Shanks Kulam 7

x-Mobility’s Shanks Kulam explains the thinking behind his company’s new TV streaming offer. And tells us why it’s so essential for MVNOs to create innovative and differentiated offerings.

The mantra ‘innovate or die’ is often rolled out at conferences and events alongside reminders that smart, disruptive brands change everything. It isn’t even necessary to name names. Every reader will doubtless have the usual suspects in mind by now.

Frequent repetition doesn’t mean that messages about disruption and innovation lack substance. Brands do indeed need to look for the next big thing. It is a very competitive world out there, and at x-Mobility we’re very aware of this competition.

As an enabler for those that want to become communications providers but lack the technical background and knowhow to do so, we’ve helped plenty of brands put their ambitions to innovate and disrupt front and centre.

But innovation is a slippery thing. There is a tipping point beyond which it becomes commonplace. In 1970 just 35 percent of UK households had a landline telephone. In 1980 it was 72%, 1990 87% and by 2000 it was 97 percent.

At what point in that timeframe did having a landline stop being a rarity and start being commonplace? And right now, thanks to mobile the landline trend is downwards again, to below 80 percent at present. Mobile is the disruption that has turned people away from landlines.

Innovators always need to have to have their eye on the future. They need to keep innovating to stay ahead.

That’s why our newest offer is TV streaming. Imagine a brand that isn’t even in the communications game at the moment being able to offer its customers curated TV content on their mobiles as part of a VNO service.

We have access to the broadest range of content right across the live, catch-up and on-demand spectrum and can provide a fantastically bespoke service to any brand. This could be truly disruptive across a massive range of sectors.

What’s particularly attractive about this for brands outside the telecoms sphere is that, because we take on the entire technology side of things, including working with our TV content provider, all the brand needs to do is define its offer.

If I mentally map those figures on the growth of landlines onto how in recent years MVNAs have helped grow the number of active comms providers that use the VNO route, I can see that the trend is still upwards. But when will it peak? And will that peak mean the average customer is torn between several standard voice, text and data providers? Will that, in turn, mean some brands lose out because they’re less attractive as straight comms providers than others?

By adding TV streaming to our offer, we’re helping brands continue to innovate. More than that, TV streaming provides far greater flexibility to create bespoke services than voice, text and data alone. Brands can create VNO services that are very closely tied to their core business, and to the interests of their client base.

If innovation means moving the goalposts, we’re happy to help the brands we work with be the ones that move them.

Shanks Kulam is the Co-Founder and CMO of x-Mobility