Friday, 26 June 2009

Phone House launches new offering – France

According to Telecompaper, Phone House, a unit of the Carphone Warehouse chain offering MVNO services, has launched a new service “combine d’ai de points” (how many points do I have).

Under the service, the company has launched a web page for its customers, which will enable mobile customers to compare the cost of upgrading their mobile handsets at Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Virgin Mobile.

Bay Mobile to cease operations – Malta

Maltese MVNO Bay Mobile has announced that it will shut down its MVNO operations on the 4th of July.

The MVNO, which is owned by the Eden Leisure Group, only launched in October 2008. It offered its customers a cheap flat-rate calling tariff, not distinguishing between peak times.

Bay Mobile customers will be supported by Melita Mobile which shall offer Bay Mobile customers a free month of usage and a MTL 0.10 (USD 0.33) a minute flat-rate calling package (which will remain unchanged until April 2010) to other Melita Mobile and fixed line numbers.

Simon de Cesare, Chief Executive Officer of the Eden Leisure Group explained that Bay Mobile was closing as they were: “relentlessly fighting off the competition from the large operators who have deep pockets and massive marketing resources”.

Simon de Cesare also confirmed that no Bay Mobile staff will lose their jobs; instead they shall be redistributed throughout the constituent parts of the Eden Leisure Group.

Lycamobile plans MNO service with 21st Century Telecom – St Kitts and Nevis

Ethnic market prepay MVNO Lycamobile has signed a full mobile network operator deal with 21st Century Telecom Networks in order to expand its market base across the Caribbean.

Initially, the company will start its services from St Kitts and Nevis, followed by six other islands at a later stage. Under the terms of the agreement, Lycamobile will promote its brand name throughout several regions to become a full-service “MNO” from a client perspective.

Commenting on the development, Subaskaran Allirajah, Chairman of Lycamobile, said: “I am delighted to announce that we have partnered with 21st Century Telecom Networks to introduce the Lycamobile brand into the Caribbean marketplace. We plan to continue developing compelling product propositions that will serve the global Lycamobile family of customers.”

mBank Mobile prepares for shake-up – Poland

Polish MVNO mBank Mobile is readying its plans to substantially re-jig its offering, combining its telecommunications and banking services in July 2009, according to media reports.

The plans come as mBank revealed that it has not met its customer acquisition targets, garnering only 33,000 SIM card activations since launching in December 2006.

Michal SzelÄ…gowski, spokesman for mBank Mobile, explained why changes were needed saying: "We are in a much more difficult position than the large operators. In addition, on the contrary to P4 or Cyfrowy Polsat, we do not have preferential intra-operator rates.”

Thursday, 25 June 2009

SIM4Travel expands distribution channel – UK

British MVNO SIM4Travel has agreed a distribution deal with Data Select. The agreement with Data Select will enable SIM4Travel to enlarge and enhance its distribution channel for its SIM cards.

Commenting on the agreement Chief Executive Officer of Truphone, parent company of SIM4Travel, Geraldine Wilson said: "SIM4travel is a compelling high quality global travel SIM and with Data Select’s heritage in distributing tech products, we look forward to extending our distribution channel."

Data Select Chief Executive George McPherson added: "Roaming charges are one of the biggest issues still affecting mobile users. Whether for business or pleasure, the worry of international call rates is now a thing of the past, thanks to SIM4travel. This is a great product for Data Select to offer our customers – and just in time for summer."

TracFone Wireless extends SafeLink Wireless to Connecticut – USA

TracFone Wireless has announced that it intends to widen the US Government backed SafeLink Wireless programme to encompass eligible households throughout the state of Connecticut.

SafeLink Wireless will give households a free Motorola cell phone, mobile access to emergency services and 68 minutes of free airtime every month for one year.

The programme will be open to those people who are in receipt of state or federal welfare such as Section 8 housing support or food stamps. It is thought that 260,000 households in Connecticut will be able to take advantage of the SafeLink Wireless programme.

Virgin Mobile to launch new ad campaign – UK

British MVNO Virgin Mobile, which uses the T-Mobile network, has announced details of its upcoming television advertising campaign.

The campaign will forego the traditional Virgin Mobile staple of using a celebrity to promote its services, instead focusing on a typical customer using their 3G mobile Internet service. The campaign is the first since 2007 and it is expected to run over the course of 5 weeks.

