How MVNOs change the experience

As we begin to see MVNO trends really take shape, how does the experience to the user change? I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately.

Disney, ESPN, and AMPed are just a few rather new MVNOs, which will begin to shape how users experience the mobile lifestyle. Instead of having to deal with a carrier middleman, content providers will be able to control the whole experience down to the billing and payment. It will be much more about brand recognition, and much less about infrastructure quality.

The service pricing will influence the brand. Service pricing will be just as much a part of the brand, as much as a brand will be about its pricing. What sort of implications will this have on brands? Will it mean that one is more premium, one is more economical? What is the monetary essence of Disney?

It is especially interesting, too, to consider the type of targeted content that will now be available. As a third party developer knowing that all my users are age 18-25 on X MVNO makes it much easier to deliver a specific product to a targeted demographic. More specificity will be available, and as such, more opportunity to sell directed content. This I see as a big win for many different parties.

Even more so, though, as a designer I am interested in how this new “total experience” is going to influence the consumer experience in each product. In general, I think it could make the whole experience easier for users to understand. From an interaction stand point, the experience will now be more inclusive: hardware purchasing, service, and content will all be controlled by one brand. Bundling all these price points to really drive a product, both limits choices but makes things much easier on the end user. [Apple does this very well!] For example if I want to purchase the latest mo-blogging phone software, maybe my MMS service becomes cheaper. Or if I want streaming TV or radio, maybe my dataplan is automatically unlimited, without me having to choose that option too. The focus shifts from service to function. What do I want my portable device to do? The pricing, service, and even hardware for the best experience could then naturally come along with it.

I see a big powerful shift beginning to emerge. As we understand better how to cater the entire experience, I think we could also see content adoption process eased and more varied [not just games, wallpaper, and ringtones] content sales.


2 thoughts on “How MVNOs change the experience

  1. Spencer

    Hi Anita,

    I think you make great points on this. Another layer may be volumes. If 5M subs is a success for Disney, is that big enough to focus on for an application developer? It leaves me pointed at Verizon/Cingular/Sprint as the first tier in the US, and the MVNOs come next – if they match the target market for the product and if ‘I’ can be involved with them enough to get good penetration (deck placement alone doesn’t cut it – imho).

    Then again, I’m pretty ‘short term execution’ oriented these days, and you do a great job of articulating this shift… I agree that it will have a big impact as this space matures.


  2. Ajit Jaokar

    Hi Anita
    I like this approach and thinking but in doing so, are we perhaps at a danger of replacing one ‘choke point’ i.e. operators with another (brands)? Most importantly, do customers want it? If not, there is little chance it will succeed. If I think of myselves as a ‘user’ in this case – I could be a candidate for a ‘disney’ mvno/portal. My fondness for animation is well known – right from my earliest blogs. And it includes disney. But .. it also includes a lot more. Specifially ‘Tom and Jerry’ and alsoTintin and Asterix. Would a disney mvno / portal allow me to view other animations? I doubt it. Worse still .. I like pixar more than disney! Another problem for ‘disney’. I think branded portals and MVNOs would work only with the most fanatical of fans – maybe sports fans – but these are few. The rest of us may well prefer a choice

    I have also linked your entry on my blog
    (sorry not very successful at trackback!) kind regards Ajit


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