Saturday, 13 June 2009

Virgin Mobile introduces prepaid mobile broadband – USA

Virgin Mobile USA has announced that it will begin offering prepaid mobile broadband to its customers; under the moniker Broadband2Go. Virgin Mobile is hoping to launch the new service by the end of June.

Broadband2Go will make use of Sprint’s 3G network and customers will be required to purchase a Novatel Wireless MC760 USB modem to connect to the service which is expected to go on sale to coincide with the launch.

Customers will not have to sign-up to any lengthy contracts or incur any activation fees. Instead Broadband2Go will offer 10 days of broadband with a 100 MB data cap for USD 10, thirty days usage and a 250 MB cap for USD 20 and finally thirty days usage with a 600 MB data cap for USD 40; there will also be a thirty day usage period with a 1 GB data cap for USD 60. When connected to the network customers will be able to check and monitor their data usage, with automatic reminders to top-up scheduled to appear when they near the data cap threshold.

Virgin Mobile USA Chief Marketing Officer Bob Stohrer announced Broadband2Go saying: “Forget the long-term contracts, monthly bills or desperately seeking a local coffee shop for Wi-Fi. Prepaid mobile broadband is ideal for students, families on the go, freelancers, anyone who needs wireless Internet access and wants to pay only when they use it.”

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Coriolis Telecom unveils “Topissime” unlimited plan - France

French MVNO Coriolis Telecom has launched an unlimited call plan named "Topissime". The package offer includes unlimited calls to all operators in metropolitan France along with the unbounded facility of SMS, e-mails and net surfing.

For a one-year contract (without a mobile phone), customers pay EUR 69.80 (USD 98.10) per month. Coriolis Telecom operates through the SFR network.

Ben to offer 15 extra minutes on Father’s Day – The Netherlands

Dutch MVNO Ben has declared a new promotional offer on the occasion of Father's Day. Under the special offer, Ben will provide 15 extra minutes or SMSs to its subscribers. The offer will automatically become effective from 14 June and will be available till 30 June.

Virgin Mobile introduces ‘Paradyse’ contract plans – France

Virgin Mobile France has introduced a new range of contract plans for its customers available between 17 June and 31 July. Under the plans, customers will be offered unlimited messaging, calls and Internet access. There are several plans for subscribers available under the scheme.

The Paradyse range includes a contractual plan that allows 1 hour of calls plus unlimited SMS, e-mail and messenger at the cost of EUR 22.90 (USD 32.18) per month on a one-year contract or EUR 19.90 (USD 27.97) per month on a two-year contractual basis. The similar plan is also available with 3 hours of airtime, which costs EUR 27.90 (USD 39.21) or EUR 32.90 (USD 46.24) (as per the duration of contract).

Virgin’s new range also includes plans that offer unlimited calls to five numbers on any network, unlimited SMS, Internet access, e-mail and Messenger. The plan costs EUR 31.90 (USD 44.83) per month with 2 hours of call time (EUR 34.90 (USD 49.05) on a one-year contract) and EUR 42.90 (USD 60.29) with 4 hours of call time (EUR 47.90 (USD 67.32) for one year).

Another major offer in Virgin’s pool is a fully unlimited option, which is available with the price tag of EUR 89 (USD 125.08) per month with no contract or handset, followed by EUR 99 (USD 139.13) on a two-year contract with a subsidised phone, or EUR 109 (USD 153.19) on a one-year contract with phone. The plan allows subscribers to call or send SMS to 99 different individuals every month with the maximum call length of 3 hours.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Virgin launches free call plan – India

Virgin Mobile India has introduced a new plan whereby Virgin subscribers will be able to make free calls to other Virgin mobile users with a one time charge of INR 14 (USD 0.29). The plan named ‘Virgin to Virgin Bakbak Plan’ will be available to all Virgin subscribers across India.

In order to activate the new plan, subscribers are required to recharge their prepaid account by INR 14 (USD 0.29) onetime only. Thereafter, they will be able to make free calls subject to a maximum of 200 minutes per day. However, the first three minutes will be charged at INR 1 (USD 0.02) per minute for the day. Calls and SMS rates to other networks will remain unchanged.

Carrefour Mobile names new Chief – Italy

Italian MVNO Carrefour Mobile, which is owned by supermarket giant Carrefour, has revealed that it has appointed Antonio Cortina as its new Chief Executive Officer. Cortina joins the MVNO, which uses the Vodafone Italia network, from telecommunications company Wind.

Zantel unveils new tariff – Tanzania

Tanzanian MVNO Zantel, which uses the Vodacom network, has announced details of its new low-cost tariff which will see customers being charged at TZS 1 (USD 0.00077) per second of use.

Commenting on the introduction of the tariff Zantel’s Chief Commercial Officer, Faisal Khan said: "The new rates are aimed at providing our customers with a reasonable tariff so that they can have value for their money. There is stiff competition in the market, and people need fast, reliable and affordable communication services.”

Marketing Director leaves Blyk – UK

The Marketing Director at Blyk UK, Dean Merrion, has announced that he will leave his position at Blyk after only 14 months with the company.

