Lycamobile

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Lycamobile
IndustryTelecommunication
FoundedSeptember 2006
Headquarters
  • United Kingdom
Key people
Allirajah Subaskaran (Chairman)
Premananthan Sivasamy (Deputy chairman)
ProductsMobile telecommunications services
RevenueIncrease €1.8 billion (2015)
Websitelycamobile.com
Lycamobile signage, Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, London

Lycamobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) operating in 22 countries. The brand is active in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the USA. [1] The bulk of Lycamobile revenue is claimed to be generated from its SIM products. Lycatel, also a part of Lyca Group, targets customers within expatriate and ethnic markets that want to make international calls.

Lycamobile sells international pay-as-you-go SIM cards to customers wanting to make international telephone calls. An MVNO leases radio frequency from mobile phone network operators and it forms partnerships with the operators in each country it serves. Lycamobile has also developed distinct business structures such as MVNA arrangements in different countries. It has often adopted an aggressive pricing strategy on entry to new markets in order to acquire early market share. In some instances, MNO partners of Lycamobile have been surprised by the actual growth rather than their own projected estimated growth of Lycamobile's products. In 2015 Lycamobile renewed a multi-year MVNO deal with O2.[2]

The Lycamobile brand concept was launched in 2005 with the first trading using the brand taking place in 2006. Its business structure is arranged to have local national private companies branded under licence as "Lycamobile" and operating exclusively in the particular country as either a MVNO provider or as the principal wholesaler of Lycamobile-branded products.[citation needed]

Since its launch in the Netherlands in 2006, Lycamobile has more than 15 million pay-as-you-go customers worldwide.[3]

In 2016, nearly twenty Lycamobile employees were arrested in France, with about half of them charged with money laundering.[4][5]

Operations[edit]

The company currently operates in 22 countries around the world. Lycamobile offered services in Hong Kong since April 2015, but its services were suspended from 6 April 2018.[6]

Country Year Partner network
 Australia 2010 Telstra[7]
 Austria 2013 A1 Telekom[8]
 Belgium 2007 Telenet[9]
 Denmark 2010 TDC[10]
 France 2011 Bouygues Telecom[11]
 Germany 2011 Vodafone[12]
 Ireland 2012 3[13]
 Italy 2009 Vodafone[14]
 Netherlands 2006 KPN[15]
 North Macedonia 2016 one.Vip[16]
 Norway 2009 Telia[17]
 Poland 2011 Plus[18]
 Portugal 2012 Vodafone[19]
 Romania 2015 Telekom[20]
 South Africa 2017 Cell C[21]
 Spain 2010 Movistar[22]
 Sweden 2009 Telenor[23]
  Switzerland 2008 Swisscom[24]
 Tunisia 2015 Tunisie Télécom[25]
 Ukraine 2017 3mob[26]
 United Kingdom 2010 O2[27]
 United States 2013 T-Mobile[28]

Service differentiation[edit]

In 2015, PC Magazine's mobile analyst advised US customers to "take a look at some of the smaller virtual carriers which may offer better customer service or more customized plans" such as Lycamobile.[29]

On the other hand, as of 25 July 2015, the Better Business Bureau stated that due to Lycamobile's failure to respond to 28 of 47 complaints, Lycamobile's rating with the BBB is an F (on a scale of A+ to F).[30]

Other Lyca telecommunications businesses[edit]

While Lycamobile represents the core business of Lyca, namely the offering of a MVNO telecommunications services, Lyca has other telecommunication services provided to consumers:

GT Mobile[edit]

GT Mobile (also known as "Gnanam Telecom") is a MNVO sub-brand of Lycamobile that operates in Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland (the United Kingdom arm has been merged in Lycamobile).[31] The brand, like its parent, is aimed at those who wish to make national and international phone calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. The GT Mobile brand offers alternative pricing structures and packages focusing more on national bundles from the Lycamobile brand.[citation needed]

Lycatel calling cards[edit]

Lycatel is focused on the sale of calling cards to wholesalers to then sell on to the public. Lycatel offers online sales of calling cards and direct customer sales through the Lycateleshop. The Lycatel brand is not itself used as a calling card brand name, but acts as a parent brand name used on various branded calling cards. The most popular brands of Lycatel calling cards include Africa Tel, Cobra, Eurocity, One+One, Spicy Tel, Supertel, Unitel, Viper and World Call. Each calling card brand features different calling rates to different destinations with some being more suited to single use (known in the calling card industry as 'throw-away cards'). Others are more suited to occasional use but will feature a higher standard rate for each call placed. Whilst there is a fair level of confusion between pricing, Lycatel's underlying charges are significantly less than connecting international calls in a conventional sense.[citation needed]

The Lycatel (or as previously used "Lyca Tel") brand has been in existence since 2001 although its early ownership and operational structure were significantly distinct in the early 2000s from the present day. The present-day Lycatel brand owners and licensees form a larger organisation although the operational focus of Lycatel remains the sale of a variety of differently branded calling cards to wholesalers. Wholesalers in turn sell onto retailers who then sell primarily to expatriate customers who want to make low-cost international calls.[citation needed]

