Virtual network operator Fio Connect names Dehandre de Beer as CEO
De Beer takes over from Ajay Wasserman, founder of Fio Capital Group
Fio Connect Africa, the latest addition to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in SA, has appointed Dehandre de Beer CEO as the group prepares to offer services in SA.
De Beer takes the helm from Ajay Wasserman, the founder of the Fio Capital Group that houses agriculture unit Fio Agri, start-up venture Fio Foundation, and ContractNinja — a software business that helps SA legal firms draw up contracts.
Little information is available on when the company will start operations or with which network operator it will partner.
Still, Fio Connect, which joins the likes of FNB, Capitec, Standard Bank Mobile, Mr Price Mobile and Pick n Pay, said it “offers the lowest data and airtime rates.”
MVNOs constitute about 2% of total mobile services in SA. They are usually non-telecom businesses that lease network infrastructure from mobile operators to sell data and voice services to customers.
The largest competitor is FNB, which has almost 1-million customers. Rival Capitec says it has issued more than 1-million SIM cards since its launch in 2022.
FNB recently signed a contract with MTN to use its network in addition to Cell C. MTN also provides MVNO services to Pick n Pay’s mobile offering.
Cell C had been the largest MVNO provider for a number of years but is facing growing competition from MTN, which has been mandated by the government to offer similar services in the market.
Cell C CEO Jorge Mendes recently told Business Day the operator is eying as many as 10-million additional customers.
“Established with a commitment to redefine the telecommunications landscape, Fio Connect is on a mission to empower individuals and fuel entrepreneurship by providing innovative SIM card solutions,” the company said in a statement.
“These solutions not only offer more affordability but also feature the distinctive advantage of never-expiring data, data bargains, app solutions with a wallet and you can keep your existing number,” Fio Connect said, adding that set it apart from competitors.
In a statement, Wasserman said De Beer’s “visionary leadership will be instrumental in driving our company’s mission to redefine connectivity and empower individuals and businesses through innovative telecommunications solutions”.
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