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Help Wanted….. Is Your MVNO Ready?
Now that the headline has grabbed you, what do you mean, Jon, that Help is Wanted? I mean that there are many segments of customers that are not being served by wireless providers. Too many carriers, MVNOs, resellers, etc. go after the regular users…… individuals, families, small businesses and enterprise opportunities. Have you thought out of the box and looked for other, untapped markets that have a need for wireless connections?
If living during Covid taught us anything, it's that people could learn and work remotely without sacrificing productivity. Some pundits claim that over 50% of the workforce will not return to an office environment on a fulltime basis and that the need for fast secure communication will only grow in the near future. Look at the results of the three big carriers in 2020; you don’t need an economics degree to see the growth in subscriptions and revenue that they enjoyed:
AT&T; 1 million net ads (483,000 postpaid, 506,000 prepaid), revenues up 7.6% and Fiber adding 1 million net ads
Verizon; 700,000 net ads, $24 billion in revenue, up 2.2%
T-Mobile; 5.6 million net ads-- best in industry, highest in four years and most in company’s history; total revenues of $68.4 billion in full-year 2020*
*all financial data is from the three company’s annual earnings call and reports.
Many MVNOs also enjoyed record sales in 2020 based on the need for both voice and data connections and customers wanting to control their wireless spending, especially on prepaid.
How will these numbers hold up as we hopefully emerge from the Covid crisis? I personally don’t see any slow down based on the amount of workers and students who will continue to operate remotely this year, and also based on the number of inquiries that we at Atrium Unlimited Consulting (https://atriumunlimited.com/) receive each month from companies that want to enter the space (more on that in a minute). And just this week, if it wasn’t competitive enough already, Comcast announced that they will enter the small business and enterprise markets with a very competitive wireless offer (Comcast starts selling wireless plans to small businesses | FierceWireless).
So, Who Is Hanging Out The Help Wanted Signs?
I am working with three clients who are close to finalizing an MVNO or MVNE agreement in vertical markets that are either under-served or not served at all. For confidentiality reasons I can’t go into much detail but suffice to say that all three are unique opportunities for the carriers and offer little or no competition. One is an association that wants to give the value of wireless to their members. Another plays off of the popularity of a celebrity athlete while the third focuses on added layers of security for their users. All three have discovered their differentiator and distribution to reach a potentially new audience, something that the carriers and MVNOs all crave.
Have you thought about markets or groups of people that may have a need that’s “out of the box.” Customers are screaming (okay, maybe not screaming but ASKING) for your help in delivering new and innovative ways to use their mobile devices. With 5G and IoT on the horizon, having just one mobile device will not meet the needs of your customers in the months to come. Today, smartphone penetration has exceeded 87% of the United States population while overall mobile phone ownership is almost 100% (Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States | Pew Research Center).
I challenge you to look around your communities to see what wireless and mobile needs aren’t being met. I hate the term “low-hanging fruit” but that’s what folks just like you did in the examples above that we are working on. And you don’t have to build out massive infrastructure (you’re a “virtual operator", remember?) or have high cost back rooms to service your customers if you use one of the aggregators or MVNEs that I’ve discussed in the past.
MVNEs and Aggregators Are Ready to Assist
One such MVNE that offers full support for those looking to enter the space is Reach Mobile. Reach CEO Harjot Saluja shares with me that “When creating a MVNO, dedicate time and resources to strategize on the unique selling points and differentiators to attract customers. There are tools, including Reach Mobile’s Digital Operator Cloud, that empower you to launch a service without a single engineering source. Lean into these cloud-native tools that allow you to launch an MVNO quickly with minimal resources and technical talent.”
“Once the MVNO is up and running, it’s important to not forget about supporting it. Many MVNOs falsely assume their existing systems will be the right fit. Reach Mobile’s end-to-end back office portal support arm is as elegant as the consumer experience. Agents are empowered with the tools to solve almost any problem without having to elevate it.”
Other groups are out there as well and ready to assist in bringing new and unique customer groups into the wireless space. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]
So Just How Will 5G Help MVNOs?
There is a lot of hype (and billions of dollars being spent) on the development of 5G networks. With all of the confusion, the best reference I have seen comes from Zangi in their June 16, 2020 article explaining the basics of 5G and how MVNOs can benefit. Here is an excerpt:
How is 5G different?
- 2G GSM was mainly about voice
- 3G LIMITS was mainly about data
- 4G LTE was mainly about video
- 5G is mainly about things…and all of the above included. 5G goes beyond smartphones and mobile broadband.
5G is a unified, more capable air interface. Designed with an extended capacity to enable next-generation user experiences, empower new deployment models, and deliver new services. It’s ready to impact every industry, making safer transportation, better communication, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics — and more — a reality.
GSM, CDMA, UMTS Going Out | While MVNOs Thriving
With the next generation of mobile communications, GSM is becoming not relevant anymore, which is a huge advantage for MVNOs that only provide mobile services. BEFORE, users used to be hesitant to switch to MVNOs, even though they were cheaper, because:
- data was slower for MVNOs when there was high usage
- people wanted to combine their mobile phone plan and broadband plan
- usually, there were no extra advantages
But NOW with 5G SUPER SPEEDS, superior reliability, and latency, 5G is expanding the mobile ecosystem into new realms. There won’t be any reasons not to choose MVNOS. With expert predictions, MVNOs are set to thrive and become very successful with 5G. And to have tons of users switching over to MVNOS.
The Help Wanted Solution Is Now In Your Court
I’m not the only one touting the opportunities that await the savvy MVNOs. Whether traditional customers or new, untapped markets are your sweet spot, it’s time to start thinking about the future of wireless and how MVNOs will continue to thrive with new technology and opportunities just around the corner. If our industry can grow during the uncertainty of the pandemic, and new entrants are already gaining new subscribers and market share; why are you waiting? Answer the Help Wanted Ads and start growing your MVNO/MVNE business to serve these customers who are literally asking for your help.
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