Ashley Stockwell, Executive Director of Brand and Marketing for Virgin Mobile, commented on the campaign saying: “This is an ad that really packs a punch. We wanted to engage people on an emotional level and show them just how much the mobile internet can bring to them, from social media and music to film clips and games, all for less than the price of a packet of crisps.”

Noverca offers geographical assistance through 'Vicino a te' – Italy

According to Telecompaper, Italian MVNO Noverca Italia has introduced a new plan named as 'Vicino a te' ('Close to you') for l'Extended SIM card users. Under the plan, the company will offer its users an option to receive geolocation-based information on points of interest via SMS. The service will enable subscribers to obtain information regarding fun shops, gas stations, pharmacies and food outlets in the nearby locality.

Noverca Italia emerged from a joint venture between the Acotel Group and Intesa Sanpaolo.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Ortel cheers EU roaming cost cut move – Germany

Ethnic market MVNO Ortel Mobile (an E-Plus subsidiary) has welcomes the European Union’s move to lower mobile roaming prices across Europe from 1 July onwards. According to Bernd Urbanek, Country Manager in Germany for Ortel Mobile, the new regulations will gel well with the company’s plans.

From 1 July onwards, customers with an Ortel Mobile SIM card will pay EUR 0.51 (USD 0.71) per minute for calls within the EU while outside their home country. The cost of receiving calls across the EU will fall to EUR 0.22 (USD 0.31) per minute and the cost of an SMS to EUR 0.13 (USD 0.18).

Reports indicate Multimedia Polska wishes to become MVNO – Poland

Polish telecommunications and cable television company Multimedia Polska is reportedly thinking of adding mobile telephony to its range of services through an MVNO arrangement, according to media speculation.

The reports surfaced as the President of Multimedia Polska Andrzej Rogowski announced plans to invest around PLN 190,000,000 (USD 59,000,000) to upgrade its infrastructure.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Three new players plan telecom entry – Vietnam

According to reports GTel Telecom, state-run Vietnam Multimedia Corporation (VTC) and Dong Duong are planning to enter the Vietnamese wireless market. GTel is a 60/40 joint venture between state-owned Global Telecom Corporation and Russian operator Vimpelcom.

All three are planning to provide 3G services by utilising the network infrastructure of one of the leading operators. GTel has reportedly completed discussions with Vinaphone to launch services under the Beeline brand, while VTC and Dong Duong are still searching for partners for their MVNO operations.

Aspider wins case against Tommy Telecom – The Netherlands

According to Telecompaper, Dutch MVNO Tommy Telecom has lost the case against Dutch MVNE Aspider. As per the ruling by the Utrecht court, Tommy Telecom will have to pay all of Aspider’s outstanding bills. According to an Aspider spokesperson, the outstanding bill amount is EUR 200,000 (USD 277,660).

Monday, 22 June 2009

La Poste considers MVNO launch – France

According to Capital magazine, the French postal service is considering the option of launching its own MVNO service in France. The post office has approached various industry professionals for the preparation of the tender.

Currently, the post office distributes prepaid cards for the 3 main networks as well as SIM-only subscriptions for Virgin Mobile. An MVNO launch will help the post office to create a new revenue stream and will compensate for their falling mail service revenues.

FRiENDi mobile now on sale in 800 locations – Oman

FRiENDi mobile can now be purchased at 800 locations throughout Oman, a massive increase on their initial launch. Currently new subscribers also benefit from 100 free messages and 100 minutes when signing up for their new starter pack.

Antti Arponen, Chief Executive Officer of FRiENDi mobile, said: “Our City Centre outlet is eye-catching, fun and fully functional as a FRiENDi mobile branch. FRiENDi mobile staff is friendly and fully trained, and welcome all nationalities with a smile. We have a great offer for Starter Pack, and the outlet also sells recharge cards in all denominations.”

FRiENDi mobile is a new mobile brand for Oman focusing on people with family or loved ones abroad. FRiENDi Oman is a private Omani company, owned by prominent Omani business groups and the international telecommunications company FRiENDi GROUP that has its headquarters in Dubai, UAE. The operation went live in Oman during April this year.

Yodobashi plans new offering together with TripletGate – Japan

According to the Nikkei, Yodobashi Camera, a leading Japanese electronic goods retailer, is planning to introduce a new service by combining two types of wireless connections. The service will be launched in partnership with MVNO TripletGate and will cost JPY 4,480 (USD 46.56) per month. Yodobashi will exclusively sell the service in all of its stores from 1 July onwards.