MTN South Africa is set to help launch consumer brands as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), according to the company’s CEO.
They include “household names”, MTN South Africa CEO Mteto Nyati said in an interview with TechCentral last week.
MVNOs, like FNB Connect from First National Bank and MRP Mobile from retailer Mr Price, piggyback on the infrastructure of network operators to provide services to end users.
Until now, the only MVNOs that have been launched in South Africa use Cell C’s network.
That’s set to change, with MTN group interim executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko saying earlier this year that it has decided to embrace the model.
“Strategically, as a group, we made the decision that we’d go with MVNOs,” Nyati said. “The question is how you go about doing it.”
The strategic rationale of building a platform to serve MVNOs is to allow those brands to bring networks customers in areas where they are “not strong”, Nyati said. “Those are likely to be post-paid customers in MTN’s case, so it would be high-end brands, brands that are focused on quality.”
MTN has decided to build a dedicated platform for MVNOs so it can “ensure these companies are served with the latest and best technologies”, he said.
“It has taken us longer [than expected], but we believe this is the right approach. There are big names lined up, household names that have bought into the strategy with us. It’s not like they are rushing. They are also doing their own planning.”
Nyati declined to name any of the companies.
TechCentral reported in May that MTN had been working with leading retailers and financial services companies to launch MVNO brands. They are rumoured to include a large retail bank.
Until now, South Africa’s big mobile operators, Vodacom and MTN, have been reluctant to offer a platform for MVNOs, leaving Cell C as the only player offering such services to corporate South Africa.
MTN’s move is set to make the MVNO market in South Africa much more competitive.
For years, South Africa had only one MVNO in the form of Virgin Mobile.
As the market has matured, however, an increasing number of brands outside the cellular industry have seen value in offering mobile services to their clients. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media