Standard Bank in South Africa is preparing to set up an MVNO, a move which would make it the second bank in the country to do so, TechCentral reported.
It is possible the bank is in talks with is Vodacom, although this is unconfirmed. Currently Cell C is the only operator in the country working with MVNOs, although in the past MTN also expressed interest in doing so.
The report stated Standard Bank hired former Virgin Mobile South Africa CEO Steve Bailey and is looking to employ more people with telecommunications experience.
In addition to his role at Virgin Mobile South Africa, Bailey was also previously chief customer operations officer at Cell C as well as CEO of MVN-X, a South African company which offers MVNO solutions and launched virtual operations including Mr Price Mobile and X Mobile in the country.
In 2015, First National Bank (FNB) became the first financial institution in the country to launch an MVNO, using Cell C’s infrastructure. In 2016, former MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko said a large financial services company would launch an MVNO on MTN South Africa’s network, but this never happened.
Later in 2016, Standard Bank’s chief executive for personal and business banking, Peter Schlebusch, told TechCentral the bank had decided against launching an MVNO service, despite extensive exploration of the option.
Now, though, it looks like the bank may have decided to follow in FNB’s footsteps.
Standard Bank holds the largest retail customer base in South Africa, with 11.8 million clients as of December 2016, TechCentral said.