Key events, Q2 2017
The MVNO market was again very active in Q2 2017, with a significant amount of market entry activity, as can be seen from the Figure below. While there were 9 confirmed launches during Q2 2017, there were 20 announcements of intention to launch – indicating that there will be continued high levels of activity later in the year, or early 2018.
Please note: MVNOpro counts announcements of entry separately to confirmed launches, since not all intentions to launch result in a launch event. MVNOs make their intention to launch known at different stages – sometimes it is just executive speculation, or it may occur when they gain an MVNO licence or when they make an agreement with a network operator or vendor. We only count those where a substantive event has occurred indicating intention to launch. Even then, many companies who gain MVNO licences either sit on this licence for years or eventually decide not to launch an MVNO. Thus these intentions to launch are best interpreted as an indication of market interest.
We count market exit events as a company shutting down or where a company is acquired and merged into the existing business of a rival. There were 6 exit events in the first quarter of 2017, which is significantly lower than the number recorded in Q1 (6 in Q2 versus 12 in Q1).
When we count market entries and announcements of intention to enter there were 29 such events in Q2 2017. When compared to Q1 2017, Q2 shows roughly similar levels of entry events (29 in Q2, 30 in Q1), although there were slightly more launches (9 in Q2 versus 7 in Q1).
If we take all entry events as a whole (both those who have launched, and those taking steps to launch), and examine the geographical pattern, then of the 29 entry events in Q2, 7 originate in Europe. If Russia is included in Europe, the European haul rises to 15 out of 29 entrants. The remaining 14 are spread across LATAM (5), North America (1), Africa (4), Middle East (2) and Asia (2). However, just as a goodly proportion of the European total originates from Russia, so 3 out of 4 in Africa originate from a single market (Senegal). The North American market was particularly quiet this quarter in terms of both entry and exit events. Three of the four exits were in Europe.
Announced expansion events continue to be focused on technical or geographical expansion this quarter, rather than service or tariff innovation.
4G expansion events this quarter include Lycamobile Spain rolling out 4G to its 1.9 million subscribers. Its network partner is Movistar. This is its 11th rollout of 4G. Meanwhile network operators O2 and Vodafone are rolling out 4G to their MVNO partners in the Czech Republic. The first MVNOs to receive this will be BLESKmobil, OpenCall, emtecko, Vinatel, Tesco Mobile and SAZKAmobil.
MVNE I-New signed with Sprint to extend its services to the US market. Sprint claims in the announcement that it now supports more than 100 MVNOs on its network. Lowi (Spain) has created a new bundle of services comprising mobile plus FTTH. Kogan (Australia) will launch fixed broadband services launched in conjunction with Vodafone Australia.