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Second virtual mobile network launches in Oman

Customers in the Sultanate now have four mobile networks to choose from

Residents of Oman have another mobile network to choose from following today’s launch of virtual network Renna.

Renna, the brand name of Majan Telecom, will target “the untapped and underserved segments in the market” with the aim of simplifying mobile tariffs.

Both Renna and Friendi, a rival mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that launched its network in Oman last week, have wholesale agreements to use incumbent operator Oman Mobile’s network.

Chief executive officer Niklas Nielsen described Renna’s typical customer as “cost conscious”. He said: “It’s going to be those who care about their money, and those who want to make sure that what they see is what they get – there is no small print with any of our offers.”

Renna and Friendi look set to go head-to-head in the international calls market, with both focusing some of their efforts on attracting migrant workers who make international calls to their networks.

“I’m sure there will be an overlap,” Nielsen said. “But the prices that we are launching are better than Friendi’s.” He said that national off-peak mobile-to-mobile calls with Renna cost 38bz (US$0.09) per minute, compared to 39bz with Nawras and Friendi, and 45bz with Oman Mobile.

“I’m sure there will be a reaction from the competitors on this,” he said. “But I’m keener when we launch our products to emphasise our services.”

One of the services, which Nielsen says is a first in Oman, gives customers who have run out of credit an emergency 200bz until the next time they top up their account.

Nielsen declined to say how many customers he hoped to sign to the network, but he said that within a few years the combined market share for MVNOs in Oman would be 20%-25%.

According to Oman’s telecom regulator, the country has 3.3 million mobile users from a population of 3.4 million.

The regulator in Oman initially allocated Renna with 100,000 numbers, but Nielsen said he would soon be approaching them for another batch of numbers.