The business — model of the virtual cellular operator — MVNO — started transition from unofficial to rather mass. Technologies for a long time allow, and telekom-business tries to return to well-being of corpulent times by attraction to the networks of the not covered target audience. Business much-criticised subscribers is entered by hunters of benefit, at which behind soul only a marketing fishing tackle and pair millions investments on bait.

Start of regional expansion tight niche products of ability to live marketing specialists the cellular companies was held. Federal operator MTS first of " the big three " has brought the tariffs sharpened under strictly certain audience in regions. Hypermarkets retail chain Auchan from middle of May have started to connect buyers on the tariff plan “A-Mobile”. This product to some attributes can be counted the most simple variant of an embodiment Business — models Virtual cellular operator MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) though the operator of it(him) tries so to not position.

The model of attraction of new subscribers popular all over the world, most likely, will be the nearest years on an edge of front of struggle for purses of subscribers, and many companies Telekom-sectors Can expand due to it(her) the a field of action. To that there are market and legislative preconditions. Especially in the Volga region where, despite of legal vacuum, there are several years similar projects show serviceability some.

The tariff for two

Partner telecommunication project MTS and the largest European network retailer Auchan is started in Moscow in December, 2008, in regions — from middle of May. The similar project operates for buyers of a network in France (since October, 2006, 450 thousand subscribers) and in Italy (since August, 2008). As well as in Europe, boxes With “And — Mobajl” — SIM-card And the contract — are sold only in retail chain Auchan (26 shops in Russia, in the Volga region — in Nizhni Novgorod and Samara). Thus functioning — transfer of a signal, billing, support of clients, reception of payments — completely provides MTS. The subscribers set off in statistics for them. It is impossible to proceed to the tariff from other tariffs MTS — under it the separate number capacity is allocated.

The tariff gives 15 free-of-charge minutes in day of conversations inside a network and quite competitive, and the most important, simple quotations in a statement on “external” communication(connection) and text messages. " We know, that it is difficult in many respects(for much) to understand variety of tariffs of operators, — the head of a battalion Electronics " the central office of purchases Auchan Russia" speaks Franc Garrabos. — Therefore we have created for sale in the network Unique The goods — the simple and clear tariff for mobile communication“. The representative of French retailer assures, that the basic purpose of employment(occupation) by “not profile business” — strengthening of the status discounter and an opportunity to give clients a way to save on telephone conversations that they spent for the goods more.

“A-Mobile” — Specially developed product with precise specialization works in dialogue inside a network, — speaks acting as the director of branch MTS marketing specialist The Volga region — JUV " Alexander Melamed. — Crisis has resulted all operators to that dialogue inside a network becomes more, and for those who will leave from crisis with the greater speaking user’s base, it can play plus “. Partners do not open any financial details of the project, assuring that the first results of work in capital “have surpassed their best expectations”.

“We consider this product as a new trade channel and the new form of sale, — explains strategic interest Alexander Melamed. — There are traditional ways of sales — dealers, own offices, departments on work with corporate clients. Theoretically we simply can sell complete sets MTS in shops Aushan or anyone other hypermarket, but the product will be imperceptible, and it will not bring expected result”.

Elena Poleshchikova, J’son and Partners analyst recognizes in the project “most simple variant MVNO — only marketing”. “The Classical virtual operator takes at base only access to networks of transfer of a signal, that is from them all, except for base stations and frequency sanctions”, — speaks analyst. Participants of the market name The discount-project MTS the adequate answer to creation by “Megaphone” of the virtual operator “it Is simple for dialogue”, started in capital region. The unique tariff of the operator assumes cost of minute of conversation and SMS inside a network 5 copecks and moderate quotations on the external traffic. Thus voice services, text messages and a minimum of services are accessible to subscribers only. The project is made out completely as The MVNO-operator — Separate billing, the call-centre and a network of offices of sales. It would “be simply possible to count hereby MVNO if the virtual operator and a basic network different legal persons owned, Elena Poleshchikova considers. As the Expert Volga” the representative has informed magazine “Megaphone — Povolzh’e”, In the near future occurrences “Is simple” in region it is not supposed.

