Saturday, 9 May 2009

Virgin plans GSM entry by partnering with Tata Teleservices – India

Virgin Mobile is planning to enter the GSM market in India via its existing CDMA partner, Tata Teleservices. The partnership with Tata Teleservices will enable Virgin mobile to leverage Tata Teleservices’ GSM licence in 19 circles and GSM spectrum in 13 circles.

The partnership will also enable Virgin Mobile to expand its subscriber base in India as around 70% of the mobile market in India is covered by the GSM network. Virgin Mobile is mulling the option of adopting a franchisee model rather than an MVNO arrangement for its GSM offering. According to Jamie Heywood, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Mobile India, the company has a commercial agreement with Tata for offering its service on the GSM network.

Friday, 8 May 2009

PepePhone introduces number porting promotion – Spain

Spanish MVNO PepePhone has announced details of its new number porting promotion. The promotion entitled ¡Mira que me voy! ('Here I go!') will offer customers porting their number to PepePhone a free SIM card and a flat rate call price of EUR 0.06 (USD 0.08) per minute.

According to PepePhone, which has been active as an MVNO since December 2007, the main thrust of the promotion is to allow customers to attempt to get a preferential deal from their existing mobile phone company, using the pending transfer of their number to PepePhone as a lever to negotiate a better deal.

If prospective customers are dissatisfied with the offer from their current mobile provider and choose to transfer to PepePhone they will be charged for SIM card delivery, although that will be refunded once the number has been ported successfully.

Bell Mobility purchases Virgin Mobile – Canada

Bell Mobility has announced its purchase of Virgin Mobile Canada. Bell Mobility, who already owned 50% of Virgin Mobile Canada, paid the reported sum of CAD 142,000,000 (USD 123,000,000) for Virgin Group’s half of the MVNO.

The purchase also included a long-term licensing deal which will allow Bell Mobility to continue using the Virgin Mobile brand in Canada.

Commenting on the deal George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bell said: "Bell Mobility's acquisition of Virgin Mobile Canada supports our strategic imperative to Accelerate Wireless, a core component in Bell's overall strategy to achieve our goal: To be recognized by customers as Canada's leading communications company.”

Although Virgin Mobile Canada will continue to act as an independent entity it will be able to take advantage of improved operational efficiency by sharing handsets, network and Bell owned retail outlets.

Virgin Mobile in licence bid discussions with Numericable – France

Virgin Mobile France’s Chief Executive Officer, Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, has revealed that it is in the midst of negotiations with Numericable, amongst others, to present a joint bid for the fourth French 3G licence.

The French MVNO, which has been active since April 2006 and uses the Orange France network, announced its intentions to bid for the fourth licence at the end of April 2009, citing that the licence was ‘good value’.

Geoffrey Roux de Bezieux is quoted as saying that a joint deal with Numericable ‘made sense’ due to the number of subscribers each company has, 1 million for Virgin Mobile France and 4 million for Numericable respectively.

A Numericable spokesman responded to the announcement, saying that a potential agreement with Virgin Mobile France was only one of the potential options under consideration.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Axiom looks to establish itself as MVNO – UAE

Axiom Telecom has announced that it has drawn up plans which will see it enter the mobile market as an MVNO. Axiom is looking at establishing itself in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and potentially in India.

The Chief Executive Officer of Axiom, Faisal Al Bannai, is confident that Axiom has made enough headway to seriously contemplate entering the market, saying that Axiom Telecom had ‘60% of the setup and proposition required to launch an MVNO operation’.

Al Bannai went on to say: “We are currently exploring business models with different regional operators, and they are quite serious about the concept. Axiom Telecom is fully prepared to move quickly in any of the key markets which have been identified.”

Blyk to promote teen horror movie – UK

Pathe Films is launching an integrated promotional marketing campaign for its upcoming teen horror film Tormented, to be released on 22 May 2009. The movie will be promoted via a Facebook application targeted specifically at a 15-19 year old audience. In addition, the company will launch a mobile campaign featuring SMS, MMS and a mobile site via Blyk.

