MNF announces sub-wholesale MVNO deal over Telstra 4G

A new deal with Telstra Wholesale will enable MNF brand Symbio's wholesale customers to access 3G and 4G coverage under a sub-wholesale MVNO offering.

Australian retail and wholesale voice-over-IP (VoIP) provider MNF Group has announced a sub-wholesale mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deal between Symbio Networks and Telstra Wholesale.

Under the deal, Symbio's wholesale customers will be able to bill directly to their own customers and offer roaming options, as well as enabling more flexible contracting, higher pricing, and a faster on-boarding system.

The 4G footprint provided under the deal amounts to 95 percent of the population, for overall combined 3G and 4G mobile population coverage of 98.8 percent.

The offering was introduced due to demand for a sub-wholesale model, according to MNF CEO and co-founder Rene Sugo.

"This new MVNO offer will give our customers unprecedented control over their own consumers when it comes to billing and communication; we simply deliver the SIM card and the 4G mobile coverage," Sugo explained.

MNF's sub-wholesale MVNO service will operate across its proprietary iBoss platform, allowing new mobile players to go to market within four weeks and activating SIM cards in just seven seconds.

Aussie Broadband is already a customer of Symbio's new offering.

"Having access to a fully functional wholesale product was at the core of our decision," Aussie Broadband MD Phillip Britt said.

"Symbio's iBoss platform has allowed us to fully integrate our own highly automated systems so that we can connect customers with minimum touch."

MNF, which also provides telecommunications software, first announced moving into mobile with an MVNO deal with Telstra Wholesale almost a year ago. It allowed the telco enabler to move into 4G and 3G offerings after Telstra opened access to its 4G network to MVNOs in April last year.

Arguing that the National Broadband Network (NBN) has "stimulated" the mobile industry -- as the NBN's connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) charge is so high as to preclude smaller telcos from entering the fixed-line market, leaving mobile as the other big opportunity -- Sugo said the offering would allow MNF to offer a "complete communications solution".

"With more consumers bypassing the NBN and turning to 'mobile only' as the alternative, we wanted to offer iBoss customers a go-to-market solution for reaching this growing consumer segment," Sugo said in October.

"For us, it's not just about selling the services. Our iBoss mobile enablement platform provides the deep integration, automation, and self-service capabilities to deliver a truly value-added solution that new market entrants are looking for."

MNF was founded in 2004, and listed on the ASX in 2006. In July 2014, it acquired the business and platform of iBoss, a wholesale telco enabler, for AU$1.4 million. Earlier in 2014, iBoss' customer base had been saved from entering voluntary administration when it was bought out by Vocus Communications.

Symbio is also constructing a nationwide voice network in New Zealand, which it will wholesale to service operators and over-the-top (OTT) providers.

Earlier this month, MNF detailed its plans for the upcoming financial year, saying it will continue to push growth through geographic expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, with such expansion to be driven by its Global Wholesale segment as it invests in further network assets.

MNF's "four-dimensional growth strategy" will also involve enhancing its software capabilities and expanding its series of communications software services and products; customer acquisition through the purchase of more wholesale, enterprise, and government customers; and customer expansion, which involves organic growth through its current wholesale customers.

The company's full-year financial results for FY17 saw net profit of AU$12.1 million, up 34 percent, and revenue of AU$191.8 million, up 19 percent.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were AU$23.9 million, up 34 percent.

MNF's AU$17.5 million acquisition of CCI in early February signalled its move into audio conferencing and collaboration, while its purchase of New Zealand telco Spark's international voice business TNZI for NZ$22.4 million enables it to sell voice, data, mobile, and digital services throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania.

MNF operates in three segments: Australian domestic retail; Australian and New Zealand domestic wholesale; and global wholesale.

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