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As I spent the month of January closing the books on 2022, reading of Q4 and full year results, I came across some interesting articles about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and more specifically a new phenomenon called ChatGPT.
ChatGPT, (OpenAI) “is an AI chatbot system that OpenAI released in November 2022 to show off and test what a very large, powerful AI system can accomplish. You can ask it countless questions and often will get an answer that's useful.” Or so says Stephen Shankland in his outstanding article of February 2nd , Why Everyone's Obsessed With the Mind-Blowing ChatGPT AI Chatbot (link to the article): Why Everyone's Obsessed With the Mind-Blowing ChatGPT AI Chatbot (msn.com)
OKAY, EXPLAIN THIS TO ME?
Not being an expert on all things technology based, I decided to give this a test drive. I asked the simple question, “What is the state of the MVNO industry in the US?” It took about two seconds to get a 500+ word response that is shown below. A lot of the information is basic and seems to me to be a couple of years old. For example, no mention of Big Cable ( and the 10 million+ wireless subscribers that they have put on), specific players (Consumer Cellular, Tracfone, Ultra, etc.) or some of the recent acquisitions in the space. It did mention my favorite word, DIFFERENTIATION so I’m glad that I’m a year or two ahead of Artificial Intelligence! It also seemed to confuse the difference between MVNO and the underlying carrier (MNO) that the MVNO operates on. It didn't understand who is responsible for building and maintaining infrastructure.
Have a read on what AI spit out:
"The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) market in the United States is a highly competitive space with a large number of players vying for a share of the lucrative wireless market. In recent years, the MVNO industry has seen significant growth and consolidation, with new players entering the market and established companies expanding their offerings.
One of the key trends in the MVNO market is the increasing use of mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs). MVNEs are companies that provide the infrastructure and technology needed for MVNOs to operate, including billing systems, customer management systems, and network access. This allows MVNOs to focus on marketing and customer acquisition, rather than building and maintaining their own infrastructure.
Another trend in the MVNO market is the growing popularity of prepaid plans. Prepaid plans, where customers pay for services in advance, are becoming more popular as they offer greater flexibility and control over costs. This is particularly appealing to budget-conscious consumers and those who want to avoid long-term contracts.
The MVNO market is also seeing a shift towards more customized and targeted offerings. Many MVNOs are now focusing on specific niches, such as international travelers, low-income consumers, or specific ethnic groups. This allows them to better serve the needs of these groups and differentiate themselves from larger, more established players.
Despite these trends, the MVNO market in the United States is still highly competitive, with many players vying for a share of the market. This has led to a number of mergers and acquisitions, as well as increased pressure on smaller players to differentiate themselves and improve their offerings.
One of the major challenges faced by MVNOs is the high cost of acquiring customers. This is partly due to the intense competition in the market, but also because of the high cost of building and maintaining the necessary infrastructure. As a result, many MVNOs have struggled to achieve profitability and have been forced to seek out new revenue streams or merge with other companies.
Despite these challenges, the MVNO market in the United States is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. With more and more consumers looking for affordable and flexible mobile plans, and with the rise of new technologies such as 5G, the demand for MVNOs is likely to continue to increase.
Overall, the state of the MVNO market in the United States is one of intense competition, with many players vying for a share of the market. However, the industry is also characterized by a growing number of niche players and a shift towards more customized and targeted offerings. The MVNO market is also facing challenges such as high customer acquisition costs and intense competition but is expected to continue to grow in the coming years."
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO MVNOs?
I asked ChatGPT if MVNOs were using Artificial Intelligence. Here is the reply:
Yes, some MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) are using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their customer experience, streamline operations, and increase efficiency. For example, AI can be used for customer service, network optimization, and fraud detection. However, the extent of AI usage varies between MVNOs and depends on their size, resources, and technology investments.
No surprises here either and something that EVERY MVNO should already be doing:
- improve their customer experience
- streamline operations
- increase efficiency
These age-old items pre-date Artificial Intelligence and are essential for any business to survive, especially in our business where if a customer isn’t satisfied, they have multiple choices to make a change. MVNO owners and operators must constantly inspect their operations and customer contact points, both before AND after the sale. Remember the old adage, “It’s expensive to bring on a customer but it’s even more expensive to lose one!”
WHAT DOES THE AI CRYSTAL BALL AY ABOUT THE FUTURE?
One thing that both Artificial Intelligence and us regular humans can agree on is that the MVNO business is healthy, even robust, growing and opening a lot of opportunities for continued growth and diversification. If you need help with your customer experience, streamlining operations, or increasing efficiency, give us a call (atriumunlimited.com) and we’d be happy to help.
Please embrace AI and other technologies that will help you grow and increase profits, remember that Mr. Shankland ends his article with the comment “So ChatGPT, while imperfect, is doubtless showing the way toward our tech future.”
Jon's consulting company, Atrium Unlimited, LLC, advises carriers, MVNOs, investment bankers, and venture capitalists interested in joining the wireless space.
Jon would love to hear from you about any consultative needs you may have.