Valde Ferradaz

Every day more and more savvy businesses are leveraging the quantum growth in smartphone penetration to improve their engagements with customers. Companies have seen the surge in data, especially since COVID-19 with demand for tools like Zoom and Teams. Data is the new currency and mobile engagement gets you more wallet share.

To outsiders, tech can be a complicated business with confusing terminology and proponents who seem too clever for their own good. Cut through the clutter and a few things are clear.

Smartphones are Pivotal

For starters, smartphones are playing a pivotal role in accelerating business growth. In South Africa alone, smartphone penetration increased by almost 10% in 2019 alone, from 81.7% in 2018 to 91.2%.

Businesses see the prospects here but often feel out of their depth in this space. Which is why many have partnered with mobile enablers to enter telecommunications.

One such enabler is MVN-X, which helps big retail clients to become their own Mobile Virtual Network (MVNO) Operators.

MVNO is a telecommunications service provider that does not own the network infrastructure that it uses to provide services to its customers.

woman wearing beanie with smartphone on ear. Photo by Fezbot2000 on Unsplash

It enters into agreements with networks like Cell C, Vodacom and MTN to get bulk access to services at wholesale rates, then it sets competitive retail prices and tailors products to suit its customers.

MVN-X builds and supplies turnkey systems for MVNOs and it enables retailers to provide their own branded mobile services. MVN-X provides the systems, administration and processes for these firms to offer customers branded SIM cards and a host of value-added telecommunication services.

The MVNO industry is flourishing, according to the Global Markets Insight, which projects a compound annual growth rate of over 12% between 2018 and 2024. But, the business is fraught because few companies have the experience or infrastructure to navigate this terrain.

The big mobile network operators aim for the mass market and try to be all things to all people. On the other end of the spectrum, consumer brands looking to do a better job serving their customers through MVNOs, get caught up in a business that isn’t their core.

The rise in MVNOs talks to the ability of some to get to market fast, “with the same capability and at times even better agility than a standard mobile network operator”.

Becoming an MVNO through flexible connectivity and competitive pricing helps companies position themselves to enhance their value-added proposition, enrich their offering and customer service.

A new MVNO requires little upfront capital investment. As an enabler, MVN-X takes customers through the feasibility, design, planning and launch process. Virtualisation replaces costly physical platforms and licenses.

Customers can Invest as they Grow

We take the considerable risk out of the process and the focus of the business swings away from operation, towards innovation –  in branding, promotion, marketing, service creation and the customer experience. We keep expenses at a minimum and create a meaningful revenue-sharing model.

For many businesses, mobility is a key component of their digital strategy. Likewise, for consumers and users, their mobile devices are critical to their everyday lives. The potential of mobile phones in Africa is increasingly being tapped as the continent becomes more digitally connected with the world via WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Microsoft Teams or a myriad of other technology.

In the 2020 State of the ICT Sector Report, the Independent Communications Authority of SA said there were 53 million smartphone subscriptions in a country with a population of almost 60 million, according to a recent article in Connecting Africa.

This penetration makes MVNOs ideal for businesses with big existing communities, be they sizable employee groups or customer bases. By partnering, MVN-X help service differentiation by integrating telecom products and services with loyalty programs, financial services, or other company related services.

By becoming an MVNO business are able to foster a deeper connection with the people who matter most.  Telecoms connects individuals and communities. Whatever the goal, be it staff retention or customer reward, MVNOs are a powerful tool in generating strong brand loyalty. It puts mobility at the heart of a digital strategy for relatively low risk.

5 benefits to becoming an MVNO:

  1. They secure data and voice at lower prices. MVNOs don’t need to pay to create their own infrastructure, and consequently don’t need to recoup their initial investment by charging higher prices.
  1. It’s a win-win. Consumers buy from a brand they know and trust, where their connectivity and other products and services is more readily available and convenient to obtain at one destination.
  1. MVNOs have the ability to move straight into the digital world, bypassing the challenges and cost associated with ageing technology. In a world where technology is rapidly evolving and converging, MVNOs can enter the market with the most updated technology. In contrast to a ‘one size fits all’, this empowers MVNOs, giving them the agility to match customer-specific demands and go deeper into their value proposition.
  1. They advance technological progress in Africa, essentially by offering more clients access to the world of connectivity. This is gold for any business and its customers. It deepens communication by extending services that were previously expensive, and out of reach.
  1. They deepen community collaboration, especially in rural areas where access to essential services is a massive challenge. Affordable access to voice and data must be used to empower people in all areas of life and most essentially at this time, in healthcare. Accessibility to information by all is absolutely critical.
  • Valde Ferradaz is CEO of  Ignition Telecoms and head of MVN-X, a subsidiary of the Ignition Group


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