Since day one, MNOs have eyed MVNOs with suspicion.

Rather than seeing them as a healthy part of the value chain, MNOs seem to view their wholesale partners as entities that must be controlled. MVNOs are therefore lumbered with high set-up fees, long negotiation times, unrealistic volume requirements and weak contracts.

Often, revenue protection is the driving force in an MNO’s relationship with an MVNO. They see them as a way to access either a new market segment, a new brand (such as Post Office or BT), or a way to profit from services that they don’t offer themselves.

The need for agile marketing

However, the true key to MVNO success lies in delivering tailored services to niche markets. And in our ever-diversifying society, these niches are being created all the time. MVNOs must therefore respond quickly to market demand by moving into spaces that MNOs can’t. MVNOs must seek to provide services that can’t be found elsewhere, and an agile marketing strategy will allow them to do so quickly, and readily.

A new trade association

The UK MVNO market used to be one of the strongest in the world. But the all-powerful MNOs, combined with stringent regulations by Ofcom and the European Commission, have led to an aggressive marketplace plagued with battles for consolidation.

However, a new MVNO trade association, called The iMVNOx Association, opened in the UK earlier this year. Offering new hope for MVNOs, it seeks to learn from the UK’s experts who shaped the industry; investigate past successes and failures; and protect MVNOs from the kind of MNO policies that hamper their success.

With a focus on this kind of responsive marketing and support from iMVNOx, it’s entirely possible that the UK could once more shape the global dynamics of the MVNO market.

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