The flexible approach

Transatel’s Jacques Bonifay talks to Sam Fenwick about connected cars, IoT, MVNOs, eSIMs, France’s approach to 5G and the benefits of making it easier for customers to switch network providers

Jacques Bonifay wears a lot of hats – while he is the CEO of Transatel (which describes itself as a European MVNE/A (mobile virtual network enabler/aggregator), he is also the president of MVNO Europe, which represents mobile virtual network operators in Europe, and its French equivalent Alternative Télécom. It is also worth noting that back in March, NTT Group (which includes NTT Docomo, the Japanese mobile network operator) bought a majority stake in Transatel.

Before we get into the implications of this deal, let’s make things a little less abstract. Transatel is active in the connected car sector, providing personal SIM card and mobile data plan services for Jaguar Land Rover’s customers in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France, under its Ubigi brand. The SIM cards enable onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment services (as part of a three-year 500mb/month bundle), while also allowing Jaguar Land Rover to update the vehicles’ software over the air. The latter (which uses a different and “highly secure” ‘pipe’) removes the need for cars to go back to the dealer for critical updates, thereby saving a lot of time and money. Transatel is also providing a similar service for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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