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The Focus is on MVNOs’, Are You Ready to Adapt?
I had the pleasure of attending the Informa MVNO Series North America Digital Symposium this week, hosted by Will Townsend of Moor Insights and Strategy ( http://www.moorinsightsstrategy.com/ ). It was two days of discussions involving new innovation and monetization opportunities for MVNOs. The purpose of the Symposium was captured in the pre-show release:
…the USA the landscape is very different (vs. Canada and Europe). The US is one of the largest MVNO markets in the world and there are plenty of examples of cable operators, MNO sub-brands launching in the past decade, but what’s next for this marketplace and where are the new MVNOs coming from?
Many of our friends who own and operate MVNOs were on hand for brilliant analysis and fireside chats including Joshua Gordon (Red Pocket & FreedomPop), David Glickman (Ultra Mobile, Mint Mobile, Plum) Dario Talmesio (Omida), Jeff Holley (boom!), and Ahmed Khattak (US Mobile) among others. They discussed the evolving MVNO landscape, the challenges and opportunities faced, consolidation, 5G networks and the ability for new entrants to become players in the MVNO space. For those who couldn’t attend, the sessions are available on demand for a limited time.
What Are Our Industry Leaders Thinking?
The takeaways? MVNOs are moving much faster with the adoption of 5G than they did with 4G. While mobility is a “utility service,” and 5G will offer faster speed and better convenience, only about one-third of providers see 5G being used for applications other than mobile. This is where a tremendous opportunity lies for our incumbent MVNOs and those looking to enter the space. Areas that MVNOs should be looking to penetrate include Big Tech and the Gig Economy, Utility Applications, Enterprise Companies and IT Specialists, IoT Specialists and a host of other non-traditional areas of development. Mr. Talmesio of Omida also continued his discussion with the projected size of the 5G market. With 300 million connections worldwide in 2021, his firm forecasts that there will be 1 billion 5G connections by year end 2024. That’s only a little more than three years away!
eSIMs Are Coming, Will MVNOs Be Able to Adapt?
There was also a spirited discussion centering around the introductions of eSIMs focusing on how MVNOs can differentiate themselves (there is that word again…. DIFFERENTIATION ) with the coming expansion of eSims in wireless handsets. Mr. Talmesio stated that “eSims help MVNOs introducing retail differentiation, full digital convenience, price differentiation, roaming and flexibility. ” It is important that the introduction of eSims to the retail sales floor is supported with training and proper expectations to improve the customer experience. Not all devices have eSims. What are the benefits? How exactly do I change carriers? And most importantly (in my opinion) how do you keep your customer happy and NOT have them leave you for another wireless service when you’ve spent so much to acquire them?
How Will 5G Impact Our Wireless Dealers?
iQmetrix published a study in Fierce Wireless in late 2019 on how 5G will impact Wireless Retailers ( How Will 5G Impact Wireless Retailers? | FierceWireless ). While we as an industry have made great strides on building out the 5G networks and delivering 5G enabled handsets since this article came out, questions still are being asked on how wireless dealers will embrace this new and heavily anticipated technology and deal with certain unknowns. The smart retailers, with assistance from their MVNOs, must prepare for this transition by setting proper customer expectations, being truthful about 5G capabilities (like coverage and data speeds) and make sure that their sales staff is properly trained to fully educate the customer on what they can expect from 5G without setting false expectations or making false promises. As I’ve stated, it is expensive to attract a wireless subscriber, it’s even more expensive to lose them to a competitor.
What’s Next For Our Dealers? Glad You Asked!
Events like Moor Insights and Strategy’s recent symposium are important for many reasons. Not only can we reconnect with many of our colleagues digitally during the pandemic, it gives us the opportunity to learn and prepare for natural evolutions in our industry. The next BIG THING for our dealers in the Dealer Success Summit ’21, created and brought to us jointly by the National Independent Wireless Dealers Association ( www.nwida.org ) and Corporate Dynamics Inc. ( https://corpdyn.com )
Adam Wolf and Mark Landiak have put together a month long event to support wireless retail dealers with May being the Independent Wireless Dealer Month .
As previously discussed, each weekday in May, DSS ‘21 will feature a top industry executive providing a keynote on The Future of Wireless. Leading wireless suppliers will contribute to Making Money in Wireless, with new revenue streams and the most successful dealers in the country, from across brands, will talk with other dealers and repair shops, sharing their strategies, tips and knowledge. It all starts this coming Monday, May 3rd with a kick-off Keynote speech from Peter Adderton, Founder of Boost Mobile .
Attendees can watch the sessions on any connected device, and on any day until August! They can click through to any exhibitor booth and chat with them, view videos and download product information.
Attending is as simple as registering at link.nwida.org/dss21
Hope to see everyone at DSS ’21 and all of the other terrific industry events this year and hopefully in person!