Lycatel primarily operates via its own national reselling companies or through its service providers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, India (an outsourcing operation), Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and Tunisia.[citation needed]

Lycatel currently holds a wider country-by-country spread than the Lycamobile operations, although Lycamobile has begun operations in countries where Lycatel does not currently have a presence, such as Poland. Although the calling card market is generally considered to be in decline with the arrival of mobile telephony, Lycatel as a whole remains a dominant and significant competitor in the calling card market in Europe.[citation needed]

Lycatalk[edit]

The Lycatalk brand is also part of the Lyca family of brands and operates in the same jurisdictions as the calling card brands with the exception of Portugal. Lycatalk has less prominence than the Lycatel and Lycamobile brands but has a simply structured product with no set up fees or other maintenance charges. Lycatalk tariff rates are more settled and rarely vary wildly, unlike more aggressively price structured products such as calling cards.

Lycachat[edit]

Lycachat is a voice over IP (voIP) offering available to consumers. Lycachat benefits from the Lycamobile infrastructure and should be able to provide connection to traditional telephone networks at virtually no cost to the consumer.

Other businesses[edit]

Aside from telecommunications, there are a variety of Lyca-branded business ventures. Services range from financial products and insurance services, as well as ventures into logistics and even an airline business Lyca Airways, based in West Africa. Ventures of note include the following:

Lycamoney[edit]

Lycamoney is a pre-paid debit card offering, enabling mainly new migrants to European countries to have access to payment schemes such as MasterCard.[citation needed]

LycaRadio[edit]

Launched in 2013, LycaRadio was born after the acquisition by Lyca of radio frequencies previously operated by Sunrise Radio. Lycaradio offers two stations, LycaRadio and Lyca Dilse. Both stations have retained the previous format of Sunrise Radio, targeting South Asian communities. This is also in part because of regulatory requirements imposed by Ofcom.[citation needed]

Lyca Productions[edit]

Lyca Productions is an India-based film production venture. Lyca produced India's most expensive film 2.0 ata budget of 75 million USD that is scheduled for release on 29 November 2018.[citation needed]

LycaFly[edit]

LycaFly is the travel arm of the Lyca business, and specialises in offering cheap flights and holidays to predominantly Asian destinations such as India and Sri Lanka as well Nigeria. LycaFly was launched in 2007 as part of an acquisition of an existing travel agency business. The UK LycaFly business, U Can Fly Limited, is owned by Pettigo Comércio Internacional, Limitada, a Portuguese holding company located in Madeira, Portugal. Pettigo Comércio Internacional, Limitada also owns the LycaFly brand name. At present LycaFly operates only in the UK.[citation needed]

Lycaremit[edit]

Lycaremit, launched in 2015 is the one of the newest ventures from the Lycagroup which acts as a money transfer service which allows users to send money abroad.[citation needed]

LycaTV[edit]

Lyca TV is an online over-the-top (OTT) ethnic entertainment provider, currently available in 20 countries and in 09 languages. The service, launched in 2015, is mainly targeted at major expat communities spread across the world.[32][33][34]

Lycalotto[edit]

Lycalotto, launched in March 2017, is a lottery syndicate platform available in the UK and Ireland. Lycalotto offers access to lottery draws from around the world, including those not normally accessible in the region such as the US Powerball.[35]

ComReg[edit]

On 5 May 2016, Lycamobile Ireland Limited was found guilty of the offence of failing to comply with a request for information made by the Commission for Communications Regulation ComReg using its statutory information gathering powers. The company was found guilty in the Dublin District Court and fined €3000 and ordered to pay a contribution towards ComReg's costs.

The information requested was in connection with ComReg’s ongoing review of the wholesale local access (‘WLA’) and wholesale central access (‘WCA’) markets which facilitate the provision of wholesale and retail fixed telephony, broadband and other services.[36]

T-Mobile in the United Kingdom charges its customers exclusive of their minutes allowance for calls to United Kingdom Lycamobile/GT Mobile numbers, despite Lycamobile UK being headquartered in London, and using United Kingdom "07"-prefixed numbers issued by Ofcom, in the UK. By contrast, Lycamobile UK does not treat calls to UK T-Mobile customers any differently and calls are charged just as any "07" UK mobile telephone numbers.[37]

In June 2016, Lycamobile in France was under investigation by authorities for tax fraud and money laundering offences.[38][39] Lycamobile has rebutted the allegations.[40]

Lycamobile has not paid any corporation tax for several years in the United Kingdom though the company put aside £9.5 million to cover "a potential liability of unpaid taxes" including "interest and penalties" in its 2015 accounts. Lycamobile's 2015 accounts were filed seven months late, appearing after Companies House threatened to strike Lycamobile off, such an action would have prevented the company from conducting business in the UK.[41] Lycamobile had previously been threatened with being struck off in 2012, its accounts were filed two years late that year.[42]

