Friendi Group to launch MVNO in Jordan

Friendi Group, the region’s first MVNO player, strikes deal to launch MVNO in Jordan using Zain's network.

Tags: Friendi GroupJordanZain - Jordan
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Friendi Group to launch MVNO in Jordan Zain's geographic footprint fits closely with Friendi's expansion plans, according to Friendi CEO, Mikkel Vinter. (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  January 18, 2010

Friendi Group, which launched the region's first MVNO in Oman last year, has signed a deal with Zain to launch an MVNO in Jordan.

Friendi, which has already attracted some 100,000 subscribers in Oman, aims to start operations in Jordan in the second quarter of 2010 and will target pre-paid subscribers, the company's CEO, Mikkel Vinter, told itp.net.

Jordan's telecoms regulator originally issued a framework for MVNO's back in 2007. Friendi and i2, a Gulf-based mobile retailer, were both awarded MVNO licences in 2008.

Vinter said that Friendi had been in discussions with other operators regarding a partnership, but Zain emerged as the best fit.

"Zain makes good sense for us," he said. "They have a very good network and the alignment is good in terms of the commercial strategies and also on a strategic partnership level."

Vinter said that Zain's pan-regional footprint also matched Friendi's expansion plans. He added that the company was in talks with a number of Zain operations in the Middle East and Africa regarding further MVNOs. "We are in negotiations across the region with operators and regulators and local partners. There is a lot of interest at the moment so certainly we think this is only the beginning," he said.

Abdul Malek Al Jaber, Zain's CEO for the Levant region, said the agreement with Friendi was in line with Zain's overall strategy based on targeted acquisitions and meeting the needs of "specific market segments" in an already saturated GSM market.

Friendi is also likely to gain a first mover advantage as the first MVNO to launch in Jordan. I2, which also holds an MVNO licence for the country, is widely thought to have shelved plans for its operation in the wake of the financial crisis and the arrival of 3G services in Jordan last year.

Jordan currently has three mobile operators, Orange Jordan, Zain and Umniah.

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