It’s been a bruising start to the year for the global MVNO market. A number of virtual operators have been squeezed out of the sector or swallowed up by larger rivals.
But after spending a few days with representatives from the world’s top virtual operators, network operators, vendors, and tech developers at the 18th annual MVNOs World Congress in Amsterdam, I left feeling confident about the health of the MVNO industry.
These highlights should explain why.
All Eyes—and Ears—on Audacious
New UK MVNO Audacious took to the MVNOs World Congress stage to share a few details about its unique proposition. Using new technology created by leading audiologists, Audacious aims to provide clearer mobile calls to roughly 10 million people in the UK who suffer from mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss. It expects to sign up 600,000 customers by 2023.
The MVNO itself will launch over the EE network later this summer. The dual presentation–helmed by Audacious CEO Rob Shardlow and Goshawk CEO Matthew Turner–was one of highlights of the program for many attendees. The new player is expected to make a big splash in the ultra-competitive UK MVNO market.
Eradicating Poverty, MVNO Style
Another new MVNO with big ideas is Mexico’s Miio, which seeks is to eradicate poverty by giving unbanked mobile users access to basic credit savings.
Co-founder of Miio Salvador Abascal gave delegates a rundown of the MVNO’s core proposition, which includes free local remittances and interest-free micro-credit. Different tariff plans unlock different benefits, including life insurance, doctor home visits, unlimited medical advice, and dental care.
redONE Plots Regional Rampage
In addition to these innovative new approaches, I also saw ambitious plans from new players who left me feeling optimistic about the future of the MVNO market. Take the presentation from redONE Chief Sales Officer Ben Teh for example. The Kuala Lumpur-based MVNO was actually launching its new redONE Singapore unit while the conference was unfolding. And this launch was just the tip of the iceberg for the group’s expansion plans.
Next in line for redONE are Thailand and Vietnam in October 2019, followed by the Philippines before year-end. By 2020 the company hopes to be operational in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
Tom Leins is a Senior Research Analyst for TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. Based out of the company’s UK office, he also contributes to the company’s daily CommsUpdate newsletter, which includes his popular weekly MVNO Monday round-up. MVNO industry aside, Tom has developed a strong specialization in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean, tracking mergers and acquisitions, spectrum auctions, regulatory developments, market opportunities, and growth trends.