Showing posts with label emerging market MVNO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label emerging market MVNO. Show all posts

Thursday, 16 March 2017

eSIM opportunity for MVNOs, MVNEs and manufacturers as per Dallas MVNO conference


The eSIM is a hotly debated trend and was the subject of the two panels I spoke on in the Dallas 2016 Wholesale Connectivity Convention where in addition to the usual blurb I was ken to get actual dates from panellists on when they thought the technology would become mainstream. I warned I would write these dates down and blog about them, but have stopped short of saying who said which date in order to protect the innocent!
eSIMs were an integral part of 
There were two panels,  The Panel on Global connectivity with eSIM as a sub topic (morning) with Gigsky, my old client Tim previously of Microsoft, now with Transatel and the omnipresent Dave from Aspider.
Speaking with Gigsky, Transatel and Aspider on eSIM as part of how global connectivity can drive growth
In the afternoon session we had another old client of mine, Federico Homberg from Deutsche Telecom, Steffen Frenck from the SIMalliance, David Buhan from Gemalto and Tony Wyant from Gigsky again. The key outcome for me is that I asked all the panel and some of the audience to give me a date when they believed that eSIM would make mass market (and yes I did emphasise that I was taking notes), when it would appear as a viable option in Niches (alongside normal SIMs) and two in between options emerged: mainstream in niches, such as smart watches; and "in every new car".
Mainstream eSIMs are still a way away, however for certain specialist players / trusted parties there are niche opportunities
The writing on the wall is that that mass market eSIM is a good few years away / not coming anytime soon and the reasons for this discussed and offered were:

Supporting eSIM is complex and requires trust from vendors

Many MVNEs and MVNOs saying they are going into eSIM, that they can support eSIM, etc, etc. However they generally stumble on the following.

Financials

eSIM means distribution is "easy" (although its not necessarily the case, see "managing eSIM is complex" below), however the reality is that the business is very unpredictable;
  1.  essentially people can take an eSIM for a month, a week, a day or even just a few hours in an airport, and then not return for a few months if ever, yet someone is stuck with paying costs for that user on an HLR, CRM, billing system, etc. most of which are billed somewhere along the line on the fact that they will be used for a good few months, not a day here or there.
  2. forecasting is impossible
  3. USP / customer ownership - there is very little to leverage other than cost
  4. loyalty - there is none in many cases!

Managing eSIM is complex

The biggest issue I have come across to date is the concept that many have whereby they say "we can support eSIM", when in fact is what they mean is "we have tested eSIM".  This gap between what you can do for 1, 10, 100 or even low 1,000s of SIMs vs. what you can scale is the bane of the mobile industry and one of the key limiting factors of MVNOs and MVNEs growing, and often sadly also the demise of MVNOs and MVNEs as it prohibits them hitting critical mass. The bad news is that it only gets worse when you add the scale and complexity of eSIM.

This is a bit like saying, "I can send an email, sending emails works from our systems" which just about anybody can say, however this is very, very different from being able to manage a busy inbox efficiently, and even further away from having an email sending system and email management system installed, integrated and working for a specific application! does not mean I have an email campaign management system!

The most recent case was a couple of years ago and eSIM was at the core of the service proposition; At the 11th hour the need for a third party eSIM platform and integration was required. In hindsight it all became clear to me, as said MVNE did not even have simple OTA ability in house, so managing sSIM was a whole level of pain higher. 

eSIM requires trust and relationship management

the eSIM relationship is one that often requires deep sharing of what many MNOs, MVNOs and OEMs consider highly confidential data that very few people in the business, let alone outside of the business are allowed access to. Mismanagement of this type of data to the wrong party or a party who cannot manage security credibly is asking for that OEMs customers to have their private pictures shared or their phones calls disclosed, and so again, there is a litmus test here. Having spent last two years integrating a whole suite of MVNE services to make the most complete MVNE service we were amazed how many services are not even using basic security, like SSL for portal and API access for example, how is an OEM going to trust a service like this with deep access to their OS, for example? 

