FNB’s ‘open secret’ play as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) will be launching as FNB Connect in “the next couple of months”.
This is according to sales representatives from within the banking group.
FNB Connect as well as FNB’s Cellular Services’ sales desks were asked about the offering; and while they could not provide solid details, they confirmed the group’s intention to launch an MVNO in the coming months, and referred to the entity as “FNB Connect”.
Industry speculation suggests FNB has been planning to officially launch a mobile operator for some time – as early as April 2015 – but was delayed due to technical issues.
Talk of FNB’s mobile play was first reported in 2013, when the group was said to be in talks with Cell C.
The banking group already offers its own Internet services and mobile rewards program under FNB Connect. It also sells mobile handsets and related technology.
While recently launched MVNOs like me&you mobile and Mr Price Mobile use MVN-X to offer services, FNB is said to have its own MVNO platform, according to industry sources.
Virginia Magapatona, FNB’s head of corporate communications, said the group already has a telco license and is able to provide voice and data services.
Through its banking app, the group offers free FNB-to-FNB calls and messages, and also allows FNB calls to other networks at a fee.
FNB would not confirm their sales desk’s account of the MVNO offering, saying only that it “will continue to enhance its services where it benefits customers, such as providing free calls and messaging via the FNB App”.