2/2/2011 12:09:00 PM
Gamma MVNA targets mobile
Gamma Telecom’s MVNA deal with Vodafone opens up the mobile market to fixed line resellers for the first time in a decade, according to Gamma Telecom chief Bob Falconer.
Speaking to Mobile after the deal was announced last week, Falconer said: ‘When you look back, the market channel became marginalised as service and airtime providers disappeared around ten years ago, so this is a real opportunity for fixed line resellers to get back into the mobile space.’
The MVNA deal sees wholesale operator Gamma Telecom bring a 30,000 strong base of voice and data connections from Three to Vodafone.
Falconer said Gamma’s decision to ditch its three-year-old MVNO deal with Three and join forces with Vodafone was based on Vodafone’s strong presence in the business market and its drive into converged services.
He said: ‘Vodafone has a deeper portfolio than Three.
It is more business-oriented than Three and we saw that as an opportunity to bring a wider range of fixed and mobile converged services to our customers. We will be able to connect deep into Vodafone’s infrastructure.’
In return, Gamma will give Vodafone a route into its fixed line customers in the SME sector.
Falconer said: ‘We have exceptional access to the channel with over 500 partners. The SME market we focus on is one that is difficult to reach and expensive to serve and operators know that. We have a highly efficient route into that market.’
This is a route through which both Vodafone and Gamma aim to develop fixed and mobile converged services.
Falconer said: ‘We are not going to announce fixed and mobile integrated services on day one but that is something we are both moving into.’
In return for ‘significant commitments from Vodafone’ under the deal, Falconer says Gamma has signed up to ‘some serious numbers’. He added: ‘We have got to shift this stuff.’
To this end, Gamma is already on the hunt for MVNO partners and will lay out its proposition in a series of seminars planned across the UK this month. Falconer is confident there will be significant interest among Gamma’s 500-plus partners.
He explained: ‘We can offer our partners MVNO capability, ownership of the customer and brand ownership and with all that underpinned by Vodafone’s network.’
Falconer said Gamma’s MVNO offer had the added attraction of taking the risk out of mobile reselling.
He explained: ‘Traditionally, fixed resellers do not like the risk attached to mobile but we have made mobile reselling like fixed line. We have put a lot of effort into the tools they use – we have given them more visibility and line control and we have taken on more of the risk to give them fewer risks.’
Gamma is confident that its MVNO partners will storm the mobile market in the same manner Gamma has captured a significant chunk of the fixed line market.
Falconer said: ‘We entered fixed in 2002 when it was seen as a dying market and we have established a very substantial presence – 13% of the business fixed line traffic in the UK is on our network.
‘We can give our partners an edge in the marketplace and when we compete we bring that added extra. We have a track record in taking the market lead in everything we do and we see this deal as an opportunity to add value in both the mobile and the fixed line space.’
Vodafone’s MVNA ambitions in SME
Tim Stone, Vodafone UK’s director of wholesale, said the MVNA deal with Gamma Telecom was a key component of Vodafone’s aggressive drive into the business market.
He said: ‘We have a specific strategy to win in the business market. This MVNA is very much focused on Gamma’s business as one of the largest fixed line operators in the market selling via a large group of resellers. This MVNA gives us the opportunity to sell into that.’
He said Gamma’s support for fixed resellers selling mobile was significant: ‘I think what is important is to enable fixed resellers to sell mobile under their own name, like fixed line, making it similar to fixed line products. Gamma has already proven itself successful at doing this with its partners.’