The fledgling market for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the Czech Republic continues to grow apace in 2014, following the setting up of no fewer than 50 MVNOs and other secondary brand offerings in the latter stages of last year, according to a report from the Czech News Agency (CTK). Some of the more notable newcomers to the Czech mobile market – which was only opened up to virtual players in late-2012 – include BLESKmobil, Gorila Mobil, Tesco Mobile, Mobil od CEZ, Lama Mobile, Euro Operator and recent addition, betting firm Sazka.
BLESKmobil was the first to hit the ground running, thanks to a hosting deal with mobile network operator (MNO) Telefonica O2 CR. According to CTK, the MVNO segment accounted for some 700,000 users at 31 December 2013, equivalent to 5% of the total mobile market. Along with BLESKmobil, Telefonica O2 CR also has network hosting agreements in place with the likes of Tesco Mobile, Mobil od CEZ and another newcomer, Bonerix. Meanwhile, Vodafone CR also supports MVNOs and works with mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs) such as Quadruple, and third player T-Mobile CR utilises an agreement with GTS Czech to allow it to set up wholesale arrangements with smaller companies. Furthermore, keen not to be left behind the three incumbents have established their own ‘no-frills’ secondary brandings to exploit niche market segments. T-Mobile has a successful ‘Kaktus’ brand with 35,000 subscribers, Vodafone has relaunched ‘Oskarta’, and all three MNOs are gearing up their 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollouts.