Friday, 15 May 2009

BILDmobil offers starter pack promotion – Germany

German MVNO BILDmobil has released details regarding its latest promotion. The MVNO, which uses the Vodafone Germany network, will reward customers who purchase a BILDmobil starter pack before June 15th with 150 free minutes.

The 150 free minutes can be used to call other German numbers and the minutes will be available for use up to 12 months after the BILDmobil SIM is first registered.

The BILDmobil starter package will cost EUR 9.95 (USD 13.56) which includes EUR 5 (USD 6.81) of credit, calls will be charged at EUR 0.09 (USD 0.12) a minute and EUR 0.14 (USD 0.19) per text message.

Virgin Mobile signs up to Bebo Open Mobile – UK

British MVNO Virgin Mobile has announced that it has signed up to the Bebo Open Mobile programme.

The deal will see Virgin Mobile and Bebo collaborate to set up Bebo Open Mobile Internet, which will customise the Bebo mobile website with Virgin Mobile specific navigation, advertising and bookmarks. Bebo Open Mobile Messaging will also be rolled out to Virgin Mobile customers, allowing them to receive alerts and send updates by text message using the short code 22326.

Commenting on the announcement, Virgin Media’s John Conlon said: “Bebo Open Mobile allows us to offer all the great Bebo features in a simple and accessible way that makes sense for Virgin Media customers and we look forward to continuing to work with Bebo to bring new services and experiences to all consumers.”

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Transatel selects Amdocs Compact Convergence suite – France

European MVNE Transatel has selected Amdocs Compact Convergence network integrated suite to support its MVNO operations. The suite includes various features such as real-time charging, service delivery and value-added services, customer care and self-care for launching cost-effective mobile services including MVNEs and MVNOs.

Transatel services multiple MVNO brands in different European countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK. The company has deployed Amdocs to support 11 prepaid MVNOs from its headquarters in Paris.

Tesco Mobile announces new media campaign – Ireland

Irish MVNO Tesco Mobile, a joint venture between O2 and supermarket chain Tesco, has revealed information about its latest advertising campaign.

Tesco Mobile has earmarked EUR 2,500,000 (USD 3,400,000) for the new campaign, which has been devised by Irish advertising company Cawley Nea. The campaign will encompass advertisements on television, radio, outdoor advertising locations and various places within stores.

Michele O'Briain, Head of Marketing at Tesco Mobile, said: “Our new campaign is based around communicating Tesco Mobile's cheaper rates without compromising on network coverage, which is a response to ongoing consumer research.”

Yes Telecom plans MVNO – Germany

Reports have surfaced speculating that Dutch MVNO Yes Telecom is looking to extend its reach and set up an MVNO in Germany. The MVNO is currently looking to recruit a German management team, with plans to launch in the summer of 2009.

The MVNO, which has been active in the Dutch market since June 2005 using the KPN network, also reported that its revenue growth in Q109 rose 34% and subscriber growth increased 43% year-on-year.

New National Geographic Wireless Service – USA

National Geographic, together with Cellular Abroad, has introduced a new phone service that allows US residents to make and receive international calls.

Direct dial calls from the US to many international destinations, including Mexico, Canada, China and the United Kingdom, start at USD 0.17 per minute, while domestic calls are USD 0.15 per minute. Users can choose from the Motorola V3 Razr Explorer Quad Band cell phone for USD 199 and the Motorola C139 Dual Band cell phone for USD 69. Both handsets using this service include 133 minutes of free domestic talk time.

John Dumbacher, Senior Vice President of Licensing, for National Geographic, said: “The new National Geographic phone service is perfect for people who need dependable wireless service but don’t want to pay for minutes they won’t use,” “Both plans offer customers easy, reliable and budget-conscious solutions to keep in touch with friends and family here at home and overseas.”

Blyk plans to strengthen network partnerships – UK

Blyk has hit back at news reports claiming that it was planning to end its MVNO operations in the UK.

Commenting on the media speculation Blyk spokesmen Ann Sarimo said: “We are not closing shop. We are actively expanding, and we are in negotiations with partners right now. Our members are our core asset. Our total proposition is partly based on the advertising side of things, but it’s also about the whole user experience and audience management. We are not just a technology solution, we are a total mobile marketing solution, based in part on the advertising and messaging component, but it’s very much about a total experience and an audience of happy, engaged users.”

The MVNO is seeking to strengthen the partnerships it has by selling and licensing its marketing technology. Reports speculate that Blyk are currently in talks with O2, Orange and Vodafone.

Blyk, which launched in September 2007 using the Orange network, currently gives users aged 16-24 free calls and text messages on the condition that they receive advertisements from selected partners direct to their handsets.

Compass Communication launches as an MVNO – New Zealand

Compass Communications, a provider of calling and data solutions, has introduced its MVNO service in New Zealand. The MVNO will operate on Vodafone’s network and will offer a SIM card-only service.

Compass has announced that it will only offer SIM cards for sale, foregoing the selling of handsets to its customers. Due to the differing technologies used for 3G networks in New Zealand Compass Communication SIM cards can only be used for mobile handsets already cleared for use on the Vodafone network.

