Lebara
IndustryTelecommunications
FoundedSeptember 2001
FounderBaskaran Kandiah, Rasiah Ranjith Leon, Ratheesan Yoganathan
Headquarters
London
Area served
Europe, Saudi Arabia and Australia
Key people
Stephen Shurrock (CEO)[1]
ProductsMobile telecommunications services
RevenueIncrease EUR€ 400 million (2020)
OwnerAlchemy and Triton
Number of employees
400 (2016)
ParentVIEO B.V.
Websitewww.lebara.com

Lebara is a telecommunications company providing services using the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business model in the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Australia. Lebara provides pay-as-you-go and contract based mobile SIM cards[2][3] in these countries, and its brand is also used under license in four other countries.

History

Lebara was founded in 2001 by UK-based Ratheesan Yoganathan, Rasiah Ranjith Leon and Baskaran Kandiah. The name Lebara was coined from the first two letters of each of the founders' names.[4] At launch the company's initial product was international telephone calling cards, sold through independent mobile phone shops.[4] In 2004, Lebara launched its first mobile virtual network, a low-cost international service in the Netherlands, selling SIM cards using mobile carrier Telfort, a subsidiary of KPN.[4] After finding success it subsequently launched operations in other European countries including the UK (2007), France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany (2010) and Denmark.[4]

Lebara's Swiss operations (Lebara GmbH, Zurich) was sold on July 1, 2013 to Sunrise Communications.[5]

In September 2017, Lebara Group B.V. was sold to Switzerland-based Palmarium Advisors AG.[6] The Spanish operation of Lebara (Lebara España SL) was sold to MASMOVIL Group in November 2018.[7] In 2019 bondholders of Lebara (under holding company Vieo B.V.) took control of the company.[8][9]

Operations

The company currently operates in the UK, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany - it has at least 3.5 million customers as of 2017.[10] It has also entered into brand licence agreements for use of its trademarks in Australia, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Spain.

In 2017 Lebara launched its first postpaid monthly contract SIMs in the Netherlands, as part of a move to appeal to a wider customer base.[11]

Today Lebara focuses on traditional international calling market as well as offering SIM-only plans and post pay services. Lebara plans to offer 5G services as these become available.[12]

Country Partner network
 Australia Vodafone[13][14]
 Denmark Telenor[15]
 France Orange (Bouygues Telecom until August 2021)[16]
 Germany O2 (Telekom until May 2022)[17][18]
 Netherlands KPN[19]
 Saudi Arabia Mobily[20]
 Spain Vodafone[21]
  Switzerland Sunrise[22]
 United Kingdom Vodafone[23]

References

  1. ^ "Stephen J. Shurrock". UK Companies House. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  2. ^ Wray, Richard (30 October 2007). "Vodafone calls up economic migrants". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  3. ^ Wray, Richard (31 October 2007). "Vodafone partners new Sim-only service aimed at immigrants". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d Garside, Juliette (17 November 2011). "Lebara co-founder made virtual phone network a real money-maker". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Sunrise Communications acquires Lebara Switzerland".
  6. ^ "Lebara Group B.V. sold to Palmarium". Lenz & Staehelin. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  7. ^ "MASMOVIL acquires Lebara España". 21 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Bondholders poised to seize control of telco Lebara". Financial Times. 11 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Bondholders Take Control of Lebara Via Enforcement | Publications | Kirkland & Ellis LLP". www.kirkland.com. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Palmarium-15.09.2017".
  11. ^ "Telecompaper". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Lebara Group in handen van Palmarium". www.computable.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Lebara Mobile launches in Australia" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 30 March 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  14. ^ Lohman, Tim (30 March 2009). "Vodafone, Lebara launch new pre-paid mobile service". Computer World. IDG Communications. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Network status". Lebara. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Lebara Mobile enters French market" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 6 May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Telecompaper".
  18. ^ "Global Market Leader Lebara Mobile launches in Germany" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 10 January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Persbericht" (PDF) (Press release) (in Dutch). Lebara. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Lebara Mobile to Launch MVNO in Saudi Arabia Shortly". cellular-news. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Lebara Mobile partners with Vodafone to launch low cost, high quality mobile services in Spain" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. February 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Lebara Mobile – slashes the cost of international mobile calling from Switzerland" (PDF). Lebara. 26 February 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Lebara Mobile Launches Low Cost International SIM" (PDF) (Press release). Lebara. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.