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MVNO Opportunity Put in Perspective

Over 100 telecom professionals from as far as Colombia and Indonesia, recently heard that Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are to dramatically change the shape of mobile telecoms in the next decade. Delegates attending the "MVNO Business & Partnering Strategies" conference, organised by IIR in Cannes, France heard the latest sector success stories and know-how from mobile operators and MVNOs.

Today, MVNOs can be found in Europe and America, but there is also strong interest from emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Projections on the market size for the year 2010 ranged from $10 billion to $30 billion. And there are still opportunities for MVNOs to emerge in Spain and Portugal, where the regulator is providing strong support in 'vertical industry sectors' for data-only offerings, as well as in the corporate market.

The conference highlighted the most successful MVNOs as marketing companies that had analysed and segmented their markets in depth, identified a niche and designed a specific offering for it. However, not all brands were valid MVNO candidates, as their 'content' needed to be relevant to the mobile channel.

In conclusion, the challenge for MVNOs is to keep costs low, spend heavily on marketing and gain market share, rapidly. The cost of voice services will keep going down, advertising will be the key revenue stream, and applications will become differentiators. The MVNO market is already maturing, so success depends on meaningful partnerships, differentiation, segmentation, building of a strong brand fast and superior customer care.

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