Virgin Mobile is set to challenge Latin American giant America Movil after entering the Colombian mobile phone market on Wednesday.
Virgin Mobile sim cards became available in Colombia for the first time on Wednesday, as British billionaire Richard Branson’s company looks to challenge America Movil’s domination of the telecom sector, the flagship company of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim.
The new sim cards will be available on a pay-as-you go basis, and will differ from existing models by charging per second rather than per minute under it’s newly named “anti-plan” plan.
The move represents Virgin Mobile’s second foray into the Latin American market, after successfully gaining 100,000 subscribers in less than six months in Chile. “Within the next five years, we hope that anyone in Latin America can use a Virgin Mobile phone”, said Branson in 2012.
Vigin Mobile’s entry into the Colombian market comes just months before the proposed June 26 auction of seven licenses for Colombia’s new 4G mobile spectrum.
According to Communications Minister Diego Molano, the new spectrum and auction will “promote more competition and attract more providers” to the Colombian market, two thirds of which is currently dominated by Claro, a trademark of America Movil, who will have limitations imposed against them in the auction.
“We are opening a new era for mobile phone users in Colombia … being able to say to Colombians that starting today they will not pay a second more than they use is transcendental progress for the sector” declared Juan Guillermo Velez, president of Virgin Mobile Colombia.