The new MVNO will charge AUD 15 (USD 11.06) a month for its consumer plan, giving subscribers calls to other New Zealand mobiles for AUD 0.25 (USD 0.19) a minute and AUD 0.50 (USD 0.39) a minute for calls to Australia, UK, USA Canada and Ireland. Texts will be charged at AUD 0.20 (USD 0.15) each and data will cost AUD 0.20 (USD 0.15) per megabyte.

Compass’s plans are offered on a monthly prepaid basis. Customers can port numbers across from Telecom (027 numbers) and Vodafone (021 numbers) or receive a new number with the 028 prefix from Compass Communication.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Lebara Mobile appoints new UK MD and Group CMO – UK

Lebara Mobile, an MVNO which targets the ethnic market, has announced two new top level additions to its team.

Russell Atkinson has been appointed as the new Managing Director for the UK. Atkinson was previously the Chief Executive Officer of credEcard and Managing Director of Blackhawk.

The selection of Atkinson as new Managing Director comes after previous Managing Director Rob Gaskin left the company before the close of 2008, apparently clashing with the group Chief Executive Officer (Yoganthan Ratheesan) and Chief Operating Officer (Tim Wort) over strategic concerns.

Lebara, which uses the Vodafone network for its UK operations, also revealed that it has made James Condon its new Group Chief Marketing Officer. Condon joins Lebara Mobile from Tesco, where he held the post of Group Head of Brand and Trade Planning.

Commenting on the staff additions, Chief Operating Officer of Lebara, Tim Wort said: “We are building core, organic growth at a very exciting rate in spite of the current market conditions. Clearly, while we are doing that we need to build the team.”

Lebara Mobile is also planning to expand its presence beyond London and has established dedicated sales teams in areas such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Carphone Warehouse appoints new MD for Talkmobile – UK

Carphone Warehouse has appointed Paul Layte as the new Managing Director of its UK MVNO unit Talkmobile. He has replaced the former Managing Director Philip Macridis. The move is expected to strengthen the company’s relationship with Vodafone and expand its Talkmobile MVNO business unit. Also, Nick Willco, Commercial Finance Director at Best Buy Europe, has taken executive responsibility for the business unit.

In a separate development, Carphone is expected to close down its Fresh and MobileWorld MVNOs, both operating on T-Mobile’s network. Although, Carphone has very recently appointed Nick Willcox to head its ‘MobileWorld’ MVNO. Commenting on the development, a spokesperson from Carphone, said: “Carphone Warehouse will continue to serve customers on both Fresh and MobileWorld MVNOs which it operates with T-Mobile in the UK, however these products are now closed to new customers. Both products have been replaced under the Talkmobile brand which Carphone Warehouse fully intends on growing in the near future.”

Loop Telecom set to initiate GSM services – India

Loop Telecom, a subsidiary of Bulgaria’s MVNO Loop Mobile, will start its GSM-based mobile services in Tamil Nadu and Orissa under the Loop Mobile banner soon. Currently, the company is testing its products and services in these two states and will increase the coverage to other states including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala by June.

UPC Nederland plans to shut down its MVNO – The Netherlands

Dutch telecommunications company UPC Nederland has announced that it will close down its MVNO upcmobile on the 30th of June.

upcmobile has been active since August 2005, gaining up to 100,000 subscribers at its peak. Currently the MVNO has 40,000 pay as you go customers and uses T-Mobile Netherlands (formerly Orange Nederland) for its network infrastructure.

UPC Nederland has revealed that due to its MVNO shutdown it will seek to transfer its subscriber base to T-Mobile Netherlands on the 1st of July.

Simyo to offer promotional discount – Germany

German MVNO Simyo has announced that it will introduce a new promotion for its flatrate subscription service, Simyo Flat. The deal will take the form of a complete discount for the second month that the service is active, saving the customer EUR 15 (USD 20.50).

The promotion will be open to new Simyo Flat subscribers until the 2nd of June. The Simyo Flat tariff gives customers unlimited calls to other Simyo mobile phone customers and German landlines. Calls to other German mobile numbers costs EUR 0.15 (USD 0.20) a minute and EUR 0.10 (USD 0.14) per text message.

Blyk to change core business focus – UK

According to New Media Age, Blyk, an ad-funded MVNO, is planning to close down its direct-to-consumer business. Instead, the company will focus on operator partnership to sell its technology, which allows delivery of targeted marketing messages based on user responses. Blyk is understood to be in talks with O2, Orange and Vodafone.

Commenting on the development, Antti Öhrling, Chief Executive Officer of Blyk, said: “There won’t be an MVNO when we launch the partnership model. The whole model of engaging is appealing to other operators.”

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

KDDI unveils ‘Sanyo Eclipse’ handset – USA

KDDI Mobile has released the second Japanese-capable phone ‘Sanyo Eclipse’ in the market. The handset offers high-speed data capability along with an e-mail client, camera, and media player as some of its other features.

