Saturday, 22 August 2009

Elephant Talk announces Q209 results – The Netherlands

Dutch MVNE Elephant Talk has reported its Q209 results. Elephant Talk reported revenues of USD 11.3m for Q209, down USD 0.6m compared to USD 11.9m for Q208. The fall has been cited as a result of an unfavourable currency exchange. The company began receiving MVNO revenues during Q408 which positively contributed to its position. If the currency exchange rates had remained constant then the company would have posted a gain compared to last year.

Steven van der Velden, Chief Executive Officer of Elephant Talk Communications, commented on the results saying: "Management is pleased with the strategic direction in which the company is headed and with the strong top-line growth we experienced for the second quarter … The focus going forward will be to acquire additional MVNO contracts while leveraging ValidSoft's location based services technology in order to become the market leader in the international telecom arena."

According to Elephant Talk, the company is positioning itself as the preferred MVNE partner of the larger, global mobile operators and currently operates sophisticated networks in over a dozen markets in Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

Friday, 21 August 2009

CREDO Mobile launches activists’ blog – USA

CREDO Mobile has launched an online blog for all mobile Internet users at www.mobileapptitude.com. The site aims to engage users to utilise the features of their mobile phone to be more active within their community and society for the greater good.

Laura Scher, Chief Executive Officer for CREDO Mobile said: "Before mobileapptitude.com, there wasn't a central place for people to learn how to use their phones to be more socially active … We offer honest, timely information, all at one site. We're excited to engage not only our own members but all progressives who use their mobile phones to make positive change."

CREDO Mobile is an MVNO from Working Assets, a company formed in 1985 to work for the good of society. Their site quotes them as: A small band of idealists [working] together to further the causes of human rights, women's rights, peace, environmentalism and an entire progressive agenda. [We] have an idea about helping people spend in a socially responsible way, turning everyday purchases into automatic acts of generosity.

Lebara half price Ramadan calls – United Kingdom

Ethnic market MVNO Lebara Mobile ran a Ramadan promotion which will ran for the first 5 days of Ramadan. From August 21 until August 25 subscribers were able to call the following countries for half price: Pakistan, India, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Russell Atkinson, UK Managing Director for Lebara Mobile, commented: "We pride ourselves not only on the competitive promotions we offer to our customers but also on the quality of the network and multi-lingual service we provide. We know that it is difficult to be away from family and friends at this time, which is why this promotion is so important in bringing people together. Half price calls mean that our customers can keep in touch for less. We would like to wish all our customers Ramadan Mubarak."

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Ay Yildiz launched Ramadan minutes – Germany

Turkish community focused Ay Yildiz launched a bonus offer which will run throughout Ramadan. The offer runs from 21st August through to 22nd September. Subscribers who top up with EUR 15 of credit will receive 20 minutes of calling time and those topping up with EUR 30 of credit will receive 50 minutes of calling time.

Ay Yildiz targets the Muslim Turkish community living in Germany. The service is owned by KPN and operates on the E-Plus network, which in turn is also owned by KPN. Ay Yildiz is also operational in Belgium and The Netherlands over KPN networks.

TuneTalk launches – Malaysia

Whenever an MVNO fails or is bought out by its partner MNO a whole host of commentators come flying forward chanting the death of MVNOs. For those who work closer within this industry or who have a wider business appreciation the opposite is evident. For most MVNOs there is a simple path through the stages of a product life cycle with those who reinvent themselves carrying their life on for longer. Hence the arrival of new MVNOs almost every week.

Virgin Mobile in the USA has now left the MVNO arena but over on the other side of the world TuneTalk has just commercially launched. The new Malaysian MVNO had been circulating its branding for some time now and has finally launched. They are a no frills pre pay offering looking to capture a significant share of the budget top up market. More distant plans see the MVNO launching in Singapore next year, Indonesia in 2011 then Thailand and Cambodia in 2012.

In additional to the normal points of sales for top ups and SIM card, SIM packs are also to be sold onboard AirAsia flights with the new operator looking to win business within the AsiaPac region’s travelling sector.

TuneTalk signed an MVNO agreement with Celcom back in December 2008. Celcom are also a 38% shareholder of TuneTalk and Tune Ventures Sdn Bhd owns 37.5% of the venture.

MVNO licence granted – Vietnam

The regulatory body in Vietnam, The Ministry of Information and Communications, has granted a mobile service licence to Indochina Telecom. The new operator will share network access with Viettel, a state run network operated by Vietnam’s military.

