i2 chief confirms Jordan MVNO launch

KSA mobile distributor and retailers to start mobile operation in November

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By  George Bevir Published  September 16, 2008

i2, a KSA-based mobile phone distributor and retailer, is expected to make its first foray into the virtual mobile network (MVNO) market in November, with the launch of a mobile service in Jordan.

An announcement about i2’s network partner is expected this week, but company CEO Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid confirmed to CommsMEA that its anticipated launch will be in November.

i2 was granted an MVNO licence in May by the Jordanian telecoms regulator.

Al Sunaid said: “Everything is in place in terms of licence and agreement with operators. We’re looking to launch in November, that’s the target.”

i2 hopes that the MVNO will attract 300,000 customers within two to three years, by targeting the youth market in Jordan.

Al Sunaid said i2 had nothing planned in terms of other sections of the market “at the moment”, but he did highlight the Chinese community in Jordan as a possible next step.

“But I think we will target first the youth and make sure we are successful in our first objective, and then move to our second one.”

The i2 boss was less certain about launching a virtual network in the firm’s home country of Saudi Arabia.

“There’s nothing we can do at the moment, it’s with the regulator. The third licence was last year, so I think Saudi will be another two years maximum to open the MVNO. They have to give room for the third operator to get market share.

“We’re ready to go – we have the infrastructure in terms of distribution, retail, customer base, content, applications – we’re ready to move.”

He added that he did not believe that any MVNOs were imminent in the UAE. “There is nothing clear about the UAE, and I don’t think there will be anything soon.”

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