MNOs have no need or requirement to support eSIM in short to medium term

The biggest issue however will be MNO resistance, as they really have no need for eSIM in the mainstream in the timescales that are above:
  • Handsets are getting bigger
  • The device ownership timescales are getting longer
  • MNOs have invested in significant retail and distribution presence

The upside to eSIM opportunity in the immediate term

The upside for MVNOs and MVNEs that can pass the tests above, is that the emerging opportunities are often too niche or too International/complex for the MNOs (e.g. multi IMSI). 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

personal or celebrity MVNO Jennifer Lopez mobile mvno marketing

One of my more popular posts of just over a year ago was around the plans for Samuel Eto'o to Launch an MVNO in his native Cameroon, and it was for good reason: there is a lot of mileage in the personal mvno, or as it is now becoming more commonly referenced as celebrity MVNO.

So along comes Jennifer Lopez and announces an Hispanic MVNO or strategic alliance with Verizon to sell phones. What is more interesting about the JLO mobile deal however are two things: firstly that there have already been some Hispanic MVNO plays in the US market with Movida, Tuyo and Dexa among others, and secondly that it is in a market and host operator that has done this kind of thing before... yes, I am saying it will take a little longer to launch (the first) MVNO in Cameroon than an existing model, in an established market with a celebrity twist.
MVNOs need more than just a brand now, they need a brand that plays in many spaces and moves forward
This Celebrity twist may be the key, as so far the Hispanic MVNOs have had initial success, but ultimately have failed, and this is due to a mixture of two things:
  1. The customer outgrowing the brand: most Ethnic MVNOs sell on the USP of having a native language IVR, something which a customer can quickly outgrow
  2. Most MVNOs are very good at getting the first customers on board, the early adopter, however those that fail typically do so due to not evolving the product marketing to the second wave of "me-too" and mass market
So how can someone like JLO help? well it depends on how much she is involved, but on a simplistic level the customer is less likely to outgrow the product when they ground themselves in their environment.

Secondly, if someone like Jennifer Lopez is involved in the product cycle, even if at a very high level like the Will.I.am Intel innovation can really help to keep the customer engaged and the product evolved for longer.

You only have to Google "Jennifer Lopez Enterprises" to uncover companies such as BioWE, Nuyorican productions (nice!) and more, all this can add a much needed injection of ongoing product development and innovation to a mobile model, both the MNO and MVNOs that is in need of a different approach to product development and innovation that the new wave of celebrity or personal MVNO could add.

The celebrity in technology is not new, Clive Sinclair was the centre of the ZX spectrum,
The entrepreneur behind the spectrum was key, tho not enough for his next venture, the C5
Richard Branson was as bigger part of the value of Virgin Mobile as the trade mark itself, even beyond its native brand strong-hold, the UK
Launch publicity like this costs millions... or you can hand a celebrity / personality behind the brand from a rope!
Steve Jobs was the centre of Apple's ability to enter the mobile space that everybody, and it is hard to believe, everybody thought they would fail at. Indeed the then Nokia CEO famously expressed; "if I launched a 2G phone with those specs..." (the first iPhones were technically behind, but the OS and eco system more advanced, driven by vision, not typical technology product development.
Steve Jobs, and his vision of UX and eco system over hardware, were key to the success of  the iPhone
and many of the Victorian industrial revolutionists were a key part of the evolution of the brand and products and innovations. the Rocket, is not known as the rocket, but Stephenson's Rocket
Rocket? ah... you mean Stephenson's rocket!
The ideal is to return to business to attract the right people, which will happen, but in today's safe, grey and boring corporate world were management salaries are lagging, the talent is elsewhere and in entrepreneurial roles, and recruiting celebrities and personalities to inject a bit of life into your technology product is no bad thing.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

emerging market MVNOs and spare capacity

Emerging Market MVNO markets 

An interesting comment on the MVNO explained page posted such an interesting question I have decided to post about it in its own right:

"Hello, thanks for your insight on MVNO. very insightful. However, my country has refused to license MVNO operations. i have held presentations, sent them documents, written articles, directed them to the PrepaidMVNO website and even invited them to the MVNO summits. Their major concern is network congestion on the host MNO. service quality has been quite...actually really bad, the quality of mobile phone services are bad and the logic is that the networks have taken more subscribers and thus more traffic than their networks can handle, so introducing MVNO's may add pressure the their networks and further reduce service quality on the networks. i have argued against this logic without success. what will you say to this."

