Friday, 29 May 2009

Saunalahti introduce Nokia Messaging – Finland

Finnish MVNO Saunalahti, which launched in September 2001 and uses the Elisa network, has announced it plans to introduce the Nokia Messaging push email service to its customers.

The service, which streamlines the receiving and sending of emails from a variety of accounts and sources through one primary interface, is expected to cost EUR 4.95 (USD 7.07) a month and will include a 4 GB mailbox and unlimited email throughout Finland.

Commenting on the release Panu Lehti, Product Manager from Saunalahti’s parent company Elisa, said: “Nokia Messaging is easy to use, and brings the most frequently used functions right upfront so that users have a comfortable mobile email experience on their devices. With a fixed monthly fee, consumers no longer need to be tethered to their PCs, but can get access to their mailboxes anytime, anywhere - even when they are at their summer cottages.”

Sprint offers tri-mode phone, expands 4G markets – USA

Sprint Nextel is planning to come up with tri-mode phones compatible with CDMA, Wi-Fi and WiMAX connectivity. The company is also planning to introduce Sprint 4G service in various anonymous markets. Sprint will operate as an MVNO over Clearwire, in which it holds a 51% stake.

A Sprint spokesperson said: “We haven't announced specific timing or any more details other than to say we expect to offer a 4G phone on our road map for 2009-2010.” Sprint has not decided on the exact schedule of the launch, however, the company is targeting markets it has not previously explored.

Ron clears stance over Nederland Mobiel and Tommy Telecom – The Netherlands

In order to clear confusion between Dutch MVNOs Nederland Mobiel and Tommy Telecom, Ron van de Rhee has stated that the two entities operate separately from each other.

Ron van de Rhee is the Director of Tommy Telecom and Co-founder of Nederland Mobiel. Rhee supported his point by saying that Nederland Mobiel has paid a “large” amount of money for Tommy Telecom’s client base.

Nashua Mobile unveils Lions tour promotion – South Africa

South African reseller Nashua Mobile has released details regarding its upcoming promotion which will tie-in with the latest British and Irish Lions tour.

The promotion will take the form of the ‘Springbok Supporter’s Pack’. The pack will be distributed to customers purchasing a mobile or data contract and will include a range of official Springbok branded paraphernalia such as hats, scarves and cushions. There will also be a small number of match tickets available throughout the course of the promotion.

Nashua revealed that there will also be an advertising campaign supporting the promotion which will be fronted by recently retired South African rugby player and Nashua Mobile ambassador Percy Montgomery. Montgomery made his debut against the British and Irish Lions in 1997 and went on to be the first player to record 100 test appearances.

The South African mobile market currently hosts only one full MVNO, being Virgin Mobile. Although Nashua seems to be an operator it in fact acts a reseller for all 3 MNOs in the country.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Elephant Talk's strategic growth plan remains on target – The Netherlands

Elephant Talk has released its Q109 results stating a positive first quarter and outlook for 2009. Mainly a mobile solutions firm, Elephant Talk, also describes itself as an MVNE which has positioned itself as the premier outsourcing partner for both MNOs and MVNOs.

Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2009 was USD 9,428,884 compared to USD 11,757,280 for the same period in 2008 but remain on the 2009 budgeted target. The company reduced its net loss of USD 2.1 million by USD 500,000 for Q109 versus USD 2.6 million for the same period 2008.

Steven van der Velden, Chief Executive Officer of Elephant Talk, stated: “There were significant investments required to build the foundation of our Company. Our top notch infrastructure is now fully implemented which will allow ETAK to focus on its strategic growth plan of increasing market share and expanding our geographic footprint. Management is confidant that this plan will allow us to grow our business profitably while enhancing the Company’s valuation for shareholders.”

MTV sues Kajeet – USA

Television network MTV has filed a lawsuit for USD 11,600,000 at the U.S. District Court, Southern District, New York against Kajeet, a child orientated MVNO.

