Here are the main steps and activities that need to take place to create and successfully launch a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator).
We would suggest to start with market understanding:
- To build the business case you first need to understand the basics of the market. I.e. you need to know the market size in terms of subscribers, ARPU, applicable segments etc. You also need to fully understand the competition.
- Secondly, you need to, looking at the market, decide WHERE you will play. As an MVNO it will likely be in the pre-paid segment for consumers BUT that is not 100% given and depends on what opportunities you can identify in the first stage.
- Now it is time to decide HOW you will play & compete. MVNO structure is given but this is more about how specifically you will compete: Price, Quality, Service etc.
- The three sections above will effectively give you the input necessary to formulate the company’s overall strategy.
Once this is known you can start thinking about all the practical activities:
- Contract with the MNO (buy prices, service levels, committed volumes etc…)
- Which services will you offer? How will you price them? How much money will you make per minute, MB, SMS, SIM etc. This will be the high level structure of your operational plan for the launch and for the first year.
- Company structure and organisation skills required? Staff numbers, skills, location…
- How will you distribute your services (Sell SIM cards) and where? Will you use channels / resellers or set up your own sales network?
- How will you do top-ups? Collections?
- Logistics? Packaging of SIM cards, leaflets etc. How do you transport the SIM’s to the point of sale?
- Web presence? This will be one of the main marketing and customer communications channels..
- How will the upstream IP/Voice/SMS etc be managed? Will you handle it yourself or use someone else?
- As an MVNO you will be paying the MNO to use their network and services. It is therefore imperative that you do not duplicate their activities which you are already paying for. Thus you will most likely not need a network (at least not a national network).
- The success of the business will rely on how cost effective you will be at acquiring good customers and on how you can minimise the overall operational costs.
On the MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler) side following are key considerations:
- Contract with the MVNO (buy prices, service levels, committed volumes etc…)
- If your MNO partner does not already have an MVNE, you need to find one that meets the needs of your strategic plan. An MVNE is a solution or service provider that integrates to the MNO’s network and platforms, thus enabling the MVNO to operate their services using the infrastructure of the MNO.
- As an MVNE you need to work out:
- Which services will you offer?
- How will you price them?
- How much money will you make per minute, MB, SMS, SIM etc. (This will be the high level structure of your operational plan for the launch and for the first year.ie – building an mvne is a very complex undertaking, especially if it will support a “full” MVNO)
These are just the basics and main things to think about at the start.
There will be a myriad of other things to deal with but this should be good as a little high-level overview to get you started.