Vodafone Australia has announced the acquisition of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lebara. The company would take ownership of its customer base of around 130,000 subscribers and also the company’s branding in Australia. Lebara is operating in Australia since 2009 and has been a wholesale customer of Vodafone using its network. Technically, Lebara customers are already on Vodafone’s 4G network.
“Lebara Mobile customers are already enjoying the Vodafone 4G network, so nothing will change for customers in terms of their experience,” said Vodafone chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd. “The company has built up a strong brand presence and loyal customer base in Australia, and we see opportunities to grow the business further,” he added.
Vodafone will maintain Lebara as a separate identity. Thus, the employees and customer service agents of the latter will remain intact. Lebara specializes in providing low-cost international calls to prepaid customers. It has operations spanning all over the world. In 2015, Lebara launched Lebara Play, an OTT video-streaming service and recently it started offering 4G services. It also offers an international remittance service Lebara Money.
With this acquisition, Vodafone can begin to provide low-cost international mobile calling to its customers. “It is a significant step up…at the moment we just get the wholesale revenue…whereas now that we’ve acquired their assets, we get the wholesale revenue, the retail revenue, and retail margin,” Lloyd said.
“Our Lebara Mobile Australia customers have benefited from our long-term relationship with Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) for many years and we are working with VHA to ensure a seamless transition,” Lebara Group chairman and chief executive Yoganathan Ratheesan said.
The financial terms involved in the deal are not known.