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Alekstra Plans to Start Virtual Mobile-Phone Operator in 2014

Alekstra Oy, a Finnish company that works with corporate customers to cut their phone bills, aims to open a mobile virtual network operator in five countries in 2014.

Several customers, including Finnish mining technology company Outotec Oyj, will pilot the service in the first half of 2013 followed by a full rollout the following year, Chief Executive Officer Toni Toikka said in a telephone interview. The network will initially cover the U.S., China, Russia, Brazil and Finland, he said.

Alekstra, with offices in Helsinki and New York, has patent-pending technology enabling companies to consolidate their worldwide mobile-phone services into a single global platform with one billing relationship. Employees would be issued SIM cards by Alekstra that would be “at home” on all networks. Alekstra would pay local airtime prices to phone companies at both ends and route the international segment of the call through its own virtual private network delivering savings over operators’ international services.

“For our customers, more than 60 percent of their total phone costs are international and we can eliminate 80 percent to 90 percent of that,” Toikka said.

Alekstra has more than 80 enterprise customers for its single global phone-bill reporting and analytics service including McDonald’s Corp.’s Finnish unit and the state of Connecticut. The company had revenue of 3 million euros ($4 billion) last year and is on course for sales of 12 million euros this year, Toikka said. It may consider a stock exchange listing later, he said.

Last month Alekstra hired former MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen as head of sales and marketing.

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