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High profile acquisitions in 2020 included Verizon acquiring the United States largest MVNO, Tracfone for an eye watering $6billion dollars. Other acquisitions included Belgium’s largest MNO Proximus acquiring Mobile Vikings for $130million, Optus acquiring AmaySIM for $250million, T-Mobile Netherlands acquiring the country’s largest MVNO Simpel, and Spain’s MasMovil acquiring the World’s largest MVNO, Lycamobile for €372million euros.
Data is of course considered as being the new oil, and as crude oil itself fell into negative value during 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, data quite literally proved to be so, driving economies across the world as telecom operators and CSP’s kept businesses going through periods of lockdown.
While much of the focus has been on the incumbent operators’ tussle with regulators and the question of what makes for healthy competition, it’s been the acquisition of Full MVNO’s that has been of much greater interest.
Incumbent operators have experienced a serious squeeze on cash-flow from all sides in recent years. As penetration has reached saturation point in many regions revenues have come under sustained pressure from consumer focused regulation and increasing competition from OTT services, combined with the burden of investment in broadband networks. Coming at a time when serious investment in 5G is demanded to secure subscribers, MNO’s have turned to acquisitions for revenue growth.
Telcos have long harvested insights from data to drive operational and network efficiencies, but the promise of greater data sets and a bonanza of opportunities to monetize them through 5G and IOT advancements has inspired operators to maximise subscribers and treat them as they do their networks, as long term assets.
With a mature MVNO market giving rise to a choice of Full MVNO’s, those virtual operators without the infrastructure dependency of their host MNO, operators are taking the opportunity to add significant value to their businesses by poaching customers off their rivals through targeted MVNO acquisitions.
With MNO’s focussed on acquiring subscribers, the roadmap to acquisition for MVNO’s is a simple formula: the adoption of their own Core Network to have complete control of your subscribers data.