Friday, August 8, 2008

What is a MVNO?

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a mobile operator that does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure. Instead, MVNO's have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers.

There are three primary MVNO's in the UK currently: Virgin Mobile (T-Mobile), Tesco Mobile (O2) and BT Mobile (Vodafone).

The MVNO market-leader T-Mobile's new MVNO partnership with Ikea went live today. You can expect to see many more such partnerships announced over the coming months. All UK network operators are pursuing new MVNO business in order to grow their service revenues.

The UK wholesale market is estimated to be worth £1 billion at present, and to grow to twice that by 2012.

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How many PC's do you need?

If your household is anything like mine, you'll have a main 'family' desktop PC or two at home and a laptop for use in front of the TV or on the move. However, computer makers hope they can pursuade you that that's just not enough. They would have us believe our PC estate won't be complete without a mini-notebook for surfing the Web at the coffee shop.

Manfacturers including Acer, Asus, Dell and Hewlett-Packard are creating this market with low-cost mini-notebooks. Intel®, which manufactures its Atom processors for such devices, coined the term "netbooks" to describe these cheap, ultra-mobile, internet-connected laptops.

Asus was first to market with its much-hyped, lightweight, low-cost subnotebook called the Eee PC. Despite these solid-state memory devices selling out prior to Christmas, they were lacking in some respects, specifically storage. Since then though, Asus has been quick to release more roomy versions that will satisfy all but the most demanding users.

With the success of the Eee - Asus have sold more than 2 million of them - it was only a matter of time before other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. HP followed with its Mini-Note in April and Acer with the Aspire One notebook a couple of months later. Dell will release its interpretation - the Dell E series - later this month.

But could the success of these diminutive devices be at the cost of sales revenue in the traditional laptop market? There's surely a risk of cannibalising the market for higher-priced, full-function notebook PCs. Well, no...

Market research firm IDC forecasts worldwide shipments of ultra-low-cost notebook PCs to jump from fewer than 500,000 units in 2007 to more than 9 million in 2012. But with low selling prices, sales will be less than $3 billion in 2012. By comparison, total laptop computer sales that year could total 282 million units, or $213 billion, IDC says.

IDC's David Daoud says "The netbook market is being driven by the PC makers. They're trying to stimulate demand among consumers for a new type of computing device."

Computer makers are targeting netbooks at young, first-time PC customers as well as experienced notebook owners. They're convinced users will be interested in an Internet device that's bigger than a smart phone but smaller than a traditional notebook computer. They say customers will appreciate a small, lightweight device that they can whip out in a coffee shop, plug in their mobile broadband dongle and surf the Web in a matter of seconds.

I for one, get the feeling it's not going to be too long before our PC family has a new toddler for us to play with!

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Mobile broadband for everyone!

Inquirer contributor, Tony Dennis has written a post on 3 Mobile's mobile broadband offering and the way it’s designed to connect the 'unconnectable'.

This Robin Hood type painting of 3 by the Inquirer is built on the brand's positioning; specifically, the ability to offer their mobile broadband service in a pay-as-you-go package that engages the previously 'disenfranchised'. This being that portion of the market that, for circumstances such as bad credit history (for whatever reason) or a free-roaming nature, aren't suited to a fixed connection or contracted solution.

This is what the Inquirer believes is partly accountable for the large and expanding mobile broadband dongle UK user base, recently reported at almost 500,000. Like Tony says, "All you need is a computer, a USB port and a decent signal from the nearest 3 mast."

You can read the full article here.

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