Lyca ports base from Orange to O2

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Orange UK has lost more than £20 million in wholesale revenue, according to estimates, as ethnic market MVNO Lycamobile nears the end of migrating its customer base to O2

Ethnic market MVNO Lycamobile has neared completion of the transferral of its customer base from Orange to O2, according to sources close to the company.

The firm is pushing its O2-backed SIM proposition Lycamobile PLUS completely.

Sources suggest Orange has lost upwards of £20 million in wholesale revenue from the migration of traffic to rival network O2.

Orange disputed the financial loss, and also the volume of wholesale traffic moved to O2.

A spokesperson said: “Whilst Lycamobile have focused subscriber acquisition through the O2 network in 2010, Orange continues to support a significant base of subscribers. Lycamobile has always stated a dual supplier strategy and Orange continues to support Lycamobile as a valued wholesale partner of ours.”

But a well-placed source said: “That migration is almost complete. The Lycamobile PLUS offer has been heavily promoted by it since the O2 deal was signed. Orange was enjoying around £20 million in wholesale revenue from it, so it must be a huge loss for it.”

Lycamobile has around 1.5 million users in the UK, and remains the quickest MVNO deployment in UK telecoms following its launch in late 2008 with Orange.

Lycamobile declined to comment, but chief executive Milind Kangle (pictured) has previously gone on record describing the O2 partnership as offering an “enhanced low-cost, high-quality mobile services to our UK customers”.

And there is precedent for its UK action in the Netherlands, where it signed with Vodafone in April last year and moved its base of 1.3 million to the network to wind down its existing wholesale agreement with T-Mobile.

Lycamobile, considered the most aggressive MVNO in the market, provides local ethnic communities with cheap international calls from a prepay SIM to international markets.

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