Q&A interview with Gary Bunney, CEO, MDS Global

In this interview, Gary Bunney shares his views on the growth opportunities for MVNOs, the technologies impacting the mobile ecosystem and how operating models must change to match the ability of some internet companies to out-perform.

Where do you see opportunities for growth in 2018?

There are several areas of opportunity this year. The first is in B2C. We believe customers are demanding more control to create the plans they need, not only for themselves but also for companions, companion devices and self-created groups. And they want this control across a range of different networks, services and applications. With this control comes the ability to action. To change, amend, add or terminate without contractual restriction. This should all be actionable via a self-service application.

In the B2B market, in addition to traditional connectivity, the SME market demands more group-based ICT based services (cloud, security, mobility applications, etc). This needs to be delivered efficiently through full digital engagement.

Finally, there is IoT and the thousands of IoT application opportunities that demand different monetisation approaches to be financially feasible and risk-aligned. With greater agility, service providers are able to access a larger set of shared revenue over and above low margin, lower value connectivity selling.

What must VNOs learn from fast-expanding non-telco peers in relation to VAS?

Fast expanding non-telco peers, such as Uber, AirBnB etc, have toppled traditional incumbents, very similar to VNO vs NOs. They too have overcome barriers to entry imposed by owning capital assets similar to owning the network. And they too want to provide consumers with more control, a better user experience and higher quality services using data, connectivity and agility as their key competitive tools. There is no reason VNOs cannot do the same.

Which technologies do you believe will have the most impact on the mobile ecosystem in 2018?

The introduction of eSIM, network virtualisation, voice controlled devices, (e.g. Alexa), and more independent companion devices will start to have an evolutionary impact on the mobile eco-system from this year.

How must operating models change to match the ability of some internet companies to out-perform?

Digital operating models, versus traditional high-cost human-based models, have been the talk for the last 5-7 years. Many service providers fail because it involves not just a system change but also to change in skills, resources, processes, culture, structure and shared values. A radical approach is simply to adopt an all-ready-running digital BSS-as-a-Service for new and critical services to build a competitive edge.

What is unique about VNO and fast-expanding peers versus mobile network operators?

VNOs are light and agile. Many are already relying on MVNE platforms to deliver their IT services, albeit they are restrictive and tied to the same experience, offers and patterns that traditional network operators provide. As many fast-expanding peers build their business operating model by connecting together a broader range of digital infrastructure, platforms and services, VNOs should do the same, thus enabling them to move beyond the traditional silo’d MVNE, or restrictive boxed BSS mentality, to openly enable their vision.

How should VNO manage investments and return?

Typically, the more disruptive and innovative a VNO becomes, the more risk that is carried on the investments being made. Many new entrants offset capital risk and enable better operating cash flow through the adoption of PaaS, IaaS and SaaS based services, (from office space to IT services), on which competitive propositions can be built. Today, there is very little value in the perpetual ownership of a platform/license product when you are in an industry that is demanding continuous change that drives unfeasible amounts of additional investment or slow roadmap upgrades.

The BSS-as-a-Service approach allows a specialist partner to deliver a business environment in a significantly more cost-effective way, with services tailored towards your business model. New tariff production, aged debt resolution, and churn risk identification are all services that add value, while in a broader level, the demands of skills, resources, development, operations and assurance are taken care of in return with a pay-as-you-grow model.


Meet with Gary Bunney at this year’s MVNOs World Congress, where he will speak on ‘what must VNOs learn from fast-expanding non-telco peers in relation to VAS’. Here’s all you need know about the event which takes place in Madrid, 23 – 26 April 2018.

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  • MVNOs North America

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