Photo - Models show new Buzz Me prepaid cards in Malaysia.
A partnership between Malaysian firms, U Mobile and Enabling Asia, intends to form five mobile virtual network operator brands within 12 months.
According to Enabling Asia (EA), which said it is the first mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) in Asia, it will offer licensing, billing, call centre and technical services to the brands to help get to market efficiently.
During the announcement, local telco U Mobile chief executive officer Jaffa Sany Ariffin said U Mobile would provide exclusive network connectivity in Malaysia to EA, which launched its own prepaid mobile services called Buzz Me with the prefix 011-34.
"We are glad to be partnering EA in this mutually beneficial collaboration, which will strengthen our position in the competitive mobile industry by penetrating into the target market segments through MVNOs [Mobile Virtual Network Operators]," said Ariffin. "With EA's expertise in the mobile industry along with our state-of-the-art network infrastructure, customers and brands will be able to start dynamic and high quality MVNO services to benefit consumers."
"Being an emerging telco, it is timely for U Mobile to venture into the MVNO arena, enabling more consumers to enjoy our 3G high speed Internet access. This will also help build our business and gradually increase our market share and overall revenue of the company," he said.
"We are delighted to be the first in Asia to offer companies the opportunity to revolutionise their business model. Brands with their own branded mobile services are able to generate sustainable and additional revenue by connecting directly with their consumers," said EA chief executive officer, Loke Yee Siong.
"With EA, brands can launch their mobile services speedily and easily; in less than 90 days, and at lower cost than trying to do this with the telcos," said Loke, pointing to successful MVNOs such as Tesco Mobile and Ikea Family in the UK, and 7-Connect by 7 Eleven in Singapore.
"[In addition] we are confident of launching mobile services for five brands within 12 months," he said. "We are in talks with companies which are impressed with the proven model overseas where Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs are prevalent and profitable."
Loke cited consultant Ovum's report [Global MVNO Outlook 2010-2015] that expected global MVNO revenues to be reach US$9.5 billion by 2015, which included MVNO revenue in Asia Pacific at US$980 million and Malaysia, US$65 million.
"Launching your own branded mobile services or MNVOs enables you to communicate with your customers directly," he said. "With a custom branded mobile offering, you can optimise your marketing and distribution channels, as well as reward your customers through exclusive offers."
"The MVNO solution we offer provides customers with loyalty benefits, earned simply by talking and spending at outlets," said Loke. "For every ringgit spent on mobile services, consumers will receive 20 percent or 20 sen back as reward points. This is the best mobile reward plan in Malaysia."
"These points have no expiry dates and can be used at the brands' outlets and our M8 marketplace loyalty website which offers the latest gadgets and exclusive deals," he said, adding that Buzz Me customers would receive the 20 percent in the form of reward points that could be used at M8 loyalty website.
"We have invested RM20 million [US$6.52 million] to provide the necessary infrastructure and hosted systems, and expect to invest another RM5 million [US$1.62 million] next year," said Loke.
EA's customers have access to more than 10,000 distribution channels nationwide including convenience stores, petrol marts, pharmacies, hypermarkets and mobile phone dealers.
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