Timing is everything in business. A business launched at the right time can be the difference between success and failure of the venture. When it comes to the telecom industry, we are seeing a rapid growth of companies with non-telecom background starting their own MVNOs. Financial institutions like banks are the torchbearers of this MVNO revolution. But for many, this revolution has come way too late.
Lack of Adventure, Lack of Profit
For a long time, banking sector enjoyed complete sovereignty over financial transactions. Its unchallenged dominance gave rise to complacency, which further led to mobile operators creeping into their space. The advent of currencies like M-Pesa started eating into their profits but they stayed indifferent towards this development. But when mobile cash services started penetrating developing countries, for instance the nations located in the sub-Saharan region, it rang an alarm bell within the financial sector.
Banks realized that people without a bank account were migrating towards such services. As the numbers grew large – nearly half-a-billion people had moved to such services by 2016 – the desire to launch MVNOs became strong within the banking fraternity. Although the banking sector has stemmed the flow of migrating customers by starting their own MVNOs, things would have been a lot better if they had addressed the issue a lot earlier.
MVNE Partnership: The Simplest Way into the MVNO Space
The previous example clearly shows how a delay in launching MVNOs hurt the banking sector. The lack of flexibility in their mindset did not allow them to think innovatively. Only if they had foreseen that every SIM card sold would have given them a new customer for their bank, they would have definitely strengthened their stranglehold on the mobile money space.
Maybe it was their laxity or probably they were too overwhelmed by the complexity of an industry completely alien to them. Whatever be the case, it would be a grave mistake for anyone else to not learn from this example and do what the banking sector did. Especially in today’s evolved telecom space where a partnership with a competent MVNE immediately opens new doors for your business. Regardless of your core competencies, if you want to launch an MVNO for promoting your product, it is best to partner with a competent MVNE. Also, it is important to select the right business model for your MVNO setup according to your vision and financial wherewithal.
MVNO Models an MVNE Can Help You Implement
Before launching your own MVNO, you have two choices in front of you:
1. Thin MVNO: If you do not have a lot of capital and want to launch an MVNO quickly, thin MVNO model is best for you. No need to spend heavily on network infrastructure as you get all the essential capabilities i.e. HLR/HSS, B/OSS, OCS etc. as part of the contract. In this model, an MVNO gets the option to run its own B/OSS or rent it from the MNO. In case there is a rental agreement for B/OSS, then MNO has complete control over the services of an MVNO.
While thin MVNO model is not too straining financially, at least in the beginning, it does not provide you complete control. Especially in case of B/OSS rental, you don’t get service configuration control, which restricts the number of services and features that you can offer to your subscribers.
2. Full-Scale MVNO: Full-scale MVNO makes sense for bigger players in the market who have a lot of money to invest. It requires you to have your own HLR/HSS, PCRF, P-GW and IMS. You also need a Bss/OSS for back-end management of your services like revenue management, order management, provisioning, service delivery and assurance. A quality OCS system is also a must-have as it allows for real-time processing of charges.
Regardless of which model you choose for your MVNO, you should understand that the competency of your MVNE is the deciding factor between success and failure.
What to Look for in Your MVNE?
An MVNE can be a great help for an MVNO launching a new business provided it has the capability to provide feature-rich MVNO offerings. Some of the most important features you should look for in your MVNE solutions are:
- Ability to broker lucrative deals with MNO:An MVNE/MVNA that represents multiple MVNOs can enter into cheaper agreements (for radio access network) with an MNO a lot easily than what MVNOs can do individually. This happens because MNOs consider selling individually to an MVNO a major headache. So, when you partner with a well-networked MVNE/MVNA, the price of services goes down considerably, which allows you to sell services to subscribers at an attractive price point and still make profit.
- Real-time and convergent billing with complete accuracy: Your MVNE should be able to provide real-time and convergent billing, but more importantly it should ensure complete accuracy. To meet these requirements, your network-enabling partner should have a state-of-the-art OCS system that meets technical specifications as defined by 3GPP. Convergence in billing allows for the printing of all charges in a single invoice. As the number of telecom services has increased considerably in the recent years, you cannot inconvenience your subscribers by sending them separate invoices for different services. Convergence has become more of necessity than a luxury, which is why; you should always fulfill this requirement of your subscribers.
- Scalability: Whether you are a thin MVNO or full-scale MVNO, you cannot always anticipate the increase or decrease in the number of your subscribers. Hence, you should always partner with an MVNE that has a track record of working with clients that have grown their business during their association. This way, you will stay secure about the future of your business as you will have complete confidence in the scaling capability of your MVNO.
MVNEs have become an essential part of the telecom hierarchy in the recent years. As an MVNE already has ready made solutions, it expedites the entry of new MVNOs and helps them exploit the current market situations. Regardless of your process type – telecom or non-telecom – if you think launching an MVNO is necessary for your business, you should not waste any time and associate with a capable MVNE like Telgoo5 that can offer turnkey solutions.
Dwelling too long on the issue or complacency can be bad for your business. You should not make the mistake of resting on your laurels for too long and learn from the example of the banking industry.