Digital transformation is the buzzword currently on everyone’s mind. The move towards digital has created a shift in how businesses need to operate, and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) are no different. This shift has resulted in significant growth in the market, which has had a knock-on effect that is driving innovation and transformation in the field of technology and software development. Several important trends and growth opportunities have resulted from this, which we will examine in more detail below.
An MVNO Market Overview
For us to understand where the market is going and where growth is expected, we need to examine where we have been.
According to a recent report on MVNO market growth, trends, and forecasts, the MVNO market was valued at USD 62.91 billion in 2019. Over the next five years, it is expected to reach a value of USD 90.64 billion, registering a CAGR of 6.36%. MVNOs have continued to see significant growth in the market in recent years, which is primarily due to several contributing factors, these include:
- New technology enablers – new technology which includes e-SIM, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) as well as edge computing is creating a number of opportunities for MVNOs to expand and set themselves apart from their competitors.
- The move from price focused sales strategies to value added services – according to a recent report, new technology is helping MVNOs differentiate themselves in the market by shifting from a price focused strategy to one that includes value-added services and product differentiation.
- The penetration of mobile devices – one of the most significant contributing factors to growth in this market is the penetration of mobile devices in both developed and emerging countries. According to GSMA, it was estimated that the number of unique mobile subscribers increased from 4.66 billion in 2015 to 5.59 billion in 2019. It is also estimated that by 2020 72% of the global population would be subscribed to a mobile service.
- Innovative service offerings – innovative service offerings that include cloud deployment, machine to machine (M2M) transactions and mobile money are currently augmenting demand for MVNOs and will continue to have a significant impact on growth in the future.
- Government initiatives – many governments are turning to MVNOs to assist in providing solutions to enhance network service access. An example of this is the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy which is being used to eliminate copyright issues and geo-blocking problems as well as delivering better network service access for consumers in Europe.
- The impact of COVID-19 – the global pandemic has affected many countries and businesses globally. To ensure business continuity during this time, many organisations have allowed their employees to work remotely from home. This resulted in a significant increase in network connectivity, for example, Vodafone UK witnessed a 50% increase in traffic. Many MVNOs rose to this challenge and adapted their service offerings and value propositions. This was seen in Spain where Orange España offered their customers access to free data bundles. COVID-19 has also changed how people globally view business and the opportunities that remote work provides. We expect the result of this to be an increased and ongoing demand for fast, agile and flexible communication services and network connectivity globally.
As this market continues to grow and develop, MVNOs need to continue to transform and innovate their service offerings as well as business operations to stay competitive and drive revenue. One of the ways this is being done is through the implementation of new innovative technology trends that are moving the market forward. These trends are expected to have a significant impact on the industry over the next few years.
Key MVNO Market trends driving growth
When markets grow, and business and consumer needs change, innovative technology is required to ensure that operations, services, and offerings can keep up with the new requirements. Below we examine several of innovative technology trends impacting the MVNO industry.
Cloud Deployment to lead the market share
Over the past, five to ten years cloud deployment has gained traction in the industry with many major MVNO players selling cloud capacity to their customer base. But very few MVNOs have applied these cloud technologies to their own infrastructure, operations, and networks. According to a recent trend report, many mobile operators are drifting towards a flat network architecture since the introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE), 4G, and 5G standards.
This network architecture enables cloud-based apps and enterprise applications that include everything from billing and CRM integrator, product catalogs, rating, invoicing, and bill formatting, which is all implemented using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). PaaS platforms can be shared among several MVNOs, which allows for increased cost benefits due to load elasticity. Many MVNOs are also looking at the benefits of utilising a cloud-native BSS based on public cloud infrastructure as this offers maximin benefits at lower costs, enhances agility, and provides tools for increasing and retaining customers. With so many benefits, there is no doubt that cloud deployment is the way of the future for MVNOs.
Digital Payments are the way of the future
Mobile financial services, in the form of digital payments, have become not just an innovative trend globally but an essential service. This is especially the case in emerging countries where this trend opens a world of opportunity for MVNOs to tap into an estimated 1.7 billion unbanked customers. Digital and mobile payment services not only offer financial inclusion for many but also offer convenient, practical, and simple ways for consumers to make payments from their mobile phones. This technology can be used to carry out transactions, withdraw funds, make payments, e-commerce, pay bills, etc. all from a mobile phone. Digital payment solutions are scalable, cost-effective, and offer flexibility, allowing them to be adapted for several uses in the mobile financial service sphere. This trend will continue to grow the market as mobile users in emerging countries expands.
Self-Service Portals are changing the customer experience for the better
The use of self-service portals is changing the game for MVNOs on a global scale as it gives customers more power and control over their mobile data and usage. For a self-service portal to be effective, it needs to offer customers faster, flexible, and convenient services. The benefits of this are twofold. For MVNOs it reduces administrative burdens and saves on cost and time while at the same time allows customers to track and understand mobile usage. This ultimately enhances business productivity, profitability, and effectiveness.