The MTV lawsuit is due to Kajeet, which has used the Sprint network since its launch, supposedly failing to uphold its end of a licensing agreement it signed for the use of Nickelodeon content. The agreement between the two companies reportedly compelled Kajeet to purchase USD 11,700,000 of advertising time on MTV. MTV alleges that Kajeet has not purchased sufficient advertising airtime and has also halted its payment of due licence fees, whilst still apparently using Nickelodeon content.

Commenting on the lawsuit an MTV Networks spokesperson said: “Kajeet has breached and defaulted under the agreement by refusing to pay past due and outstanding invoices, indicating it ‘wants out’ of its agreement with MTVN while still using MTVN content past the expiration of its license.”

Virgin Mobile to re-jig price plans and wins m-broadband award – UK

British MVNO Virgin Mobile, which has used the T-Mobile network since its launch in 1999, has revealed that it plans to modify its existing line-up of pay monthly contract plans. The two new 18 month tariffs will cost GBP 18 (USD 29.80) and GBP 25 (USD 41.40) a month respectively.

The new GBP 18 a month tariff will give customers unlimited data or text messages and the GBP 25 plan will offer customers both unlimited data and text messages.

Current subscribers to Virgin Media’s other services such as landline phone, broadband and cable television will be able to take advantage of free calls to other Virgin Mobile customers if they sign up to one of the new packages.

Commenting on the revised plans Graeme Oxby, Managing Director of Virgin Media’s mobile division said: "We’re offering consumers outstanding value and much greater choice, with hundreds of minutes, countless texts and endless web browsing included in their monthly package.”

Also this week, Virgin Media has won the first Mobile Broadband Genie Road Trip Award with Vodafone as the Runner Up. Six UK mobile broadband suppliers namely O2, Orange, 3, T-Mobile, Virgin Media and Vodafone participated in the event, which tested the claims of providing Internet ‘on the move’ by these companies.

In the contest, Broadband Genie staff took a 350-mile rail journey over two days with their laptops and dongles supplied by all six providers. What we find interesting is that Virgin beat T-Mobile even though their service uses the same network, run by T-Mobile.

Penny Mobil starts MNP with special promotion – Germany

German MVNO Penny Mobilwill celebrates the introduction of its mobile number portability (MNP) service with a one-off promotion.

The promotion will see customers who transfer their numbers across to Penny Mobil being given EUR 25 (USD 35.76) of calling credit and 1,000 minutes, valid for 30 days from SIM activation, for use on weekends to German phone numbers. The promotion will run until the 5th of July 2009.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Inkk Mobile contemplates 3G; crosses 250,000 subscriber mark – Fiji

Fijian MVNO Inkk Mobile is reported to be in negotiations with Vodafone Fiji, with Inkk hoping to gain access to the MNO’s 3G network. 3G services are only available to Vodafone’s own client base in the small island country. If the negotiations are successful then Inkk Mobile – which now has over 250,000 subscribers – will seek to offer 3G services to its prepay users.

The Chief Executive Officer of Inkk Mobile, Paul O’Neile, wishes to make the MVNO the ‘Fijians choice’ and that now that the first phase in their business plan is complete (amassing a large user base) the second is to ‘provide data services’.

Noverca Italia brings in ‘Extended SIM’ – Italy

Italian MVNO Noverca Italia, which launched in April 2009 and uses the Telecom Italia network, has revealed its Extended SIM card, the latest addition to its services.

The Extended SIM card will allow Noverca Italia, which is owned by the Acotel Group, to offer customers a greater number of services straight from their handset, irrespective of model or manufacturer. The new services offered by the Extended SIM card will be centred on giving customers access to mobile banking and payments from their handset.

The new Extended SIM card will cost EUR 15 (USD 20.96) and will give customers EUR 15 (USD 20.96) worth of inclusive call credit.