Le Van Phat, General Director of Indochina Telecom, was quoted saying that they will focus on the value-added services (VAS) market and mobile Internet services market to differentiate them from the crowded market they have joined; being made up of Beeline VN (60% state, 40% VimpelCom), EVN Telecom (state run), MobiFone (state run), S-Fone (Singapore owners), Vietnamobile (Hutch), Viettel Mobile (state run) and VinaPhone (state run).

Indochina is expected to start commercial operations during Q1 2010.

Mobile service provider reaches 15th year – South Africa

South African mobile service provider, Nashua Mobile, has reached fifteen years of operation since its formation by the merging of Nashua Cellular and NedTel Cellular.

Chris Scoble, Managing Director of Nashua Mobile commented: “Nashua Mobile is one of the few independent telecommunications service providers to have survived the consolidation of the industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The company has thrived and has grown to nearly 700,000 subscribers representing more than 10% of South Africa’s contract cellular subscriber base during this time.”

South Africa’s mobile service providers represent all of the network operators and actually resell rather than act as true MVNOs. They do however maintain the client relationship rather than simply win a sale, accept a commission and hand the subscriber onto the network partner, hence their claim of 700,000 subscribers. Virgin Mobile remains the only true MVNO in South Africa operating over the Cell C network.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

CallPlus unveils mobile business tariff – New Zealand

New Zealand MVNO CallPlus, which uses the Vodafone New Zealand network, has announced the introduction of its business segment offering, called the Freedom Plan.

The Freedom Plan costs NZD 20 (USD 13.46) a month and offers calls from NZD 0.20 (USD 0.13) a minute.

Announcing the new plan CallPlus General Manager Mark Callander said: “We’re giving customers an honest price with no hidden costs. When you combine that with our real-time billing and reporting systems, dedicated Account Managers, and fantastic fixed line offerings – I think we’re the best in the business.

“Our mobile pricing strategy was developed to offer the lowest per minute rate to all networks in NZ. We have established a clear point of difference, and it has been something the business mobile market has been waiting for.”

Ay Yildiz offers Ramadan promotion – Germany

German MVNO Al Yildiz, which targets the Turkish population present in Germany, has announced that it will introduce a special Ramadan promotion consisting of 50 free minutes to fixed line German numbers from the 21st August to the 22nd September 2009.

Customers who top-up EUR 15 (USD 21.17) to EUR 30 (USD 42.33) during the promotional period will receive 20 minutes of free calls to Turkey. Those who top-up more than EUR 30 (USD 42.33) during the period will receive 50 minutes of calls to Turkey.

Advertising campaigns promoting the new offer will take place in Stuttgart, Dortmund, Nuremberg, Munich, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Mannheim, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Duisburg and Cologne. The MVNO also revealed that it will target local Turkish supermarkets with information regarding the promotion.

Qwest to cease operations – USA

Qwest Mobile has formally announced that it will be closing down its MVNO service.

The MVNO has said that it will shut its doors on the 31st of October 2009, leaving customers just over 60 days to find a new carrier.

Qwest Mobile only garnered a total of 185,000 customers by the second quarter of 2009 and it brought in less than USD 10,000,000 in revenues during the same period.

Qwest, which resold the Verizon Wireless service, is urging its customers to make the switch to Verizon Wireless.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Crazy John’s to offer pink BlackBerry Pearl – Australia

Australian MVNO Crazy John’s has announced its plans to offer the pink BlackBerry Peal 8110 for free on its low cost AUD 39 (USD 32.17) BlackBerry service plan.

The BlackBerry plan will give subscribers unlimited mobile data access, including email, IM and mobile browsing. The plan supports up to a maximum of 10 ISP e-mail accounts.

Crazy John’s, which uses the Vodafone Australia network and was recently bought out by Vodafone, has made it clear that the BlackBerry service plan will be subject to a 24 month contract. In addition to the unlimited data offering Crazy John’s will charge subscribers AUD 0.47 (USD 0.39) for every 30 seconds of voice calls made. The plan will also include an AUD 0.35 (USD 0.29) flagfall (call initiation fee) for every call made.

Matt Scriven, Head of Marketing for Crazy John's, said: "We think many of our customers will love the slim and fashionable design of the pink BlackBerry Pearl 8110 smartphone, and the incredible value of this BlackBerry service plan will mean that they can own a premium smartphone for less than AUD 40 (USD 32.99) a month."