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29 March 20130 Comments by Jon M

LycaMobile expands to the US

lycamobile logoLycaMobile, the MVNO, has announced that it will expand its operations to the United States. The company already operates in several European countries as well as in Australia and it is looking to enter new markets to increase its revenues. At the moment, LycaMobile is the largest virtual mobile network in Europe when measured by revenue and brings in over $1 billion a year.

LycaMobile has now only been running for six years but already it is massively popular as a choice of virtual network. In particular, it have been aggressively marketing toward expatriates in the UK by offering cheap international calling packages. It also operates under the more budget GT Mobile brand in many markets in parallel to LycaMobile and recent figures show that it serves over 2 million calls every day. In the UK alone, there are over 5 million subscribers.

Not content with its 20 million customers in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, LycaMobile is due to launch in the US soon. The massive North American market is much less competitive than in Europe and they will be hoping they can quickly gain a large number of customers with slim margins and undercutting current prices. It’s also likely they will use the LycaMobile trademark of partnering with ethnic stores and marketing in public places such as train stations.

The chairman of LycaMobile, Subaskaran Allirajah has said that this move is indicative of the company’s international ambitions. Moving into the US will almost double the number of available customers they can now target. In comparison to existing virtual networks in the US, LycaMobile will pull off a first in that it will be the only operator that completely controls its billing and customer service provision. They will be hoping that this fuller control will allow for a better service to tempt customers over.

The company’s chief executive Milind Kangle is understandably optimistic despite the competition in North America. He said that LycaMobile aims to double its revenues by entering the US market. At first they will concentrate their marketing efforts on highly-concentrated states including California, Texas as well as New York and New Jersey on the east coast. Initially only 18 states will have a service from the MVNO.

The parent network LycaMobile will use has not been officially announced yet although industry rumours point toward T-Mobile. It’s also likely that they will try to strike a deal to be able to provide 4G services to US customers.

The launch in the US is the biggest launch yet in LycaMobile’s history and they are offering two bundles to start with. The cheapest begins at $39 per month and comes with unlimited allowances for calls, texts and data as well as inclusive international calls to fifty countries. If you’re willing to pay $49 instead, you will get free international call allowances to an additional fifteen foreign countries.

What do you make of this move? Do you think that LycaMobile will struggle in the North American market or will it quickly expand? Do their bundles sound like good value for money? And do you think their efforts abroad could hamper their services here in the UK? We want to hear your opinions!

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