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With the rise of MVNE/Os in the region, Telecom Review caught up with Vaibhav Mehta, senior vice president, Business Development & Telecom Practices, to find out how Elitecore solutions can support the issue.

You recently announced two major wins in Southeast Asia with your end-to-end convergent, real-time, pre-integrated MVNE/O platform. Can you tell us more about this?
The multi-tenant architecture supports the launch of multiple business units/joint ventures/MVNOs on the same stack. The platform includes core network access (AAA, PCRF, DPI), convergent real-time charging, convergent prepaid post-paid billing, centralized product catalogue, CRM, campaign management, loyalty retention and self-care via web, mobile and IVR. Elitecore solutions are a compact pre-integrated platform with out-of-box support for all MVNO business journeys.

The first win comes with a leading Tier-1 operator to build an MVNE infrastructure enabling a multi-brand strategy and multiple MVNOs on the same stack. The multi-tenant, highly scalable platform supports complete data segregation capability with high data integrity and security that allows on-boarded MVNOs to have full personalization and control via self-care channels. MVNOs have the flexibility to design and offer their own plans and offers with customized branding on their entire customer interface such as invoice, web and mobile self-care apps, payment receipts, etc.

The second success comes with an MVNO using the mobile network of a leading Tier-1 operator to launch prepaid and post-paid voice, data and messaging services for its customers on 3G/4G network. The innovative use cases supported for faster monetization are time and volume-based plans, turbo boost, device-based plans, FUP plans, application-based plans, QoS-based plans, etc.

Moreover, Elitecore has also bagged one new project from the same region whose details will be disclosed shortly. So, now there are not two but three wins for Elitecore in Southeast Asia.
Why is the MVNO market growing at such a rapid pace?

According to the latest report published by GSMA Intelligence, there are now in total 1,017 MVNOs which have out-numbered the total number of mobile networks in the world.

There are several reasons why MNOs allow MVNOs to leverage their networks:

• Target and attack a specific target/niche segment - Financial markets heavily penalize operators if ARPUs drop, which hinders them to target certain customer segments
• Generate economies of scale for better network utilization of excess or surplus spectrum available with the operator
• Increase revenue and optimize return on investment
• Service differentiation through personalized offerings as a growing number of subscribers want something more personal
• Government policies that hinder flexibility and growth - MVNOs have bulk access to MNO's network services at wholesale rates; they have the flexibility to set retail prices independently without any intervention or prior approvals
• Acquire new customers - MNOs cannot cater to every segment with their one size fits all strategy. This is where MVNOs help MNOs cater to such customer segments that the operator has failed, or they simply cannot play
• Increase market share in mature markets

Is this the same in all regions, or mainly Southeast Asia?
MVNO as a concept is fast gaining popularity and acceptance, and you would be surprised to know that two-thirds of all MVNOs in existence today can be found in Europe, followed by Asia Pacific and North America. Latin America, Middle East and Africa are also catching up to the trend.

How do you differentiate yourselves from your competitors?
Elitecore offers an end-to-end pre-integrated platform with multi-tenancy architecture which supports the launch of multiple business units/joint ventures/MVNOs on the same stack; thereby, significantly reducing cost of ownership. The platform is also capable of launching innovative offers such as shared wallet, volume-based, time-based, URL-based, unlimited plans and on-demand plans in one business day, resulting in faster revenue realization.

The in-built analytics and reporting module enables new personalization opportunities which enhance customer experience. The cloud and virtualization ready platform is also available in the pay as you grow Opex model. The robust platform is highly scalable and is future ready to support next-gen services and networks. Single SPOC for support reduces TAT and increases service satisfaction.

What kind of customers are you targeting?
Elitecore is targeting Tier 1 CSPs from the telecom domain offering voice, video and data across Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, etc.

What do you think makes a successful MVNO?
It is a great concept which has never been explored before or done right the first time, a strong and dedicated team, viable distribution strategy, a good host carrier (MNO/CSP) relationship and adequate capital to survive.

In your opinion, what are the top four issues currently shaping the MVNO market around the world?
1. Price war between local MNOs/CSPs
2. Evolution of LTE has led to an increase in number of users and devices which the MNO cannot cater to
3. Rise of OTT players impacting MNO's margin
4. The need for innovation and differentiation in services

Do you have a differentiating factor that sets you apart from your competition?
We have a reputation for delivering integrated revenue and customer management solutions (IRCM) to business problems for over one and a half decade. We are both a telecom software provider and a system integrator providing end-to-end IRCM platform functionalities which have been developed in-house and can also be integrated with operators existing legacy systems.

How do you see the MVNO industry evolving over the next five years?
There is a direct correlation between market saturation and number of MVNOs which can be substantiated by the fact that two-thirds of all MVNOs in existence today can be found in Europe. The more saturated the market, the more MVNOs will thrive.

However, all MVNOs that come up do not survive. Thus, the onus lies on the MVNOs to keep up with the technological advancement the world is witnessing and ensure that their platforms are future ready and are in line with the changing trends and demands.

Moreover, MVNOs have an edge over MNOs in terms of flexibility, innovation, reaction time and customer engagement capabilities. MVNOs should be technology and innovation led and should avoid heavy investment in infrastructure.

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