Russian mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), which received first licenses last year, have settled down with an active clients search in the B2B sector. At a positive glance at the perspective of MVNO development in Russian retail sector, national corporate market can bury idea of such networks, according to the most of the experts interviewed by Cnews.

In Russian MVNO business models it is customary to outline 3 levels of MVNO — depending on the level of responsibilities sharing in clients’ value forming. The first level is marked by the absence of the own network infrastructure — practically the carrier is a seller of the services. The second level supposes certain own infrastructure — at least proper billing, such carrier is able to play on the market under its own brand. The third level is a full-format MVNO, independent from the telecommunications carrier whose network is used for services rendering. It possesses the regulator’s license and builds the whole infrastructure (i.e. transport network, switchers, billing system) of a mobile operator network, except for radio subsystem construction.

Vladimir Shulga, Director General of “Narodny Mobilny Telephone” believes, that the sector of corporate clients will be much more interested in collaboration with MVNO of the 3d level: “MVNO of the highest level gets the most perspective to be used on the Russian corporate market in the nearest 1-2 years owing to the most independency of this MVNO business-model from host-operator (own network code, numbering, billing etc.) which enables to provide services with high reliability (when cooperating with two and more host-operators)”.

Nevertheless, at this stage of implementation there is no such business-model of virtual carriers market in b2b segment. Yuriy Zigulya, the head of Mango-Telecom business development department states: “There is no MVNO market in Russia. There are just several initiative persons who managed to ‘get’ MVNO licenses”.

At the moment on Russian corporate market service based on MVNO model is provided only by Gars Telecom — “Smart Mobile”. According to Michael Sergeev, Director for Corporate communications, the total size of convergent services for corporate sector market numbers 4% from the whole Russian mobile communications market.

The companies providing converged fixed-mobile services (FMC) should be considered as MVNO forgoers. In Europe, as a rule, MVNO unlike large telecommunication carriers, are oriented not to a mass consumer, but to the selected subscribers segments and specific services rendering, and to the complex convergent packs of services providing. The main aim of these companies is providing of the quality of services at a level of the mobile operators with minimum MVNO costs for one subscriber engaging and servicing. In Russia this market is not formed completely. And under the conditions of financial crisis corporate sector had compressed sufficiently. At the same time it is clear, that mobile communications as part of land-line telephony service became a standard on a national market long ago. There are grounds for believing, that possible success of single niche MVNO coupled with the stable economic situation will be a push to MVNO development in a corporate sector.

In the context of the rise of competition between MVNO and MVO (strictly speaking, classic mobile operators) interest to the B2B sphere rise should be expected under marketing steps of the largest carriers as well for specific packs of services oriented to segmented markets providing.

Fight or cooperation?

Even in mid 90-s, when mobile communications came to the Russian market, it had to become essential of a business process. Wide scope of tariff plans and mobile phones spreading transferred business to a new level, supported mobility and effectiveness increase.

With networks opportunities development mobile carriers can let themselves not to be limited just by corporate tariffs, but integrate cellular communications to the corporate information system as well.

Modern tendencies are proved by the evolutions of corporate clients’ requests. The most popular services on Russian market are still the services on the basis of integration of fixed and mobile communications, or FMC, which are enabling to provide each employee of a company with necessary mobility, simplifying and accelerating the whole staff collaboration.

Among additional fixed and mobile convergent services within the single corporate network short dialing between mobile phones and calls readdressing system inside the company can be mentioned. Generally such services fit the requirements of the outsourcing processes, but for Russian companies outsourcing of telecommunication infrastructure is not much common direction.

Ivan Makovkin, Deputy Commercial Director of “Rostelecom” North-West branch, supposes, that nowadays demands in ready solutions outsourcing and services of large suppliers without substantial capital investments. MVNO business-models enable to realize such services as “Mobile Office”, Call-center and so on, that will enable virtual carrier to harmonically blend in business segment of such type. At present there are quite a few carriers possessing solutions in the field of telecom-outsourcing on the market, that is why it is too early to speak about this market tendencies.

Crisis test

This market players, interviewed by CNews, agree that in the nearest future certain number of content-oriented MVNO will appear. They will propose FMC and virtual PBX services to corporate clients. But regardless wide opportunities of MVNO in this sphere, it is necessary to remember, that Russian telecommunications market is rather concentrated and many large companies already have experience of a long-term collaboration in such solutions implementation on the basis of entrenched technologies. Large companies’ attention attraction will be possible due to either revolutionary new solutions in this sphere, or sufficiently lower prices.

Virtual networks carriers are oriented to two large niches: individuals and corporate clients. Mechanisms of engagement are similar with the only difference, that in B2B sector it is necessary to find solutions raising business effectiveness. So it is worth forming a unique pack of services for each company according to its industry features.

At the same time experts notice, that clients are interested not only in money saving, total communications cost optimization within the client’s corporate network, but also in high quality services use. It’s a common practice to provide a Client with a set of services such as 24-hour helpdesk, billing, analytic management. That is why maximum that B2B MVNO can afford is to get in the competitive battle.

After all, with evident advantages of probable original MVNO proposals, concerning, for example, integrating of fix and mobile networks efforts and further convergent tariff plans implementation for the fullest repletion of subscribers’ wants, certain disadvantages exist.

Thus, FMC opportunities under such scheme can be available only for the carrier’s own clients. I.e. first of all, a corporate client is bound to sign underlying service contract with appropriate carrier that immediately will limit has choice in alternative solutions.

The most perspectives of successful operation on the B2B market are likely to belong to the full-format MVNO of 3d level, which possess own advanced infrastructure and as a result are more independent from host-operator. But Zakhar Valkov, Managing Director of Gars Telecom representative office in North-West region is sure, that due to MNO position there is no and there won’t be any players on Russian B2B MVNO market — MVO will try to cover corporate sector themselves. Experts believe, that if the “Big three” representatives are interested in the further penetration into B2B sphere, new-appeared on their base virtual carriers will have no chance, because no one possesses neither enough experience nor facilities.