Rumour Mill: Is Red Bull on verge of pan-European MVNO Launch?

The energy drink vendor and F1 team sponsor, Red Bull, would appear to be fully prepared to unveil its MVNO service in Austria within the next few weeks. This move has triggered industry speculation that the company will then launch MVNO services in other European countries, mimicking Virgin Mobile with its exclusive networked SIM deals.

According to Red Bull Mobile's web site, Austrian consumers are to offer two exclusive network tariffs, named simply All and All+, the latter offering 2,000 texts and minutes and up to 2GB of Internet data transfer for €29. However, local observers claim that the most attractive feature of the Red Bull Mobile network appears to be its online Portal. The Portal is branded as the ultimate tool for accessing news, interviews, weather, sports and downloads from the world of Red Bull and beyond.

The initial handset portfolio includes Nokia's N97, 5730 and 5800, Sony Ericsson's C702 and G705, and Red Bull's very own dedicated BH-1 (manufactured by ZTE).

Whether the Red Bull brand--with its considerable marketing muscle, has the weight to break into the already over-crowded European MVNO market will be watched with interest by the cellular industry. While niche MVNOs continue to launch on an almost weekly basis, a pan-European strategy needs a multitude of skills and deep pockets--as seen with the attempt by Blyk to build a European empire.

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