Cell C is set to help launch the first mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) in South Africa, creating a platform that will allow mobile virtual network operators — Virgin Mobile is an example of an MVNO — to offer mobile products and services.
The MVNE platform will be launched commercially in March 2014. Cell C will provide wholesale network services to the MVNE. The project is being led by South African company Mirage Telecom, with technology supplied by MVNE software specialist Comverse.
Jose Dos Santos, Cell C’s acting CEO, says the MVNE platform will “bring a new proposition to the market offering innovative products and services”.
Cell C will provide wholesale network services to the new business, allowing it to provide solutions to prospective MVNOs.
It is betting that companies such as banks and retailers will be interested in offering own-branded mobile products to their customers.
In terms of the agreement, Comverse is supplying telecommunications software to Mirage Telecom to manage the platform. Cell C will provide full integration to its core network.
The MVNO model, which has proved popular in Europe and elsewhere, has not gained significant traction in South Africa. Virgin Mobile remains the country’s only MVNO. Red Bull Mobile is more of a Cell C reseller than an MVNO in its own right.
France’s Orange has expressed interest in becoming a full-service MVNO in South Africa, but is reluctant to do so until the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has crafted clear regulations that govern the commercial relationships between MNVOs and mobile network operators. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media