UAE-based Friendi rings up 150,000 users in Oman

Virtual mobile operator sets sights on Q2 launch in Jordan, as it looks to build on customer base in Oman

Tags: Friendi GroupFriendi MobileJordanOman
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UAE-based Friendi rings up 150,000 users in Oman Friendi CEO Mikkel Vinter says he expects to launch services in Jordan in the second quarter. (ITP Images)
By  George Bevir Published  March 11, 2010

Dubai-based virtual mobile operator Friendi has signed up 150,000 customers in Oman since it launched in April last year.

According to the Oman Telecom Regulatory Authority, there were just over 3.9 million mobile subscribers at the end of last year, giving Friendi a 3.8% share of the market.

Friendi Group CEO Mikkel Vinter told CommsMEA that he was pleased with the rate of growth of the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

"It's good progress, considering we launched 10 months ago," he said. "I don't see us going much beyond the high single digits of market share, and if you look at MVNOs globally there are very few examples of any with double digit market share."

Friendi has set its sights on becoming a pan-regional virtual operator, targeting migrant workers in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

In January it signed a deal to use Zain Jordan's network, having secured a licence from the country's telecom regulator to set up a second virtual network in Jordan back in 2008, and Vinter said he was confident that services would launch in Jordan in the second quarter of the year.

Friendi Mobile became the first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to launch in the Middle East after it signed an agreement to use incumbent operator Oman Mobile's network, with deals targeting the country's migrant workforce.

Since Friendi's April 2009 launch, it has been joined in Oman's mobile market by Renna, which also uses Oman Mobile's network infrastructure. Fellow MVNO's Mazoon and Injaz both use second network operator Nawras's network.

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