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Tough times ahead for US MVNOs

The high-profile failures of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) Amp’d Mobile, ESPN Mobile and Disney Mobile demonstrate the difficulty of competing in the US mobile market. We expect more MVNOs to exit the market in 2008. Despite this, we believe the MVNO opportunity exists, especially in a vast market like the US, but it will be tough. Raymond Yu gives an overview of the US MVNO market and identifies the key lessons to learn from those MVNOs that have been successful and those that have failed.
Table of contents

Key messages

Ovum view

US - a fragmented but consolidating market

Four players dominate
Consolidation of regional MNOs
Dominant US MNOs control the postpaid market

Wholesale market conditions

The regulator is no longer involved
MNOs’ attitudes to wholesale

MVNO landscape

MVNO successes
MVNO failures

Lessons to learn

Choose your target market wisely
Get the basics right
Be unique

Table of figures

Figure 1 US MNO market share, 3Q04-3Q07
Figure 2 US mobile connections and mobile penetration rate, 2006-2011
Figure 3 US prepaid and postpaid connection split in 3Q07
Figure 4 Comparisons of ARPUs of Sprint and T-Mobile, 3Q07
Figure 5 US MNO disconnections, 3Q06-3Q07
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Tough times ahead for US MVNOs

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