Thursday, 30 July 2009

Samart Telecom plans MVNO – Thailand

Samart Telecom is planning to enter the Thai mobile market as an MVNO, according to company President Watchai Vilailuck

Watchai Vilailuck announced that Samart Telecom sought to establish and have its MVNO up and running by Q409. The company is currently waiting for an MVNO licence to be issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Watchai Vilailuck commented on Samart Telecom’s plans, saying: "The move into MVNO is to complete our resources by synergising digital contents and equipment with the new mobile network services.”

Virgin Mobile launches unlimited text, voice and Internet – United Kingdom

For GBP 65 (USD 104) a month Virgin Media subscribers can now receive unlimited text, voice and Internet usage for their mobile phones. The offering comes as part of an 18 month contract. The unlimited service also includes cross network minutes.

Jonathan Kini, Director of Mobile at Virgin Media said: “The £65 per month tariff offers great value with unlimited texts, minutes and web browsing – the perfect combination for high usage customers who want the best technology available, without paying the earth! The addition of these fantastic handsets to the device range demonstrates our commitment to catering for every mobile customer out there.”

Unlimited data is subject to a fair use policy of 1GB per month. Unlimited texts are subject to a fair usage policy of 3000 per month, unlimited cross network minutes of 3000 per month, and unlimited Virgin mobile to Virgin mobile calls of 3000 per month.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Consumer Cellular improves AARP plans – USA

US MVNO Consumer Cellular has enhanced its offers to the members of the AARP, an organisation formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons. Four plans of the six currently offered to members of AARP by Consumer Cellular will benefit from a greater number of minutes and text messages for no extra cost; for instance the Anywhere 200 plan will be renamed to Anywhere 250 to reflect the increase. AARP customers will automatically be upgraded to the new plans.

Howard Blyck, Senior Vice President of Lifestyle Products for AARP Services inc, commented: "Consumer Cellular has always appreciated the basic service needs of some of our members and has committed consistently to making flexible cell phone service available to them at affordable rates. Given the current economic environment, we are pleased that Consumer Cellular is offering even more value to the AARP's nearly 40 million members."

John Marick, Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Cellular, added: "Consumer Cellular provides simple and straightforward cell phone calling plans that best suit our customers' needs. By providing additional minutes to select plans, AARP members across the country can further enjoy the freedom and convenience of wireless service with simple phones, affordable plans and no contracts."

Tesco Mobile unveils new unlimited tariff – UK

British MVNO Tesco Mobile, a joint venture between O2 and the supermarket giant, has announced the introduction of a new unlimited tariff.

The new tariff, which is a distributed in a SIM-only pay monthly arrangement, will give customers unlimited calls, texts and browsing for GBP 30 (USD 50.83) a month, with a fair usage limit of GBP 500 (USD 846.60).

Tesco Chief Executive Officer Lance Batchelor is quoted as saying: “We believe that this will change the way people use their mobile phones. The new tariff aims to give people a simple, guaranteed way to have unlimited calls, texts and browsing. It takes away the concern and uncertainty about your monthly bill as it’s fixed at £30, meaning you can talk, text and browse freely.”

Sprint Nextel set to acquire Virgin Mobile – USA

US MNO Sprint Nextel is set to acquire Virgin Mobile USA for a reported sum of USD 483,000,000. Sprint Nextel, which already owned a 13.1% percent stake in Virgin Mobile USA, will combine Virgin Mobile USA with its own prepaid business.

Sprint Nextel will appoint Dan Schulman, the Chief Executive of Virgin Mobile USA, to head up the new prepaid business, which is to include Boost Mobile. Although the businesses will be combined, a Sprint Nextel spokesperson confirmed that they will be kept as separate brands ‘each with a distinctive offer, style and appeal to different customer demographics’.

Dan Hesse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sprint Nextel, announced the deal by saying: "Prepaid is growing at an unprecedented rate with customers keenly focused on value. Virgin Mobile is an iconic brand in the marketplace that will complement our Boost Mobile brand.”

The head of Boost Mobile, Matt Carter, will keep his current position, although the restructured business will see him reporting to Dan Schulman.

200,000 Blyk subscribers lose their network – United Kingdom, Netherlands, USA

Contrary to previous denials the Blyk MVNO operation is to end. By the end of August the current 200,000 subscriber base needs to port their numbers to other operators of their choice. The main operator to receive these subscribers is expected to be Orange which recently entered into a marketing contra deal allowing Orange to access the Blyk setup.

The interesting difference with these subscribers is that they do not come with an ARPU. The Blyk offering revolved around an exchange of adverts for credit therefore the revenue stream came from advertisers and not the 200,000 subscribers. Based upon this, Orange, assuming it sets up a similar service, will bring on board the subscribers. Other than this option the subscribers are open to the market. Whether the subscribers already carry a 2nd SIM already is unknown so potentially there may be no impact on the market. Also unknown is how much credit each user was typically receiving so we are unable to tell if new money will come to the market to offset what was being provided for free.

The future for Blyk seems to rest in becoming a vendor of mobile content-marketing solutions with no direct consumer interaction, a likely route for its wider European enterprises. Elsewhere Blyk has announced in The Netherlands that it will work with Vodafone. Also commenting to Moconews, Chief Executive Officer, Pekka Ala-Pietilä said: "The US for us would have been a very, very difficult market to enter under the MVNO approach. Now, when we have a partnering approach, it's a completely different thing; that means the US is definitely back on our roadmap.”

Monday, 27 July 2009

PosteMobile launches new promotions – Italy

The Italian MVNO, PosteMobile, has launched a new tariff called ‘Con i Tuoi’. The offer is priced at EUR 5 (USD 7.20) a month and comes with credits towards same network usage.

The operator has also launched a referral scheme paying subscribers EUR 15 (USD 21.60) for each new customer they cause to port from another operator to PosteMobile. Credits will be made within 5 days of the new subscriber porting their number and the offer runs until the end of September.

The operator has also reportedly entered into an agreement with Telepark Italy which will allow its subscribers to pay for parking using their mobile handsets at various sites across the country.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Embarq cutting off some subscribers – USA

According to The Hook, Embarq has begun contacting clients informing them that their wireless service will be withdrawn as of October this year. The operator is looking at a high speed fixed line business across 33 states when it merges with CenturyTel and believes that the wireless market is becoming too crowded in terms of usage, with the future of telecommunications resting in enhanced high speed services.

With Qwest blaming a Q209 revenue decline in voice by 13% on consumer access line pressure it maybe that Embarq is making the right move in moving on from wireless into a modern era of fixed line services.