In 2012 the economics and the understanding of virtual mobile services continued to develop as the mobile service proposition was opened up to a much wider range of brand and third party organisations. Mark Ashdown, CEO of Cognatel, a UK company that equips brands with the technology and strategic consultancy that allows them to launch sustainable mobile services, thinks that this trend is only set to continue in 2013.
Ashdown predicts that in 2013, the barriers to entry for mobile services will continue to be lowered. This continued transition will be fuelled by the increased ability to offer additional aggregated services. In addition to the core aggregator model of buying power and integration into the host network operator, customer services, website design and build, and payment transaction provision will all help to drive down the level of investment necessary to launch mobile services. This, in turn, reduces time to market for new MVNOs and profitability can be ensured at a far earlier stage. In addition, Ashdown makes the following predictions for the MVNO market in 2013:
Wider industry adoption of MVNOs
Ashdown believes that 2013 will see increased market fragmentation, as new models, that could not be previously supported, are developed. As new MVNO sectors, including consumer brands, media, financial services and charities are formed, we will increasingly witness the leveraging of brand identity and, in turn, the development of a more in depth relationship between brands and customers. 2013 is also likely to see new market niches open up that were previously unidentified as having profitable potential. The lowered cost and ready availability of the technology necessary to exploit this potential is, however, now available. By leveraging pre-existing and integrated operational relationships, sharing bureau services and taking “off the shelf” white label solutions, MVNOs can be brought to market quicker, leaner and cheaper than ever before.
Ashdown predicts that in 2013, Foreign MNOs will launch connected, regional MVNOs in order to maintain the relationship with their customers when they travel abroad. This could be developed in such a way that subscribers could locally pay their home network’s rates or draw down from their home network’s bundles, as opposed to roaming.
Finally, Ashdown predicts that 2013 will see an increase in innovative MVNOs. This means a growth in models along the lines of Ovivo, which is a mobile advertisement funded model, and CyCell, a subscription based, low usage model which is targeted at subscribers who need to be connected, but don’t require the levels of functionality and cost that a typical pre-paid/post-paid proposition offers.
These innovative MVNO models are likely to incorporate an increased leveraging of brand heritage, content and media, as well as offering “money can’t buy opportunities.” In 2013, the mobile phone will serve as a media device and the mobile service as a mechanism to secure a more targeted and personalised relationship with the customer. Another thing to keep an eye out for in 2013 will be the emergence of LTE based MVNOs. With EE launching the first UK LTE network in 2012, it is likely that the wider industry will be keen to follow their lead.
Please get in contact if you would like to speak to Mark Ashdown, CEO of Cognatel, to find out more about his predictions for 2013, or about his company, a UK ‘mobile services provider’ that has integrated its technology infrastructure directly into the Vodafone network.
Ash Plaskett, Consultant
Babel PR, Bolsover House, 5-6 Clipstone Street, London W1W 6BB
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