This raises a number of issues that I have seen come and go over the years in MVNO, and now coming again. Essentially, congestion/capacity was the key concern of the first UK MNOs prior to launching the first MVNOs, but their workaround was a commercial one, which is always encouraged, as can be seen in the financial results of MNOs supporting MVNOs!

Emerging market MVNO struggle

The thinking behind blocking MVNOs on this basis is flawed and obviously one arising from lobbying by people who have not taken the time to examine the facts, let alone the finances, which make MVNOs a no-brainer. However, in this same way, there are well documented cases of how  many US carriers fought and lobbied the US government for 10 years to stall the progress of the internet, a product which now forms the biggest part of their bottom line and dominates the product sections of their websites...

So, let's deal with the points one by one:
  1. No network runs at full capacity all the time, like every and any service, there are peaks and troughs, and no two networks in the same country have the same profiles either. 
  2. These peaks and troughs are very significant in both MNOs and MVNOs alike, with their networks running at eighty-some or ninety-some percent at peaks for a short period of the day, but typically at anything between 30-50% during the day, and obviously pretty much 0% all night.
  3. No two networks in the same country have the same load profiles, in operators I have seen over the years across many countries have very different profiles due to having attracted a very different customer base. 
  4. network capacity varies geographically as well
  5. some types off traffic are more consuming of resources than others, for example now data makes up 80%+ of MNO network costs, but does not make anywhere near that percentage contribution in revenue or profits...
  6. As data requirements and mobile penetration expand, if the MNO cannot even handle voice and SMS now, how are they going to tackle data and provide the country with the infrastructure it needs to grow??? If they are tackling this issue properly, voice and SMS capacity for MVNOs should not be a problem...
  7. Some MNOs state that they run a very efficient network and therefore are not actively looking for MVNOs however, they do still run some pretty major MVNOs, they are just more selective and chose ones that complement their profile

MVNO African Story

At the time of the original article (2012) and this update (2013) there key barrier example used in Africa is "network capacity" as per above example. I shall be brief:

In short:  if a network were running at full capacity all the time, it would not just be congested as per the argument against MVNOs, but the network would actually fall over and cause major outages for long periods from a functional perspective. Furthermore the operator would surely be falling short of the service/coverage commitments they will have made to get a licence and become an operator in the first place, and certainly will not be able to cope with the data expansion that is needed for a country to grow in this internet age: Whoever is upholding full capacity as a barrier to MVNOs is either conspiring with a short-sighted MNO or MNOs, or having the wool pulled over their eyes by a short-sighted MNO(s)!

MVNO Latin American Emerging markets

There was a great presentation at the MVNO Conference just recently in Barcelona on the Mexican Market and how they managed to get the regulator to open up the market, basically by creating a group, and ringing the regulator and government departments every single day, among other things, very interesting, and good luck; however, I will end on three notes:
  1.  you need to arm yourself with facts and show that these arguments have no substance at the same time
  2. you can use the cases of the Spanish and Italian markets, which needed the regulator to open the market in 2006/2007, some of the last markets to adapt MVNOs which opened the floodgate for MVNOs
  3. There is nothing like some prospects to get the market going... post Virgin mobile UK, every man and his dog approached t-mobile UK (then one2one) with an idea on a napkin to become an MVNO, most of them had no clue... if there is an opportunity, or many smaller opportunities that actually address a market the MNO is not addressing, then this helps as well.
If you like this article, please like us on facebook/mvnos or follow us / +1 on Google+ and of course follow us on twitter @MVNO_