Middle Eastern MVNO enters new market through Virgin deal

Middle Eastern MVNO, FRiENDi Group, has agreed a strategic partnership with Virgin Group which will see it enter South Africa and target new markets across the MENA region

FRiENDi, which became one of the first companies to introduce the MVNO model to the Middle East through its operations in Jordan and Oman, will add Virgin Mobile’s South African unit to its portfolio. According to Reuters, the unit will be renamed Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa with Virgin holding a minority stake.

The move will take FRiENDi’s total number of subscribers to approximately one million with a reported target of five million by 2015. The company is also said to be targeting six more markets in the Middle East, Africa and south Asia within the next four years.

Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be completed within two months.