Showing posts with label wholesale LTE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wholesale LTE. Show all posts

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Nokia MVNO

Nokia MVNO

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? 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

Saturday, 9 June 2012

LTE data MVNO and wholesale LTE


I get asked a lot about LTE and the MVNO, and well be speaking about it and chairing a panel on it at the 2013 MVNO conference. Imust get asked about LTE and MVNO as much as I get asked about LTE and mobile apps if not more, and given that apps is a much, much bigger industry, well then it must be a big question!

Like many "MNO things" in MVNO, if you apply them without any thought, i.e. in what we will call a legacy manner, again, it will be your quickest route to MVNO failure, as you will just be selling what a bigger version of you is selling and spending more on marketing on and has bigger margins on so can squeeze you. However, I also get bored silly at conferences and meetings on LTE and the MVNO and how LTE will impact the market in general, and the main reason is that a lot of people are applying the same old principles as they did last time and the fundamental mistake:

Technology does not solve problems; it presents opportunities that can solve problems, but then this solution comes with its own set of problems, like everything in life...

The Fundamental mistake in terms of an MVNO is the fact that most MVNOs are still not leveraging 3G or even 2G data, how is evolution going to make a difference: the answer is manifold and varies depending on where we are talking about and the market there:

  • In general: in general the only difference could be that hopefully LTE will make the MNOs a little more open to discuss data propositions for the MVNO. At present, MNOs, even the good ones, tend to have a mental seizure with data, as they expect the MVNO to assume the risk of arbitrage. MVNOs in turn, then have a similar level of mental breakdown when they insist they need bundles... when in fact they can get on selling at least 30% to 50% of the data they can sell by simply selling data to the 50% of the market that use under 100mb of data per month as I mentioned in a recent post and not worry their MNO with potential capacity strains that cause their MNO mental seizure in the first place. The reality here is that the MNOs should stop flat rating data that causes this issues in the first place, however they will not for fear of churn, or if they all do it price collusion, so LTE may well be the catalyst that spurs proper MNO data pricing that does not let 5% of the data leeching users ruin the experience and business models of the rest of the world!
  • US market. Here LTE will be different, in that the CDMA players will finally have a play in the multimedia IMS space and a much more equal pegging that the two tier wholesale market at present, where the CDMA wholesale rate reflects the lower desirability of end users and business over GSM based solutions. We can expect the LTE players to be able to launch more, and more exciting MVNOs with LTE
  • Data SIM usage. I have been saying for a long time (5-10) years that there will be a rise of SIM usage and that the MNO will not want to, let alone be able to fulfil all of these opportunities themselves. Indeed, if they do not, many of them will find less appealing alternatives that cut out the MNO all together. An example is GPS, at present people either tether to their phone when they can be bothered for probably 5% of journeys, or download off-line or even use a dongle: in essence, the MNO is making nothing here as this data will inevitably be an unseen blimp on a flat rate data tariff, or an extra 2mb twice a year on a standard tariff, or at worse be by-passed altogether (download via ISP). if they do a deal with an MVNO that manages these SIMs (maybe 1,000,000 SIMs to an HLR and low QoS, latency, etc that these devices will work fine with, vs. high availability, fully loaded generic SIMs or even MNO M2M SIMs which are still engineered towards an average scenario and over engineered quality that IBM requires, not what Joe Blogs wants for his 10 different devices....) the user will happily pay Tom Tom or Garmin £5 per month for the SIM and some other services they bundle, like auto updates, being able to track where you have been on a website, and even pay another £5 per month for the data; for every journey. This could be £2-5 per month incremental revenue for every TomTom or Garmin in car navigation device sold. As, I believe KPN coined the phrase; "wholesale is better than no sale". at present 95% of PAID mobile data solutions go unfulfilled... (I have run some numbers for this based on business models that have not made it, vs. the whole of business models I have put to market, and the lack of extra data sold on those that did go to market - its shocking!)
  • M2M, as above, M2M has been engineered to the early adopter solutions that were defined by consultancies and technologists to cater for the first proposals, like tracking shipping containers around the world. Without going into details, the MNO is geared presently around small amounts of data over long periods of time and usually extended or wide spread distances. There are many other niche opportunities that have been aching to get to market, but have not been on thee in-house radar. All LTE will add, I hope, here is the ability for a two tier model of large local bandwidth and widespread lower bandwidth, which is not catered for at the moment without using wi-fi for the high bandwidth. While this may seem like a solution, if you think getting mobile coverage in your home, office and other locations is hard, try covering whole company locations and warehouses with wi-fi and integrating it with thee mobile network: there are many who will say its easy, and they are either lying or have never had to project manage the mess they designed! an all-mobile solution for this will be a game changer, assuming it changes the mind-set
The worst part? that the first and the second two could be done now, just that LTE will change the way a) people perceive data at the wholesale level, and b) will drive MNOs to drive usage and so we will see the business plans that were possible technically 5-10 years ago, finally be enabled, not by a technology, but by the circumstances that the arrival of a new technology has created.

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