“Africa can be a suitable market for MVNOs who are willing to step away from traditional airtime and data reselling”
Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Christopher Lycett, Portfolio Manager for MVNOs World Congress sat down with Jignesh Dave, Founder, and CEO at Next360 to discuss roam free connectivity, African MVNO opportunity, and digital banking.
MVNOs: What are some of the key opportunities and challenges for MVNOs in Africa?
Jignesh: The main opportunities lie in:
- Emerging markets with low smartphone penetration could be an interesting proposition by focusing on reach and penetration, that could yield desired results
- In demography where the majority of people have predetermined X amount per day to spend on telecommunications, an MVNO which can piggyback off existing businesses like microfinance, last-mile retail, and education is an interesting avenue
- Africa can be a suitable market for MVNOs who are willing to step away from traditional airtime and data reselling
Jignesh: As for the challenges:
- Razor-thin margins with monopolistic market driven by MNOs
- There is a lack of regulatory framework, unlike the matured markets where MVNOs is a way to prevent monopoly and increase competition
- Distribution to make services at arm’s reach
- South African example – forcing users to rely on payment methods like credit cards or contracts in a completely prepaid market with little access to banking. This is brands as big as Virgin struggled to make a mark
MVNOs: MNOs and Banks are launching MVNOs with FinTech – How important is this to MVNO proposition in Africa?
Jignesh: Giant banks like FNB & Standard Bank in South Africa getting the feel of connectivity market with the main goal of retaining clients & offer a value add is slowly but surely making a mark in the industry. Execution and operational optimization being the key ingredient, this could become a very solid ingredient for Africa as a continent.
MVNOs: You are set to speak at MVNOs World Congress 2020 in Berlin in September. What excites you most about the event?
Jignesh: I’m very much looking forward to speaking at MVNOs World Congress and meeting global industry leaders, which could be very useful in terms of experience sharing and collaboration.
This is always a great event to attend, particularly for interacting with MVNOs community which provides a level platform for peers, partners, and of course competitors to engage and steer the industry forward. It also gives me an opportunity to keep me up to date with industry updates and “what next” in terms of offerings.
This year I intend to participate with one specific goal – to have an MNO partner, especially in the Australian market as that is another important destination to be added as an offering to the global traveler.
In exciting news, Jignesh will be speaking at MVNOs World Congress 2020 in September in Berlin. Find out more about the event here.