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.

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