Data Connectivity Management is set to become an essential business tool
Data Connectivity Management which makes use of APN technology is becoming increasingly popular. The way businesses are operating is changing, with more reliance on mobile usage and remote working. With this comes added challenges related to the need for safe and secure connectivity, control, and visibility of mobile data users. There is also a demand for simple and effective data management solutions that assist with managing data connectivity, and reduce the possibility of surprise bills, added costs, and data abuse. Data connectivity management technology offers a solution to these challenges and is highly adaptable and customisable. This technology will allow MVNOs to expand their service offerings and find new revenue streams to drive profitability.
What impact are these MVNO trends having globally?
What is clear from the above-mentioned MVNO trends is that the shift towards innovative technology in this market is set to change and impact both society and the businesses within them. These technological trends and solutions answer the need for enhanced connectivity, control, workforce mobility, and financial inclusion, etc. Using this technology, MVNOs can break barriers and help connect billions to the mobile market. This ultimately changes business models and how business is being conducted as it provides new and improved ways for a company to operate and connect, safely and securely, with employees and customers. But this cannot be done by MVNOs alone. They need a partner to help integrate these technological innovations into their business structure, services, and offerings to improve their business and grow. One such partner is Adapt IT.
Adapt IT solutions to improve your business
Technology trends are one thing but implementing them is another. At Adapt IT, we have over 20 years of MVNO and MNO industry experience and knowledge. We create advanced telecommunications software solutions that understand, enhance and anticipate your business needs. Many of our software solutions utilise the above mentioned technology trends. By using innovative technology, we aim to improve business operations and provide you with more efficient and effective ways to manage business processes and operations as well as create offerings that speak to your customer’s needs. These solutions include:
Analytics-as-a-Service – this solution uses machine learning and non-linear optimisation algorithms to shift through millions of network subscribers daily to accurately predict if and when they should be migrated. This aims to minimise your monthly carrier cost. In simple terms, this modular solution provides you with essential insights that give you a competitive edge. This solution enables:
- Automated carrier cost optimisation
- MNO invoice reconciliation
- Customer segment analysis
- Real-time alerts based on configured events
- Interconnect and roaming reporting
- Subscriber growth and trend reports
- Inactivity and churn watch models
- Customised KPI and executive dashboards
- Local number portability and data enrichment as part of the ETL process
- Device analysis
Corporate Customer Self Service Solution (CCSS) – this highly customisable software solution aims to provide your Corporate Customers with full control over their services and reduces your customer churn. This modular self-service platform includes an admin portal, marketing toolbox, sales toolbox, consumer portal, mobile application and has the following benefits for MVNOs:
- Reduction in service queries/admin
- Increase MVNO revenue streams and maximises Corporate Customer retention
- Allows for the optimisation of bundle allocation and purchases
- Optimises functionality and security
- Higher customer satisfaction means increased customer loyalty
- Better insight into tailored products and the ability to be more responsive
- Access anytime, anywhere for true workforce mobility
- Moves users from prepaid to contract
- Little to no capital investment
- No software or hardware to manage or install
There are also several benefits for Corporate Customers which includes:
- Less frustration due to faster access to information
- Secure access anytime and anywhere
- Provides visibility of spend aligned to your business structure
- Gives insight into voice, SMS and data spend
- Optimisation of contract bundle allocation
- Self-management of reports and real-time trending
- End-user Mobile Application (Smart Phone, iOS, Android, Tablet)
- Eliminates abuse
- Direct access to billing, account information and details
Digital FINTECH Solutions – we have several innovative digital FINTECH solutions that have been designed to ensure that mobile financial services are inclusive, safe, secure and convenient. These solutions also create new revenue streams for MNVOs. These solutions and capabilities include:
- Disruptive Mobile Commerce Solutions – these solutions create a new market and value network. They offer a broad range of simple, seamless transaction capabilities and offer users more value than that of electronic cash.
- Financial Inclusion – our FINTECH platforms offer solutions for those who are banked and unbanked, which is essential for emerging economies. This service allows for person to person transfers to be facilitated by outlets, post offices etc.
- Mobile Financial Services Analytics – our Mobile Financial Services Analytics solution provides up to date information to MNOs, MVNOs, financial organisations, traders, etc. regarding subscriber activity. This provides critical insight and information needed to boost revenue.
- Mobile Wallets – our Mobile Wallet solution allows users to access and transact electronic funds using their mobile phones without needing a bank account. This solution offers ease and convenience and can be used on a larger scale by governmental organisations and NGOs to assist with grant, pension and aid related payments.
- Anti-Money Laundering Solutions – this solution aims to assist in identifying, reporting, and blocking illegal money laundering activities.
- MVNO Mobile Money Solutions – this technology allows MVNOs and Money Transfer Operators to offer mobile financial services to their customers. This end-to-end solution can be fully integrated within an existing MNO’s infrastructure.
