Showing posts with label next big MVNO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label next big MVNO. Show all posts

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Converged MVNO

Original Converged MVNO article 2008:

Converged MVNOs

Convergence and the Mobile Virtual Model work well together, in principle
I once set-up a converged MVNO with my own hard-earned cash, that was in 2001... It seems that this model is now about ready for market! However, it is a very different model and a very different market.
In 2001 I set up a converged MVNO based on business use, where the primary focus was voice, as other such as bluephone, then BT fusion were focused on voice. However, the focus has now shifted to data; the reason? One is that regulators have pushed down roaming charges, the other is that users are more savvy and have multiple phones. The real reason is that voice, which is what GSM was invented to do, not data, is very effective over licensed spectrum, with multiple slots giving high(ish!) quality, and within the present price landscape, the ability to "bargain bucket". That is, there is nothing stopping any mobile operator bundling more and more minutes to squeeze out converged competition, at least in the single-country environment in which spectrum is licensed.
Data, however, is a different matter, with the idea that we will all be walking around watching IPTV, downloading MP3s, email attachments, pictures and videos, while having a video call... well the licensed spectrum bandwidth is just not there, at any price.
It is an interesting twist that just 7 years after I first spoke at 3GSM Cannes and caused silence over my intention to push email and voice over Bluetooth in offices, a silence caused by the imminent threat of losing money, that you can download an application called truphone for free to do just that over wi-fi, you can get your email over the mobile network via blackberry, using sms that are not charged for... and nobody is making the money that I was offering the host mobile networks (MNO) back then by operating a converged MVNO.
There are converged MVNOs however, and many MVNOs have invested in broadband in order to facilitate the already undertaken testing and research, some examples:
  • O2 have bought Be, one of the better broadband ADSL2+ providers, the parent Movistar already has Broadband
  • Orange have bought Wanadoo, multinational
  • Vodafone not only have broadband, but also host the BT converged MVNO, one of only a few commercially available
  • Cingular, Bell, Orange, Vodafone, and many others were testing the earliest convergence products by 2002 and 2003, shortly after I began testing them in 2001
However, there have been very few commercially rolled out services:
  • BT Fusion, was Bluphone, to a small UK MVNO audience
  • Tesco in simple VoIP format
  • Bell have rolled out trials, but it has not been the next mobile killer application a la PTT by a long shot
  • ... hopefully coming soon
originally posted by Christian Borrman 18:51pm 07/05/08, last updated 13;11 25/05/08

Monday, 24 September 2012

Solavei and Radioshack interesting new MVNO business models and next big MVNO

Some big occurrences in MVNO land recently:
  1. Over the weekend we had Solavei surfacing as live
  2. Over the holidays a new data MVNO Radioshack emerged
  3. We are working on the next big MVNO model :)
So, firstly up with Solavei, not only a new model, but also covered in Engadget and Allthingsd shows how mainstream MVNO is no becoming, in fact Engadget at least have been tracking the tag MVNO for nearly two years now.
Sadly Radioshack mobile was not about live tracking of their team... 
Radioshack makes a lot of sense as well, and begs the question why the likes of Maplin in the UK are not doing the same: the Maplin MVNO as per the Radioshack data MVNO, make a lot of sense for the sellers of hardware. There was a lot of speculation and leaks prior to launch,  as I had a suspicion they had done it just to enable team HTC style real live stats on races, which at the moment only Levi is doing as part of an association with mapmyride. Another equivalent in the UK/Europe would be Expansys, who rode the wave of mobile phone and gadget online growth from the middle of last decade, however at the time the MVNO model was not really ready for the MVNO, nor I suspect were the VC backers (I still have certain VCs throwing curve balls into MVNO discussions that they are adamant that MVNOs costs tens of millions of $ zzz...) wanting to invest in the MVNO model. VCs do not like investing in things they do not get 100%, and let's face it, not many people get MVNOs 100%, however in their defense, MNOs do not make VC investment easy with woolly clauses around assignment and commitments and ownership of customers, etc that restrict the sale value of any MVNO.

So back to the interesting models. Solavei are running an incentive scheme that we will all be watching very closely; both the fully inclusive model and the incentive to sign on other customers could be interesting, as long as the potential fraud elements are contained.

