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Connectivity

App-based MVNO Vyke reports major user growth

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Vyke, the digital mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), saw a major increase in users in the last quarter of 2020 as the growth of app-based MVNOs continues in Africa.

Mobile enabler x-Mobility shared figures with Connecting Africa about the growth of Vyke, saying that the MVNO saw a 50% increase in subscribers in the last quarter of 2020.

Vyke is a digital MVNO service, also known as an AppVNO, that is downloaded as an app and can be used to subscribe to multiple mobile numbers. It offers users free calls and texts to other Vyke subscribers and low-cost calls and SMS to anyone.

x-Mobility said Vyke's new net additions are in excess of 50,000 per quarter, and although Vyke has subscribers across the world Nigeria is its biggest market in terms of subscribers.

The company does not release detailed country-specific data, but said the Nigerian users are in the hundreds of thousands. Vyke also has good penetration in other African countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya.

However, the fastest growing country in the fourth quarter was Pakistan, and Pakistan and India are now Vyke's second and third biggest markets after Nigeria.

African growth story

x-Mobility enables brands with telecoms services as MVNOs or SIM-less AppVNOs, and the UK-based company has been rolling out more services in Africa over the past year.

In 2020, x-Mobility helped Kenyan smartphone financing company Follow Me Talk launch an app-based MVNO, with big plans to disrupt Kenya's telecoms market.

It also powered Gist Mobile to launch an AppVNO service to Nigerian subscribers and the African diaspora earlier in the year.

"2020 has seen a decrease in the number of new SIM-based MVNOs launching, but a dramatic increase in the number of digital MVNOs launching and enquiring," Shanks Kulam, co-founder of x-Mobility, said in an emailed statement.

x-Mobility co-founder Shanks Kulam   (Source: x-Mobility)
x-Mobility co-founder Shanks Kulam
(Source: x-Mobility)

"With more and more people globally working from home they can use their home Wi-Fi and don't need an additional SIM-based service. But they still want the flexibility of a second line, free calls to contacts and international numbers on their existing handset. An AppVNO provides all of that," Kulam added.

A Vyke spokesperson said it had seen an increase in its customer base throughout 2020, but a dramatic increase in the last quarter.

"Even while stuck at home in the pandemic, or possibly because of that, people still wanted to stay in touch with loved ones around the globe. They also wanted the additional flexibility of extra phone numbers, for social media app registration, dating or use for business calls," he said.

*Top image source: GSMA

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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