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FoundedSeptember 2001
FounderRatheesan Yoganathan, Rasiah Ranjith Leon and Baskaran Kandiah
25 Copthall Avenue, London
Area served
Europe, Saudi Arabia and Australia
Key people
Graeme Oxby (CEO)
ProductsMobile telecommunications services
RevenueIncrease EUR€ 550 million (2016)
Increase EUR€ 60 million (2016)
Number of employees
800 (2016)
ParentVIEO B.V.

Lebara is a telecommunications company providing services in many countries around the world, using the mobile virtual network operator business model. Lebara Mobile provides pay-as-you-go and contract based mobile SIM cards.[1][2]


Lebara was founded in 2001 by Rasiah Ranjith Leon and Baskaran Kandiah. The name Lebara was coined from the first two letters of each of the founders' names.[3]

The company's initial product was international telephone calling cards, sold through independent mobile phone shops.[3]

In 2004, Lebara Mobile launched a low-cost international service in the Netherlands, selling SIM cards using mobile carrier Telfort, a subsidiary of KPN.[3]

The founders established the Lebara Foundation, a registered charity under English law,[4] in 2005.

In 2009 it began using Vodafone's infrastructure in Australia[5] and the UK. By then it had also expanded into Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.[2] France was added in 2010.[3]

In the UK, Lebara entered the market in 2007 and targeted the 16-24 international student community, including through Freshers fairs and targeted emails.[6] [7] In May 2010 it acquired the Chippie brand and customer base in the Netherlands. Lebara said it would retain the Chippie name in the Netherlands, which is designed to address migrant communities from North and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia. Like Lebara Mobile's Dutch MVNO, Chippie calls are carried on KPN's network.[8] Lebara generated annual sales in excess of €565 million in 2010, and had more than three million active customers.[3]

In March 2011, it expanded its services by launching Lebara Money in the UK for customers wishing to send money abroad. In November of that year it signed a global deal to distribute Nokia handsets, with Lebara branding including a ringtone by Indian composer A. R. Rahman.[9]

In 2011, Lebara’s revenue hit €648m (£504m), turning a €20m (£16m) profit. Ratheesan Yoganathan, CEO of Lebara, wants to reach one billion customers by 2020.[10]

As of 2011 they were intending to sell their interest in the company, and donate half their wealth to expand the charitable work of the Foundation.[3]

On September 15, 2017 Lebara Group B.V. and its Trademark Companies were acquired by Palmarium, a Swiss private family office via its subsidiary VIEO B.V. for an undisclosed amount.[11]


The company currently operates in Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK,[12] and employs around 1,400 staff in total.[13] Lebara sold its Australian operation to Vodafone Australia in September 2016.[14]

Country Partner network Website
 Algeria Mobilis
 Australia Vodafone[15][16] https://www.lebara.com.au/
 Denmark Telenor[17] https://mobile.lebara.com/dk/
 Egypt Telecom Egypt
 France Bouygues Telecom[18] https://mobile.lebara.com/fr/
 Germany Telekom[19] https://mobile.lebara.com/de/
 Oman Omantel
 Netherlands KPN[20] https://mobile.lebara.com/nl/
 Saudi Arabia Mobily[21] https://www.lebara.sa/
 Spain Vodafone[22] https://mobile.lebara.com/es/
  Switzerland Sunrise[23] https://lebara.ch/
 Tunisia Tunisie Telecom
 UAE du
 United Kingdom Vodafone[24] https://mobile.lebara.com/gb/


  1. ^ Wray, Richard (30 October 2007). "Vodafone calls up economic migrants". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  2. ^ a b Wray, Richard (31 October 2007). "Vodafone partners new Sim-only service aimed at immigrants". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Garside, Juliette (17 November 2011). "Lebara co-founder made virtual phone network a real money-maker". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013.
  4. ^ Charity Commission. LEBARA FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1122734.
  5. ^ Bingemann, Mitchell (31 March 2009). "Vodafone's Lebara Mobile deal". The Australian. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  6. ^ Mobile Network Comparison (2013), Lebara Review, archived from the original on 24 October 2018
  7. ^ BAM UK (10 January 2014), CASE STUDY: Lebara mobile raise profile amongst UK students, Getmedia.com, archived from the original on 16 June 2014
  8. ^ Khalsa, Balihar (20 May 2010). "Lebara acquires Dutch company Chippie". Mobile Magazine. Noble House Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010.
  9. ^ "Lebara strikes global handset deal with Nokia". Telecom Paper. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  10. ^ Tripathi, Shruti (25 July 2012), The £500m-turnover London telecom business you’ve never heard of, archived from the original on 19 April 2014
  11. ^ "Palmarium acquires MVNO Lebara for an undisclosed fee". Global Telecoms Business. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  12. ^ Locations, official website. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  13. ^ Garside, Juliette (18 November 2011). "Virtual phone network a real money-maker". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012.
  14. ^ Tyson, Daniel (13 September 2016). "Vodafone Australia announces purchase of Lebara Mobile – business as usual for now". Ausdroid. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Lebara Mobile launches in Australia" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 30 March 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  16. ^ Lohman, Tim (30 March 2009). "Vodafone, Lebara launch new pre-paid mobile service". Computer World. IDG Communications. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Network status". Lebara. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Lebara Mobile enters French market" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 6 May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Global Market Leader Lebara Mobile launches in Germany" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 10 January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Persbericht" (PDF) (Press release) (in Dutch). Lebara. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Lebara Mobile to Launch MVNO in Saudi Arabia Shortly". cellular-news. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Lebara Mobile partners with Vodafone to launch low cost, high quality mobile services in Spain" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. February 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Lebara Mobile – slashes the cost of international mobile calling from Switzerland" (PDF). Lebara. 26 February 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Lebara Mobile Launches Low Cost International SIM" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.

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