News | Sunday, 03 January 2010

Bookmark and Share

Mobile wars unlikely to be sweet deal for parties

PN mobile to broker direct GO contract

As the Nationalist party gears up with its new mobile phone offering in response to Labour’s RedTouch Fone, the PN appears to have a struck a better deal that will make its offering PING a less costly option.
While RedTouch Fone makes use of Vodafone’s network by means of intermediary enabler Aspider Solutions, the PN will sign a contract directly with GO Mobile.
As an MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler), Aspider made it possible for RedTouch and the defunct Bay Mobile to launch their products through Vodafone.
But GO Mobile has now developed its own in-house MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that enables third parties to use its network, without having to use an intermediary agent.
“This means the contract signed between Vodafone and RedTouch reflects the costs of both Aspider and Vodafone,” a telecoms specialist told MaltaToday.
“PING on the other hand, will have less replication of costs, as the deal is signed directly with GO… however, I very much doubt that if PN did get a better deal, the money saved will in any way translate into better tariffs for customers. MVNOs do not make any financial sense at all, especially in Malta where the technology infrastructures carry ridiculous overheads,” the expert said.
“The only reason why any brand could decide to launch such a service is merely strategic, a marketing ploy. But I am informed that some officials from both GO and the PN have their doubts on whether the investment in PING will pay off even on a strategic level. I personally believe that PING will give the PN a push just before the elections and that’s about it.”
Telecoms experts speaking to MaltaToday agreed that the replication of technological infrastructures for the running of MVNO or MVNE systems in Malta makes no sense for the brand that launches the service, neither for the network, nor the enabler.
“Aspider came into existence in Europe only because many of the host companies were completely uninterested in investing in in-house MVNO systems due to the extra work, investment, commercial viability and the unjustifiable return it offers. A market was created for them here and they came to Malta,” one expert said.
PING has been allocated the 9889- telephony prefix by the Malta Communications Authority, and is the second MVNO that will utilise the GO Mobile infrastructure, after the launch of MTV Mobile in April 2009, two months after the launch of Melita Mobile.
MTV Mobile was a joint venture between GO Mobile and MTV Networks Europe, operator of the music television network with the same name synonymous with the 16-24 age groups, under which GO Mobile issued “Branded by GO” MTV Mobile SIM cards to local subscribers, with special telephony rates and offers about MTV events.
The launch of PING has brought the number of mobile phone operators in Malta back to six following the closure of Bay Mobile earlier this year. So far, GO had shied away from opening its mobile infrastructure to MVNOs, viewing them as competitors, with the two MVNOs that were currently operating in Malta, but then made a strategic shift following the launch of RedTouchFone on the competing Vodafone Malta infrastructure in November last year.
In fact, GO had offered a deal to the PN to open its own MVNO thereafter, however the party had shied away from the offer.

Any comments?
If you wish your comments to be published in our Letters pages please click button below.
Please write a contact number and a postal address where you may be contacted.



Download MaltaToday Sunday issue front page in pdf file format


Strong leadership needed in 2010

Copyright © MediaToday Co. Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 9016, Malta, Europe
Managing editor Saviour Balzan | Tel. ++356 21382741 | Fax: ++356 21385075 | Email