Lebara shuts Chippie, launches UK promo


Lebara closes Dutch MVNO outfit Chippie to focus attention on own operation; announces free minutes promotion for UK customers calling select international destinations

Ethnic market MVNO Lebara is closing its recently acquired Dutch counterpart Chippie in order to increase the focus on its own operation in the Netherlands.

The closure of Chippie follows news last month that Globalcell, a UK MVNO running on Orange and owned by Lebara shareholders Leon Rasiah, Baskaran Kandiah and Ratheesh Yoganathan (pictured, left), had ceased trading (issue 475, October 25). Lebara and Orange declined to comment on this.

Lebara has confirmed the closure of Chippie, which it acquired in May, with a statement reading: “This move will allow the company to focus all of its resources on its core business, Lebara Mobile, which continues to experience significant growth, making it the leading MVNO in the market.”

Chippie SIMs and current top-up codes will remain active and valid until the end of the year, at which point customers will transfer to Lebara, maintaining their existing number.

Customers not wishing to transfer to Lebara may choose to move to another vendor keeping their existing number, subject to approval from the new operator, Lebara said.

The UK free minutes promotion applies to customers calling China, Poland, Romania, Turkey and India.

One free minute will be accrued for every minute customers spend calling China, Poland, Romania and Turkey until November 30. This will apply to fixed line calls only in Poland, Romania and Turkey, but to both fixed line and mobile numbers in China.

Customers calling India until November 30 will receive two free minutes for every minute they spend on the line to both fixed line and mobile numbers, which Lebara said was to help customers celebrate the Festival of Diwali.

Lebara Mobile UK managing director Russell Atkinson (pictured, right) said: “Price promotions such as these are important in meeting our customer commitment to provide high-quality, low-cost international mobile services.

“When calling internationally to speak to friends and family, the minutes do tend to add up very quickly; therefore to get free minutes for every minute you talk offers fantastic value to our customers.”