Belgian cable operator Numericable is switching its MVNO from the Mobistar network to BASE. Numericable is active in parts of Brussels, Wallonia and Luxembourg. It started the MVNO in August 2012, and its parent company, Luxembourg-based Altice, reported 4,000 mobile customers for the activities at the end of June 2014. According to BASE, Numericable made the switch in order to gain access to 4G services. The higher speeds will be available immediately for customers on Numericable’s Mobile Start, Extra and Max plans, and all Numericable customers will switch to the BASE network before the end of the year.
In today’s market climate, where high data speed is in ever-greater demand, even MVNOs—generally associated with budget pricing and lower-end or younger users—are finding it important to provide their customers with 4G service. For Numericable’s MVNO to switch to BASE from Mobistar—which does not offer 4G access—makes perfect sense in light of this trend. In February of this year, Numericable offered 4G services to customers of its French MVNO via the network of French mobile operator SFR. Two months later, Numericable bought SFR from Vivendi, beating out French MNO Bouygues, in a deal that affirmed fixed-mobile convergence over mobile consolidation.
Clearly, if fixed-mobile convergence is to maximize its success, it will need to offer the most advanced kind of mobile service. To that end, in a scenario that may echo the French one, Numericable is said to be looking at the possibility of acquiring a Belgian MNO, either BASE (wholly owned by Netherlands-based KPN) or Mobistar (majority-owned by French group Orange). Such a deal would be a natural progression from the present decision regarding running services on BASE’s network.