Orange has signed a deal with Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) Transatel to handle technical details for as yet unborn MVNOs that could now launch within weeks rather than months. MVNA is such a new concept that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry yet, but that's not stopped Orange signing a deal with one to provide a …
Has a feeling of Déjà vu
I fail to see the difference between this and what companies already do. Many companies create a mobile "network" by re-branding a real network. À la Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, I seem to remember when this thing was fashionable that the Financial Times had a mobile "network".
Is there a real technical difference here? Or are people jumping on the bandwagon because it contain the word "virtual", which recently left it's 1980s connotations of low-pixel computer generated worlds, and somehow became something synonymous with "saves you money"?
Déjà vu - now that does have a Wikipedia page.
@yet another Matt
MVNOs have indeed existed for years, but this seems to be designed to lower the cost/complexity of setting one up, which can only be a good thing.
Example of a stagnant market
Classic example of a stagnant market - companies no longer compete on innovation. They compete on branding and labelling and utilise customer confusion to improve margins instead.
Sad... And fast approaching an E.L.E... Extinction Level Event...
Nothing new here, move along now.
I don't think this is a particularly new model. Companies like Martin Dawes have been offering this for a while.
As the article points out, there are several levels of MVNO -- Virgin do pretty much everything above the network -- own CRM systems, IVRs etc.; while others do simply 'rebrand'.
I think there is mileage in the MVNO idea though -- it just has to be done well. Where an organisation is already trusted, they can bring a lot of good will to the offering -- this is where Blyk failed (innovative offering, no one had heard of them), but Tesco succeed (fairly standard offering, but a brand people -- rightly or wrongly -- trust). MVNOs can bring in other factors too -- cross selling into their normal business (Sainsbury's giving double Nectar points if you top-up your Sainsbury's mobile at a Sainsbury's shop is a good example -- gets you into the shop, you might buy a few veg!).
On the other hand, there's no point in slapping any old brand on top of a completely undifferentiated service. What are you offering consumers/businesses that no-one else can?
So, that's the key (and you can have this consultancy magic for free): come in with a well known and trusted brand, and offer something unique to you, that no-one else can easily copy.
I'll drink to that.
And will all these Hydra-like proliferating MVNOs be charging 'call termination fees' to users of each and every other MVNO that gets spawned? Even though they're all being carried on Orange's common infrastructure?
You (who have signed up with Witley Scrotum Village Post-Office Mobile] get stung for a £0.15 connection fee when you call your auntie [who's with Upper Duck's Bottom Church-hall Mobile].
That's the only way I can see for them to monetize such a profligate replication-of-effort.
It does now! (not that I'm taking credit for it)
Come on, you know what happens when you mention something not being on Wikipedia in an El Reg article...
A is for Asda, Bis for BT, C is for ...
MVNO/A's unique is their tariff card. Given they must all pay a similar amount to the real operator this is just a rejuggling to appeal to their particular market profile.
The trouble is I have one SIM for cheapest landline calls, another for mobile calls, another for SMS and two for different internet offerings. All with a mobile/dongle to match. which means every morning I have to judge what pattern of mobile usage I am likely to make that day and select the appropriate devices from drawer. Replaces the decision I used to make on cufflinks and ties.
The advantage is everyone else in clueless on how to get hold of me ...
No wikipedia entry?
There is now. And a slightly sarky one at that. Own up, the culprit.
But will they let you come with your own HLR?
The big problem in the M2M market is that it costs lots of money to change the SIMs in your park of device. So once you've chosen your operator your basically locked in, and the operators know it and charge accordingly. Its often better to change your whole park of devices, rather than just the SIM
If you could have your own HLR you wouldn't have to change SIMs to change operator. In that case I can imagine many M2M applications begging to become MVNO under this offer if they could have their own HLR as it would mean the end of operator lock-in. Unfortunately I suspect that Orange isn't offering this as they like the idea of client lock-in, and you'll be stuck with an Orange SIM for your MVNO, just like every other MVNO out there currently.
In any case it can make sense for an M2M user to become an MVNO as the resale rates that Orange can charge MVNOs is highly regulated in Europe..
Generally MVNO do everything themselves including SIM cards, operate their own HLR, roaming contracts with other operators and systems support. Some choose to subcontract some or all these aspects. There are not all that many real MVNOs.
Service Providers simply resell (read branding) a service operated by an MVNO or MNO. There are oodles of SPs
It sounds like Orange is offering a SP solution but calling it an MVNO solution just to sound different.
Back in the (good?) old days, Cellnet and Racal had to bundle packages and sell them through Service Providers. You couldn't get direct airtime.
Perhaps in the future there will only be MVNOs. Each MVNO will bulk buy airtime from the networks on a monthly/quarterly basis, getting the best deal they can at the time. In theory, why does it matter which network your MVNO buys from, since in theory every phone works on every network (isn't that the idea of a standard).
OK, before the flames start, not all networks are equal. But presumably market forces will level the playingfield! :)
other Transatel products?
Why didn't The Reg say anything about Transatel's existing products, like SIM cards with multi-IDs in Benelux and France?
Will it be possible for UK users to get something for cheaper roaming in those countries? Not a clue.