by Nikolaj Jensen, Head of Rator MVNO Revenue Management Solutions
One idea that is gaining momentum in many parts of the world is that consumer brands such as retailers and banks are leveraging the power of their brands to launch mobile virtual network operations (MVNO). This typically involves collaborating with an incumbent mobile network operator in the country.
The first step in embarking on this journey is to analyze the operational integration needs that apply to a particular business model, and the resulting return on investment. A number of business models are available for consideration: Branded Reseller, Light MVNO or Full-MVNO, each with an increasing level of investment and operational involvement.
Consumer brands may be able to leverage unique assets such as banking customers in developing nations with poor broadband connectivity that want to adopt online banking services. These customers could be strong subscriber prospects for MVNOs. Other examples include grocery chains or airlines that wish to capitalize on their strong brand recognition and leverage loyalty programs to offer new revenue streams from mobile services. The Marketing department is best positioned to identify and slice and dice one or more customer segments that may be key prospects for mobile services.
The next step is identifying a reliable mobile network operator for collaboration and negotiating a wholesale agreement to resell services. This may involve months of painstaking and cumbersome effort (incumbent operators are not the most agile partners!) to develop a business case, agree on pricing models, customer segmentation, network interfaces and service level agreements. Partnering with a knowledgeable telecom technology vendor with MVNO enablement experience can provide consumer brands with the insight, support, and solutions needed to navigate and overcome these common business concept challenges.
Our Rator team has experience launching more than 50 MVNO brands worldwide, with more than 25 operator networks. Our senior market experts provide conceptual and technical support throughout planning, deployment, launch and ongoing operations.
For a Full-MVNO business model, conceptualization of key back-office systems such as customer care, rating, workflow, invoicing, self-care portals with real-time service updates, point of sales systems, numerous integration points, and fraud management systems are just the tip of the iceberg. Further considerations exist around identifying and meeting network implementation requirements that essentially involve the same technology backend operations as a MNO.
Once the concept and offerings are in place, an implementation team is responsible for the technical solution. The starting point for consumer brands is to find a telecom vendor that provides best of breed MVNO software frameworks that are designed to meet requirements for custom configurations, and include business logic that can be configured to meet unique requirements.
The objective of each deployment is to support the concept and to ensure that the offering can be adapted to meet any urgent changes, which enables the MVNO to adjust once the market starts providing feedback. Time to market is not just important for the initial launch, but an absolute necessity keeping up with user and market expectations. Generally, the projections that we see for subscriber growth are optimistic.
Once a new MVNO business has implemented their rating, billing, and CRM systems, they are ready to launch their mobile portfolio to consumers. While some services are included in the initial offering, other services might be launched in phases in order to build brand awareness while ramping up subscriber growth:
Enghouse Networks Rator solutions can support Light to Full MVNO business models with a comprehensive suite of features, enabling rapid launch in as quickly as 3 months. Our standard framework enables full and differentiated customization supporting unique business requirements, and is designed to support agile change management. Features include rating (online charging and hot billing), billing, customer care, self-care, and POS.