Lebara and Nokia in global handset deal


Lebara and Nokia sign global handset alliance that will see devices stocked at retailers such as Tesco

Ethnic MVNO Lebara and Nokia have signed a global alliance for the manufacturer to deliver its handsets to Lebara customers worldwide.

Nokia handsets available to Lebara customers will include the 1616,100,C1-01, C3-00 and the 500 models. They will be distributed in the UK by Data Select until January and by Brightpoint in Lebara’s other markets, which include France, Spain and Australia.

Lebara says the UK distribution for next year, when Micro P and Ingram Micro will take over distribution of Nokia’s UK channels from Data Select and 20:20 Mobile is currently under review.

Lebara CEO and founder Yoganathan Ratheesan (pictured) says the agreement is the first time a migrant MVNO has signed a global deal with a handset manufacturer.

“This is a landmark deal for Lebara, helping us to further extend our brand and reach globally and signalling a new sales and distribution strategy for the organisation,” Ratheesan said.

“We are combining our best in class service and low cost propositions with Nokia’s high quality and well-established devices, enabling us to provide our customers with more tailored options to meet their specific communication needs.”

All devices which start from £24.99 will include £10 of Lebara airtime.

The Nokia C1-01 will be available from Tesco stores this month with other handsets available from Tesco and a number of UK retailers including The Carphone Warehouse to follow.

Nokia vice president for sales in Europe Victor Saejis said the deal would help the manufacturer expand its customer base worldwide.

“We are very pleased to be expanding our customer base in the dynamic MVNO market and, with the support of Brightpoint, to have found a cross-market distribution model which best meets the needs of an innovative player such as Lebara,” Saejis said.

“We are also looking forward to developing our joint business as Lebara extends its reach in its current markets and expands into other territories.”

All handsets will be locked to the Lebara network and come with Lebara variant software which enables access to data services in each country Lebara operates in.

The handsets will be Lebara branded and include an exclusive Lebara ringtone commissioned by Indian musician AR Raham.