Gorila Mobil is latest Czech MVNO casualty as O2 takes it over

Gorila Mobil has become the latest mobile virtual network operator on the Czech market to cash in its chips after its wholesale partner O2 Czech Republic revealed it had taken over the MVNO and will incorporate the company into its broader retail offering.

O2 Czech Republic, which this year was acquired by Czech investment company PPF Group, partnered on the transaction with Unimex Group, a separate Czech investment company.

No reasons for the decision to take over the MVNO, which is more accurately described as a branded reseller, were provided, although O2 CR noted that Gorila Mobil's strategy to target the youth market was reasonably successful: In the three months since launch, the company distributed more than 50,000 SIM cards.

"We appreciate what the Gorila Mobil team managed to build in such a short time and we believe that this is only the beginning of a successful collaboration on other projects," said Tomáš Budník, who took over as CEO of O2 Czech Republic on July 1.

Gorila Mobil is one of a raft of MVNOs that has launched services on the Czech Republic since the end of 2012. The Czech News Agency (CTK) reported that 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 number of MVNOs and secondary brands of the country's network operators is now believed to be around 60.

Another MVNO failure prior to Gorila Mobil was reported by Czech news portal IDNES, which said Viral Mobil ceased trading in February. This MVNO was launched in August last year with the backing of local celebrities, ViralBrothers.

Given the number of MVNOs on the market and the inherent difficulties in formulating a successful MVNO business model, more failures could be on the horizon.

For more:
- see this O2 Czech Republic release

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