In a brand new instalment of the MVNO Monday Q&A, TeleGeography spoke with Andrew Davies, the CEO of RWG Mobile, which pitches itself as ‘the mobile network for Wales. Run by people in Wales, for people in Wales…wherever you are’.
How would you classify your MVNO’s business model?
Light MVNO (marketing, billing, customer management).
How would you define your key target user market(s)?
Our target market in those who live and work in Wales. We have created a national brand with a bilingual service for the Welsh population.
When did you launch, who is your network provider, and has this partnership remained unchanged since launch?
We launched in July 2016. Three is our network provider. This is unchanged.
Who is your MVNE/MVNA partner, and how has that company helped your operational success?
x-Mobility. They have helped us get to market with a complete SIM and OTT solution in one. This was important for our target market, as the availability of mobile signal in Wales is poor and lags behind the rest of the UK.
Who do you see as your main competitors?
The ‘Big Four’ (EE, O2, Vodafone and Three) are our main competitors, alongside giffgaff and Tesco Mobile.
At the current stage of the company’s development, which of the following is most important to you: growing your subscriber base, increasing your ARPU, or increasing your profitability?
Growing the subscriber base is our top priority.
What do you regard as the company’s biggest achievement since launching services?
Our biggest achievement to date is the strategic partnership we have formed with S4C, the state broadcaster in Wales, which allows both companies to promote each other services.
Do you consider the government and regulator’s positions regarding MVNOs to be conducive to a healthy market, or are there still significant obstacles?
There are still obstacles. There is no UK regulation of the wholesale market, which makes access to services difficult. Access is a key problem in the MVNO market, creating significant barriers to entry.
Are you currently able to offer 4G LTE services via your wholesale agreement?
Yes, we offer 4G and it is vital.
Are you seeing rising competition from MNOs via their secondary, no-frills brands? If yes, how do you intend to defend your market share from these players?
giffgaff are particularly effective, but their business model is very different to ours. We can compete on a superior service proposition.
Do you believe that the MVNO sector is already overcrowded? Do you expect to see the number of players reduced during the next five years, or is there plenty of room for niche operators?
I believe there is still room for operators – particularly those who can redefine the customer experience.
Is your intention to remain an MVNO or do you seek to acquire your own radio spectrum and become an MNO?
We will remain an MVNO.
With OTT apps increasingly supplementing/replacing traditional calls and SMS for voice and messaging, is there a danger that MVNOs will struggle to remain a valid proposition if markets continue to move towards data?
A wireless strategy and VoIP services – along with bundles of products outside of traditional SMS and voice – is absolutely key.
Do you perceive a threat from established MNOs which may look to buy out successful MVNOs in order to protect their market share?
There is always a threat from established players, but OTTs have shown that they can scale and grow quickly in order to compete.
While your focus is very firmly on serving Wales, do you think that your business model could be extended to other countries?
Our business model has scale and therefore it is important that we look to other markets.
Finally, what advice would you give to a company planning an MVNO launch in another market?
Proceed with caution and take advice. There are many opportunities but also high risks when considering new markets.
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