Standard Bank’s imminent launch of mobile communication services “is well timed”, but the lender will have to differentiate its offering to make it succeed, says Fitch Solutions. The bank has announced plans to become SA's second financial institution to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business. MVNO is a company that does not have its own mobile wireless cellphone network but piggybacks on existing network operators. Frontrunner FNB already has more than 600,000 network subscribers after launching its MVNO in mid-2015. FNB Connect and other virtual operators such as Virgin Mobile, MRP Mobile and me&you mobile rent network capacity from Cell C.

As part of its plans to stimulate more competition in the telecommunications sector, the government will soon establish a wholesale open-access network to give newcomers a leg up. Standard Bank has not yet said which network it will use. “We believe that Standard Bank’s MVNO move is well timed, particularly as mobile net...

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