Next year could see local ISPs Orcon and Compass reselling Vodafone’s mobile voice and data services, if the wholesale agreements signed last week are carried through into product offerings.
According to Vodafone’s general manager of commercial development, Tom Chignell, the agreements are not Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) but rather wholesale deals similar to what the global cellphone operator has with TelstraClear.
Vodafone resellers will have access to most but not all retail offerings, Chignell says. Excluded are specifically branded Vodafone services such as the Live! portal, but otherwise, resellers will be able to supply mobile voice and data to customers.
Chignell says resellers can use their own branding for devices and the service. They won’t have to use Vodafone-branded phones and data cards, and Chignell expects resellers to compete on price. “It would be the only way to get into the market,” Chignell says in response to a question on whether or not he expects resellers to come up with better deals than Vodafone.
Seeby Woodhouse, Orcon’s founder, says his ISP will use the 020 number range for voice calls but adds that the data cards are the “big win” for his company. “They will really take us into the wireless data market,” he says.
Compass Communications CEO Karim Hussona says the agreement with Vodafone will allow his company to provide a full range of mobile and fixed services, including data, with one bill for customers. Compass is already a tele-communications services provider.
Telecom meanwhile will only say that it is holding talks with several customers, according to its marketing and communications manager for wholesale services, Melanie Marshall. Nothing has been confirmed however, says Marshall, who declined to name the customers Telecom has been talking to or how many they are.
Australian telco M2, which has already started providing fixed line services here, has also signed a wholesale agreement with Vodafone, Chignell says.