The Canadian MVNO Market – James Gray, Managing Director, Graystone Strategy periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece James Gray, Managing Director, Graystone Strategy shares his thoughts on why dotmobile being awarded a full MVNO licence in Canada doesn’t mean the MVNO floodgates have opened.

dotmobile has been awarded a full MVNO licence in Canada. It’s made headlines around the world in because it’s a hard won first. It first proposed an MVNO in September 2019 and gone on to achieve something no other brand in Canada has. The reasons for which are complex.

The channel opportunity around 5G

Who knew that increasing the number in front of “G” from “4” to “5” would generate such excitement? According to some pundits, 5G “will supercharge business”. Can anyone remember if the move from 3G to 4G merited such attention?

Well, back in May 2012, in an article headlined 4G internet: Will it revolutionise the internet?, HuffPost reported: “The introduction of 4G internet could result in the safeguarding of thousands of jobs, £5.5bn investment in the UK and could save workers 37 million hours a year, according to group 4G Britain.”

Bricks-to-clicks evolution accelerates as online retailers swallow high street brands

Clothing retailer Boohoo has acquired all of the intellectual property assets of Debenhams, including customer data and selected contracts, for £55m. The 243-year-old department store filed for administration twice in 12 months, the second time during the coronavirus pandemic.

Separately, Asos will pay £295m for four brands from collapsed retail group Arcadia – Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT. However, the deal does not include the physical shops. Sir Philip Green’s failed empire entered administration in November last year, putting 13,000 jobs across about 450 stores at risk.

Is there still a place for Topshop on the UK’s high streets?

Topshop’s parent company Arcadia Group grabbed headlines when it went into administration in November, placing thousands of jobs at risk. With the brand’s Oxford Circus Street flagship now up for sale. Retail Gazette looks at whether the British fashion stalwart can make a comeback.

Ofcom’s unlocked handsets ruling: good for users, but is it too inflexible?

Decision on handset unlocking seen as progressive, but some say users will get too much freedom

Ofcom’s ruling that mobile phone providers must no longer sell locked handsets to consumers from December 2021 has been hailed as a progressive step for the UK market.

The ruling affects EE, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile, with players such as O2, Three and Virgin Mobile already voluntarily implementing the sale of unlocked handsets in recent years.

Industry experts and analysts broadly agree that the move provides further favour for consumers as part of Ofcom’s drive to be a progressive regulator, allowing for choice, and forcing the networks to engage in competitive pricing and proactive efforts to maintain strong customer service.

What is 5G?

Get up to speed – everything you need to know about 5G

Ready to say hello to faster speeds and goodbye to lagging? The next-generation network is on its way. Find out everything you need to know about 5G, including how it’s different, when you can get it and how it works abroad.

In this guide we’ll also debunk myths around the dangers of 5G, discuss what else it can be used for and explore how it could impact our lives in the future.

Speakers’ Corner: mobile retailers and the last 100 days until Christmas

With tighter covid restrictions in place, the next 100 days will be the toughest ever for retailers. But Graystone Strategy’s Peter Scott says it’s an opportunity

The next 100 days are always the busiest and most exciting in the retail calendar. A time when gifting mobiles and devices is top of people’s lists. But this year will be the bleakest we’ve known for a very long time. The likelihood of further lockdowns, regional restrictions and a challenging economic and employment outlook add incomprehensible pressures.

Mobile News spoke to industry expert James Gray about what the latest events mean for UK mobile

It’s been a seismic month for operators and retailers, with a one-two punch of events set to shake up the sector.

First, supermarket retailer Asda unexpectedly revealed that it would transfer its Asda Mobile MVNO from EE to Vodafone, returning to the telco with which it launched the service in 2007  and subsequently left in 2014.

Episode 19 – SoftBank sells mobile division stock worth $12.5 billion; Intelsat to acquire Gogo; Zayo names new MD; and everything about 6G

This episode features editor-in-chief Joao Marques Lima, editor-at-large Alan Burkitt-Gray, deputy editor Melanie Mingas and senior reporters Abigail Opiah and Natalie Bannerman.

In this episode, SoftBank  sells mobile division stock worth $12.5 billion; Intelsat enters into a definitive agreement to acquire Gogo; Zayo names its new managing director; Rack Centre announced a $100 million investment in Nigeria; and Georgia’s demands to reverse an acquisition.

Also in this episode, the team talks 6G and special guest  James Gray, managing director of Graystone Strategies, shares his outlook for market consolidation over the coming months.

How can Ann Summers avoid a similar fate to Victoria’s Secret?

