Airtel has entered into a group-wide framework agreement with virtual SIM solutions provider Movirtu.
The agreement follows Airtel’s successful launch of the Movirtu Share service in Madagascar. The first deployment under the new contract is now live in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Airtel plans to launch a pre-paid service in its other subsidiaries across Africa. The DRC deployment went live on 12 May 2014 and two other deployments are already under way. Airtel has a total of 17 subsidiaries across Africa with a total of 81.5m subscribers.
Movirtu’s Virtual SIM platform allows mobile operators to provide services to users who cannot afford to purchase a personal handset, while also allowing subscribers to keep multiple numbers on same handset. With a Virtual SIM linked to their own personal mobile number, users can temporarily activate the Virtual SIM on a friend’s handset or shared village phone to make voice calls, send text messages or access value added and informative services such as mobile banking and mFarmer.
The service is also targeted at business users, allowing them to attach a second mobile number to their existing mobile account. With this service, business users can separate their private and business calls without needing to buy an additional handset or a second physical SIM card.
By deploying Movirtu’s Virtual SIM platform into the network, Airtel can add new mobile subscribers and benefit from incremental revenues and market share expansion at low customer acquisition costs. For end users, Movirtu Share offers an affordable and secure way to access mobile services without needing to purchase and maintain a handset or keep track of a physical SIM card.
Willie Ellis, Director of Products and Innovation at Airtel Group commented: “Working with Movirtu in Madagascar proved to us that there is a strong appetite amongst people who currently do not own a mobile phone for a low-cost, secure service that keeps them connected. Having proven the business case, we now plan to roll out Movirtu Share throughout our subsidiaries in Africa. And because Movirtu’s underlying Virtual SIM technology makes it easy for us to dynamically attach/detach numbers to different handsets, we have the option of launching additional services in the future.”
Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO at Movirtu, added: “The framework agreement with Airtel Africa will help some of the approximately one billion people across the globe who are still without a mobile phone to gain access to the mobile network. It’s clear that there is a significant market opportunity to convert many of these people into mobile subscribers for the first time, with their own phone number and prepaid account.”
Movirtu’s Virtual SIM Platform is based on standard mobile network technology and, when integrated into the operator’s network, provides the basis for a variety of innovative service offerings. Subscribers are managed in the same way as any other with regards to customer care, provisioning and billing.