“A-Mobile” is a quasi-MVNO, it can be counted faster the tariff offer which, certainly, will lift to the operator the traffic and beats in other price niche, — considers Eldar Murtazin conducting analyst Mobile Research Group, — soon will appear a lot of similar quasi-MVNO, basically in cooperation with retail networks".

On the bird’s rights

Virtual cellular operators work in the Russian market some years. The pioneer was “Corbina Telecom” which since 1999 gave mobile communication(connection) on the basis of a network of out-of-date standard “BeeLine” DAMPS. Now the company itself was dissolved in integrated “Vympelcom” and serves only the typed subscribers. Matrix mobile (the company MATRIX Telecom) “, “Allo Incognito” (“CountruCom”, JSC) and “The Central telegraph” work from middle “zero”, using as a basic network GSM-network “Megaphone” as a host provider. In the corporate market the operator “Gars Telecom” successfully operates.

All projects used model MNVO in the activity, but were never positioned exclusively as virtual operators. The most public projects — the telephone operator “Euroset” and “the National mobile phone” (NMT) — were legalized in 2005 in quality MVNO, having received the sanction Scientific and technical Advice(council) Mininformsvjazi to create skilled zones. “Euronetwork” can be counted the domestic project for the Volga region because it(he) is based on a network of Volga region operator “SMARTS”. Since 2007 during work of a network it was sold about 20 thousand. SIM-cards, and till now without any advertising some hundreds per one week are sold, has told to magazine Natalia Shvejkina, PR manager in Volga region branch of company “Euroset”. She has not named number of working subscribers, but, in opinion of participants of the market, in a network now “talk” five — six thousand persons.

NMT — the operator leaving on the market at support of the government of Moscow, but till now taking place in a stage of test operation. Nevertheless this company became the first operator who has received in May of this year the license of the Ministry of Communications and mass communications (Minkomsvjazi) “on rendering of services of mobile radio telephone communication using MVNO business-models. Base operators for work NMT become the Volga region operator SMARTS and SkyLink, that is the operator will render services in two standards: in Moscow and Moscow suburbs— In CDMA-450, and in the Volga region — in GSM. According to news portal ComNews, NMT will start networks in operation simultaneously in Moscow, the Moscow and Samara areas. Then the operator plans to distribute activity to all 15 regions where works SMARTS. The company is going to collect about 50 thousand subscribers in the first year of work. Except for the basic services of mobile communication — voices and text messages, NMT expects to involve subscribers with services of payment from the mobile phone of various services: parking, gasoline and penalties of motor licensing and inspection department.

‘The Opportunity of cooperation with NMT is coordinated for a long time, and we wait, when the operator will start to work’, — speaks Alexander Pyzhov, Director of commercial department SMARTS. In SMARTS as a whole are pleased also with experience of cooperation with ‘Euroset’. ‘Retailer now especially does not develop this project, but also does not turn off, — speaks Mr. Pyzhov. — The stable number of subscribers uses the Tariff, and joint activity is repaid for us’. ‘It is the profitable project both for us and for SMARTS, — confirm in the Euroset’. — And it has good prospects if our shareholders will make the decision of it to be developed”. The Volga region cellular operator names camera activity of “Euroset” “the tariff”, because of absence at the company of the appropriate license.

After distribution NMT of the first license readiness to become(begin) operators MVNO has declared some more companies, including Tele2, working in several regions of Russia as the operator of cellular communication. The company has experience of activity in quality The MVNO-operator Abroad also it is ready to transfer it(him) to Russia, assure of the company. In SMARTS speak that at all against to receive the license of the virtual operator — for work in those regions where the company does not have frequency resource. “We now discuss such opportunity, — tells Alexander Pyzhov, — for our clients who use roaming, for example, in Moscow, via operators of ‘the big three’, it could give essential benefit”. According to sales manager SMARTS, conversations in guest networks manage to subscribers in three — four than time is more expensive inside the network because of absence of an own subsystem. Besides the operator has some experience of creation quasi-MVNO — the youth tariff plan “Yo¬” in some regions of presence.

