No 'cookie-cutting' as MVNO enablers work to ensure differentiation

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Feb 9, 2021

via Flickr © MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・) (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・) (CC BY 2.0)

  • MVNOs are continuing to play an important role in the mobile ecosystem
  • With cloud technology helping deliver service they may be even more important
  • Cloud helps them get into business faster and easier and helps them to differentiate

We don’t hear as much about mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) as we used to. An MVNO arrangement is where a network operator provides the network and the MVNO provides all the other bits and pieces that go to provide a service and bill and manage the subscriptions. Ten years ago MVNOs and enablers were considered an important  part of  the ecosystem as MNOs scrambled to build out their networks and sign up customers as fast as they could. MVNOs helped the competitive drive and in marketing terms could reach the parts a big generic telco couldn’t. Onboarding new MVNOs is still important.

MVNO enabler, Digitalk, is now working with Vodafone to support its MVNO strategy. Under the agreement Digitalk’s Mobile Cloud platform is being used to support Vodafone’s MVNO partners with highly reliable services including payment, customer promotions and lifecycle campaigns. 

Digitalk says it plays an enhanced enabler role  -  it provides the software and process support to enable Vodafone, in this case, to hoist new MVNO brands onto its platform with relative ease. MVNO enablers have proved they are able to double down on  qualities such as cost, public image, reliability & service.  

That differentiation is possibly even more  important now, according to Paul Bassa. VP Product Marketing at Digitalk. Now, thanks to the cloud and its associated agility, MVNOs are easier to onboard without too much fuss and expensive delay. Digitalk says it is able to offer an increasing roster of applications to assist MNOs integrate their MVNOs. 

“Our role is to be the enabler platform that allows them to bring on new brands, launch them and assist them in their success,” says Bassa. “And we’re there to provide all the BSS capabilities - things like real-time service control and charging and applications such as customer relationship management and billing. Essentially we provide a complete suite of capabilities and we also support APIs that allow the MVNOs partners to integrate to their platforms. 

“We operate all that with a cloud model so in terms of the enablement of the services, it’s much more an automated online process. We provide the applications that enable people to configure services, manage customers and so on.”

So how is this cloudification and automation changing the business? 

“The nature of the platforms and the environment have changed radically over the last 10 years,” says Bassa. “The platforms are fully virtualised and cloud enabled, but we’re very clear that we’re not developing a ‘cookie-cutter’ arrangement to produce a sort of ‘standard model’ MVNO. The differentiation we can help provide  is the important ingredient here.”

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