Lycamobile is a significant donor to the British Conservative Party, having donated £1.3 million since 2011, including £500,000 in 2015.[41] They also donated use of a call centre to Boris Johnson during his 2012 London mayoral election campaign.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Welcome To Lycamobile | Call The World For Less". www.lycamobile.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Lycamobile signs new multi-year MVNO deal with O2". News.o2.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  3. ^ "MVNO Monday: a guide to the week's virtual operator developments". Telegeography.com. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  4. ^ Lycamobile offices raided, Mobile News, 21 Jun 2016.
  5. ^ This Tory donor was secretly filmed, Buzzfeed, 5 Oct 2015.
  6. ^ "Office of the Communications Authority - Consumer Alert on the Service Suspension of the Lycamobile Hong Kong Limited". www.ofca.gov.hk. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Lycamobile Launches 4G in Australia Following Telstra Wholesale Deal". WhatPhone. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Lycamobile soft-launches MVNO in Austria". www.telegeography.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Lycamobile named as fastest growing MVNO in Belgium". www.lycamobile.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Lycamobile launches MVNO in Denmark with TDC". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  11. ^ "LycaMobile débarque sur le réseau de Bouygues Telecom". www.echosdunet.net (in French). 7 July 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Lycamobile to launch as MVNO on Vodafone Germany's network". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Lycamobile SIM Only Deals | Switcher.ie". switcher.ie. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Lycamobile Group targets eight new markets by Feb-14; Italian unit replaces H3G with Vodafone". www.telegeography.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Lycamobile moves from Vodafone to KPN network". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Трета среќа? Виртуелниот оператор Lycamobile доаѓа во Македонија ⋆ IT.mk". IT.mk (in Macedonian). 13 May 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Buying a SIM Card in Norway". Too Many Adapters. 25 February 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Lycamobile - nowy operator wirtualny w Polsce". Media2.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Plintron enters Portugal mobile market with Lycamobile". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  20. ^ "LycaMobile to launch MVNO in Romania - ICT market in CEE & CIS - PMR". www.ceeitandtelecom.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  21. ^ MyBroadband. "New MVNO Lycamobile launches on Cell C". businesstech.co.za. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  22. ^ movilonia.com (25 July 2013). "Lycamobile vuelve a cambiar a Movistar". Movilonia.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Lycamobile extends Telenor Sweden network access deal to include 4G data services | FierceWireless". www.fiercewireless.com. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  24. ^ Wahrheit. "Mit Lycamobile ROAMING fast gratis". www.ktipp.ch. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  25. ^ "«Lycamobile», nouvel opérateur de téléphonie en Tunisie". Espace Manager (in French). Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  26. ^ Lycamobile. "Lycamobile Granted MVNO Licence in Ukraine". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Lycamobile uses O2's network for UK 4G service". Totaltelecom. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  28. ^ PriMetrica, TeleGeography A. Division of. "Lycamobile announces US MVNO launch". https://www.telegeography.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  29. ^ Segan, Sascha (19 March 2015). "Don't Follow The Leader: These Phones and Carriers Could Make You Happier | News & Opinion". PCMag.com. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Lycamobile USA Inc. Review - Cell Phone & Tablet Equipment, Supplies & Repair in Newark, NJ - BBB Business Review - BBB serving New Jersey". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Benchmarking The Mvno Industry". Mvno Dynamics. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  32. ^ "Lycamobile incorpora LycaTV, su servicio de TV en streaming". Movilonia.com. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  33. ^ "Nace LycaTV, la plataforma de TV internacional de LycaMobile". ComputerHoy.com (in Spanish). 22 April 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  34. ^ "GMA International and Lyca TV launch Kapuso channels in Europe | GMA International and Lyca TV launch Kapuso channels in Europe". Gmanetwork.com. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  35. ^ "Lyca introduces new lottery syndicate platform Lycalotto". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  36. ^ "ComReg -v- Lycamobile Ireland : District Court Hearing on Failure to Provide Information to ComReg" (PDF). Comreg.ie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  37. ^ "T-Mobile and Lycamobile trade insults over charges - Mobile News Online | Mobile News Online". Mobilenewscwp.co.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  38. ^ "Lycamobile offices raided in tax fraud investigation". Accountancy Age. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  39. ^ Georgie Keate (20 June 2016). "Tory donors investigated for tax fraud | News | The Times & The Sunday Times". Thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  40. ^ Joseph, Kezia (24 June 2016). "Lycamobile issues strong rebuttal to tax fraud allegations". Mobile Today. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  41. ^ a b "Called to account". Private Eye (1404). 30 October 2015. p. 37.
  42. ^ "Lycamobile is Tories' top corporate donor - but pays no corporation tax". The Guardian. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  43. ^ Rajeev Syal; Solomon Hughes. "Lycamobile is Tories' top corporate donor - but pays no corporation tax | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2017.

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