Thursday, 19 November 2009

Page Plus adds some international roaming – USA

Page Plus Cellular has added limited roaming while abroad to its offering. The countries where the service can be accessed are Mexico, Canada, and the island territories of Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The international roaming rate for calls within Mexico and Bermuda is USD 1.10 per minute. Calls within Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are USD 0.60 per minute. Calls originating in the USA bound for Puerto Rico will remain at the current rate of USD 0.12 per minute and USA calls to Mexico and Canada will remain at USD 0.34 per minute.

SMS rates within these countries will be USD 0.50 per message sent and USD 0.25 per message received. The international text messaging rate for messages originating in the USA will remain USD 0.20 per message.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Neglected regions to get Magyar MVNO (Postafon) – Hungary

Magyar Posta, the state owned national postal service for Hungary, has become the latest MVNO to launch. The service partners with Vodafone to target geographic regions where there are no existing sales outlets for mobile services. The move will see Magyar target what are potentially new customers to the market who have been previously neglected by the main players due to insufficient potential returns. By utilising its existing branch network the roll out cost to Magyar is similar to adding a product to its shelves, compared to MNOs having to employ staff and rent retail outlets. The service will be available at over 700 of Magyar’s branches.

The launch of Magyar will also be Hungary’s first MVNO with the closest alternative non-MNO being djuice, a brand of Pannon (Telenor) which is an MNO. This launch is unlikely to open the flood gates to MVNOs due to the MNOs fears of cannibalisation of their existing client bases. The key to this launch is the regional targeting of areas without mobile outlets, which should see new business rather than churned business. The service is only targeting 70,000 subscribers in 2010.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Samart predicts MVNO revenue to be 10% of its total in 2010 – Thailand

Having gained a 5 year MVNO licence from the National Telecommunications Commission, Samart is still expecting a market launch for its MVNO in December. The company will launch mobile services as Samart I-Mobile (SIM – that will get confusing) on TOT’s coming 3G network in Bangkok.

The future MVNO is also Samart Corps handset division and the company is looking for 2010 to be a comeback year for the division, based on a predicted 20% revenue growth. The MVNO will retail both its I-Mobile phone and other handsets from mainstream manufacturers. The company expects 10% of its 2010 revenue to come as a result of SIM’s activities.

Entaz MVNO, not really – South Korea

The Korea Herald reported that MNO KT Corp signed a deal to allow for the country’s first MVNO launch as early as January 2010. At this stage however it looks like the local news service has mistaken an advanced mobile application / content provider for an MVNO service.

Entaz will provide KT subscribers with a portal to download mobile content from and the cost of accessing the portal will be paid by the end user directly to Entaz. They are not offering a mobile service which would negate the need for the KT subscription, nor are they offering messaging, voice or any form of access to the KT network. They also do not provide SIM cards or handsets. This would be an MVNO in the loosest of possible terms. If users were able to access the portal with no subscription to any of the MNOs then this would be more akin to an MVNO, but at this stage this is not an MVNO.

However, this is a good sign for consumers in South Korea. It is a move towards opening up the mobile market beyond the control of the 3 MNOs. It is perhaps also an intelligent route for KT to have followed as it appeases the regulator to some degree while not providing for any attack and churn on its core revenues.

Simple Mobile launches – USA

Another MVNO has launched in the US. This time with the offer of no frills, no contracts, a simple offering … yes, another no frills MVNO. In the last edition of The MVNO Directory we tracked over 50 US MVNOs. Since then there have been other launches and some failures. There has also been a surge for unlimited tariff offerings by both MNOs and MVNOs which also seems to be Simple’s unique selling point.

So, how does Simple see their offering in this very saturated market where unlimited tariffs are already on offer and no frills SIM card MVNOs have been active for many years already? Their press release states: “Simple, [is] offering the nation an unheard of SIM card program that instantly delivers affordable, unlimited access with everything wireless has to offer. Unlike other programs with corporate agendas, Simple Mobile customers are encouraged to B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Phone). OMG! This is a game changer.”

The offer is nothing new to the market and will not change any ‘games’, see a similar operation talked about below, Page Plus. It will be incredibly hard for Simple to gain market share without being aggressive in their marketing.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Carrefour Telecom to increase capital – Taiwan

Carrefour’s MVNO operation in Asia is looking to increase its paid in capital from USD 1.86 million to USD 6.2 million (NT$ 60 million to NT$ 200 million). The first stage of capital-raising will happen before the close of 2009 bringing the total to NT$120 million, the remaining NT$ 80 million is to be raised in 2010.

The company is seeking finances to expand its presence across Asia; the expectation is that China and South East Asian countries will be primary targets. At this stage it is not clear whether Carrefour will seek new MVNO ventures or if they are planning a marketing campaign across the region to encourage roaming usage.