MVNO Europe set up to fight for rights of alternative operators

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) across Europe have set up a new association called MVNO Europe in order to give them a stronger voice in Europe's changing regulatory landscape.

The association has evolved from the former EAFM (European Association of Full-MVNOs), and plans to tackle the impact that regulatory change will have on the businesses of MVNOs of all shapes and sizes. Founding members include MVNOs from Italy, France, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

MVNO Europe said its main objective is to create a legal and regulatory framework that ensures fair access conditions in the wholesale mobile market and fair competition on the retail mobile market. It will advocate for the creation of a single European market for telecoms and digital services, fair spectrum allocation, and a pro-competitive regulatory approach at European level.

MVNOs believe they need to increasingly exploit their collective force because of the fundamental changes to the European market brought by consolidation, the introduction of cross-border services and the abolition of roaming fees.

Jacques Bonifay, the chairman of MVNO Europe and CEO of MVNO and MVNE Transatel, noted that while the wave of consolidation among traditional operators in Europe will have a positive effect on network efficiency and investments, these benefits "must not be offset by harming access for MVNOs across Europe".

"Indeed, it is essential to ensure the continuous emergence of innovative services that MVNOs offer," Bonifay added. "MVNOs, as small agile players, are the best trigger for telecoms innovation in Europe. By creating an association for the whole spectrum of MVNOs, we will strengthen our voice and adapt to the evolving market reality, while holding to our commitment towards the European institutions as a reliable partner."

The establishment of the new association comes shortly after France's MVNOs called for a return to a market with only three mobile operators, saying this would provide better conditions for wholesale access to mobile networks.

In an interview with Les Echos earlier in July, Bonifay--who is also the president of Alternative Mobile, the association for some of France's biggest MVNOs--said despite the recent refusal by Martin Bouygues to sell Bouygues Telecom to Numericable-SFR, MVNOs are still convinced that the market will not last long with four major players.

MVNOs believe that they will benefit from consolidation because of the resulting imposition of constraints on wholesale markets to preserve healthy competition. They say this would have the effect of improving network access conditions for alternative operators.

For more:
- see this release from MVNO Europe

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