Virgin Mobile launches MVNO services in Saudi Arabia

30 September 2014 | Kavit Majithia


Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA) has launched telecoms operations in Saudi Arabia.

The move – described as one of the biggest shake-ups in the country’s telecoms sector for six years – will see the company launch two brands after regulators ordered operators to each host an MVNO offering.

Designed to stimulate competition in the country, the two brands launched by VMMEA are Virgin Mobile and FRiENDi Mobile, aimed at the young demographic and Saudi Arabia’s expatriate workers respectively.

VMMEA has partnered with market leader STC, Jawraa Lebara partnered with number-two player Mobily, while retail company Axiom Telecom partnered with Zain Saudi as part of the regulatory order.

VMMEA has faced problems with arranging interconnection with other operators, which delayed its launch, but it was reportedly given the go-ahead today.

Saudi Arabia is only the second Gulf country to allow MVNOs after Oman, despite them being otherwise widespread across the world.