GlobalCell will be aiming their SIM only services to migrants from countries such as Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania and Russia, and will also offer customer service in those languages as well as English. The ethnic MVNO has grown significantly over the last year and other companies that offer similar services are Lebara, Nomi and LycaMobile.
The GlobalCell deal although important, it is not seen as important as Orange’s tie up with Lyca Mobile due to the fact that GlobalCell is targeted at specific migrant markets. In comparison Lyca is targeting the much broader ethnic market and has the number one calling card company has the resources to put into the network to compete effectively with the market leader Lebara.
This now means that Orange is host to 6 MVNO’s on its network, these include the two ethnic MVNO’s, Blyk (Ad-funded MVNO), IDT, Cable and Wireless and 3’s 2.5G National Roaming deal. Orange says that it has 2.5 million MVNO subscribers; however this figure does include 3 UK’s entire subscriber base. Orange over the last year has been signing a lot of MVNO’s, and along with the other UK networks are seeing it as a fantastic way of getting into untapped markets. The other reason I suspect that Orange is going after the MVNO market quite aggressively is that Tom Alexander head of the mobile and broadband operations (formally of Virgin Mobile) has first hand experience of the success of the MVNO model.
As ever we wish the guys at GlobalCell all the luck in their new venture.