MasMovil launches flat-rate mobile Internet plan – Spain

MasMovil has introduced a flat-rate mobile Internet plan. The plan will be available for EUR 18 (USD 24.50) per month, including a 1 GB usage allowance per month, available on an 18 month contract. Customers subscribing to the plan before 30 June will receive an additional 50% discount on the flat-rate plan.

Lycamobile to sponsor ‘C-Star’ singing competition – UK

Lycamobile, an ethnic market MVNO, will sponsor the Chinese singing competition ‘C-Star’ in order to gain online media and television exposure. Lycamobile is also offering cheap SMS voting options (25p (USD 0.34) for two votes) for the show.

Commenting on the development, Robert Beswick, Marketing Director at Lycamobile, said: “'C-Star' is an exciting venture for Lycamobile to be a part of. There is lots of talent within the Chinese community around the UK and now there is finally a platform for which it can be shared, not just nationally but internationally too.”

Monday, 11 May 2009

Transatel partners with Mi-Pay for payment platform – UK

Mi-Pay, a leading mobile money services provider, has entered into a partnership with Transatel, a European MVNE, to offer the Mi-Pay payment platform to MVNOs.

The partnership with Mi-Pay will enable Transatel to provide its MVNO customers with a leading payment solution for direct channel top-up and access to an international top-up service known as Globaltopup. As a result, Transatel’s MVNO customers will be able to increase their ARPU and reduce churn.

Virgin Mobile’s revenue and subscriber numbers fall during Q109 – USA

Virgin Mobile USA has reported a net loss of 133,000 subscribers and USD 337 million revenues during Q109 as compared to USD 359 million revenues during Q108. The MVNO has described increased competition as the main reason for the subscriber loss. However, the company registered 5.2 million customers during Q109 as compared to 5.1 million during Q108.

According to Dan Schulman, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Mobile USA, the company aims to increase its retail distribution network by adding 6,000 more retail sites that will distribute handsets and top-up cards.

Bay Mobile gives subscribers free calls and texts – Malta

Maltese MVNO Bay Mobile has revealed that it will provide free mobile calls and text messages between its customers.

The MVNO, which has been active since October 2008 and uses the Vodafone network through MVNE Aspider, will run the new promotion until the 1st of July. Bay Mobile will also distribute free SIM cards to existing customers, with the intention that they will forward them on to family and friends to take advantage of the offer.

To participate in the offer Bay Mobile customers need to purchase a minimum of EUR 10 (USD 13.63) in March and June respectively. The credit purchased can be used to call or text any network.

Ben introduces new SIM-only plan – The Netherlands

Ben has introduced a new SIM-only subscription plan dubbed as Ben Beschieden (humble Ben). The subscription will cost EUR 1 (USD 1.36) per month for 12 months and will include 15 call minutes and 15 SMS. Thereafter, any additional call minute or SMS will cost EUR 0.25 (USD 0.34).

Lebara Mobile revenues up 98%, creates jobs – UK

Lebara Mobile, an MVNO which targets the ethnic market, has announced that its revenues are up by 98% compared to its 2008 figures.

The MVNO, which uses the Vodafone network for its UK mobile infrastructure needs, also revealed that it user base has grown by 90% since 2008, giving them a total of over one million customers in the UK. Lebara now has over 3 million customers globally across the group.

Chief Executive of Lebara Mobile Yoganathan Ratheesan said: “The economic climate is having a major impact on many UK businesses. Lebara Mobile, on the other hand, is bucking the trend – we are a successful, fast-paced company with a business model that delivers real value to our customers and real results to the business.

“Our quality service mixed with transparent and honest pricing offers consumers a simple, easy to use and convenient prepay mobile SIM product. And our healthy financials, strong distribution network and partnerships enable us to be profitable and grow. This is a very exciting time for Lebara.”

Lebara further announced the creation of an extra 200 jobs throughout the group. 55 of the new jobs will be located at their customer service centre in East London, while a smaller contingent will be based in Australia.

New MVNO XOX aims for 200,000 users – Malaysia

XOX, the latest MVNO to enter the Malaysian mobile market, has announced its goals for 2009.

Ng Kok Meng, President of XOX, has said that he expects the MVNO – which operates on the Celcom network – to attain 200,000 activations by the end of 2009.

XOX will seek to target the Chinese youth market present in Malaysia, offering cheap calls and texts messages. XOX’s prepaid package will charge MYR 0.20 (USD 0.06) a minute for calls, MYR 0.07 (USD 0.02) per text message and MYR 0.10 (USD 0.03) for every 10kb of mobile data used. XOX’s prepaid starter pack will cost MYR 8.80 (USD 2.50) and will include 1,200 text messages to other XOX subscribers and MYR 5 (USD 1.43) of call time.

Majan launches MVNO service ‘Renna’ – Oman

Majan Telecommunications has launched its new MVNO service under the brand name ‘Renna’ in Oman. Majan will utilise Omantel Mobile’s network infrastructure under the wholesale agreement with the company. Renna plans to target untapped and underserved segments in the mobile market with its simplified mobile tariffs.

Commenting on the new launch, Niklas Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Majan Telecommunications, said that the company’s customers will include those “who care about their money, and those who want to make sure that what they see is what they get – there is no small print with any of our offers.”