Become an MVNO within 6 weeks, promises Orange

As the proposed merger with T-Mobile UK enters some rough water stirred up by the UK Office of Fair Trading worried about competition, Orange UK has unveiled plans for a new revenue stream based around MVNOs. The company has agreed a deal with Transatel--a mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA), to assist with the launch of multiple MVNOs as quickly and cheaply as possible--all in the space of six weeks.

According to Orange UK's VP of new business wholesale and strategy, Marc Overton, the objective is to increase the company's presence in niches that it does not tap easily with its own brand and service offerings. "Our overarching ambition at Orange is to become the network partner of choice for new and existing MVNOs. This partnership has been driven by market demand, as companies are increasingly realising that offering telecoms services to their customers creates additional profitable growth and increased loyalty."

Overton believes that Transatel--which already operates in France and Belgium--could establish around 20 UK MVNOs a year by persuading SMEs and resellers which already target specialised customer bases to sign-up. An example of this, said Overton, would be MVNOs targeting specific ethnic groups with potential customer numbers between 50,000 and 200,000.

The UK MVNO market has proven successful for some ‘big-brand' firms, such as Tesco and Virgin, but dramatically less so for Blyk and Dot Mobile. The market could become more challenging with rumours that Red Bull is on the verge of launching a pan-European MVNO.

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