By Negracious Senior Council
Telecommunications is evolving. The future is data and not voice, which means if you are going to have premium products that are data-hungry, you are a good candidate for an MVNO.
Telecommunication invaded the financial sector via the “Mobile Money” wave which has seen the unbanked becoming banked. In Malawi for example, Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba have seen over 3 million people opening “bank” accounts in a space of 3 years while Nation Bank, which is 100 years old, has not reached 600,000 customers.
That’s how technology is accelerating banking services in Malawi and Affrica. The best-suited candidates for MVNO are, therefore, the banks. Imagine a bank-owned cellphone network. All that air time top up happening within the banks’ ecosystem. Money does not leave the bank, acauiring the chance to protect liquidity and chew on transaction fees thereby increasing Non Interest Income (NII).
Currently, a top up on a mobile phone, means that bank has to surrender that value to another bank, assuming that other bank is the principal banker of the mobile operator who just sold the airtime. Losing liquidity is not what banks ought to do.
Let me start it this way:
A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which the MVNO provides services to its customers. It uses the mobile network infrastructure provided by a mobile network operator like Cell C, but offers its own products and services, including billing support systems and marketing.
This entails that an MVNO enters into a business agreement with a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) like the said Cell C, to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates, then sets retail prices independently.
Some mobile telecommunication companies which are currently ridding on Cell C network infrastructure include Virgin Mobile, Mr Price Mobile and me&you mobile.
The emergence of the MVNO model in a market is often a result of one of two factors. Regulatory intervention designed to lower the barriers for market entry and ultimately increase competition, or a strategic decision by an MNO looking to extend its existing operations and target niche or undeserved segments through a second or perhaps multiple brands.
I totally understand these State House – funded tabloids’ lack of understanding on this particular business to be mainly due to emptiness of substance in the mercenaries behind. In desperate attempts to feed their agenda of attacking Major 1 they, did not give themselves a chance to understand the underlying business concept before springing into hollow babbling and meaningless hubba-hubba.
What we are talking about is that an MVNO company provides mobile phone services while beating the absence of its own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum, GSM,CDMA or other core mobile network related infrastructure such as towers.
However, PSB Network does own its own home location register (HLR), which allows more flexibility and ownership of the subscriber’s mobile phone number ( MSISDN). In this beautiful case, PSB Network is appearing as a roaming partner to other networks abroad, and as a network within its own region. Furthermore, PSB Network is running its own billing and customer care solutions known as Business Support Systems (BSS).
Make no mistake: PSB Network is not a mere telecommunication vendor, who purchase wholesale mobile minutes and resell to end-users as most MVNOs would be understood to be all about. Normally such MVNOs do not have their own SIM cards and the services provided by service providers depend on the services of the hosting MNOs. PSB Network is otherwise. It is coming fully-fledged with SIM cards bearing its brand. It has its operation centre in Durban where necessary infrastructure that will enable PSB Network graduate from MVNO to MNO, are being engineered.
Major 1 did not mince words during the launch of this versatile telecommunication company. While acknowledging that it has started on the threshold of supervision of its capacity to handle efficiency of such operations, Major 1 disclosed that PSB Network has began as MVNO hooked to Cell C. He was even unapologetic to declare that PSB Network is here to overtake the market.
“We gonna partake, we gonna pursue, and we gonna overtake!” Keep this statement of prophetic declaration in mind.
I refuse to honor, with my silence, the drama by the critics who have convinced themselves that PSB Network is a farce. We have noted the traditional haters of Major 1 denouncing (and others discrediting) the existence and verism of the newly launched business line – PSB Network.
Mostly, such nonsensical attacks are hinged on an argument that there is no such thing existing as PSB Network on the list of mobile telecommunication companies. I hereby bring a dustbin to garbage this nonsense in!
Shepherd Bushiri has demonstrated immense levels of focus, determination and vision. The launch of his network shows he is man whose eyes and legs are in the future. It would not be shocking to hear that he is launching a bank. His christian content makes a super candidate for an MVNO. One day, he will only be live on his cell phone network, you have to be a subscriber to access him.
About 200,000 people attend his services in a week and millions across Africa watch his Tv programming. Delivering his content on his mobile network is a gold mine. The gold is data, which is packaged as data bundles. That’s value. That’s business.
The future is MVNO and it is here, and Prophet Bushiri is in it.
- Negracious SC is a Malawian philosopher, and political analyst.