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Friendi Mobile launches in Jordan

Friendi Mobile begins soft launch of services in Jordan

Mikkel Vinter, CEO of Friendi Mobile, said the company plans to be present in 10 countries within four years.
Mikkel Vinter, CEO of Friendi Mobile, said the company plans to be present in 10 countries within four years.

Amman, JORDAN: Friendi Mobile soft launched its services in Jordan this week in preparation for its official launch, which the company's CEO, Mikkel Vinter, described as being "not far off".

Friendi Mobile, an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that is using the network of Zain Jordan, now has about 300 to 400 paying customers in Jordan, and Vinter said that all components of the operation, including the call centre, were working. He added that the company would use feedback from its first customers to "polish" the operation and check that everything was working properly.

The company, which is targeting a "modest single digit" market share in Jordan, plans to attract customers with an "international element" to their lives, according to Vinter. This includes expatriates and nationals with friends and family overseas.

Friendi Mobile, which already has a successful operation in Oman using the network of incumbent operator Omantel, plans to have a presence in at least 10 countries in region within four years, according to Vinter.

"We are now in two countries and there are a number of other markets in the pipeline, so we generally feel that the business model, and acceptance of it, is picking up speed," Vinter told itp.net. He added that regulators and operators in other countries were also likely to become more open to the idea of MVNOs following the launches in Jordan and Oman.

Vinter added that the company was also actively in negotiations to enter markets under a branded reseller model, rather than a full MVNO. "That is clearly a good model where the regulation is not quite there yet," he said.

"Our focus is on the GCC markets and North Africa: Saudi, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco - there are a number of markets where we feel there are developments, so we have a good number of discussions ongoing at the moment and I am quite optimistic that we will see more happen this year and next year."

Vinter said he was also optimistic that operators in the region would increasingly recognise the benefits of working with MVNOs to help tap segments of the market they struggled to address.

"Being a major operator in the market is still often a bit of a one-size-fits-all approach, so we see very strongly the realisation that segmentation is the key to getting closer to the needs of the customers," he said.