Showing posts with label wholesale mobile data. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wholesale mobile data. Show all posts

Friday, 22 April 2016

MVNO World Congress 2015 Pre Conference Workshop Part 2 - MVNO Data


Following up on the post 2016 MVNO World Congress  on the 2015 pre conference workshop, we have part 2, following Part 1 Mobile Marketing
Data is hard for MVNOs to sell effectively, as there are many hurdles, but good loyalty and revenue rewards those that do.
The biggest hurdle for any new MVNO is overcoming the same issue of the previous section on marketing: its the schizophrenic frankenstein approach. 
Your data package will vary if you are pre-pay, postpay or with an MVNO on MNO
The reality is that data bundles vary substantially if you are with an MNO, MVNO, prepaid or postpaid, and as such an MVNO data should vary. In reality, most pre-pay and MVNO customer s I have access to data for, use a lot less data than their postpaid counterparts, and there is a reason for this: if you are being charged for more data than you use, you will tend to learn to "abuse" data, whereas is you pay for what you use you tend to be more frugal.
Don't do it!

The is also a strange dichotomy whereby while mobile data requirements are going up on the one hand, wifi offload, wifi coverage, wifi speed and availability is also going up and giving way to "snacking" whereby frugal, light and moderate use of pay for what you use data at a premium price, can still be cheaper than "supersize" bundles that are throttled at some point anyway.

The second big issue for MVNOs is data configuration. We have been doing OTA APN data configuration specifically for MVNOs longer than anybody at Virtuser and know the pitfalls, especially when i comes to user experience, as we started out enabling apps for Nokia with their PR and Marketing agencies in 2006, and it was critical that the user experience was right.
Get the user experience for data for MVNOs wrong and it will be a disaster no matter what the bundle, package or need!
You need to get data working in as few clicks possible, and with a uniform as possible experience across all devices to a) keep customers, and b) minimise failures, but most of all c) minimise customer support; which is both a cost and a terrible customer experience in one.
Too many steps to configure data means too many points for failure, terrible customer experience and an unhappy customer
Above is the experience of the same ex MVNO with one service, and below with another... guess which one is ours and which is more effective :)
Simple data configuration is key to an MVNO
Apart from a bit of a plug of a service we spent 5 years developing to get right, the key is to remember than MNOs have this done automatically and so you, and an MVNO, are already starting with a disadvantage in terms of pain of adoption: keep it simple and get it right...

On top of this I would add the element of looking at wifi to complement your business, as the MNOs have done as well. In the long run it will keep your MNO happy, as:
  1.  you do not want to have the discussion with your MNO at the monthly operational meeting where X% of the MNO's network data hoggers are on your MVNO: just trust me on this one!
  2. keep the network, service and price for people prepared to pay for what they use and you are able to allow them to get what they pay for, which keeps the pressure on cost down.
  3. nothing is more "cannibalising" to an MNO than points 1. and 2. above!
  4. data can have the highest utilisation of any bundles if you get the product / price / positioning wrong
I have not covered all the points of the workshop, but a quick resume of other points are
  1. Have an app for data usage, as well as other usage, which shows actual usage and value and gains trust
  2. Never, ever, offer a throttled service: if you need an asterisk and footnotes, don't sell it
  3. Make the rest of the customer experience easy. An MNO has unlimited bundles that need limiting. There are however a lot of customers out there that are happy to pay for the data they use, as long as it is not throttled, and MVNOs can often end up with some very lucrative high end users.
A final addition is the one of eSIMs, which was presented in the 2016 MVNO World Conference the day I chaired this year. eSIMs are in many devices now, such as iPads and soon rumoured iPhones, and a host of devices coming out soon. You will also need to be able to SIM OTA, which you can do with advanced MVNEs such as the one I built  but not many do; which means yet another service to integrate, pay for, another relationship to managed, etc. etc.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Data and MVNOs - what are they waiting for?

