MVNOs, Price Competition To Shake Up Market
A fresh attempt is to be made to shake up the Macedonian mobile market through the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and low pricing. National regulatory authority Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has confirmed that one new MVNO has started operating after it eased regulations governing the provision of such services and suspended price caps applicable to such operators. BMI believes the conditions are now right to support the launch of MVNOs in this saturated market, but counsel against excess investment in this field owing to the likelihood of low margins.
Kapital reports that Austria-based Mobile Connect Telecom registered with the AEC in August and had recently launched services. As yet, none of the country's three licensed mobile network operators - T-Mobile Macedonia, VIP and ONE - have revealed whether they are hosting the newcomer, but BMI thinks it most likely that VIP is the host network, as it is owned by Telekom Austria. The second-ranked company will be keen to use the MVNO to help it draw level with market leader T-Mobile. VIP has already proved itself willing to work with other service providers as it partners with Vodafone Group to support data and value-added service offerings, including a dedicated BlackBerry service.
BMI believes Mobile Connect Telecom is the first MVNO to have launched services in Macedonia. However, it is not the first to have been authorised to operate in the country. In November 2010, the AEC assigned 100,000 numbers to WTI Macedonia to support a putative MVNO service. However, WTI appears to have been unable to reach a hosting agreement with any of the three network operators and there is no record of the company ever having launched. Assuming its authorisation is still valid, and assuming it still has an interest in doing so, WTI may now be encouraged to restart negotiations with the operators.
|Lower Prices Could Boost Growth Outlook|
|Mobile Market Forecast, 2010-2017|