Lyca Mobile to spend £250m on expansion, technology and rebrand

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The world's largest MVNO is investing £250 million to expand its reach into new markets and develop new technology.

On the tech front, Lyca Mobile is developing a commerce cloud to enhance service delivery and create what it described as an "industry-leading digital infrastructure that will underpin the development of a new set of bespoke products for consumers in the UK and beyond".

This will be developed and delivered in collaboration with IBM and SAP.

On the network expansion, this will focus on international markets and include a "significant investment" in developing a 4G network in Uganda and expanding MVNO operations in key markets across Asia and Latin America.

In Uganda – a market that has seen both Africell and Smart Telecom bow out since July – Lyca operates as an MNO after acquiring Tangerine in January 2020.

Group CEO Navanit Narayan said: “This investment is testament to our commitment to transform the business and take our services to a wider audience. Covid-19 has expedited the emergence of a new set of consumer mobile behaviours and values. Customers expect more diverse, differentiated and value-added services – and there’s a real opportunity for us to deliver exactly that as we look to grow our market share in the UK and beyond.

"Our ambition will help us attract new customers and further demonstrate the benefits of partnering with Lyca Mobile to global mobile network operators. We are also proud that, as a UK-based multinational, we are in a position to inject such significant investment into the economy,” Narayan added.

However, a significant chunk of the £250 million will be ploughed into Lyca's rebrand. For this it has hired Clear M&C Saatchi. The new brand design – which will also be rolled out across the Lyca Group companies, which include healthcare, finance, travel, and entertainment businesses – will be supported by a £25 million multi-channel advertising campaign running across TV, radio, out of home, digital and in-store activity.

In early 2020, Lyca's Spanish division was acquired by Masmovil in a €372 million deal and last year the firm was fined by the Australian regulator for "public safety failures".