Frankie Spagnolo, founder and director, iMVNOx Association:
‘Could 2015 be the year of the merger? The year of ‘competitive consolidation’ supported by a healthy wholesale market?
‘Amongst continued concern about the number of operators there exists deep-set worries about the potential loss of choice with a move from 4 to 3 to 2 carriers in each market. Where does that leave the MVNOs? Can they leverage their combined global power and economies of scale to strengthen their role as an invaluable aspect of the MNOs’ wholesale strategy? Considering that the latest rumours about BT’s M&A movements in the UK suggest that 2015 will uncover more about the question of competition than simply counting the number of networks, most European countries still come up short on how to consolidate the market without adversely impacting consumers. Today cross-border mergers still seem unlikely, although if companies cannot improve margins by in-country consolidation they will have to start looking more seriously at merging across European borders.
‘Hopefully, regulators will now build upon their brave approach towards the roaming regulation and the Digital Single Market to step forward and support the MVNOs as the only true cross-border operators (when you consider that the MNOs are a conglomerate of individual national, and often squabbling, businesses, after all) and that the MVNx market is best way to mitigate the monopolistic intentions of the old school operators by opening up the airwaves to new school entrepreneurial virtualization. MVNOs in the UK have increased differentiation and competition and the MVNx ecosystem continues to enable collaboration and innovation across the globe. Can regulation support this environment without becoming a straight jacket? Can we build a set of living principles and define a framework for fair play to enable the next wave of connectivity and convergence?
‘At the iMVNOx Association we believe that the wholesale market, if cultivated correctly in 2015, could become more profitable for the carriers than their retail departments would even want whispered behind the closed doors of the Chinese Walls that currently separate the future from the past.
‘BT were forced to unbundle the local loop…come on Ofcom, let’s unbundle the airwaves and let the MVNOs roam wild and free(r).’