Radioshack is very interesting as, now online sales are prevalent in mobile, it levels the playing field somewhat for big brands like Radioshack, and the MNOs would be wise to jump on this one and engage these brands.

In terms of the interesting models we are working on, well you will have to wait and see! In the meantime, it is both great to see Engadget tagging MVNO as well as the likes of Allthingsd reporting on these developments, as it is refreshing to see the "next big things" coming through as MVNOs finally move out of "brands, supermarkets and ethnic". Even more interestingly, a lot of these will se the rise of MVNEs, at least in Europe where the direct MVNO roadmaps are congested to say the least...

Finally, we move onto the old topic of MVNO Marketing with Solavei being very refreshing indeed; in addition to the name sounding like Esperanto for "go solar" the marketing elements is definitely strong, as it the fact that Radioshack's core market may have been niche, everybody know's it via sponsoring cycling, just as the Sky brand is no enjoying a resurgence on the back of its Tour win, and announcing an MVNO is a not only a great way to advertise your mobile offering, but also the fact that Radioshack now sell more to more people, not just electronics kit's to the market that were the inspiration for the film "40 year old virgin".

So I leave you with my thoughts on MVNO marketing plans, a very popular thread that was reblogged by Prepaid MVNO among others, and an equally popular thread on personal brand MVNO. If you want to get these articles as they come, you can follow MVNO on Facebook, MVNO on Twitter or download our MVNO app and MVNO web app.

Monday, 21 May 2012

VAS, Facebook and the MVNO continued...


As many of you will know, I feel quite passionately about VAS and the MVNO. This is not just an obsession, its just a realisation that any good business needs a tie-in, a value-add, a "something" that means it does not sell on price alone, and so when a newer, shinier competitor comes along, in order of preference the customer goes:
  1. ah, but, does shiny new things do, this? no, thought not - high value - major competitive advantage
  2. I would have to change the way I do all my...(insert VAS here) to work with the new service, medium value - useful advantage
  3. I would have to update all my details, low value - would just be a pain to move, like moving bank account or electricity provider
The problem is, most MVNOs, and even some MNOs are not even on point 3 level of VAS.

So why not? well there is a list of reasons why from a legacy perspective this was the case, however things are changing

The usual ways to leverage data was content, content, content. were an expensive portal, streaming video, etc, etc. These days are gone, and the proof is the above. Indeed the days were never there, the amount of conferences I have chaired, attended and spoken at where "content" was the supposed issue, and all I could say was, customers have content: its emails (blackberry proved this to be the case!) and the web in general, but on the mobile. 

Facebook is driving MVNO

The proof is hand is this article: showing that facebook access from mobile has now surpassed computer access. I am honestly not surprised. In fact, in app development focus groups even 3 years back, we saw that a good mobile app, like only apple had at the time (an app that did not look like a mobile web browser, allowed upload of images and push notifications, chat) managed to completely shift usage of Facebook from computer to mobile, while more basic ones and now the very good mobile web experience manage to take a good deal of it.

The reasons for this are multiple, 
  • many people do not have access to unrestricted internet access or facebook at work
  • most of those who do would rather not be seen using facebook at work
  • using Facebook on a PC raises probably more privacy issues as computers tend to be shared more and have more browsing history that people may not want plundering so facebook can make more advertising revenue
  • the key one however is convenience, Facebook, and indeed our digital lives, are now round the clock, constant streams of info, updates, feeds, chats and more: mobile just suits this better, whether its from a web browser or an app

VAS is driving MVNO data

In fact, everything that is driving MNO data, is driving MVNO data, unless as an MVNO you make data difficult, like by not having the world's most advanced OTA data APN settings :).

The key is, with it being so simple to get this working, why are so many MVNOs still rendering themselves as a low value, sim-swapping bitpipe when all they need to do is get APN settings set-up, and some simple data tariffs. As we have seen, most users are using less than 100mb per month anyway as per my previous article on this blog, and as per my blog on Apps and App stores showing that even the most basic MVNO type handsets that many MVNOs perceive their user base is using, which means MVNOs can still be very competitive with the average data prices I am seeing while negotiating MVNO agreements (at least the prices I have seen in the last 3-5 years) and/or ones that could be easily and quickly agreed with an MVNO if approached with a plan around social networking, rather than the usual "I need cheaper prices" routine :)

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