PLDT pushes back Japanese MVNO launch – Japan

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) company has announced the postponement of its proposed Japanese MVNO, although it is still seeking to launch in Macau, Taiwan and potentially two European countries with large numbers of Filipino economic immigrants; a target market with 8 million potential subscribers.

Commenting on the postponement PLDT President Napoleon Nazareno said: “We were supposed to have a major meeting this month with them but the discussion won’t push through anymore so the launch, which was supposed to take place this year, would be postponed as well.”

Based on current regulation they have in relation to MVNO, there are some limitations in Japan. The discussion may likely be moved in the third quarter.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Jazztel restructures debt – Spain

Further to last week’s article, Spanish MVNO and telecommunications company Jazztel has said that it will buy back up to EUR 140,000,000 (USD 191,000,000) of its convertible bonds with a reported discount of up to 50 percent of face value.

The MVNO, which uses the Orange Spain network, said that the buyback will reduce its debts with bondholders from EUR 251,000,000 (USD 343,000,000) to EUR 119,000,000 (USD 162,000,000).

The deal will reportedly be financed with a EUR 80,000,000 (USD 109,000,000) rights issue, EUR 70,000,000 (USD 96,000,000) will be earmarked for the bond buyback and EUR 10,000,000 (USD 14,000,000) will be used to assure its capital base.

Jose Miguel Garcia, Jazztel Chief Executive Officer, said: "The most important thing is that the deal clears any doubts regarding our financial capacity.”

Jazztel also reported that its Q1 revenues have climbed to EUR 101,600,000 (USD 221,000,000) compared to EUR 79,900,000 (USD 109,000,000) during the same period in 2008. Jazztel also announced that it had cut net losses by 33 percent from EUR 24,200,000 (USD 33,000,000) down to EUR 16,200,000 (USD 22,100,000).

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Virgin Media reports slight fall in Q1 mobile revenues – UK

Virgin Media has reported Q109 results with a 3% fall in mobile revenues to GBP 135.3 million (USD 202.13 million) as compared to GBP 139.5 million (USD 208.41 million) a year ago. According to the company, the reason for the decline was the exit of low-value prepaid customers.

Virgin Media has now shifted its focus from low-end customers to more valuable contract customers by providing cross-sell mobile services to its already existing broadband cable customers. At the end of Q109, Virgin Media had 3.96 million customers; with 82% prepay customers and 18% contract customers.

Vitesse launches its own MVNO service – The Netherlands

Vitesse, a Dutch football club, has launched its own MVNO service by using the network capacity of KPN in the Netherlands. The company is specifically targeting the fans of the club. Customers can make voice calls at EUR 0.07 (USD 0.09) per minute under the SIM-only plan. In addition, customers can receive 70 minutes or SMS for EUR 5 (USD 6.66) per month. Other plans include EUR 9.80 (USD 13.05) for 130 minutes or SMS and EUR 12.80 (USD 17.04) for 180 minutes or SMS.

Vitesse is offering four handsets namely Sony Ericsson’s S500i, HTC’s S740, Nokia’s 6210 Navigator and Nokia’s 6300 under the plan. Vitesse subscribers will receive free calls totalling 30 minutes per month to other Vitesse subscribers on the cheapest subscription plans and up to 200 minutes on other plans. Susbcribers will also receive SMS alerts on Vitesse goals and the Vitesse Mobile Magazine.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Nomi Mobile introduces cheap calls to Bangladesh – UK

British ethnic calling MVNO Nomi Mobile has implemented cheaper calling rates for its customers who call Bangladesh.

The MVNO, which has partnered with Vodafone for its infrastructure requirements, will charge a flat rate of GBP 0.04 a minute when calling mobile and fixed line Bangladeshi numbers. The new rates are part of a push instigated by Nomi Mobile to boost the number of Bangladeshi subscribers it has in the United Kingdom. In addition to the new call rates it has also begun advertising in a local Bangladeshi newspaper distributed in East London.