Merrion’s decision to quit continues the senior exodus away from Blyk after former Blyk Managing Director, Shaun Gregory decided to leave the company back in February to lead O2’s media business unit.

Blyk, which gives customers credit in return for receiving targeted advertisements, is believed to be looking internally for someone to fill the now vacant position.

Merrion, commenting on his departure, said: “I’ve had a great time at Blyk and achieved all I set out to do. I’m confident that I leave the business in great shape for the partnership strategy, with a bigger and more loyal customer base than before I joined.”

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Aspider partners with Vodafone for MVNO solutions – The Netherlands, Ireland

Branded MVNO and MVNE solutions provider Aspider Solutions has entered into a partnership with Vodafone Ireland for providing solutions to MVNOs. Aspider will provide systems which will enable MVNOs to offer branded mobile services. The company aims to expand its international base by targeting the high-growth segments of the mobile market globally.

Luis Carrera, Vice President International of ASPIDER Solutions, commented: “This is another milestone in building our international plans. Our partnership with Vodafone Ireland combines the best national network with our expertise in launching and operating successful MVNOs”.

Virgin Mobile USA adds new post-paid family plans – USA

Virgin Mobile USA has introduced three new family plans for its post-paid subscribers in the US. The plans will be available from 10 June onwards.

The plans include - All-In plan for USD 175 per month having 4,000 anytime minutes and unlimited messaging and data services; A La Carte plan for USD 50, being 600 shared anytime minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes. In addition, Virgin will introduce 200 shared minutes to its USD 100 A La Carte plan.

Monday, 8 June 2009

TracFone unveils new tariff – USA

TracFone Wireless, an MVNO which supports the US government backed SafeLink Wireless programme, has announced details of its latest tariff. The new tariff, which has been titled ‘Straight Talk’, will offer customers 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text messages and 30 MB of data for USD 30 a month. The tariff will also enable customers to call directory assistance (available by dialling 411) for free.

The new tariff, which will be available through Wal-Mart stores or over the internet, will initially be subject to a staggered roll-out, with customers in Atlanta, Phoenix and Denver being given the opportunity to sign-up first. An expansion timetable has yet to be published for the new tariff.

Easytel to shut operations – The Netherlands

Easytel Mobile is planning to close its operations owing to fierce competition and pricing pressures. According to a spokesperson, the company has not been able to expand its customer base, which currently stands at less than 5,000. Owing to a low subscriber base, Easytel Mobile has not been able to make enough profit. Easytel started its operations in January last year using KPN’s network.

Subscribers have been sent a letter explaining that they will be able to switch network while keeping their current number. Calls through Easytel Mobile will last until 1 July.

Orange witness strong growth in MVNO subscribers – UK

Orange UK has reported almost flat revenue growth of 0.4% in its mobile segment at GBP 1.08 billion (USD 1.73 billion) in Q109. This is despite the company registering considerable growth in its data and 3G revenues. Overall, Orange UK posted a decline of 0.6% in revenues to GBP 1.12 billion (USD 1.79 billion) in Q109 as compared to Q108.

Orange UK has a total of 16.8 million subscribers, including 9 million prepay, 6.6 million pay monthly and 977,000 broadband subscribers. The company recorded nearly 82% growth in 3G subscribers to reach a total base of 3.8 million in Q109. Orange’s MVNO subscriber base also quadrupled and reached 585,000 subscribers in Q109 as compared to 137,000 in Q108. Orange hosts Lycamobile UK and Blyk.

Auchan Telecom introduces new mobile Internet charges – France

According to Echos du Net, French MVNO Auchan Telecom has introduced a new price list for its Hyper@ mobile Internet service. The company has dropped its EUR 45 (USD 62.88) and EUR 75 (USD 104.80) top-ups. As per the new price list, EUR 7 (USD 9.78) top-up will now offer 1 hour or 200 MB of data transfer, as compared to 1 hour or 10 MB previously.

Similarly, the EUR 15 (USD 20.96) and EUR 25 (USD 34.93) top-ups have been increased to 3 hours or 600 MB and 8 hours or 1 GB from their earlier 2.5 hours or 25 MB and 5 hours or 50 MB, respectively.

Auchan Telecom has also improved pricing for its contract customers by replacing its EUR 10 (USD 13.97) and EUR 20 (USD 27.94) monthly subscription plans. The new schemes include 2 hours or 200 MB capped plan at EUR 9.90 (USD 13.83) per month and a EUR 29.90 (USD 41.78) plan with unlimited time online and 2 GB of data transfer.

The company offers services using Bouygues Telecom’s EDGE/3G network.

Blyk eager to enter Indian MVNO market – India

Mobile advertising focused MVNO Blyk has reaffirmed its intention to enter the Indian market. The MVNO gives 16-24 year olds GBP 15 (USD 24.47) worth of credit in return for receiving targeted, specific mobile advertisements direct to their handsets.

Blyk spokesperson Ann Sarimo confirmed Blyk’s desire to begin operating in the soon to be deregulated Indian mobile market, saying: "Discussions are ongoing (with potential partners). So yes, we do intend to enter India but cannot comment yet on the timing,"

Media reports suggest that Blyk are already recruiting a senior management team for its Indian venture.