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Orange, T-Mobile set to corner MVNO market

Orange, T-Mobile to corner MVNO market

UK mobile operator Orange is looking to MVNOs to boost its revenues, this week striking a deal with pan European Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) Transatel.

Under the agreement, Transatel will target the SME market through telecom resellers and community-based brands looking to introduce mobile services and claims to be able to bring new MVNO brands to the Orange network in just six weeks. The platform will be available for both prepaid and postpaid segments.

Marc Overton, vice president of new business, wholesale and strategy at Orange UK, said: “Our overarching ambition at Orange is to become the network partner of choice for new and existing MVNO’s.”

The highly saturated UK mobile market already has a good number of MVNOs, with Virgin Mobile sitting on T-Mobile’s network giving it a 50 per cent share of the potential UK market.

Incidentally, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom recently announced a merger of equals of their UK operations, with T-Mobile and Orange to be folded into a 50:50 joint venture. This move would create a new market leader, with over 33 million subscribers and a 43 per cent share of the UK market and would also allow the new company to sew up the MVNO market completely.

In related news however, the proposed merger may face some regulatory difficulties. Rumour has it that the UK’s Competition Commission is preparing to investigate the two carriers’ spectrum ownership, a process which will at the least delay the merger and possibly force the carriers to offload some spectrum as caps are introduced. There is also the matter of wide ranging spectrum reorganisation in the UK and Europe as authorities seek to refarm the 900MHz band.


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