6/19/2008 4:34:00 PM
Vodafone drops ExtremeMob as network partner
The virtual network operator ExtremeMob is looking for a new network partner after its hosting agreement with Vodafone fell through.
ExtremeMob, a sister company of the distributor Advantage Cellular, was granted a Vodafone licence in 2005, but the official launch was delayed pending the launch of Advantage. Extreme’s launch then suffered another setback because an overhaul of the MVNO’s content offering.
Ian Pond, managing director of ExtremeMob UK, said that ‘given the recurring delays’ he was reluctant to say when the MVNO would launch.
Pond said: ‘It’s not looking like summer this year. It’s at a difficult point at the moment. It’s a lengthy process, and it’s taking longer than we had hoped.’
He added that tying up a deal with another network was ‘one of the things that [ExtremeMob] need to work on’.
Tim Stone, Vodafone’s business development and wholesale director, confirmed that the relationship had ‘ceased’, but declined to comment further.
Speaking to Mobile last year, Stone said: ‘We are looking for partners that add incremental revenue to us, with great management teams in place. We don’t want many, but we want them to be big. If we are open about this strategy, our partners will understand why we are saying no to them.’
Pond said it was a possibility that the MVNO would launch in Poland before the UK.
ExtremeMob is backed by Polish billionaire Roman Karkosik, who owns Polish telecoms company CentreNet, as well as an 80% share of Xebra, the holding company of ExtremeMob and Advantage Cellular.
Last week, Polish business newspaper Puls Biznesu reported that CentreNet would not be launching this month as planned, and would be delayed until March 2009 after prolonged negotiations with Centretel, the France Telecom-controlled network.
Dextra won the distribution rights for Extreme’s branded mobile accessories in April.