to locate as much of our customer service operation as possible in this country.”

Primus Canada customers will be able to speak to a Canadian representative if they contact the call centre from their home phone or they enter the number specified on their account.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Baron unveils new business market packages – The Netherlands

Baron has introduced new plans for the business market (without fixed contracts), whereby subscribers will receive subscriptions starting from EUR 1 (USD 1.29) per month. In addition, subscribers will be charged EUR 0.06 (USD 0.08) per minute for calls to fixed lines and EUR 0.10 (USD 0.13) per minute to mobiles. Baron is also offering handsets from companies, such as Blackberry, Samsung and Nokia. Baron utilises the network infrastructure of KPN for providing its MVNO services in the country.

Commenting on the new packages, Erik Ligtvoet, Director at Baron, said: “Baron wants to offer mobile telephony as it should be; a quality product with an unprecedented service at a normal price.”

Virgin Mobile removes premium rates for employment number – France

Virgin Mobile France, a joint venture between Carphone Warehouse and the Virgin group, has announced that it has removed the premium charge to the 39 49 number used for contacting the French national employment service. The call will be charged at the cheaper national rate which will be deducted from the customer’s credit or from any inclusive minutes.

Baron creates new business tariff – The Netherlands

Dutch MVNO Baron, which uses the KPN network through MVNE Aspider, has introduced a new set of tariffs for business users. Baron has said its new tariffs will start from EUR 1 a month, which will give business users landline calls for EUR 0.06 and EUR 0.10 for mobile calls. Subsidised handsets, including Blackberry devices, will be available.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Page Plus expands coverage area and reduces roaming charges – USA

Page Plus, an MVNO operating on the Verizon Wireless network, has recently expanded its coverage area attributable to the merger of unrelated carriers, which was announced in June 2008 and finalised in January this year. As a result, Page Plus has been able to provide service in all parts of the USA, including the Central Plains states where there was a lack of coverage prior to the merger. Additionally, Page Plus has eliminated the roaming charges in the expanded coverage areas.

Commenting on the development, Dean McDowell, Chief Financial Officer of Page Plus, said: “Whenever you can have a wireless merger of this magnitude result in positive benefits for the customer, it enhances the customer experience. It reassures them that they have made a good choice in going with prepaid phone service in general, and Page Plus in particular. We are very fortunate to have such a good working relationship with our partner carrier, and we believe our customers will feel very good about the fact that they now have more freedom to use their Page Plus cell phone across the country."

Monday, 20 April 2009

SFR begins Neuf user migration – France

According to reports, SFR has begun informing Neuf Mobile’s customers about their impending migration. SFR are expected to start transferring Neuf users over to the SFR network by the end of May 2009. The transfer has been on the cards since SFR acquired Neuf in 2008.

Sunsim entices United Mobile customers – Germany

German MVNO Sunsim has announced that it will introduce an offer for United Mobile customers after reports surfaced that United Mobile SIM cards were being deactivated.

As of yet Sunsim, who use the E-Plus network for their services, have not released any concrete details about what form the offer will take.

Midas Mobile announces MVNO launch – Spain

Midas Mobile has begun operating as an MVNO using the Vodafone Spain network. Midas Mobile will cater exclusively for the prepay sector of the market, with the only prerequisite being that customers must top-up with a minimum of EUR 5 (USD 6.53) credit within every 3 month period.

Midas will charge new customers EUR 0.15 a minute for national calls, EUR 0.53 a minute for international calls, EUR 0.13 per SMS and EUR 0.30 per MMS. Calls to other Midas numbers will be free (limited to 10 minutes a call, 60 minutes per day and 500 per month). Midas will offer customers who port their number to them preferential rates, charging EUR 0.07 a minute for international calls. A standard call connection fee will be charged at EUR 0.15 for national calls and EUR 0.35 for international calls.

SIM cards will cost EUR 12 each, with EUR 7 of airtime being included. Midas will also offer subsidised mobile handsets with prices starting at EUR 45 with EUR 50 airtime included.

Lycamobile targets 1 million users milestone – UK

British ethnic market MVNO Lycamobile has reported that it has amassed a user base closing in on 1 million users, after only nine months since its launch in September 2008.

The announcement came as Lycamobile, who use the Orange network for its services, claimed that the UK ethnic pre-pay market has 10 million potential users; with Lycamobile maintaining that they have close to a 10 percent share of that market.

Lycamobile also spelled out its aggressive expansion tactics with Chief Executive Milind Kangle saying: “Lebara gained 600,000 subscribers within 14 months of launch. We crossed that figure in less than six months of our own launch. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see we’re gaining momentum. We’re hell bent on being a benchmark company and must buy and sell aggressively, which is evident in our existing propositions. Our goal is to penetrate 65 per cent of the UK market and we’ll do it.”

Kangle also announced that Lycamobile had revised its international forecasts upwards across the group to 15-20 million users by 2011, with the UK expected to account for 30 percent of this new figure.

Lycamobile also intends to launch a fixed-mobile convergence product in June that will enable customers to access their mobile account balance from a landline connection.

Tesco plans to expand in-store ‘phone shops’ – UK

Tesco Mobile, a joint venture between Tesco and O2, is planning to double the number of in store phone shops it has throughout the chain. Tesco, the biggest supermarket in the UK, currently has 50 in store shops in the larger Tesco Extra branches, a number which it hopes to increase to 100 by the end of March 2010. Looking long term Tesco aims to have all 210 Tesco Extra stores equipped with in store mobile shops by 2012 or 2013.

Tesco’s MVNO, using the network capacity of O2, has approximately 13% market share in the UK’s prepay market. According to data from the Mobile World, Tesco had nearly two million mobile subscribers at the end of 2008, representing approximately 10% of O2’s total customers in the UK.

Tesco Mobile, who entered the mobile market in September 2003, views this period of in store expansion as part of its general strategy of grabbing a more significant mobile market share. Lance Batchelor, head of Tesco Telecoms, identified rivals 3 and fellow MVNO Virgin Mobile as being within their sights saying: “If we overtook them that would make us the fifth-largest in the market. That starts to feel like an appropriate market share.”

In an interview with The Times newspaper Batchelor said: “Consumers are very often confused by offers put in front of them. Some of the tactics are reminiscent of the used-car industry, they are very aggressive.”

He added that Tesco was running head-to-head with Argos in the prepay market, while a little behind Charles Dunstone’s Carphone. Tesco has also initiated its move into contract phones with a pay-monthly service.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Virgin Mobile India reduces call payout – India

As a consequence of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decision to lower termination charges, Virgin Mobile India has announced that it will halve the rate it pays customers to receive incoming calls, from INR 0.10 to INR 0.05 a minute.

Commenting on the rate cut M A Madhusudan, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Mobile India, said: “Importantly, despite the changes, we will not make it zero, so that customers continue to get the benefit since even today no one (other than us) offers this service.

“If you look at our overall calls, initially, the number of incoming calls was more. As the subscriber base has grown overall, it has almost become 50-50. So, if my 30 paise has gone down, my outflow has also increased by the same. So, in terms of the financial impact, it is not a big negative.”