FNB mobile operator launch expected soon: sources

A rumoured mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) from First National Bank (FNB) is set to launch soon, sources in the industry have told MyBroadband.

One source described FNB’s MVNO as an “open secret”, while the general expectation in the industry seems to be that the FNB cellular offering will run on Cell C’s network.

These rumours come after it was announced yesterday, 30 July 2014, that Mr Price launched an MVNO running on Cell C, MrP Mobile, which offers a number of contract packages to its customers.

MrP Mobile uses technology from a South African mobile virtual network enabler company called MVN-X, a subsidiary of Ignition Group, which is headed up by former Virgin Mobile boss Steve Bailey.

Until the launch of MrP Mobile, Virgin Mobile (which uses Cell C’s network) was the only MVNO in South Africa.

MyBroadband previously reported that two independent sources had confirmed FNB and Cell C were in talks about an MVNO agreement.

When asked whether it plans to launch an MVNO, FNB’s head of corporate communications Virginia Magapatona said that discussions were underway with operators, but didn’t specify whether the talks were about an MVNO.

“We continue to hold confidential discussions with various operators, and we will only be in a position to formally announce any new features or customer benefits once launched,” Magapatona said.

She noted that FNB already had the necessary licences to be a telecommunications provider, and was already able to provide voice and data services.

“FNB will continue to enhance its services where it benefits our customers, such as providing free calls and messaging via the FNB App,” said Magapatona.

“As one of the largest bulk SMS users and airtime distributors, we have relationships with all mobile network operators and will continue to work closely with all parties.”

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FNB mobile operator launch expected soon: sources