Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ABI Research: Niche Markets Ripe for a New Breed of MVNO

ABI Research has issued a reprot that finds Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) will benefit from the growth of 3G mobile phone services to open up new markets targeting specific high-end subscriber groups. ABI notes that "in the past MVNO markets were dominated by low-cost providers buying wireless access wholesale and reselling it under their own brand names, offering plans aimed at a low-cost customer's needs. Now 3G allows MVNOs to offer more than just low cost: data services that may not be available from the mainstream, facilities-based operators."

Kenneth Hyers at ABI Research said, "These new MVNOs recognize a market segment that is ripe for them, where they can provision their own data and content targeted not to a mass-market but to a small segment. That might be kids playing 3D real-time games, or somebody that just has to have the latest device from South Korea. Or someone wanting continual sports updates from Mobile ESPN. Or adult content."

The report predicts "the US will continue to be the most successful single market for MVNOs," but "in absolute terms, by the end of this decade Europe will have more MVNO customers than the US."

Hyers warned that "In the long run, facilities-based operators will also target the MVNOs' high-end customers. But if MVNOs serve and understand their particular subscriber bases really well, they can defend their ground."