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ePlanet Announces Strategic Partnership Between Tribe Mobile and the Virgin Group

ePlanet Capital announced that its portfolio company, Tribe Mobile has recently entered into a strategic partnership with the Virgin Group to launch Virgin branded mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the Latin American region.

San Jose, CA, June 14, 2011 --( ePlanet Capital has announced that its portfolio company, Tribe Mobile has recently entered into a strategic partnership with the Virgin Group to launch Virgin branded mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the Latin American region.(1)

Virgin Mobile branded businesses already operate in seven countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, UK and the USA, serving approximately 15 million mobile subscribers. With Tribe Mobile’s expertise in the Latin American region, the partnership will create the first pan-regional MVNO, with an initial target of eight countries. The partnership plans to invest around $300 million in the region over the next five years.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, says “We are excited by the opportunity to launch the Virgin brand in Latin America for the first time. Latin America’s mobile telecom consumers will benefit from Virgin’s entry into their markets to provide our exciting customer focused product offering, wide range of great services, transparent pricing and value for money. We look forward to launching our first businesses within the next 12 to 15 months."[1]

According to industry experts, the MVNO market is set to grow rapidly in Latin America as the region’s mobile market matures, new regulations are introduced and network operators become open to the MVNO business model. Informa Telecoms & Media reported that MVNO subscriptions in Latin America will grow at a CAGR of 28% to 6.6 million by 2013.[2] Commenting on the potential of the region, Tribe Mobile CoFounders, Jay Metcalfe, Peter Langkilde and Phil Wallace stated: “Latin American consumers have proven to be avid mobile users from the early days of mobile telephony and continue to be so. More than in any other region, wireless has replaced fixed line service for consumer use and the region is ripe for new options that can either attract new customers or focus on special consumer segments.”

Along with ePlanet Capital, the partnership is backed by Dolphin International, an Omani diversified holdings company. Commenting on the occasion, Asad Jamal, Chairman and Founder of ePlanet Capital, said, “We have long believed in the potential of the Latin American MVNO market. Our investment in Tribe Mobile, was one of the first international venture/growth capital investment for the industry in the region. We believe that the current partnership between the Virgin Group and Tribe Mobile will create an industry leader in this fast growing market. ePlanet will continue to support this initiative as it grows and expands operations in the region.”

The founding shareholders of Tribe Mobile are Jay Metcalfe, Peter Langkilde and Phil Wallace. Jay Metcalfe, formerly CEO of Millicom International, has been involved in many mobile telephone businesses in Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa. In Latin America he was active in the management of mobile operations in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Paraguay. Peter Langkilde, who is also the Chairman of FRiENDi GROUP, the leading MVNO in the Middle East that is one of ePlanet Capital’s other portfolio companies, started successful communications companies in the Middle East and Africa. Phil Wallace is the Chairman of Tribe Mobile and was formerly a senior executive at BellSouth and later became the President for BellSouth's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Phil also led the early development of BellSouth’s mobile business in Latin America. Peter Macnee is the President of Tribe Mobile and was formerly President of Millicom International’s business in EMEA overseeing the Company’s expansion and growth into Russia, the Baltic region and Africa.

About the Virgin Group

The Virgin Group is a leading international branded investment company and one of the world's most recognized and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony and media to transportation, travel, financial services, hotels, health and fitness, as well as renewable technologies and space tourism. Virgin has created more than 400 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 29 countries. Its Global branded revenues in 2010 exceeded £11.5 billion (approx. US$18.5 billion).

About Tribe Mobile

Tribe Mobile is an international wireless communications operating company. Its founders and management represent one of the wireless industry's most experienced teams with an impressive track record of success in the MVNO business. They established and continue to provide leadership for FRiENDi GROUP, the largest MVNO in the Middle East and North Africa region. FRiENDi Group is based in Dubai and has operations in Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and plans to begin service in other countries in the region by 2012.

About ePlanet Capital

ePlanet Capital (, founded by Mr. Jamal, is the first venture/growth capital firm to utilize a global model with offices in Asia, Europe and the United States. ePlanet pioneered venture capital investing in non-U.S. markets, including Europe and China, Korea and India. Since then, ePlanet has developed a successful track record in making growth and venture investments on a global basis, with a particular focus on emerging markets and Asia. ePlanet was awarded the Asia VC of the Year 2009, the China Exit of the Year award for the No. 1 search engine Baidu’s IPO in 2005 and the Europe Exit of the Year award for the No.1 VoIP Company Skype in 2005. ePlanet has been consistently ranked amongst the Top 20 venture capital firms by FORBES for 2007 – 09 and has also been called the ‘Pioneer of Global Venture Capital’ by FORBES in 2007. ePlanet’s portfolio companies have achieved a market cap in excess of $50 billion, and ePlanet’s funds are considered amongst the most successful in their vintages.

About Dolphin International LLC

Dolphin International LLC, a privately owned Omani company, was established in 1985. It is committed to provide a steady stream of income for shareholders through high standards of excellence, enriched relationships, and seamless execution of innovative ideas. Dolphin International LLC takes pride in its diverse portfolio of investments in banking, infrastructure, education, healthcare, telecommunications, bio-technology, oil & gas, advertising, real estate, construction and surgical products.



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ePlanet Capital
Amira Atallah

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