As MVNOs continue to proliferate, back-office companies are shifting into the role of enablers, and Boston Communications Group Inc. (bcgi) is no exception. It has announced launch and management services for these brand- and content-based second-tier mobile companies.
bcgis MVNO Services Suite integrates the companys billing, access management, payment and network solutions with MVNO-focused technology and business consulting services.
bcgi understands that while MVNOs are well-positioned to attract and serve targeted segments, the companies looking to offer these services can’t do it alone, says Fritz von Mering, COO at bcgi. MVNOs face the challenge of delivering service that lives up to their brand promise.
Many of these private-label resellers of wireless minutes are from outside the communications sector some with names like Walt Disney Co. and ESPN, while others are brainchildren of a range of entrepreneurs. A lack of telecom expertise among major consumer brands and outsider start-ups alike are driving a trend to real-time and prepaid billing, and outsourcing OSS functions to specialized platforms and companies that enable the non-telecom MVNO model.
Aspiring MVNOs should not underestimate the difficulty of plugging into a carrier network, says Marina Amoroso, analyst at Yankee Group. Companies need to test all possible scenarios around roaming, billing, rating, provisioning, activation and service suspension before launching a service. These challenges can pose a serious risk to established brands. Brands need to weigh the risks of associating themselves with unpredictable wireless service quality.
MVNOs go for micro-niches, “like prepaid offers for cost-conscious housewives that shop at Wal-Mart,” says Martin Creaner, CTO of the TeleManagement Forum.
A look at the existing MVNOs in the United States tells the story: Virgin Mobile USA goes after the youth market, Boost Mobile attracts hip urban youth, and TracFone was created with truckers in mind. With such a preoccupation with brand identity, marketing and acquiring customers, implementing the back office to make it all work presents a distraction from their core value proposition and a challenge.
bcgi hopes to eliminate the distractions with a range of managed services for reseller-operators, including:
Flexible postpaid and real-time usage rating and billing
Content filtering and usage/access controls
Account activation and suspension, ensuring tight control of billing cycles, and processes to activate and suspend service
Real-time account replenishment
Round-the-clock data centers and NOCs
Solutions consulting for support across the sales and service delivery lifecycle, targeted to the rapid creation of highly customized service offerings
Customer and self-care through Web-based CSR and SelfCare applications
A modular architecture that allows back-office products and services to match business requirements, from end-to-end deployments to individual products
Value-added services such as messaging and downloads, and their effective integration in the network
bcgis MVNO Services Suite also offers an API stable and support for a variety of protocols and languages to ease integration with other systems and the host network. These include: CAMEL, WIN and Pre-IN AMPS, CDMA, GSM, iDEN, 1xRTT, 1xEVDO, GPRS, EDGE and IMS networks.