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Jennifer Kyriakakis, Founder and VP Marketing at MATRIXX
This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter’s approach.

The opportunity for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Asia is being defined by a big shift in the telecoms marketplace — the consumer migration to 4G. The Telecom Industry Association recently predicted that by 2020, 4G connections will account for 33% of mobile phone users in the region. It also noted that theuptakeof 4G in Chinais happening at a faster rate than more established markets, such as Europe and North America. These 4G subscribers have a different set of requirements than those of the 2 and 3G generations. Using their smartphones as a gateway to the Internet, they demand a personalised, digital mobile experience that gives them access to a range of interactive services instantaneously. MVNOs have a unique opportunity to deliver on this demand, offering a bespoke mobile plan that can cater to the specific needs of their customers.

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Today’s 4G customers are becoming less brand-focussed and more adept at identifying the most suitable mobile phone deals for their needs, rejecting rigid contracts and fixed rate plans for bespoke data packages. They now demand the ability to instantly make purchases, regulate usage and tailor their plans to suit their needs — all from their mobile devices. This level of personalisation is not only empowering, it can help them achieve maximum cost efficiency, providing vast levels of satisfaction with their overall service experience.

Traditional mobile operators are at a disadvantage as this situation unfolds. They are tied into legacy hardware and processes that inhibit change and the ability to adapt their network for customer interactions. Some of them struggle to differentiate themselves from the competition, because their underlying technology was only designed to monetise voice and relatively simple data services. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage to MVNOs who can take advantage of a next generation of technologies that enable them to deliver and monetize personalized4G services, without needing ownership of the network.

These capabilities can be supplied by agile billing support systems (BSS) that provide real-time interactive service capabilities and full transparency over users’mobile habits. These next generation systems can handle a large increase in data transaction volumes associated with monetising LTE. They enable MVNOs to launch differentiated propositions through services and offers that are relevant to a subscriber’suser behaviour, helping them to capture more revenue from the user.

MVNOs can wrap this interaction into real-time self-care applications that can reduce the cost of customer interactions traditionally associated with call center operations. Equally, subscribers can interact and configure their data experience in real-time, at their convenience – buying services, personalising their price plans and receiving granular insight into their mobile expenditure.

These capabilities put MVNOs in a prime position to attract and retain customers, creating brand loyalty from the unique set of services and functionality that they come to rely on. Furthermore, it’s not just customers that find this model attractive — it also puts MVNOs in a prime position to negotiate unique and exclusive deals with over the top (OTT) providers and technology partners, strengthening their overall brand offering. The ease and cost of launching a fully-fledged, consumer-ready, digital offering is more cost effective than a decade ago because it is underpinned by next generation BSS technology. Owning network infrastructure, therefore, is of little significance to these digital brands. They instead focus their efforts and investment on service differentiation, and improving the customer experience — and they win customer advocacy in return. Because of this huge opportunity, the MVNO market is becoming increasingly competitive — there are nearly 50 different MVNOs competing for subscribers in China alone. Furthermore, some forward-thinking mobile network operators (MNOs) are now becoming aware that they must adapt their operating systems to help monetise LTE. They are considering ways in which they can deploy real-time capabilities into their networks and interact with customers in the same fashion as today’s digital MVNOs. Therefore, if MVNOs are to make significant inroads into the Asian market, they must play to their strengths and deploy next generation technologies that enable them to focus on servicing subscribers’individual requirements. They appear to be adapting to new market realities faster than the established MNOs, however, innovation in service delivery is vital to success. MVNOs must ensure that they can cater for their customers’ needs and deliver what they want in real-time and this will subsequently open up a huge market of opportunity.
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