The Czech market for mobile virtual network operators has continued to grow in the first few months of 2014 after the country registered 50 MVNOs and secondary mobile brands at the end of 2013, according to reports from the Czech News Agency (CTK).
Betting firm Sazka is one of the more recent groups to have entered the mobile market, with SAZKAmobil. It joins the likes of Gorila Mobil, Tesco Mobile, Mobil od ČEZ, Lama Mobile and Euro Operator, along with dozens of other brands vying to tap into the mobile market with low-cost tariffs.
Considering that the market was only opened up to MVNOs in late 2012, with BLESKmobil the first to be introduced in November 2012 on the Telefónica Czech Republic network, this represents fairly rapid growth. In contrast, Belgacom-owned international wholesale company BICS wrote on its blog in February that over 60 MVNOs have been established in the UK and more than 80 in Germany.
According to CTK, around 700,000 customers were using MVNOs at the end of 2013, which equated to a share of 5 per cent in the mobile market. The agency noted that Telefónica Czech Republic, now owned by local investor PPF, is currently host to BLESKmobil, Tesco Mobile, Mobil od ČEZ and the newly launched Bonerix. Vodafone Czech Republic also supports MVNOs and works with MVNEs such as Quadruple, while T-Mobile Czech Republic makes use of GTS to set up wholesale arrangements with smaller companies.
At the same time, the mobile network operators have themselves made use of no-frills secondary brands to tap into different market segments: Vodafone CR has relaunched the Oskarta brand, while T-Mobile CR utilises Kaktus, which has so far attracted 35,000 customers. All three MNOs are now also stepping up competition with new LTE service rollouts.
Despite so many launches in such a short space of time, only one failure has so far been reported: Czech news portal IDNES said ViralMobil, which was launched in August last year with the backing of local celebrities ViralBrothers, ceased trading in February.
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