Founded in 1970, seven years before US rival Victoria’s Secret, Ann Summers has expanded its presence on the high street but CEO Jacqueline Gold recently said the retailer may opt for a CVA to stay afloat. What steps must it take to avoid a similar downfall to its rival from across the pond?

What the shift of small retailers to online means for the sector

During lockdown, swathes of retailers turned to online as shops were forced shut. Retail Gazette found out how smaller, independent retailers opted for a platform on online marketplaces to adapt and to survive this new climate – especially as footfall continues to remain low.

Employment in retail during Covid-19

With over four million retail jobs currently at risk of permanent layoffs, temporary furloughs, and reductions in hours or pay, it begs the question: is employment in retail an attractive proposition during Covid-19?

Why automation will play a key role in the future of retail

Retailers around the world found technological solutions to help them navigate the Covid-19 pandemic – and these agile answers will give them an advantage in the future

As Britain cautiously emerges from coronavirus lockdown, automation technology is proving crucial to retailers hoping to tempt customers to spend again, according to retail experts.

Intu: What went wrong?

Intu fell into administration last week after crunch talks with its lenders were unsuccessful. The shopping centre owner had been struggling prior to the coronavirus pandemic, with large debts and a loss of value in shares. Retail Gazette finds out where it all went wrong.

Can Next or M&S turn Victoria’s Secret around?

Next and Marks & Spencer recently expressed interest in taking on the UK operations of Victoria’s Secret, which collapsed last month. Retail Gazette finds out how the US lingerie retailer can be turned around by the British retail giants, should they end up buying it out of administration.

Speaker’s corner: the winners and losers in the Virgin-O2 merger

The announcement that Virgin Media and O2 plan to merge will have come as a surprise to many in the market, not least because six months earlier Virgin had struck a deal with Vodafone. If it goes ahead, it will really disrupt the industry and give competitors cause for concern.

Making 5G Pay

Much is said about the potential for 5G and the doors it will open for new opportunities. However, the real challenge in Africa is going to be how to monetise this exciting new technology.

Cost And Coverage Could Make 5G-Connected Ambulance Infeasible

While excitement for 5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technology, might be in the air for paramedics across the country following BT Enterprise’s demonstration last week, some experts think it could be premature.

The demonstration, which took place at the University Hospital in Birmingham, involved an acting emergency department consultant advising a paramedic who was situated just under two miles away in a 5G connected ambulance. Using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets, the consultant gave information on the “patient” directly to the paramedic, saving them travelling to the A&E department.

How MVNOs can stand out in a crowded market

The MVNO space is becoming crowded, particularly in the UK. Established brands such as Tesco and Virgin continue to gain customers, while major players such as Sky are also competing for opportunities to grab share.

But at the same time, mobile operators across the globe are increasingly launching ‘sub-brands’ that directly compete with MVNOs and target specific segments – such as Vodafone’s VOXI and Three’s SMARTY. So, how can MVNOs stand out?

Roaming for MVNOs: Opportunities and strategies

The ‘roam like at home’ regulation has been a boon for European consumers, who can now use their phones without extra charges when visiting EU countries. But it poses challenges for MVNOs, which must pay wholesale rates in order for their customers to roam. Making things worse, MVNOs can’t claw back this cash through reciprocal charges like the mobile operators do, because they don’t receive any inbound roaming traffic.

MVNOs can charge customers for roaming in locations outside the EU. However, they cannot rely on this alone as a revenue stream: MVNOs would be competing with mobile operators such as Three UK, which are offering free roaming in countries including the US and Australia, as well as the EU.

Your Thoughts: Netflix Vs TV

Video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have now been reported to have more subscribers than traditional pay-per-view TV services in the UK, according to new figures released by Ofcom. This of course also applies on a global scale, in the US and beyond.

This week Finance Monthly asked experts in the media industry, communications sector and markets experts what they thought of the proliferation of online streaming services and their impact on traditional TV.

How 5G will revolutionise the MVNO market

5G networks will create new business models for operators and MVNOs. How can they take advantage? Kate O’Flaherty talked to a few industry insiders to find out.

Soon-to-launch 5G is about to transform the business models of mobile operators and MVNOs. According to experts, this will see capabilities such as network slicing allowing MNVOs to run ‘mini networks’ for customers in specific sectors.

Unlike its predecessors 3G and 4G, the technology is not just about faster speeds. Based on a virtualised infrastructure, 5G offers the ability to ‘slice’ the network and assign each part a specific quality of service to fit a use case – such as low latency for connected cars.

Embracing a new type of MVNO periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Freelance Technology Journalist Kate O’Flaherty explores how AppVNOs are taking the market by storm. What are the opportunities and challenges in this area?

