What started as a Gamma mission to recruit 80 partners for their MVNO offering is today standing at a count of nearly 130 appointed partners! Rob Davis, Gamma’s Head of Mobile, can also point to a strong pipeline and a growing channel opportunity. Davis tells us how this has happened and we speak to Pinnacle, the latest MVNO to join the Gamma ‘team’.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Why would resellers consider becoming an MVNO?
Rob Davis (RD): Much of this has to do with the negative aspects of the alternatives of being just a dealer or reseller dealing either directly with a network operator or through one of their distributors. Our partners tells us that they have been treated as second class citizens by operators, they are constrained by what they are able to do and that operators are constantly changing the goal posts on them at the stroke of pen. Clearly they are an afterthought in the operator channel strategy and this has resulted in many heading over to us as an MVNO partner.
CBM: We can understand the negatives of the alternatives as you describe them so what is the attraction of being an MVNO?
RD: There are three principal reasons and they all centre on control. Firstly it’s partner control and here I mean direct control over connections and real time access to services provision via our portal. This means the end user gets a business grade level of service from their provider rather than the extended process that results from a ‘bat and ball’ email process with an operator call centre to get things done.
Secondly the MVNO gains control over pricing and tariffs instead of being laid down the law by a network operator on what they can charge. Of course Gamma has pre-packaged pricing but as an MVNO you can build your own product and pricing bundles, which can include both fixed line and data as well as mobile. That is a big differentiator for the MVNO.
Thirdly, our MVNO partners find the fact that they now have more control over their own business highly attractive. They own the contract and cannot be held to ransom by operators on what they can and cannot do.
CBM: OK, that’s understood but with other MVNAs out there why should these companies choose to work with Gamma?
RD: Gamma has always ensured that our products and services portfolio is integrated and combines together for greater value. For example, we offer free on-net calls including fixed to mobile. Gamma has one portal for all our products and a consistent CDR format for billing accuracy. We can therefore offer MVNO partners a unified offering across our portfolio where they can sell business solutions and not technology. After all, their users do not want to see any joins.
Setting up an MVNO with any of the network operators is hard work for resellers. The commercial negotiations and investment required is time consuming and exhaustive – often taking up to a year to conclude.
Gamma makes it easy for our MVNO partners with several ‘flavours’ of our offering designed to suit different partner types and business needs. There is a full MVNO package, which provides maximum flexibility and control for the reseller. Here the partner will need to invest in skills relating to pricing, selling and billing. For those partners that want a greater degree of service wrap from Gamma we can provide packages for them as well.
We’ve got MVNO right for the channel as can be seen by the number of partners we have on board already and the pipeline of those wanting to join us.
CBM: One such company that has decided to partner with Gamma as an MVNO is AIM listed Pinnacle technology Group. This is what they told us.
The MVNO agreement strengthens Pinnacles capability in the provision of mobile solutions, allowing us indirect wholesale access to the Vodafone network via Gamma’s unique position in the market as a Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) through tier network partner Vodafone.
This in turn should give a robust competitive advantage for the benefit of Pinnacle customers. MVNO status will bring Pinnacle incremental value and wholesale access and enables our company to integrate more cost effectively, mobile, fixed line telephony and mobile security as a service, which means our customers will enjoy seamless, secure, effective communications, bundled, supported and billed by Pinnacle.
Steve Shaw, Group Sales Director, said: “As an MVNO, we will offer our customers more choice and flexibility of mobile services. We will also be in control of mobile pricing structures and customer service and billing, which will allow us to bundle for our customers, fixed-line, mobile and IT security as a service. As an MVNO, we incur no significant capital expenditure on spectrum or mobile licensed frequencies or infrastructure, neither will we need to embark on the costly and time-consuming task of building out extensive radio infrastructure. With a relatively small percentage of our customers currently buying mobile services from the company, the mobility market offers Pinnacle a very exciting opportunity for future growth.”