- Advanced KYC – our KYC solution offers comprehensive features and is fully customisable to ensure full KYC compliance and Customer Due Diligence (CDD).
- Credit Profiling (Real-Time) – our FINTECH solution integrates seamlessly with existing credit profiling platforms to provide digital real-time results via a ‘white label’ Mobile App.
- Micro Lending – these solutions allow micro lenders to create a mobile identity and digitise their services to serve those who are unable to obtain loans from mainstream banks.
- Insurance –our FINTECH solutions assist insurers in their digital journey by providing KYC compliance, mobile payment solutions and real-time credit profiling.
Data Connectivity Management Solution – our innovative Data Connectivity Management solution uses APN-as-a-Service technology to offer fully customisable services and provide insights that maximise Corporate Client retention. With organisations deploying millions of mobile devices to employees, Corporate Clients are looking for effective ways to manage data, cost and their mobile data ecosystem. This solution empowers Corporate Customers to take control of their spend and allows them to customise the solution based on their data needs. This solution has a number of benefits which include:
- Additional Product & Revenue Streams – increase your revenue streams by offering additional products and services which aim to maximise Corporate Client retention.
- More Control – this solution offers a single point of management where you can manage the reporting and billing for mobile data users across multiple network operators or serve multiple customer APNs within a single network operator. This solution also enables MVNOs and Service Providers to allocate and manage their mobile data quota to multiple enterprises and SMEs.
- Enhanced Visibility – this solution provides enhanced visibility and complete control of mobile spend through near real-time monitoring and customised business rules.
- Risk Management – this technology gives you complete control over data allocations to reduce the occurrence of surprise bills and out of bundle exposure.
- Ensured Security – this solution utilises dedicated IP Pools and routing which ensures that devices are contained to predefined access rules, thereby enhancing security.
NextGen v.Services Framework – this is a unique, open standard platform enabling simple, fast, affordable integrations between applications and networks, all via a single, common framework. This is a modular cloud-ready solution made up of several modules that each contain a set of API’s that can be used to solve specific challenges related to your ever-changing environment. These modules include:
- Management Console – the NextGen v.Services management console is a powerful user interface that runs on all supported browsers. Its primary function is to provide v.Services users with complete control of the solution and its capabilities.
- v.Connect – this feature was specifically designed to allow for authentication and authorisation services. It enables telecommunications operators to share data products across 3G, 4G, DSL, and Wi-Fi networks in real-time, via connection convergence.
- v.Mobile – offers full USSD gateway capability allowing operators to perform USSD services, specifically the rapid creation of USSD applications. It also supports Wireless Application Service Provider (WASP) management and short code routing capabilities.
- v.Comms – provides unified communications to operators that can be used to provide subscribers with a single inbox for all messaging channels. Standard functionality includes MMS, SMS and Email for one to one and bulk messaging. Enhanced functionality includes spam and virus management and content filtering.
- v.Billing – enables real-time charging via any of the supporting charging protocols. It also offers the functionality for rating definitions, charging account management, bundle management, bundle configuration, notifications, and offline charging record generation.
- v.Services Cloud – offers you the ability to create your own unique service offering using the v.Services ecosystem. Combine connectivity and the complete capabilities of our enablement platform to your advantage. Connect devices and users to any local mobile network, view and manage connectivity in real-time, allocate mobile data and service consumption.
This solution has several key features that make it a viable option for MVNOs, these include:
- Dynamic Rule Testing and Deployment
- Reusing of Implemented Interfaces
- Operational Uniformity
- Commercial Platform with Flexibility
- Application Customisation Without Code Changes
This innovative NextGen v.Services Framework has a number of benefits for both, you as an MVNO, and the end-user, these include:
- Service Consolidation
- Superior Scalability
- Single Platform for Multiple Applications
- Built-In Versioning and Source Control
- Real-Time Metrics Engine
- Control Console UI
Technology is set to change society and business as we know it. With mobile use continuing to soar, you as an MVNO have an opportunity to tap into this technology and innovate your value propositions and service offerings to enhance profitability and create new revenue streams. By answering the need for workforce mobility, secure and safe connectivity, self-service opportunities and cloud deployment, mobile financial services and more, you can speak directly to the needs of your customers. This will allow you to make your mark on this dynamic and ever changing industry.
We look forward to working together with you to utilise this technology to innovate and better your current solutions. Together we will drive the industry forward.
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As the Global Head of Marketing and Business Development with 20 years of experience, Agnieszka’s expertise lies in the practical implementation of digital and traditional marketing strategies for B2C and B2B companies. Through her long-term, client-focused, strategic approach, and branding experience, she continues to develop innovative marketing plans that yield significant results. Now working in the SaaS industry, she oversees a multitude of solutions within the telecommunications industry including Customer Experience & Self-service, VAS, NextGen, IoT, FinTech, and Advanced Analytics.