NewsNorth AfricaFootballer Eto'o launches Africa's fifth MVNO

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Posted on Thursday, 01 March 2012 14:40

Footballer Eto'o launches Africa's fifth MVNO

By The Africa Report

Piggyback operators named for brands or even celebrities could be big business in Africa Cameroonian football star Samuel Eto'o has become the first African celebrity to launch his own mobile brand.

Woman in telephone store in Nairobi/ photo/ reutersThe launch of SET Mobile on January 21, the first day of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, is one of a growing number of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO).

MVNOs are mobile brands that piggy-back off existing networks, buying wholesale from one or more mobile operators. 

In SET Mobile's case, it is understood to be buying its services from Orange Cameroon and is not, as it seemed to advertise at its launch, Cameroon's third mobile operator. 

Eto'o's brand targets his younger fans. "Our company will provide a unique quality of service and will make the difference by low prices and a range of handsets affordable to everyone," said Charles Gueret, who will head the new operator, via Twitter.

Orange says it could lose customers to the new brand. "There will be competition and there will be a risk of cannibalisation," said Claire Paponneau, senior vice president for the EMEA zone for Orange. 

Eto'o's brand is Africa's fifth MVNO network, according to analyst Informa Telecoms. 

Others include Kirène drinks, which launched a mobile brand in Senegal in 2009 using the Orange network, and Virgin Mobile in South Africa, operating as an MVNO since 2006 in partnership with Cell C.

This article was first published in the 2012 February edition of The Africa Report, on sale at newsstands,
via our print subscription or our digital edition.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 March 2012 15:26

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