opinion


Wholesale and pricing strategy in mobile markets

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In this commissioned report by The MVNOs Series, we cover a number of topics, such as the changes in the mobile wholesale market, Wholesale-as-a-Service and the impact on digitalisation, network innovation and the impact of virtualisation, what to expect from a future with 5G and the new opportunities it brings.

The mobile market is well-established as one of the most strategically important sectors of the global economy. The wider mobile ecosystem is estimated to deliver $3.6 trillion in value added, accounting for 4.5 per cent of global GDP.

There are now more than five billion people connected to mobile services worldwide, likely to rise to close to six billion – three quarters of the world’s population – by 2025.

With its central role in communications infrastructure and the predicted development of IoT, mobile will become one of the key enabling technologies driving growth and innovation across all sectors, from healthcare to education, manufacturing to financial services.

Yet even an industry with such strong credentials for success is not without its challenges. Mobile network operators (MNOs), the gatekeepers to mobile connectivity for all end users, have not found the transition from an industry built around voice and SMS services to internet and data entirely straightforward.

In purely economic terms, MNOs have seen revenues drop by 12 per cent from their peak in 2012. The recalibration of the market around data has been a major trend since the start of the decade and beyond, yet telcos have still not found a way to generate the same ARPUs they could generate from voice and SMS.

Buffered by regulation on roaming and mobile call termination (MTC) rates, and finding themselves at the centre of a much more complicated web of customers jostling for mobile data services, many mobile operators are looking at wholesale operations and pricing strategy with a fresh pair of eyes in a bid to generate new revenue streams.

In this report, we analyse how the switch to data-first mobile services is changing the relationship between operators, resellers and MVNOs. We will look at how new use cases for mobile services, such as IoT connectivity and multiplay content bundling, are creating new market opportunities while also attracting new players into the space.

Looking forward, we will then focus on the impact of new technology on the mobile wholesale market, zooming in on two areas in particular – the emergence of a ‘wholesale-as-a-service’ cloud-based B2B services market, and the impact of network virtualisation which will accelerate with the arrival of 5G.

For an in-depth analysis, download a copy of the report.

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