While resellers of cellular service have long been part of cellular channels to market, the recent growth of strongly branded Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) is creating a new way to compete for current subscribers and offering opportunities for significantly increased Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). These carriers are entering a crowded and competitive market, with more than two-thirds of U.S. residents current cellular subscribers, and more than 20 MVNOs in operation and many in the planning stages.
This complex environment requires a deep understanding of the true demand and marketing challenges that will determine how these MVNOs succeed and thrive. To understand consumer interests and behaviors toward MVNOs, In-Stat has released a report based on a structured survey of 1,017 present cellular users and those with plans to obtain service within 12 months.
Some of the key findings from the high-tech market research firm's report include:
* About 80% of both planned and current cellular subscribers would consider buying service from an MVNO.
* Compared to other providers, customers of the smaller U.S. national carriers are likely to churn and represent potential prospects for MVNO services.
* Most wireless purchasing decisions are based on three main factors: coverage, service quality and price.
* Consumers considering wireless usage may be swayed by payment flexibility and cash payment options.
* Respondents who are not yet wireless customers will likely talk less than current subscribers; however, they offer a greater potential for usage of data services.
* Consumers considering wireless usage believe they will purchase ring tones and games more than current wireless users.
* Consumers considering subscribing to wireless services will want to see camera phone/MMS services, in particular, as well as SMS/instant messaging and PIM services as part of the offering. Both current and planned wireless users express the most interest in subscribing to wireless services offered by major consumer electronics brands and non-wireless telecommunications companies.