6/18/2009 12:41:00 PM
3 partners with X-Mobility to sign up more MVNOs
3 has reached a deal with virtual network ‘aggregator’ x-Mobility to sign up new MVNOs to its business, Mobile can exclusively reveal.
The move aims to accelerate 3’s progress in the MVNO market, and is likely to see the operator indirectly targeting Virgin Mobile’s three million-strong customer base.
Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile have seen huge MVNO growth this year, with Orange reporting an MVNO base that quadrupled in one year to 585,000.
X-Mobility will bring six companies on board, including iCard, a company that targets the prepay calling market, and Catalyst, a firm targeting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and students.
X-Mobility is expected to pursue customers wanting to sell prepay voice services, while 3 will target MVNO opportunities in mobile broadband.
3’s MVNO account manager, David York, told Mobile: ‘We are very much in the market for MVNOs. We see it as wide open for data and we will announce at least two more this year.’
Strategy Analytics’ head of wireless practice, Phil Kendall, believes 3 is likely to raid Virgin Mobile’s customer base. He said: ‘MVNO prepay churn is very high, as it’s a base of users that aren’t remotely loyal to operators and will just go after the cheapest. Around three million Virgin Mobile prepay customers are up for grabs as they [Virgin] focus on bundled products and contracts.’
In addition, 3 sales and marketing director Marc Allera (pictured) hinted at a move into supermarkets in April, by referring to ‘opportunities’ in grocery stores selling prepay mobile broadband, a market that 3 leads with one million customers.
Sources said Tesco, which has recently started selling laptops bundled with 3, and Orange dongles in its dedicated ‘Phone Shops’, could be in the market to set up a broadband MVNO.