The Nokia MVNO rumour first surfaced in 2008... remember this was way before Microsoft, iPhone had only just launched a phone with a proper radio in it (iPhone 3G) and Android was on version Cupcake (1.5) and Donut (1.6) with the main device being one from HTC that had spoilers on it!
Since then a lot has changed :) however Microsoft devices appear to have their market with 4G? The article which caught my eye was this one, saying Verizon may get a high end Lumia (yes, another rumour .. I am sensing a trend too :)). But bear with me;
|Could the service retail and even MVNO model be the WP8 market sweetspot?|
...as commented here in MVNOs from a customer perspective there is a definite shift to where mass market that want an unlimited bundle and untamed device go to the main network operator. MVNOs compete more effectively on their own terms, creating niches... which, forgive me if I am wrong, but appears to be where maybe WP8 can be very strong, especially an LTE 4G MVNO?
Similarly, there are a lot of Android handsets out there that are ideally suited to the MVNO, for example the keyboarded smartphones and moreover the Samsung Duos series, as much of the MVNO growth in recent years has been via SIM duplication, not SIM substitution, at least in the US and Western Europe with high % MVNO market share... and who else does mass market dual SIM devices... ah yes which brings me full circle to dual SIM Nokias... :)
Original Nokia MVNO Article (2008)
Nokia Hardware MVNO
Reportedly Nokia is planning a Hardware MVNO in Japan, which would push the OVI portal services within this market. As correctly pointed out in this article, by Rethink wireless that Nokia has found it difficult to enter the Japanese market due to the operators' insistence on using i-mode type services, these services will not necessarily be a barrier to the success of a hardware andon device portal MVNO.
In essence the i-mode model is an early learner mobile portal, not dissimilar to the AOL online model, where people are provided a safe environment, which also becomes a familiar environment, due to mass adoption, however it is one people eventually grow out of. The evidence and historical evidence of this can be found in the two following lessons:
Firstly, if we look at the rise and fall of AOL as a portal to the fixed line, it rose and fell with dial-up. AOL provided a cost efficient an effective way to get on-line in the pre-broadband stage, when what is effectively a walled garden worked well. As the beginnings of what we now call web 2.0 came along as well as broadband, we had to climb out of our analogue shell and into the digital world, helped along by the magic of google. part of the pain of adoption that had to be overcome was moving over to the monthly line rental and learning what ADSL means and what an upstream and a downstream where...The mobile world has now catapulted itself into this mass market phase, from 2006 when we had 176 x 208 screens with tens of thousands of colours, operators would share with me how they struggled to get over 7 days per month WAP or mobile internet usage out of even ABC1 clients. In this space, i-mode wins, and the uptake of i-mode over WAP in Europe shows that, as does the uptake of AOL fuelled internet over that of the typically dial-up model in non AOL territories. In 2009, we have GPS enabled QVGA+ 3"+ screens with millions of colours and HSDPA and wi-fi, and the world is a very different place. OVI lets you upload your photos to flicker and VOX, video call, IM chat and everything you once dreamt of doing on a laptop but practicality never allowed, can now be done, and that is something that will be driven by an "open" Nokia approach, rather than the unspeakably annoying operator approach, whereby by Orange branded Nokia interrupts my second photo while I have to cancel it asking me if I wish to upload the first to my Orange album, even though I have refused every attempt it has tried for me to set-up and Orange album... (after having carried out what seems like decades of user testing for Nokia, I can only imagine Nokia's horror when operators ask for features like this) and why would i want to share my items with just other orange users, presumably in the UK, when my network has outgrown this model and Vox and Flickr let me share with the world, even after I have left Orange.
Secondly, device connectivity has moved beyond the control of the mobile operator, and with it the user has outgrown the heavily modified handset. People now want an iPhone, or an N96 or a C905, and they do not want it to have been messed around with too much, like the "upload this photo to Orange" intrusion, I also want to update my software when Nokia have made it available, not when the operator has had time to play with it and tweak it: While operators like Vodafone in the UK are very good at releasing updates for their variants, my N82 on orange is still stuck on its original build 10.x where the internet radio still does not work and a handful of other bugs are present, all of them removed on the build 12.x that everyone else is on. Then there is the connectivity, like with the online scenario: When we only had dial-up, we did not mind AOL commandeering our modem and stopping any other pesky diallers eating our money. however, in these days of multiconnectivity, we do not want AOL messing with our vodafone 3G connection or wi-fi hotspot connection. In the same way, we are tired of having an operator driven phone full of bookmarks that respond with "this service is only available via GPRS..." every time we are on wi-fi.
In short, the Japanese mobile internet is the most mature mobile internet market there is, and I would suggest they are ripe for a hardware MVNO, as the predicted 1 million iPhones by the end of 2008 suggests. It seems that here in Europe the market is headed the same way too. Twice now, the issue of debranding Nokia phones has come up in conversations. In both of them I mentally recorded what USP would trigger people's desire to change: 1) the phone as Nokia intended it? No; 2) having all the VoIP and other software your operator does not like? No 3) potentially having a more stable phone? No; 4) being able to access a full range of software from Nokia Beta labs and other software from the "download" section of the phone? done, yes please... what do I have to do to debrand my phone...
posted by Christian Borrman 19:26pm 24/11/08