The MVNO market is suddenly very busy, and the ethnic market is its most populous sub-sector.
Interestingly, as Mobile News closed for press, ethnic market operator Lebara called with its latest prepay tariff (see page 8).
It has shaved 5p off its UK call rate, which is actually very radical – 30 per cent off its original price.
Lebara stands to gain much more now, by expanding its appeal to British nationals making UK calls and also by encouraging its traditional target market to bin their UK calling SIMs.
Lebara is presenting itself as a genuine alternative to the traditional mobile firms.
It is a breakthrough move, and sees a parochial ethnic MVNO reach out to a mainstream audience.
Lebara’s deal with Brightstar gives it potential new customer access via the dealer channel too.
Because the thing with wholesale is, if we’re frank, most of the business is rubbish. Orange claims 2.5 million wholesale customers, but it is counting 3’s national roamers in that figure.
Its total is probably closer to 300,000, and what of Blyk’s base, for instance, really drives ARPU?
Orange’s deal with Globalcell is interesting because it’s so targeted, but the Lycamobile deal is the one.
Lyca has the deep pockets and ambition to make a considerable splash. One of the few that might take Lebara on, and any other new MVNO for that matter.