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Friendi hopes to launch 3G services in Jordan

Operator to grow from a mix of own MVNO licenses and partnership outsourcing deals

Friendi hopes to launch 3G services in Jordan
Mikkel Vinter of Friendi Group says that the operator has a handful of markets in which it plans to launch its services this year.

Friendi Group, an MVNO based in the UAE, hopes to launch 3G services in Jordan by the end of this year. Mikkel Vinter, CEO and founder of Friendi Group, said: "Zain recently launched their 3G services in Jordan. As Zain is our root in the country, offering 3G services is something that we are actively looking at. We are in discussion with Zain Jordan, and we hope to launch our 3G services in Jordan by this year.

"Jordan is a good market, and we had a very positive reaction through our launch last year via a MVNO agreement with Zain Jordan," he added.

As part of its expansion plans in the MEA and South East Asia regions, Friendi is planning to launch its services in more countries in the MEA region in 2011 and 2012. "We are in discussions with a number of operators and regulators across markets in the region, and I can say that in a handful of markets we are in advanced discussions to launch of our services this year, and we will have additional launches in 2012," Vinter said. To this end, Friendi recently secured a $25 million funding.

"The kind of operations we have established so far are either MVNOs or partnerships with operators to launch B-brands. And that's what we also foresee in our new markets. Our vision for the group is to roll out across the region using these two models," Vinter said.

He added that with Friendi's three existing operations and partnerships in the Middle East, the MENA region remains the "highest priority" for the company. He confirmed that the firm is also looking at opportunities in "the broader Africa and Asia regions." However, Vinter said that Friendi has not earmarked the new funding for specific regions.

With the mobile industry moving from the traditional "one size fits all" to a more focused "customer segmentation" approach, Friendi is well positioned to benefit from the trend, and also drive it, according to Vinter.

"If you look at Europe, North America, Australia, and South East Asia, most of the markets outside the region today have development towards customer segmentation, and this is also now coming to the region. We are seeing that increasingly customer segmentation is set to accelerate. So, we are in this position not only to benefit development but also being a part driving this trend," Vinter added.

With its current subscriber number standing at 250,000 in Oman as of Q1 2011, Vinter said: "We are currently at approximately 5% market share in Oman, and we see that increasing to a high single digit market share in the coming months."

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