Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) sell SIM cards and mobile plans under their own brand using the infrastructure of an existing mobile network. This is a win-win. The networks gain subscribers while MVNOs avoid the cost of building infrastructure.
Australia’s MVNO market is in its infancy. In Australia, 1 in 10 mobile services are provided by small MVNO brands whereas this is as high as 1 in 5 in some European countries. While the mobile market may seem competitive, the future belongs to MVNOs.
For aspiring mobile businesses, the timing is perfect. Entry into the mobile market is easier than ever before as MVNOs no longer need to build their own integrations with the mobile network. MVNO enablement software provides this connection in an affordable and turnkey way. Vendors such as iBoss allow mobile brands to launch new offerings and add more value to your business than ever before.
1. Give consumers choice and flexibility
Traditionally, mobile plans were sold on a contract and bundled with a new smartphone. But today, customers are opting to keep their device and switch their SIM.
2. Extend your existing brand
MVNO is not just for internet providers and telcos either. Overseas you’ll find examples of grocery stores, media companies, airlines, utility providers, sports teams and even entertainment companies selling mobile services. This strategy is called an MVNO ‘brand extension’ – using the credibility and presence of an established brand to win additional revenue in an unrelated market.
In Australia, many supermarkets now offer their own pre-paid SIM cards, post-paid contracts and even plans with a handset. This is a small extension of their core grocery business, but with a loyal and repeat customer base of millions, it has the potential to be highly profitable.
3. Pass savings onto your customers
MVNOs have an advantage over large networks because they can often deliver equivalent plans with nearly identical coverage at lower cost. They need only start up with a small staff and a focus on delivering the right differentiation and value.
With the right enablement partner, running an MVNO can be low-touch and highly automated. APIs can be used to pass information between the mobile network and the MVNO’s CRM, eliminating the need for manual data entry. Self-service customer portals can also reduce the burden on call centres. Lower overheads in turn give MVNOs the freedom to price aggressively and win more business.
4. Bypass the NBN
With the NBN facing well-publicised challenges, the time is right for wireless internet to be sold alongside or in place of NBN services. Leading industry figures such as Rene Sugo have predicted that the future of Australian internet will be mostly cellular broadband.
The ‘NBN bypass’ is already underway. Major telcos are rapidly building fibre and next gen networks to provide greater speeds and reliability vs the NBN. As the cost of mobile data drops, mobile-only homes and businesses will become the norm. Looking ahead, 5G will soon power the next generation of smart homes and connected devices, creating a long-term opportunity for MVNOs.
5. Improve lives and communities
MVNOs are not limited by traditional telecom business models. With low overheads and wide appeal, they can innovate through social good, using their capabilities to connect people through more than just telecom services.
Jeenee Mobile for example, donates phone plans to Australians living with disabilities and allows their customers to donate a plan themselves.
In a similar vein, BetterLife Mobile have designed mobile plans specifically for the disadvantaged who lack the credit and payment options that most of us take for granted. In turn empowering single parents, homeless citizens, welfare centres and welfare agencies Australia-wide.
Opportunity is brewing for MVNOs
The future for Australian MVNOs is bright. According to research from Ovum, the Australian mobile market is predicted to grow to more than 1.8Bn by 2021. If 4G and 5G technologies enable ‘NBN bypass’ this market will only grow.
Opportunity abounds if you are prepared to move fast. The traditional barriers of network access and ‘back-end’ enablement have all but disappeared. Enablement software makes it possible to launch a new MVNO brand in as little as 12 weeks. If you aspire to launch your own mobile brand, the possibilities of an MVNO are only limited by your imagination.
Want to start asap? Talk to us at iBoss today.