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‘X’ as a service: The transformation of the mobile industry

June 4, 2018

Tim Sherwood   

Blog contributor

In part 1 of this blog post, I discussed the role of the digital economy has had in the rise of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and cloud service providers (CSPs). Now I will look at where this all gets really interesting with the rise of mobile network as a service (MNaaS).

The ‘anything as a service’ trend, which global analysts predicted will grow at a CAGR of 38% between 2016 and 2020, isn’t just the preserve of enterprise applications. The digital economy, combined with on-demand commercial models associated with MNaaS, will bring about seismic changes – and not just in the way MVNOs interact with their host operators.

Patterns of mobile usage will evolve, as will the way providers create value – and with that comes new models and opportunities for the entire mobile communications industry. Together, the MVNO model and digital platform economy will shape the structure of mobile over the next decade.

Indeed, the MVNO market has already changed and become fragmented. Today, a number of MVNOs supply specialist communications services to specific segments and niche markets.

MNaaS brings golden opportunities

 The new generation of MVNOs – like Philips – want to launch and maintain value-added service capabilities that differentiate them in the market. And, they want to do this by using a combination of a cloud-based model, communications service integration via APIs and mostly web-based self-care options – all requiring relatively little physical communications infrastructure.

Here’s where the MNaaS model is a perfect fit. With it, MVNOs benefit from a mobile virtual network enablement model, so they don’t have to invest in infrastructure or software. Instead, they can scale up or down as they need to – so they can viably launch a new proposition to serve from just a few hundred through to several million subscribers.

This mobile platform-based approach brings big advantages. By enabling an international mobile market structure, it ensures global voice and data connectivity across multiple international networks.

Not only that, API integration makes it easier to develop new applications and customer portals – so as an MVNO, you’re able to maintain control and enforce policy, security and visibility. The result is far greater operational efficiency and faster speed to market. In other words, you end up fitter, leaner, and with a competitive edge.

If you thought becoming a virtual communications service provider meant significant investment, think again. Times are changing. The new digital economy and MVNO models have disrupted the industry – so much so, that it’s now possible, thanks to platforms such as our Tata Communications MOVE, for almost any organisation to enter the market as an MVNO, without crippling capital investments.

It’s all about businesses across industries to stay nimble and capitalise on the many opportunities becoming available thanks to the digital platform economy.

Read my previous blog on Anyone can become a CSP part 1 here.