Virgin looking to launch Russian MVNO

Virgin chief Richard Branson has revealed that Virgin Mobile is currently holding discussions with Russian mobile operators with a view to launching an MVNO in the country.

Branson stated that his firm was considering an investment of up to US$1 billion to gain a foothold in the Russian mobile market, noting that operating MVNOs had “worked really well [for Virgin] in other countries and we think it will work well in Russia. We use their networks, and they use our brand."

However, the launch of an MVNO could be dependent on a Virgin Atlantic flight path between London and Moscow. The airline was recently denied permission to fly this route, with Branson commenting: “I'm hoping that Virgin Atlantic will get up and fly here next year, but we are waiting for feedback.”

Virgin Mobile currently operates MVNOs in nine different countries, including two that launched this year – Chile and Poland. The firm is reportedly aiming to procure US$100 million worth of investment so that it can set up MVNOs in a further six markets.

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