Just in, and expected for a very long time: NRJ announced a couple of hours ago that it has signed an agreement with SFR (Vodafone's partner in France) to become an MVNO, and even better the first 3G MVNO in France.
This was to be expected: if you remember well, I was working on a very similar topic last year with a major ISP in Europe - I remember reaching the conclusion quickly that the best new entrants on this market would be
1. brands that target a switchable audience or a new audience (people that do not already have a phone): teens are an OBVIOUS choice
2. companies that have access to targeted and extensive media space
3. to some extent, companies that have experience in aggregating content, ie. bringing something different to the consumer than just voice and data.
Funnily enough, SFR also signed a deal with Futur Telecom last week, a deal of no real importance, as they had been working together in the wholesale market for quite some time.
And launching an MVNO, at the same time that 3G launches in France is smart: apart from that stupid video-conference customer proposal, there was no real incentive to go for high-speed mobile data. Now teens will be able to use their phoenes as jukeboxes (read MP3 players - hello iPod !), small devices to watch musical clips, contests, etc.
So, this new NRJ phone sounds like a plan: I'll have all the jingles from the latest NRJ Music Awards !
Update on 11/2/05 very early: just heard Nicolas de Tavernost on BFP Radio, CEO of M6 TV. They will be announcing that they are becoming MVNOs as well with Orange as host operator: it will be announced at 3GSM next week in Cannes. Fascinating developments! (news report here)