MVNO market opens up in China

Kuo Pin Ng
23 Jan 2015

Because virtual operators are quite new in China, regulators will need to identify, test and establish new rules and methods for MVNOs’ operations. A set of core, regulatory principles must be established if the MVNO industry is to mature.

Finally, the OTT provider is also a vibrant participant in the MVNO ecosystem. Currently, such OTT applications as WeChat — a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed by internet service portal Tencent — are attracting the most attention. Going forward, new applications are sure to emerge, ones that virtual operators may wish to offer their customers. As a result, MVNOs and OTT providers will need to identify ways they can cooperate and collaborate.

Accelerating healthy growth

One way to support MVNO market growth is to make it easier for mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs) to function in China, where none currently exist. MVNEs are companies that provide network infrastructure and related services, such as provisioning, administration and OSS/BSS, enabling MVNOs to offer services to their own customers.

Another way is to make more choices available to consumers, such as popularizing mobile number portability, so customers have additional options in terms of providers. Next, the industrial chain needs to be integrated. For example, if a virtual operator sells a new card to a customer, and the customer has a complaint about the card three months later, to whom does the customer complain? If the MVNO can’t solve the problem through its relationship with a local operator, the customer’s end-to-end service will be compromised.

Yet another way to drive growth is by supporting the supervision and regulation of the MVNO industry through establishing an industrial association and forum. This helps in formulate a set of standards and rules for cooperation between virtual and established communications operators.

With thoughtful planning, MVNOs and incumbents alike can co-exist, and consumers can reap the benefits of increased choices for the digital services they demand.

Kuo Pin Ng is managing director for Greater China,at Accenture Communications’ media and technology group


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