Friday, 7 August 2009

Virgin pursuing mobile video on demand – United Kingdom

In a synergy between service offerings Virgin Media are looking to take advantage of their data hungry broadband users, on demand TV audience and on the go mobile users.

Graeme Oxby is quoted in The Guardian saying: “We have customers using fast broadband and customers watching TV. How do we bring that to life on the mobile phone?"

The company holds over 750,000 active mobile subscribers and is looking at bringing more and more on board as high value contract clients generating high ARPU levels than the standard pay as you go and discount markets which are massively contested in the country.

Fastweb posts gains – Italy

Claiming that its MVNO network provides a better quality of service than the competition, Fastweb has posted H109 positive results. Fastweb reports to have 120,000 active subscribers across the consumer and SME (small and medium size enterprise) market within the mobile division of their operation.

The company posted overall Q209 revenue of EUR 474.5 million (USD 672 million) compared to EUR 424.5 million (USD 601 million) during Q208. These figures are in line with Fastweb’s expectations.

KORE launches international One-Rate GSM Service – USA

KORE Telematics announced the immediate availability of its International One-Rate GSM services. The new program is powered by leading carrier networks and is designed to help specialised Application Service Providers (ASPs) provide global M2M solutions more confidently via a single, flat-rate GPRS/3G data service in more than 80 countries.

Alex Brisbourne, President and Chief Operating Officer of KORE Telematics is quoted saying: “KORE International One-Rate GSM carries forth our unique ‘pay for use’ model, and ultimately enables KORE to provide GSM services at nearly half the cost of the general market. We take continual pride in making wireless data services completely cost effective and reliable for our partners, and look forward to helping them deliver new applications across the globe.”

Jerry Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Fleet Tracking said: “Expanding the global reach of our advanced, real-time tracking solutions requires reliable wireless network support in multiple markets. As a long-time KORE partner, we know that the International One-Rate GSM services will help streamline the process of taking our business beyond borders.”

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Arcep posts MVNO numbers – France

France’s telecommunications regulator, Arcep, has posted the Q209 results for the industry. Within the document Arcep reports that France now has 2,900,000 MVNO subscribers which equates to 5.3% of the total market. This is up from 4.6% at Q208.

Axiata looks to contra with FRiENDi Mobile – Malaysia

Axiata, formerly Telekom Malaysia International, has entered into an agreement with the FRiENDi Group which should see both operations make better use of the travelling and migrating communities within the countries the two operate within.

Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiatais quoted saying: “Axiata with its pan Asian footprint has a presence in all the targeted countries. The agreement will allow subscribers to reap the benefits of discounted call rates and value added services such as mobile money transfer, remote recharge and content from home. This is aligned to Axiata’s broader purpose, that of advancing Asia, offering unmatched, affordable and relevant services to consumers”.

Mikkel Vinter, Chief Executive Officer of FRiENDi, commented: “Signing the Collaboration Agreement is a mutually beneficial strategic step for both Axiata and FRiENDi as the Agreement will provide FRiENDi preferred partner status with the Axiata subsidiaries across Asia, as well as enable the Axiata mobile operating companies a unique opportunity to engage millions of their nationals that live and work in the geographical region of FRiENDi”.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Woolworths launches Everyday Mobile pre-pay offering – Australia

Woolworths are to launch an MVNO over Optus’ network. The launch was expected towards the end of 2008 but was delayed due to technical difficulties marrying up Woolworths’ and Optus’ back office systems. Over a year Woolworths claims that it processes 21,000,000 pre-pay mobile transactions across its 3,000 retail outlets.

Richard Umbers, General Manager of Customer Engagement at Woolworths, said: "Our stores are already a destination for pre-paid mobile users. We also have a well established distribution network of more than 3,000 stores throughout Australia.”

Woolworths Everyday Mobile Manager Alex Cochran, said: “This is a prepaid mobile service with no hidden charges, no caps, no peak, no off-peak rates, and no lock-in contracts. To date, there is only one thing that is consistent with mobiles services in Australia – they all comes with an array of conditions, plans and contracts that are confusing and intimidating for people who just want a simple mobile solution.”

