MVNOs are service management businesses. Their reason to exist is to bring cheaper prices and better service to customers than network operators. MNVOs do this by being more agile and focussed on customer needs than the network operators.
The main indicator that network operators look for in a successful, profitable MVNO is low churn. O2 recognised this early and have advanced from 50% of the UK market with three MVNOs and now they have 70% with two more.
The MVNO industry recognises this and makes customer service their top priority. The Consumers Association in the UK (usually known as Which?) surveys and ranks all networks in the UK for customer satisfaction. In 2022, the top eight were all MVNOs. O2 was the highest ranked MNO in 8th place.
This lack of focus on business processes eats into the profits of the network operators. For example, eSIMs have been far slower to take off than we envisioned 10 years ago. Part of this is because network operators usually still need physical SIMs as their processes have not flexed to handle eSIMs. MVNOs have moved into that gap and are capturing the market.
Establishing and recording business processes helps teams communicate and have clear boundaries. Hand offs between teams are where processes fall down when there is business change. If the end-to-end process is not examined, tested and revised based on a feedback loop, breakdowns will happen, leading to churn. There has to be a high-level strategic view of how teams cooperate between each other. Relying on goodwill to handle broken processes does not scale over time.
A common trap in large, older organisations is that processes are held in a few core peoples’ heads. Managers have to establish a culture of knowledge sharing through documentation. A classic, world-leading example of this from another industry, is Toyota. Their Lean Manufacturing method relies on continuous improvement and respect for people. Their whole culture pivots on improvement of processes ingrained at the lowest level. Toyota cars are world industry leaders in reliability. The MVNO industry needs to embed these lessons.
MNOs and MVNOs all offer a similar process chain from SIM provisioning to customer onboarding to retention. This has been codified in a telecoms industry-standard operating model – the Business Process Framework (eTOM).
The eTOM is exhaustive and fits MNOs, but a lightweight approach is better for MVNOs with tight margins and fast timelines. The right balance is essential. Too much process and money wastes in bureaucracy. Too little process and customers churn as business processes fall apart. Process management does not need large teams of permanent employees. A lightweight approach is best but regular review and constant oversight with clear process owners is essential.
MVNOs need to follow telecoms industry regulations, laws and standards. Business processes help MVNOs comply by providing a framework for decision-making and operations. MVNOs have to prove that they are in full control of their business.
Virtuser have always worked with larger companies. Our agility gives us an advantage in integrating with ponderous big firms. Our modern, advanced tools allow us to have lightweight processes. Twenty years ago, managing an HSS would have meant editing configuration files on physical servers in a datacentre. Digital transformation gives us a single GUI that can handle all core processes in the cloud. One of our clients recently provisioned 67,000 SIMs by accident. Our main network operations teams were in a different time zone. Rather than wake that team up in the middle of the night, we were able to cancel the SIMs in minutes. Our advanced tooling and deep industry experience means we can adopt lightweight processes. We understand the importance of establishing an organisation level process view.
MVNOs must have a tight grip on processes because agility and service are top priority. Virtuser have the experience and expertise to help you control them with an agile, lightweight approach.
There are two very simple reasons to keep it simple in Mobile, MVNO, IoT and even MVNE, MVNA, MVNx: 1) Simple sells; 2) your competitors think it won’t! (never underestimate how much your competitors will try and thwart what they see as a “competitive” service / tariff)… (or how they won’t see a simple tariff overtaking the market until its too late).
Well a controllable variable reason that’s at the top of the list anyway
An IoT company or MVNO will never have full time staff for all the functions an MNO does, as they have up to tens of thousands of employees and still outsource a lot of key roles!
Mobile technology is generally hard… that is why most MNOs employ tens of thousands, thousands or even hundreds (smaller ones) of people and still have a lot of work outsourced. IoT and MVNO and MVNEs typically have small teams focussed on mostly selling and keeping their core service or core businesses new and existing customers happy. Employing a mobile team can be expensive, time consuming, and even then not get results as, let’s face it, when was the last time you needed to set up a SIM profile, IR21, learn and spot the latest fraud trends or process a batch of CDRs… these and many more are tasks that MNOs will have someone for, but it’s just not cost effective for an MVNO or IoT business to have around or even worry who they report to, or indeed that their skillset is becoming out of date as they are not working with lot’s of different businesses… In this series we will be exploring more of these areas and 1 min updates on key parts of the mobile ecosystem.. so grab a tea or coffee 😉
For many reasons, including the very sad one at the end of the video, we have taken a whole year to get back to, or get back to close to a weekly webinar! We will get there, and are commited to getting there so be sure to like and subscribe to get the updates and follow the progress to more regular and to live events:
This is the second in a series of entries on IOT in the real world that impact people’s lives directly, i.e. what is not just a predicability of the future, but things that are going to happen! smart luggage has been a while in the making, with the big brands dabbling for years, however as they have appeared on kickstarter successes already; mainstream will finally dig out their initiatives, dust them down and follow. If they don’t, you know where to spend your money doing it yourself or buying from the likes of G-Ro.