Hutchison Whampoa is expanding its wholesale business with the launch of a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) to help new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) launch services on its networks in Europe and Asia.
The Hong Kong-based group said the Hue platform will act as a single point of entry for MVNOs that want to "create global coverage quickly and easily". Hue is expected to announce partnerships with a number of MVNOs in the coming months.
Citing unnamed sources, the Financial Times noted that Hutchison has had conversations with Google among other companies about launching mobile services using the Hue platform.
It has already been speculated that Google and Hutchison have discussed a possible wholesale access agreement as part of plans by the U.S. search giant to create a global network. Google first announced its plans to launch a mobile network based on wholesale access in March.
Hutchison Whampoa operates in Austria, Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Macau, Sri Lanka, Sweden, UK and Vietnam. The company noted that Hue will also negotiate with local operators outside of its footprint for MVNOs that wish to launch services elsewhere.
"Today's mobile wholesale market is fragmented and new entrants to mobile are often challenged with needing to understand market nuances and regulations in different countries," said Jarrod Nink, CEO of Hue.
Hue said its MVNE platform will offer a wide range of services to MVNOs, from mobile network access through to CRM, billing and provisioning as well as the potential to interface with third-party providers, such as credit management agencies and logistics partners.
Local Hutchison Whampoa-owned operators such as Three UK already have a strong track record in establishing MVNOs. For example, the company's Three Wholesale unit helped SIM-only MVNO JOi Telecom to launch services last autumn.
Lynda Burton, Three UK's director of wholesale, told FierceWireless:Europe last year that MVNOs are a strategic priority and said the company takes its time to find the right partners.
- see this Hue release
- see this Financial Times article (sub. req.)
Telekom Austria tests targeted MVNO strategy with Fenercell Austria
Tele2 relaunches an MVNO in Austria
Virgin Mobile South Africa unveils strategy to reach 1M users in three years
Phone Family signs MVNO deal with Three Sweden
MVNO JOi Telecom launches services on Three UK and SFR networks