1 Jun 2018 13:04

Tele2 agrees MVNO with Sim Sim, previously owned by Vimpelcom

MOSCOW. June 1 (Interfax) - Russian mobile operator Tele2 has signed an agreement on creation of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) with Sim Telecom LLC, which operates under the Sim Sim brand, Tele2 CEO Sergei Emdin told Interfax.

The company previously worked as a MVNO for those arriving from outside Russia and had its own billing system, numbering capacity, switching equipment and other components.

Vimpelcom (renamed VEON in February 2017) acquired a controlling stake in Eurus Holding B.V. in August 2016, the company controlling Sim Telecom, from the founder of the Qiwi payment system Andrei Romanenko and the former head of virtual operator 7K Andrei Skopinsky.

It was disclosed in April 2018 that Vimpelcom had sold its stake in the company, calling it an experiment that was no longer needed, although Sim Sim continued to operate on its networks.

Tele2 expects the Sim Sim to be launched on its own networks in the course of 2018.

The cooperation with Tele2 will enable Sim Sim to shift from the "migrant segment" to other, more promising segments, although Tele2 did not specify those segment or the rates that would be charged.

Unlike its main competitors, Tele2 considers MVNO to be a promising area.

Emdin said that market players use MVNOs to directly offer clients unique telecom services and eliminate intermediary operators. "This gives skeptics grounds to say that an MVNO boom will upset the balance of forces on the market, cause losses for classical mobile operators and a have a negative impact on the Russian economy. But their opponents cite the experience of European countries: by occupying up to 40% of the market, virtual operators facilitate the development of competition and improve service in various areas of the digital economy. In Russia, where the MVNO market share is about 3%, massive launch of virtual operators may transform not just telecommunications, but other areas as well: the banking sector, industry, the state sector, transport, retail, etc," he said.

Analysts forecast that MVNO market share in Russia will amount to 14%-15% by 2022.

Over 10 MVNO currently operate on Tele2's network.

All of them operate on the Full MVNO model, that is, they only use Tele2's network; everything else is owned by the companies themselves.

The number of subscribers using Tele2-based MVNOs exceeds 1 million.

Tele2 plans to expand the list of partners and launch 10 new MVNOs in 2018.