20060830

MVNE and VMVNOs

MVNOs are blooming but the most successful one (actually, the grand sugarmamma of them all) happens to be a virtual MVNO : behind a unique and powerful brand, the Virgin Mobile franchise looks like a financial chameleon. Each story depending on too many factors to build a case, all attempts for an international seamless player failed and there is no such thing as a pure player.
Most MVNOs tend to communicate on partnerships rather than financial data. Amp'd can be a practical vehicle / advertising tool for content providers (
MTV, UMG) or enablers (Qualcomm), but a sexy partnership with Break.com doesn't necessarily mean a wedding with breakeven.net. Even niche marketing experts can fail where they should sparkle : Movida are only proposing now the first prepaid plans much needed by a mostly un-banked core target and I wonder how many customers they average per POS (45,000 points of sale claimed mid 2006)...
On the other hand,
MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enablers) are all the rage. In France, where MVNOs claimed a stratospheric 1.46% last June (up from 0.09% one year earlier), The Phone House / Carphone Warehouse found their vocation after practicing as far as the short MNO leash let them go (kenavo Breitz Mobile), and their union with Virgin Mobile definitely looks better than their unproductive affair with AOL (mViva). France's top soccer clubs (OM, PSG, RCL, ASSE and OL) are using a major in marketing for fans, Universal Music Mobile, as their commercial MVNE... but the actual technical MVNE is the MNO itself, as the OM / PSG / RCL / ASSE / OL mobile by Orange branding tells us*.
Well, the fact is MNOs remain the most vital enablers for MVNOs. And all this 'virtual' / 'enabler' stuff is nothing but words. This isn't a plug & play environment yet.


*
Orange invented the "by Orange" concept for M6 mobile - a smart way of pleasing the regulator while feeding the brand.




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