20051024

Virgin Mobile - Carphone Warehouse : joint adventure ?

The announcement of a new Virgin Mobile M-VNO operation in France means quite a lot.
First, France is at last becoming the exciting market for convergence it was meant to be : home to FT/Orange (from the beginning the ultimate vision of convergence) and key players in multimedia (ie press, radio, TV, movie, music, minitel/internet...) as well as in retail or commerce-finance (ie Carrefour, banks & insurers...), the country is Europe's TV over DSL leader but still enjoys a significant potential for growth in the mobile and pay TV fields. Here, the Orange vs Vodafone battle has a very specific flavor and historical / capitalistic ties between MNOs and TV operators have to be taken into account (Bouygues Telecom / TF1, SFR / Canal+, Orange / France Television and now M6...).
Second, a JV between Virgin Mobile Holdings (UK) PLC, The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC (The Phone House in France), and Virgin Management Limited proves both how desperate Virgin were to enter the market and how ambitious they are for the future. The Virgin group isn't a big player in the country and clearly, VirginMega.fr seems too weak an entry point as M6, NRJ & co are locking positions. They couldn't deal directly with a MNO and they had to find a partner with a retail background. Since they cannot wait, they're pushing their brand and TTM over control. In the wireless field, that is : they're bringing the multimedia touch The Phone House didn't have (sorry AOL - whatever happened to MVIVA and Steve Case's Revolution ?). Now that they've secured a 5M customer base in the UK, Virgin are attacking continental Europe.
Third, how far can CWH and Virgin go together ? CWH is more a reseller than a M-VNO, even if TPH could learn the trade locally through their Omer Telecom / Breitzh Mobile outfit (49,000 customers to date). There is a point of sale overlap in the UK but elsewhere... CWH need both content and a brand and VM badly need a brand new telecom-aware distribution system...



No comments:

HOME - Today's wireless headlines - Korea wireless news - all posts (full list) - useful links - stephanemot.com (personal portal)
my books : "dragedies" - "La Ligue des Oublies"
my other sites : blogules - blogules (VF) - Seoul Village - footlog - Citizen Came - Copyright Stephane MOT 2003-2009