MVNO World Congress is almost upon us, and for the first time, Openet will be exhibiting and presenting. Why? Firstly because we believe that MVNO is an uncommonly vibrant part of the telecoms space. Second, because we believe we have something new and unique to offer.
Taking the first: we work in an industry whose direction of travel, we believe, is starting to strongly favour the MVNO.
Although M&A activity has been relatively low over recent months, the general trend is still towards consolidation, and a small number of very large (and very familiar) telcos with widespread global or continental presence. And that’s not all good for the consumer.
Although many major operators aspire to close segmentation and sharp customer focus, it has proven mighty hard for very large organisations to prioritise the interests of niche demographics over those of the mass market – which leaves many customers with a service experience that is, at best, ‘meh’.
The MVNO, however, works under no such constraints. The MVNO is all about understanding and meeting the needs of a niche market – whether that niche is defined by budget, by ethnicity, by age, social grouping or one of a myriad other defining characteristics.
The challenge for MVNOs has been in making the numbers add up. Addressing the needs of a niche market is very commendable, and the demand has been there, but unsurprisingly, the large sums needed to launch a new service provider proposition, not to mention the lifeless bodies of once-hopeful MVNOs that litter telco’s broad highway, have discouraged many.
So what’s new?
Happily, evolving technology, in the form of the cloud and the trend to virtualisation, is riding to the rescue.
Cloud-based applications mean that upfront capital investment can be minimal, and that operating costs can be aligned with whatever growth and success the business achieves. The need for massive outlay on software, licenses and IT platforms (to say nothing of the many secondary costs, such as energy, premises and costly skills) that go with maintaining a dedicated business and operating platform, is evaporating fast. Costs are predictable, and if the idea doesn’t work out, you haven’t necessarily lost your shirt. Almost overnight, the risk-reward model has started to look very different for the enterprise that aspires to being a telco.
The onward march of virtualisation, too, means that the hitherto enormous cost of the proprietary network elements needed to control subscribers and services (and gain an acceptable degree of business independence) has dramatically fallen.
As we’ve observed here on a number of occasions, if you have a good proposition and a decent addressable market, there’s never been a better time to become a (virtual) telco.
So what do you need? That brings us to the second reason why you’ll find us on the Riviera in a fortnight.
You don’t need to own the means of operation – but nonetheless you do need to be fully enabled to launch and operate your business.
Openet has seen this, and over the last year has been working with some smart partners to bring an enablement platform to market that takes advantage of cloud, virtualisation, open source and other approaches that give maximum return for minimum outlay. Not to get too salesy – well, perhaps for a moment – our Telco-as a-Service proposition delivers business & operational capability out of the cloud, wrapped around with expert consulting and managed services. All you need to bring to the party is market understanding. The levers of control – over customers, services, pricing and business strategy – stay in your hands while operational concerns are looked after by us.
We’ll be launching Openet Telco-as-a-Service in Nice on April 25th. If you’re there, come over, take a seat and have a chat. We’re looking forward to it.