Vodafone UK adds Digitalk to MVNO portfolio

UK telco taps global mobile virtual network enabler service provider, offering cloud-based real-time communications platforms, to assist in on-boarding partners to virtual network

As Vodafone UK begins a programme to increase the number of partners it has to offer virtual services on its network, the mobile operator has selected mobile service platform provider Digitalk to provide what it says are the increasingly sophisticated digital experiences needed by customers.

Global mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Digitalk Mobile Cloud supports mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and sub-brands based on full and light MVNO models, with fully integrated resource, product, subscriber and business management capabilities, including real-time charging and policy control, billing and customer care, business intelligence and campaigns management.

The new agreement will see Vodafone make use of Digitalk’s Mobile Cloud platform to support MVNO partners in providing what it calls highly reliable services, including payment, customer promotions and lifecycle campaigns. Digitalk’s dedicated web services will be deployed to help simplify the process of Vodafone integrating new customers.

Justin Norris, CEO at Digitalk, said: “Vodafone is one of the most innovative technology companies and we are very pleased to have been selected to support its MVNO growth strategy. Our Mobile Cloud services and our continued investment in the service will help Vodafone capitalise on current market opportunities.”

Vishal Dixit, strategy and wholesale director at Vodafone UK, added: “We chose Digitalk for its reliable platform and the services it provides, including its mobile cloud system. The Digitalk service will play an important role in our continued growth in the MVNO sector as we bring on new partners and provide increasingly sophisticated digital experiences for their customers.”

Among the recently announced key partners are Asda and Virgin Media. The UK supermarket chain announced that it would join the Vodafone MVNO fold in September 2020, signing a five-year exclusive deal, offering 4G and 5G coverage, unlimited mobile data plans and Wi-Fi calling, among other benefits. Existing Asda Mobile customers will begin to transition to the Vodafone network from early 2021, with new customers automatically joining the network when they sign up.

In what the cableco called a major milestone in its partnership with the company, which was first announced in 2019, Virgin Media’s 5G services will make exclusive use of the Vodafone UK 5G network from this year.

Virgin customers who upgrade to 5G will be migrated to receive all mobile services from the Vodafone network. New and existing mobile customers taking a 4G plan will remain on Virgin Media’s mobile service via EE’s network until Virgin Media’s agreement with BT Enterprise comes to an end in late 2021. Virgin Media expects all of its mobile customers to have transitioned to the Vodafone network by early 2022.

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“As the world’s first virtual mobile operator, our offering has long been about breaking boundaries and offering our customers a premium service without the price tag,” said Virgin Media chief operating officer Jeff Dodds, commenting on the deal in January 2021. “That’s why we are launching fast, reliable 5G connectivity at no extra cost while keeping the added extras of our existing mobile plans in place.

“By offering 5G and gigabit broadband all under one roof, Virgin Media customers can experience next-generation connectivity both in and out of the home, putting them in a great place to take advantage of the latest technology.”

Mike Cartwright, Vodafone UK’s head of wholesale, said the Virgin deal was a continued validation of Vodafone’s wholesale strategy of bringing new MVNOs onto its network, which could support average speeds in the region of 176.62Mbps, about 4.5 times faster than its average 4G speeds.

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