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How Can My MVNO “Be The Best?”

How Can My MVNO Be The Best?

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I was reading the September 30, 2021 article from TechRadar Pro who recently had their Mobile Industry Awards 2021 in the United Kingdom.  Congratulations to Sky Mobile who was named Best MVNO.

How does one “become the best” in any category, let alone the crowded MVNO space, especially here in the United States.  Well, our friends at TechRadar Pro asked the following questions:

  • What makes this network innovation unique to the market?
  • Showcase and demonstrate the number of customers who have benefited from this product and how it has allowed them to grow their business.
  • Demonstrate commercial and financial success over the last 12 months.
  • Showcase how you have diversified revenue streams through this innovation.

TechRadar also stated that Sky Mobile and “all of our finalists have shown tenacity, resilience to partner pressures, and a finely-tuned marketing strategy to make tonight’s shortlist.”

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The 2021 Best MVNO finalists were:

  • LeBara Mobile
  • Sky Mobile
  • Smarty Mobile

From what I read, Sky Mobile (part of SKY which offers TV, Internet and Broadband) is a decent MVNO, getting an overall 3.5 out of 5.0 rating. Their coverage is good but is behind others in getting 5G out to their subscribers.  They are rated very high on customer service but low on handset offers. They do have a differentiator in that unused data can rollover for up to 36 months and they offer six different SIM-only plans.

How Do US MVNOs Become The Best?

Let’s look at the criteria from the United Kingdom and apply them to MVNOs on our side of the pond (that would be in the United States).

  1.  Network innovation.  We all understand that the “V” in MVNO stands for Virtual; MVNOs do not own the towers or networks, that’s a given.  But are you aligned with the network that meets you and your customer’s needs? Are you selling the biggest, or fastest, or 5G network that covers the most population?  I’ve written earlier that I can’t keep up with the Big Three’s claims on who actually is bigger or faster, and that true, full-blown 5G is still a few years away.  Regardless, MVNOs should be pushing their underlying carrier for better pricing, more innovation, and the opportunity to enter new verticals.
  2. How Have Your Customers Benefited By Using Your Product?  Innovation leads to differentiation. For example, if my MVNO is able to negotiate unlimited calling from the MNO to the Far East, or to certain countries in Central or South America, I can then package my offerings to specific ethnic groups and outshine my competition. I can also offer family plans, pooled data, and other services like money transfers if I market to a specific base of subscribers, membership groups, or associations.  By getting something different from my carrier, I can DIFFERENTIATE my MVNO from others.
  3. Demonstrate Success Over the Past 12 Months. Only you know how successful your MVNO is as most are privately owned and don’t report results, number of subscribers, profit and loss, etc.  It’s left to the wireless pundits to analyze your trends, advertising, retail presence, etc. There are a lot of factors that demonstrate success, especially in today’s digital age. Customer surveys and “complaint” boards uncover issues that could affect the MVNO’s performance. But not all is negative. For example, Red Pocket Mobile is celebrating its 15th anniversary with creative offers. Surviving 15 years is an accomplishment in itself, outlasting bigger and more visible players like Disney, ESPN, AMP’d, and so on.  Success is not always defined as who adds the most customers in a given quarter or year, but which MVNO is profitable, innovative, and serves a specific need.  Is your MVNO making money, providing a differentiator, and solving the needs of your customer base?  These are the things to ask yourself if you want to survive in this game as well.
  4. Do you have diversified revenue streams through this innovation?  Sky Mobile has done a lot of things right since launching in 2016. The biggest, in my opinion, is not becoming a “me-too” MVNO. There are a number of unique features on Sky Mobile. One of them is Roll, which allows you to roll over unused data for up to three years. Sky estimates that their customer based has saved over 43GB of data on average. Another benefit is Watch which gives you unlimited streaming through Sky TV apps without using your data allowance if you’re a Sky TV customer. Pretty cool if you’re not in Wifi range and want to stream your favorite programs.
See also:  MVNOs, Use Social Media For Growth

Sky Mobile has various revenue streams from different product offerings.  True, none of our US-based MVNO’s have cable offerings (yet!) with the exception of big players like Charter (Spectrum Mobile), Comcast (Xfinity Mobile), and now DISH with their ownership of Boost, but think about what type of differentiators you have that translate into revenue? What ancillary products or services can you sell? Do you have your sales team achieve a certain percentage of sales that include device protection? That’s a good start. Or getting at least $75-$100 of accessories sold with each handset…… think about what you retail a case, screen protector, and car adaptor for, it adds up pretty quick.

Why Sky Mobile Won

“Since launching in 2016, Sky Mobile has managed to amass more than two million customers across the UK, offering additional value to subscribers of its other services, driving additional revenue, and reducing churn.  Sky Mobile impressed the judges with its customer-centric vision and strong all-around financials.” Mobile Industry Awards 2021: Sky Mobile is Best MVNO (msn.com)

Let’s not forget that you got into the MVNO space to make money. So, what do I as an MVNO need to do?  Negotiate your best costs from the carrier, be innovative with your offerings and delight your customers, that’s a recipe for success.  Questions?  Let us at Atrium Unlimited Consulting help implement a winning strategy for you as well!

See also:  MVNO Growth Is Unstoppable!

Good Selling!

Jon



Jon Horovitz has been in the wireless industry as a senior executive for 30+ years. He headed up sales and operations in leadership roles for McCaw Communications, AT&T Wireless, Nextel, Boost Mobile, and Sprint. He has owned an MVNO as well as assisted in the start-up of three others. His 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. Please visit https://AtriumUnlimited.com



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