The launch should allow Woolworths to make in roads to the pre-pay market in the same way well known brand such as 7-Eleven and Tesco have done elsewhere. Within Australia Coles supermarket group, Woolworths’ main competitor, are expected to quickly follow Woolworths and launch their own no frills service. The market does not expect the Woolworths venture to aim for the 3G data market.

Callplus launching Slingshot plans – New Zealand

Two new calling plans are expected imminently from Callplus, using the Slingshot brand. The plans will be called Mobile 1 and Mobile 2.

Mobile 1 will come as a 6 month contract costing NZ$ 10 (USD 6.65) a month. Subscribers will be charged 50 cents for the 1st minute, 40 cents for the 2nd and 30 cents per minute thereafter. Mobile 2 is a 1 year contract costing NZ$ 20 (USD 13.30) a month. Calls on this tariff will be charged at 25 cents per minute to all networks within New Zealand. Text messages are in addition to the tariff, being charged at NZ$ 9.95 (USD 6.61) for 2000 texts and NZ$ 6.95 (USD 4.62) for 600 texts.

The Callplus operation accesses Vodafone’s network and allows Callplus complete control over pricing. Callplus will be aimed at enterprise users and Slingshot at the consumer market.

ASDA Mobiles’ changes Buying Manager – United Kingdom

Craig Thirkell has taken an internal company promotion to leave ASDA Mobile as the Buying Manager. He is being replaced by Chris Jones. Thirkell is moving to the television retail side of ASDA’s business.

Thirkell is quoted saying: "I’ve very much enjoyed the role but I was offered a job that was too good to refuse (internal move). I’ve seen the mobile part of the business come from nothing to having the cheapest flat rate tariffs available with a large customer base, something I’m very proud of."

Qualcomm’s Lifecomm shut down – USA

It seemed an interesting MVNO operation and it never really grabbed much attention. But confirmed by Qualcomm’s Chief Executive Office, Lifecomm has gone by the wayside already. The concept was a wireless patient monitoring device which was to bring a revolution to medical science with talks of remote monitoring of diabetics, cardiac patients and even more mundane healthcare such as cholesterol – putting the patient and doctor in touch without being face to face.

Qualcomm’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Jacobs, confirmed: "After working for a few years to get the venture capital lined up, we were hit with the economic downturn. In the meantime, operators have done these open initiatives … Lifecomm as an MVNO became irrelevant. Events overtook it. Now we have things like the West Wireless Health Institute that is more along our lines. We are enabling things to be end-to-end."

FM Group Mobile signs with Polkomtel – Poland

The Polish operation of FM World, a global perfume operation, has signed an MVNO agreement with Polkomtel. The operation is expected to launch during Q309. The suggestion is that the MVNO will follow the Avon model of using its distributors to act as its agents. Post-paid services will be targeted at their distribution network and pre-paid services at the existing client base.

FM Group is headed by Anita Sieniuc, Company Director. The group claims to be a young company run by young people better able to respond to their clients’ needs. The perfume company launched in Poland in September 2004 and now has operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, United Kingdom, Germany, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, USA, Israel, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Lithuania and Nigeria.

REDtone Mobile introduces referral scheme – Malaysia

Malaysian MVNO REDtone Mobile has introduced a new referral incentive for subscribers of its small and medium enterprise focused service, Mobile 13.

The referral system will see customers who refer those to the Mobile 13 service get up to 20% of the mobile bill of those referred and a percentage of those referred by people who they originally referred. REDtone has said that the commission incentive will cease at the third level.

Wei Chuan Beng, Group Managing Director of REDtone Mobile, announced the incentive saying: “The more people they refer, the more commission they get.”

REDtone Mobile, which uses the Celcom Malaysia network, mandates a minimum usage of MYR 38 (USD 10.87) a month for its Mobile 13 service.