KDG launches MVNO – Germany

German telecommunications company, Kabel Deutschland (KDG), has announced the launch of its MVNO, allowing the company to give its customers a quad-play package.

KDG will use the O2 Germany network for its network infrastructure requirements. O2 Germany was first mooted as an MNO partner when KDG made its initial MVNO proposal in March 2009.

The MVNO’s service will be entitled ‘Mobile Phone’ and will only be available to subscribers of KDG’s Internet and telephone packages. ‘Mobile Phone’ will give users free calls to other KDG fixed line and wireless customers, calls to other mobile networks and German fixed line numbers will cost EUR 0.15 (USD 0.21) a minute.

Subscribers to KDG’s Internet and telephone package will be able to add up to a total of 5 SIM cards to their account. There will be a EUR 9.99 (USD 13.98) activation fee applicable to each new SIM card ordered.

Kirene launches on Orange network – Senegal

Kirene, a mineral water brand in Senegal, has launched its mobile service branded as ‘Kirene Mobile avec Orange’ in Senegal. The company will use Orange Senegal’s network and MVNE services of Transatel to run its operations. Orange is the largest mobile network by subscriber numbers in Senegal.

Commenting on the development, Philippe Vigneau, Director of Business Development at Transatel, said: “Being a forerunner for both companies, this project was really important to us. First of all because it was the first partnership concluded in Africa on a brand agreement (with Orange). On the other hand it is the first time that a food industry brand, turns to a worldwide operator to develop a mobile telephony offer."

The new operation can be found at http://www.kirenemobile.sn, although the site is yet to launch.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Tune Talk gears up for H209 launch – Malaysia

The Malaysian MVNO Tune Talk is gearing up for a H209 consumer launch, according to Jason Lo the Chief Executive Officer of Tune Talk. Lo fleshed out details surrounding the launch, revealing that the MVNO would operate on the Celcom network and would be aimed squarely at the Malaysian youth market via services at discounted calling rates bundled with incentives and providing nationwide coverage.

Commenting on the launch – and further expansion aspirations – Jason Lo said: “With a low-cost business model, we are optimistic of Tune Talk’s potential and that our service will be well-received by the market. We also plan to expand to countries in Association of South-East Asian Nations by employing the same operating model.”

Race Telecom launches MVNO for kids – Denmark

Race Telecom A/S, a privately-held telecom company based in Denmark, has launched a new MVNO service called WiGOMO in Denmark, which will target kids in the 5 to 10 age group. The operation is hosted by TDC.

WiGOMO will offer its customers a combination of a mobile phone with built-in GPS and an online solution enabling parents to define rules on the usage of the phone. Parents can access a website and define the rules for the time of usage together with incoming and outgoing calls and SMS. Parents can also access the data on the usage pattern of the child’s phone. The concept aims at introducing children to mobile telephony in a safe manner.

TelstraClear may return back to Vodafone – New Zealand

According to market speculations, New Zealand MVNO TelstraClear is mulling a return to Vodafone. The development is assumed to be influenced from Telecom’s decision to block resellers from accessing its XT mobile network, thus confining them to the CDMA network.

In August 2007 TelstraClear had signed a deal to resell connections to Telecom’s CDMA network after the end of its agreement with Vodafone, which resided with a margin dispute. In October 2007 Telecom then announced that they would not give resellers access to its new XT network until 2011.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

DoT set to issue guidelines for MVNOs – India

The Department of Telecom is expected to issue guidelines for MVNOs on 28 May. According to a senior official, the department has finalised the guidelines after the mutual consent of DoT and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over their previous dispute.

TRAI had its reservations about allowing MVNOs to tie-up with more than one operator in an area for their services. The recommendations, submitted to the department on 12 March, stated that an “MVNO cannot have any spectrum allotment. The payment of spectrum charges by (an) MVNO should not establish any right at a later date. This aspect may be legally examined.”

However, the department has reviewed the recommendations and has agreed to make the required modifications in the previous regulations submitted by DoT.