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MTN vies for virtual operators

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MTN has launched a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, taking on Cell C in offering a platform for brands that want to offer a mobile service to customers but don’t want to invest in their own infrastructure.

Cell C’s MVNO service includes major players like Virgin Mobile, FNB Connect, Mr Price Mobile, me&you mobile, and Standard Bank Mobile, but these have not posed a challenge to the fully fledged network operators. The limitation of Cell C’s network has proven to be a barrier, and MTN may well attempt to woo its big customers. 

“We expect MVNO subscribers across the country to double over the next five years, with several large players introducing offerings,” says Quintus De Beer, Acting Executive for Managed Network Services at MTN. “MTN is excited to be an enabler of this further growth path by putting our network capacity to work, as the rapid pace of digital change requires more agile and tailored solutions so that more people can benefit.

MTN says the new service also opens up an opportunity for MTN to explore specific bespoke projects through strategic MVNO partnerships.

“Worldwide people have benefited from the experiences that MVNOs bring to the market and with the unique challenges South Africa face, we see this as an important platform to enable a better life for all,” says De Beer. 

“MVNOs, through various specialised platform providers, offer a wide scope of services, and with a best-in-class network we believe that new MVNO businesses will assist to create job opportunities and secondary markets to contribute to the broader South African economy. 

“We believe everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life. By entering the MVNO space, we are growing South Africa’s digital eco-system by enabling more value and services for consumers. This makes business sense, as we are putting the best network to work for more people, in a managed and sensible manner.”

Most MVNOs use a platform developed by MVN-X, which describes itself as a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler. These are entities that provide business systems, administration and operations support processes to MVNOs. MTN did not indicate whether it would work with MVN-X.

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