Altice buys half a French MVNO

Altice France plans to acquire Afone Participations, a provider of telecoms and electronic payments services that holds a 50% stake in a medium-sized MVNO.

Altice announced the deal in a very short statement mostly devoid of detail, but it seems the transaction is mainly about the consumer MVNO business and its distribution network. The virtual operator in question is RegloMobile, which is currently a 50:50 joint venture between Afone and retail giant the Leclerc group.

As part of the deal – of undisclosed value – Altice will pick up Afone’s 50% stake, in the process partnering up with Leclerc.

RegloMobile will bring with it 770,000 customers, giving Altice’s customer base a noticeable, if not massive, hike. At last count Patrick Drahi’s firm had a mobile customer base of around 15 million in France, where it operates as SFR.

The deal is about more than just subscriber numbers though.

Altice was quick to point out that it will benefit in distribution terms from the E.Leclerc network of shopping centres. As it stands the RegloMobile brand is only available at E.Leclerc centres.

Under its own brand, Afone offers a suite of machine-to-machine (M2M) services to businesses, including electronic payments, remote monitoring and other IoT applications. It owns payment platform Papam, and for the past couple of years has had an arm dedicated to corporate equity investments.

Afone, including RegloMobile already operates on the SFR network.

It’s an interesting fit for Altice.

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  • MVNOs North America

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