RWG Mobile Launches Welsh MVNO

David Murphy

Welsh MVNO Andrew Davies_RWG Mobile_1

RWG Mobile founder, Andrew Davies

Fresh from its success in the Euros, Wales is to get a new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). The company behind it, RWG Mobile, said it is the first mobile communications service designed around the needs of an entire nation or region within the UK.

RWG Mobile, which launches on 18 July, has been developed by Andrew Davies, former CEO of the Nowtel Group, who was involved in the development and launch of TALK HOME Mobile and Now PAYG. Davies has been working over the last 12 months to create a virtual network that smartphone and tablet users can access via an app, that enables them to make free voice calls over the internet, as well as registering up to five different phone numbers for multiple profiles – such as personal and work calls – on one single device.

“No other country or region of the UK has its own mobile network, so we set out to create a communications provider and a service that reflects and understands the needs of the Welsh population,” said Davies. “RWG Mobile will compete with the big networks and other MVNOs, matching them in areas like connection speeds, international dialling and call rates but providing a user experience, customer service support and additional benefits that have a distinct Welsh identity.”
Hosted on the Three network, RWG Mobile customers will be supported by a customer service team based in Wales who can speak to customers in both Welsh and English.

The MVNO will be powered by x-Mobility, whose VirtualSIM service allows MVNOs to offer a range of services to consumers that enable them to make and receive calls and texts via any connected device, or create new numbers, keeping their native number private. It also offers 4G data allowing for the creation of 4G MVNOs.

“Creating services that will specifically cater to a Welsh audience is a great concept for an MVNO,” said Shanks Kulam, x-Mobility co-founder and CMO. “New MVNOs, such as RWG Mobile can now create new business models that open up new possibilities for subscribers about how they use their phone and their number.”

RWG Mobile will be launched initially as an app that can be downloaded to both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets and allows customers to secure multiple numbers that can be used to make and receive calls via 3G, 4G or over wi-fi. This will be followed by a SIM-based product, offering pan-Wales coverage as well international roaming capability and 4G connection at no extra cost.

Accounts that use both the app and the SIM will initially operate on standard pre-pay tariffs, with top-up credit purchased online via the app or the RWG website. As the subscriber base increases, RWG plans to introduce post-pay contracts, special offers and loyalty programmes by partnering with local businesses including retailers, leisure, sports and entertainment providers, service businesses and transport operators. Looking into the future, Davies also has plans to expand the RWG brand into financial services, offering prepaid debit cards that can be used at ATMs, in-store or online with full internet e-banking capabilities and attractive loyalty programmes.

“The Digital Wales Programme was created by the Welsh Government in 2010 to make Wales ‘a digital nation’ and, while there has been progress in some areas like the rollout of high speed broadband, other areas are still lagging behind,” said Davies. “A Welsh mobile network is just part of the digital jigsaw but one that we hope will provide a catalyst for further developments in infrastructure and services that will provide the people of Wales with more opportunities to become better connected and enjoy the benefits that today’s technologies can offer.”

The number of smartphone users in Wales is growing at around 8 per cent per annum, but there is still a significant gap to the UK average. Use of tablets is also growing at 24 per cent per annum but still less than half of the population has one and 4G availability only covers 45 per cent of the total population, compared to 73 per cent across the rest of the UK.