October 16, 2012
After just six years Lycamobile has signed up 20 million users in 15 countries for its low-cost international mobile call services. Now, says company chairman Subaskaran Allirajah, it is negotiating MVNO relationships in another 10 countries. Co-sponsored feature: Lycamobile
Lycamobile, an international mobile virtual network operator, has just announced its fifteenth country and it plans to have 25 within the next few years.
“We’ve just announced our service in Portugal and we go live in September,” says Subaskaran Allirajah, the company’s chairman.
He and his colleagues are already talking to mobile network operators in some of the countries on Lycamobile’s expansion plan. “We’re looking at eastern Europe, Africa, and North America,” says Allirajah.
A service in the US in already in his schedule, though no formal announcements have been made yet, and Canada is at an earlier stage.
The offer in all its countries is essentially the same: a pay-as-you-go SIM-only mobile service offering low international call rates around the world, including to places in Africa, Asia, Europe or the Americas.
So far Lycamobile’s heartland is in western Europe, plus Australia, and it has acquired more than 20 million customers in the six years since it started up. But across all its territories the company operates in two distinct business models, says Liveing.
“We have people on business trips or on holiday, students, and so on, who may use the service for a few months. And then we have more established customers who are long-term users.”
Lycamobile works closely with the operators that provide the infrastructure in each of the 15 countries in which it operates. But what value does an MVNO arrangement bring to those operators? “We have a very well honed international calling proposition, mainly to expatriate ethnic communities,” says Allirajah. “We are absolutely complementary to each operator’s own market proposition.”
In other words, Lycamobile has identified a market sector where most operators are — they would admit it themselves — relatively weak. “Many operators have tried to get into that market but they haven’t been successful.”