Standard Bank in talks to launch South Africa’s second MVNO

Standard Bank in talks to launch South Africa’s second MVNO

South Africa’s Standard Bank is reportedly aiming to launch an MVNO.

Reportedly, Standard Bank has hired former Virgin Mobile South Africa CEO Steve Bailey, and is aiming to bring on board more personnel with experience in telecoms. Bailey has worked at Cell C as chief customer operations officer, as well as holding the post of CEO at South African MVNO solutions company MVN-X, which offered virtual network services in the country.

If the launch goes ahead, the bank would become the second in the country to offer MVNO services, following the 2015 launch of First National Bank (FNB)’s MVNO service via Cell C’s infrastructure. Cell C is the only South African operator that currently hosts MVNOs.

MTN’s former CEO Phuthuma Nhleko stated in 2016 that a financial institution would launch such an offering via the operator’s South African network, but this did not come to pass. Later that year, Peter Schlebusch - Standard Bank’s chief executive for personal and business banking – stated in an interview that the bank had looked into launching an MVNO and opted not to do so.

Standard Bank appears to have changed its tune, and may now join FNB as a provider of MVNO services. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the bank could use Vodacom’s network for its offering. Standard Bank has around 11.8 million customers, making it the largest in South Africa.

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