The UAE-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Friendi Group is looking to expand further into the region through funding secured in April. The company has $25m of which $10m was secured through equity from new and existing shareholders and the remaining $15m is a structured debt facility from Africa’s Standard Bank.

The company, which already has operations in Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia is hoping to secure licences and partnership deals in the first half of next year.

“We are quite busy looking at other markets in the region and outside the region. We have three or four markets that we are looking at very seriously between North Africa and the Middle East,” says Mikkel Vinter, chief executive officer and founder of the Friendi Group.

The MVNO market in the Middle East is very small, with Friendi one of the most significant companies. “It is still very early days, there are always challenges operating as an MVNO, we would like the regulatory developments to be quicker,” says Vinter.

The company is aiming to pass the million customer mark early next year. Its operations in Oman have just reached break-even after about two years since it was established.