Outside the zone

In the world now operates about 400 MVN-operators Under 72 brands. In Russia on the end of 2008 it was totaled eight operators MVNO, in the first quarter of the current year it was started two new projects: “A-Mobile” and “PROSTO”. On data J’son and Partners, communicating the user’s base of virtual operators while makes 0,2 % from all user’s base of cellular operators (187,6 million, 2008 — see the table). In Russia a very slow process has quickened after an output at the end of the last year order Minkomsvjazi (from 29.12.2008), being while the unique working document regulating activity of virtual operators. But to receive the license it is possible, only having agreed preliminary with the base operator which not so burn with the desire to start up competitors in the networks as they consider.

“In the Eurounion the law obliges the host-operator to allocate up to 30 percents frequency a resource to virtual operators”, — Elena Poleshchikova explains. It is really not so favorably to the cellular companies, but as a whole improves quality of services and reduces of the price due to development of a competition“. Besides virtual operators are much more effective, when do not become isolated on a network of one the host-operator, and buy the traffic from several players of the market. “Classical MVNO that have everything, except towers and frequencies — are not presented in Russia and in the nearest future will not appear, — asserts Eldar Murtazin. — there is no legal mechanism obliging operators as in Europe, under compulsion on a not discrimination basis to give access to networks and to share the frequency a resource with other operators”. “Absence of the legislative obligation for operators will give virtual operators the traffic to constrain growth of market MVNO in Russia, — considers Jury Dombrovsky the chairman of board of directors Tele2Russia”. — By our experience in Europe, either on the side of the host-operator, or on the side of MVNO, we see that there where the admission to networks is the obligation, it is much easier to develop this business — model“.

Except for expenses for legalization of business from operators big enough investments are required. Investments of operator MVNO make 2-10 million dollars, depending on scales of the project, consider in Tele2. In Volga region SMARTS estimates investments in creation of the virtual operator in 2-3 million dollars, just as their partners from NMT. But in any case the named sums are non-comparable to charges on construction of networks of the third generation. MTS is going to enclose in a new infrastructure in 2008-2009 700 million dollars.

But there is also one more restriction — throughput of networks. “At us under civil needs it is allocated 7-8% of the frequency resource and if from it select 30% more, operators can not render qualitative services, — considers Elena Poleshchikova. — Therefore at us reluctantly and not everyone go on sale of the cellular traffic ”.

By experience of the western signalmen, excessive activity of virtual operators can overload networks easily. In many regions the infrastructure really works in a busy schedule. " There where we have stock of capacity, we with pleasure are ready to give a part of the networks to virtual operators “, — speak in SMARTS. In MTS assure, that have in the Volga region a good network with small loading and are ready to accept all new subscribers ‘A-Mobile’.

Eldar Murtazin specifies, that loading GSM-networks In Moscow And Saint Petersburg Now has a little decreased, and before crisis reached 85 % that is already fraught with overloads at o’clock of greatest loading. In the Volga region the business is different from the operator to the operator, but on the average 60-65 %, speaks analyst. In J’son and Partners know about enough high loading of networks in Tatarstan — 75-80 %, and assume, that business — model of the virtual operator can become the most favorable at construction of networks of the following generations. Networks 3G or LTE (4G) can be created under the circuit of joint participation — someone has frequencies, the others can invest and use the public network. These networks appear expensive, but will have the big free capacity, and their owners will be vitally interested to pay back investments, mark in Tele2. ‘The Standard 3G allows planning networks better and gives some gain of capacity, but cardinally does not unload existing GSM-networks’, — emphasizes Eldar Murtazin.

Differently, transition of working operators to new standards will not open automatically road for MVNO. Most likely, the market will continue to grow only due to successful enthusiasts and marketing specialists from big telekoms. Anyway, legislative preconditions to give access to an infrastructure will not appear yet or operators will not face catastrophic deficiency of investments, MVNO will develop under the managed control of operators of ” the big three", having the full control above networks.