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Breaking into the market – how to launch an MVNO

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As an MVNO, you run a business optimized to offer attractive services tailored for specific market segments, carving out a niche in the market to win over customers from other service providers. When successful, MVNOs can revitalize the market, creating services that add more value to customers and converting part of that value add into profit.

Starting and running an MVNO is a true journey where you continuously develop to constantly meet customer needs. At Sinch, we've helped many figure out how to start an MVNO and then thrive many years, and we have also learned a lot about the MVNO journey itself.

This blog post is the first in a series of three where we will share our insights into what makes an MVNO successful. First we discuss what you need to have in place to get started in the market, with the next post following up on the importance of building market insight once you’ve launched and the final instalment exploring the technical capabilities you need to be able to succeed.

Starting out as an MVNO

Starting and operating an MVNO is a risky endeavor. Customers expect you to offer a number of services from day one, and changes in the market can quickly alter the popularity of each specific service. You need to understand your market, and be nimble in your response to market needs if you want to win and keep customers.

All this means that you will have to prepare meticulously before you start your operation. In essence, you need to have two things in place before you start out as an MVNO:

  • A plan for how you will reach your target segment – how to get your message out there efficiently, and how to package and offer services to them
  • Access to technology that enables you to deliver all the services initially required by your target segment and quickly adapt your portfolio by adding new services as they become popular

Crafting a plan

Understanding how to reach a specific customer segment is a complex task where you will have to consider the specific dynamics of the market. In general, however, we see two main ways of breaking through the competition to win over customers:

  • A new services or a new way of offering services: MVNOs that can identify services, packaging solutions or pricing models missing in the market can win customers from a wide range of segments.
  • Intimate understanding of a specific set of customers: Having access to detailed customer information makes it possible to better tailor services to fit the needs of a specific market segment. This can include offering specific communication services, tailored pricing models and bundling of third-party digital services to create a better full service experience.

While this plan is a very important step, it is only the first step in starting out an an MVNO and a profitable service provider. After you’ve launched your service, it is essential that you learn from your customers to continuously improve your offering, something that we will discuss in more detail in the next blog post in this series.

Getting technology in place

When you have a plan in place, you need to make sure that you have access to technology both to offer the services initially needed and services that might become relevant as you grow and the market changes.

Investment in technology is one of the major risks that you take as you set up your business:

  • If you underinvest, you risk being unable to offer services that suddenly become popular or fail to offer a reliable service as the delivery infrastructure becomes overloaded.
  • You need to rely on a technology platform that allows your business to scale according to the changes in service demand that you can expect based on your initial plan.

When choosing your technology platform, you also need to make sure that you have sufficient control over service creation and configuration. The market often moves quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours, and you cannot afford to wait for days or weeks for updates to your service portfolio and packaging.

MVNO business growth as a journey

We have now outlined the basic steps of how to start an MVNO, but we have learned over the years that growing as an MVNO is a journey. This means that your strategies and needs will change over time. In the coming blog posts we will not just discuss how to manage your business at one single point in time, but rather give you an overview of how you might evolve, and how to best thrive at different points along this journey.

Part 2: Evolving market insight - the key factor to growing as an MVNO

Part 3: The importance of MVNO platforms to build and leverage market insight

Originally posted on www.symsoft.com on the 5th April 2017, find out more about Symsoft’s rebrand to Sinch in the press release here.