Virgin-backed venture set for push into major Latam markets

Virgin-backed venture set for push into major Latam markets

24 JAN 2014

MVNO Virgin Mobile Latin America (VMLA) aims to launch a commercial service in Mexico over the next few months and is waiting on regulatory approval in Brazil.

VMLA has already launched in two of the region’s smaller markets, starting in 2012 with Chile and followed subsequently by Colombia.

In Mexico, the MVNO is putting the sales, marketing and customer service machinery in place for a commercial launch shortly. It is using the cellular network of Telefonica, the country’s second-largest mobile operator, to deliver its service.

The country’s government moved last year to liberalise its mobile market, a factor that attracted VMLA, it has been reported.

In Brazil, the venture is waiting on approval from the telecoms regulator Anatel, having made a MVNO licence request this week. It has already signed a wholesale agreement with Vivo, another Telefonica-backed player which is the country’s market leader.

VMLA was set up in 2010. Virgin Group has previously said that Virgin-branded MVNOs in Latin America will be developed in partnership with a company called Tribe Mobile, which has run MVNOs elsewhere in the world including the Middle East and North Africa. The partners have the backing of institutional investors.

The founder and chairman of Tribe Mobile is Phil Wallace, a former BellSouth executive who is also chairman of VMLA.

Interestingly, former Telefonica chairman and CEO Juan Villalonga is also on the VMLA board.

VMLA CEO Peter Macnee has previously mentioned Argentina and Peru as potential launch markets, in addition to the bigger targets of Brazil and Mexico.

Author

Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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