An interesting piece of research has confirmed something I have suspected and seen from wroking with MNOs and MVNOs over the years: a lot of smartphones don't actually use that much data, in fact 49% of smartphones in the UK use less than 100mb... This is roughly in line with operators' claims that 5% of users are hogging around 80-90% of the data usage, the rest (the difference between the 49% and the 5%) will be closer to the 100mb than the 1gb cap, in general. Over the last 5 years, from Nokia N95 to androids to iphones, I have averaged 176mb per month of mobile network data. The amount offloaded over wi-fi obviously higher, and there are occasional spats, moving house, etc where I have gone over that significantly.

So what does this mean for MVNOs and MNOs? Well, for a starts, MVNOs should stop whining about wholesale data prices and get on with selling data. even at 10p per mb, 49% of UK mobile phone users would be no better or no worse off paying GBP 0.10p per megabyte than the typical £10 per month "unlimited" data bundles they are using nowhere near the Fair usage policy. 

Does this mean everybody should move to an MVNO? No, most people, including myself, are quite happy paying £10 per month for unlimited data, knowing that I will pay the same if I use 85mb because I worked at home most of the month or 500mb because I was on a client site most of the month with no wi-fi to offload to... There were even more frustrating occasions when moving home once and my ISP messed up the installation of cable internet at the new property, I had gone past my 1bg fair use and as such my available bandwidth had been throttled back to a snails pace, however I could not pay my mobile operator another £10 in that same month for another gb of data at the usual high speed - this is nuts!

What does it mean to MNOs? Well, data has been documented by many as 80% of network costs, but its not 80% of network revenues, in fact its not even close, and that is no doubt before factoring in a handset subsidy of a brand new and reliably expensive smartphone. Most of these costs arise from the increased cost of backhaul and the ability of data hoggers to render this expensive backhaul useless, combined with an overwhelming need to satisfy various parties that the investment was necessary and that they have all the data users replacing the decline in voice and SMS revenues, even though the latter is still clearly the bulk of revenues... all very complicated, and unlikely that anybody within the MNOs will break this status quo. 

But my example of 85mb vs 500mb shows that its not just the data hoggers that are the problem, how do you plan to provision data for 10 to 20 million customers whose demand varies so much without huge data network running costs? Well the answer is to a model that matches usage with payment a bit closer. If I wanted to, I could offload most of that 500mb data from a month in an office with "no wifi" onto my laptop or actually define that "no wifi" meant there was wifi in that office, however it may involve me accepting a landing page every so often, or signing into a hotspot a few times per day: I would do that if my tariff matched my usage a bit more closely. As it is it is easier to switch off wifi in that office and let the MNO take that strain... 

When we finally match data a bit more closely to usage, MNOs can plan their network more effectively, they will cost significantly less than 80% of costs, revenues will go up and customers will stop complaining that data does not work, as the data hoggers will be weaned off and people will be using mobile data when they need it. More importantly, MNOs will finally be able to discuss MNO data requirements in earnest.

What we do know, is that the yield on mobile data in MNOs at the moment is much much lower than 10p per mb, at least in the UK and other territories where there is a data "land grab", and this data yield involves a marketing cost, often a very expensive (and complex and fickle one) of subsidising a smartphone, whereas the MVNO can sell a lot off this data at between 5p to 10p per mb very easily, whilst bearing the marketing and other customer costs and most of the general admin costs, while still yielding higher data revenue... And at the same time start breaking the "flat tariff" status quo madness and move to a pricing model that let's MNOs raise their own data yields and plan their network more effectively.

What does the customer gets? mobile data that works when you need it to, no matter what you pay...

And finally, to wrap up, I would advise any MVNO to get out there and sell data, by the mb, not by the bundle, people want data however you have to help them: 
  • you need to have at least the basics of getting them to mobile friendly versions of the data they want to access
  • you may want to let customers know when they have used  a given amount of data
We have done this by enabling data successfully for many MVNOs and once you have done this then you have the knowledge of your user base to be able to plan data marketing over the next few months and have a sensible conversation with the MNO about data pricing and bundles... its not rocket science, its what MVNOs have managed to do with voice (charge per min in a bundle environment) and SMS (charge per SMS in bundle environment) because there is a significant part of the population out there who want to budget their usage across data as well as voice and SMS and already have a shiny smartphone thank you very much...

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