Virgin Mobile is set for expansion in the Middle East and Africa after announcing a strategic partnership agreement withFRiENDi GROUP for the Middle East and Africa.
Subject to local authority clearances, the two groups will merge their regional telecom operations to create Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, which will develop and operate mobile telecommunications businesses across the region.
The combined group will manage the current operations of Virgin Mobile in South Africa and FRiENDi GROUP inOman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, creating a sizeable regional mobile telecom player with more than one million customers.
Richard Branson commented: "We are delighted to have agreed this strategic partnership with FRiENDi GROUP to create Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, and together we will create the undisputed regional leader in the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) space.
"Virgin and FRiENDi GROUP bring complementary skills and assets to the new venture and I have great confidence in its future success."
Mikkel Vinter, CEO and Founder of FRiENDi GROUP, added: "The Virgin Mobile brand is one of the most successful and revered MVNO brands globally, and the Virgin Group has an excellent track record of operating successful MVNO businesses in other parts of the world, so I am excited about working closely with Virgin Group on rolling out new MVNO operations across Africa and the Middle East."
The new group has ambitious plans to further strengthen its regional leadership position by launching in more markets across the Middle East and Africa, and is targeting a regional customer base of over five million subscribers by 2015 across both the Virgin Mobile andFRiENDi mobile brands.
Meanwhile, Virgin recently launched Virgin Mobile Latin America, with Richard Branson in Chile to announce the news.