A new type of MVNO is entering the market. Known as the ‘AppVNO’, its unique selling point is the ability to make calls and send texts via an app using an additional mobile number. In a similar way to Skype, appVNOs can be used for free because they mostly take advantage of Wi-Fi rather than the cellular network.

Seven trends to expect at Mobile World Congress 2018

5G and its associated use cases are expected to take centre stage in Barcelona, while discussions will also turn to the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to overhaul network management and customer service.

Mobile World Congress (MWC), the biggest mobile industry trade show in the world, is due to kick off in Barcelona in just a few days’ time. So, what are the key trends to watch out for at this year’s show?

MVNOs need to rethink segmentation or admit defeat

As Brexit negotiations rumble on, one thing is certain: skilled workers from Europe are leaving Britain. For MVNOs that have based their business model on a migratory workforce or a low cost proposition it’s a precarious time, writes James Gray, a director of Graystone Strategy.

To add to their woes, mobile operators like Vodafone have made the strategic decision that sub brands are more lucrative and a better way to stretch their brands into markets they wouldn’t usually attract. The operators are of course being canny and while they aren’t closing down all the MVNOs on their networks, they certainly aren’t rushing to forge new contracts with potential partners unless they really feel they are bringing incremental value and customers.

VOXI’s arrival shows how Vodafone is betting on segmentation to revitalise brand

The brand launched at the end of August, offering contract-free plans available only to under-25s.

Priced between £10 and £20 a month, the 30-day plans include zero-rated use of certain social media apps and unlimited calls, texts and picture messages.

As well as targeted offerings, VOXI uses advertising and customer service channels designed to appeal to younger consumers, including social media.

There won’t be a traditional TV advert, and though plans can be bought in Vodafone stores, the main sales channel is a dedicated new website.

‘Roam Like Home’: The End of Data Roaming Charges in Europe

Data roaming charges within the European Union are to become a thing of the past from June 15, however very few people are aware of the change that could save travelers hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.

The European Commission (EC) has agreed to put an end to roaming charges across all EU countries. This means that travelers can call, text and use their mobile data at no extra cost, regardless of the EU country that they visit.

How Brexit will change the UK telecoms market

The extent to which the European telecoms market influences the UK market has been fairly evident recently, with major deals such as the Three-O2 merger being scuttled by EU regulators.

Holiday-makers may have felt the benefits of other EU-wide regulation this summer as international roaming charges were cut across the EU for the first time before they are phased out completely next year.

Data roaming charges in Europe are about to be completely wiped out

Massive data roaming charges picked up while you’re on holiday in Europe are about to become a thing of the past.
New legislation that comes into play next week are about to become a huge game changer that will help save British holidaymakers £1.3 billion a year.

‘Roam Like Home’, a new law passed by the EU, enables phone users to use their phone at no extra cost when they’re on holiday in Europe.

Roam Like Home: Threat or Opportunity? – Graystone Strategy

Today, Thursday 15 June, we’ll see a fundamental market change come into play when Roam like Home goes live across Europe. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen such an imposition on industry pricing, and operators across Europe will nervously wait to see whether the billions of Euros consumers will save opens up a detrimental black hole in the company accounts.

Ireland’s latest mobile operator goes heavy on data – but light on iPhones

Today, Ireland’s newest mobile operator opens its doors for business. But how does iD, created by Dixons Carphone, compare to rival offerings? Is it here for the long run? Our technology editor looks through its plans and assesses whether it is worth signing up to as an alternative to Vodafone, Meteor, 3 Ireland and the rest

30m shades of Gray: how to set up a new mobile operator

This summer, The Carphone Warehouse will launch a new mobile operator in Ireland. Our technology editor talks to James Gray, the industry veteran who is setting it up.

Two years ago, it was losing €10m a year. But today, The Carphone Warehouse’s Irish operation is back in the black. And the retailer, which has almost 100 outlets here, is about to spend €30m on the launch of a new mobile operator for Ireland.

5G: Do consumers need another G?

Anyone who works in telecoms circles knows that 5G is on the horizon, with a promise to transform data speeds once again. And it is fast, no doubt about that. The University of Surrey, which is at the forefront of developing and understanding this technology, has achieved data speeds of one terabyte per second. Although that is in somewhat theoretical lab conditions it doesn’t take much imagination to see the potential.

5G And Smart Cities: A Boon For Tech Entrepreneurs

Right now you can’t move for stories about 5G. Like so many things in the mobile world, being first to market with the biggest, fastest and greatest is dominating the headlines.

Operators from Vodafone in Australia, through Telecom Italia, to Japan’s NTT Docomo, are all testing network capability and speed. The next super-highway race is well and truly on.