This week marks the launch of Africa’s first dedicated mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE), a platform created following the completion of commercial terms between Cell C, Comverse and Mirage Telecom.

This platform will provide cellular network services to potential new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) throughout South Africa.

“The MVNO represents the next evolution of mobile in the South African industry, making the launch of Mirage Telecom as Africa’s first MVNE particularly significant,” says Prins Mhlanga, executive director at Mirage Telecom.

“The Comverse MVNE platform is an industry-leading technology which will ensure that the country’s new virtual operators will have world-class services from which to leverage their businesses,” he says.

The MVNE platform enables niche sectors and innovative thinkers to start building new businesses within the mobile technology space.

“The launch of the country’s first MVNE is the next step up the mobile ladder. South African mobile users will now see new offerings from some of their favourite and most trusted brands. These brands will have the freedom and flexibility to develop unique products and services that resonate directly with the customers they know best,” says Mhlanga.

As part of the agreement, Comverse will supply its telecommunications software to Mirage Telecom, with Cell C creating a wholesale supply relationship with it. This will allow Mirage Telecom to take on new MVNO partners and supply core network access.

The Comverse system is tier one telecommunications technology and is proven in leading global markets. This platform will cater for growth in the South African MVNO sector and is fully integrated within the Cell C network.

“Comverse ONE advanced MVNE capabilities span CRM, self-service, order management, rating, charging, revenue settlements and billing to support wholesale retailers and MVNO/MVNE models. Specific capabilities include data segmentation to drive branding and MVNO-specific campaigns, flexible billing models such as direct billing or billing on behalf, and configurable retailer/ MVNO/ MVNE specific end-to-end business processes,” says Denis Bernaert, senior VP and MD of EMEA at Comverse.

“Fully integrated within the Cell C network, this platform is poised to power exponential growth in the South African MVNO sector, helping to open doors to a rich variety of business opportunities and partners for differentiation, cash flow and growth.

Jose Dos Santos, Cell C chief commecial officer and acting CEO, says: “Cell C’s growth over the last year is testament to our ability to innovate and create real change in the telecommunications market in SA. We are pleased to have played an integral role in launching the MVNE model in this country and look forward to it providing a place of innovation for other businesses to thrive.”

“Through our partnerships with Comverse and Cell C, Mirage Telecom is essentially enabling large organisations to offer branded mobile voice and data services to their clients as MVNOs,” Mhlanga adds.

“The opportunities for getting closer to the customer and retaining contactability are enormous and we’re confident the launch of Mirage Telecom will in turn enable the introduction of numerous innovative MVNOs bringing greater choice and value to South African consumers.”