MVNO and Multi-Brand Wholesale Strategy

Coleago’s MVNO and multi-brand wholesale practice is led by Scott McKenzie. Prior to joining Coleago Scott was the Chief Strategy Officer for the Dutch operator KPN’s international mobile division before becoming the CEO of KPN’s mobile wholesale business. In this latter role, he was responsible for a €1bn business in 5 European countries dealing with over 40 MVNOs and brand partners hosted on KPN’s networks and platforms.

The challenges of launching an MVNO

The combination of an increasingly favourable regulatory environment and market maturity has led to a significant growth in MVNOs. The main challenge for an MVNO is no different to any other business and that is to have a good “story”, some form of competitive advantage, a source of differentiation or a USP (unique selling point). This can be achieved if:

  • there is a clearly differentiated value proposition that appeals to the targeted market segment,  e.g. common interest, ethnicity, specific need. or
  • when the business can leverage existing assets such as existing customers, brand, distribution, content or infrastructure.

The most critical success factor is securing a network deal at a wholesale rate which allows the MVNO to create value for shareholders. The chances of negotiating a good deal are significantly enhanced if the underlying business proposition is strong and is presented in a clear, consistent and compelling business plan.

You can benefit from Scott McKenzie’s expertise to develop a robust business plan for your MVNO and negotiate a favourable telecoms services agreement with the host network.

Multi-band wholesale strategy, an option for mobile operators

In most mature mobile markets growth has stalled and margins have been under pressure for some time. Market leaders and market challengers in both developed and emerging markets are looking to maintain growth but also to manage carefully the cost base. A multi-brand wholesale strategy offers growth without significant customer investment and hence can be the right commercial approach in a mature or maturing market not only for late entrants but also for the leading operators.  Actions would include:

  • Focus on segments and multi-branding.
  • Aggressively pursue wholesale opportunities in parallel with retail.
  • Rationalise own retail footprint

There a number of benefits of a multi-brand wholesale strategy

  • De-commoditise the business and better serve customers with lower subscriber acquisition and retention costs.
  • Develop mutually beneficial commercial partnerships with other brand and distribution owners.
  • Deny competitors valuable partnership opportunities.

A multi-brand strategy is not without its risks however, for example careful customer segmentation is essential to ensure that existing revenues are not cannibalised.

Call Scott McKenzie now to learn more about how best to tackle this opportunity.


Stefan Zehle

T: +44 7974 356 258

Graham Friend

T: +41 79 855 1354

Scott McKenzie

T: +44 7825 294 576