As reported by Ovum, “telco value-added services (VAS) have been under pressure to grow revenue because OTT services have gained popularity the world over”. After an in-depth analysis of five telcos from around the world, Ovum found out that most VAS services are offered via daily, weekly, or monthly subscriptions, and in many cases as part of a promotion or bundled with another service.
As digital booms across the telecoms industry, the provision of digital content becomes key to those players who want to stay relevant and differentiate themselves through unique services. The delivery is achievable by acquiring digital content assets or through partnerships with content providers.
In order to investigate these topics more closely, the MVNOs Series spoke with Godfrey St. Claire, Chief Business Officer at Joy Telecom, on their value-added services offerings, the performance of the Asia Pacific MVNO market and how Fintech is already disrupting the region.
What projects have you been working on recently?
We’re recently focusing on our core network building in Hong Kong, which makes us a Full MVNO. For now, we hold two SBO licenses, Hong Kong and South Korea, and another one is in application for Singapore. Joy Telecom conducts travel service business in South Korea, and we want to expand it to other countries, mostly in APAC and Europe. We also provide platform service to our clients, like SMS, voice, billing system and others related as a MVNE/A.
Since our engineers for core network and BSS/OSS are all veterans in their areas, there’s not too much difficulty during the process. How to cut time and costs remain the major challenges, and I believe that also applies to other MVNOs. In order to whole business picture, Joy also acquired license for travel agency (in South Korea), and partners with finance license in SEA. For end customers (outbound travelers), telecom service is merely one part of their needs overseas, flight/cruise, hotel, attraction ticket, coupons… so many services they would want during the travel, and Joy wants to be an integrator of these areas.
How has the Asia Pacific MVNO market performed throughout 2017 and into 2018?
Joy focuses on roaming and outbound travel market in the APAC and Europe, especially travellers from China, Japan & Korea. To best serve this floating customer group, we combine MVNO and travel businesses together. The annual growth rate of this market is around 10-15%, just China alone contributes around 130m to outbound travel market, more than 80% are in APAC region. In the coming years, this rate will stay roughly the same, but the demands from customers will grow and the competition intensify. Customers from different countries have various needs and customs, which acts as barrier also moat for all players in this industry.
How will 5G, IoT and eSIM impact the MVNO sector in the Asia Pacific region?
Since Joy Telecom is essentially a MVNO, we don’t have much to say about 5G, which involves heavy capital investment and technology leadership in the industry. The MNO sector on the other hand plays the major role in 5G. As a game player and former employee of a gaming company called Snail Digital, I know 5G is a fundamental element for future entertainment industry; most importantly on developments around VR games, films, live broadcasting etc. Other seeable directions focus on auto-pilot, manufacturing, and warfare.
For IoT and eSIM, we have already tapped the water; China is the largest manufacturing centre in the world, and we cooperate with several OEMs and modem providers to provide IMSIs, including bootstrap IMSI, platforms, solutions, etc. Due to different eSIM solutions for different scenarios, like M2M and consumer market, there’ll be more start-ups and small companies dedicated to different segmented areas, which could be too fragmented for traditional MNOs to tag in. Meanwhile, platform integration, in accordance with GSMA standard, and security will be high ground for those players to seize in the future.
According to some industry reports, the IoT market will experience explosive growth in the coming decades, even more than 30 times. For B2B the focus will be on industry applications, such as drones, smart meters, alarms, etc. For B2C the direction will be towards consumer electronics – smartphones, watches, glasses, etc. There’s no question when it comes to their impact, both will drastically shape the industry map for IoT, eSIM end-to-end solution and certificate platform integrated with MNOs and major SIM vendors; G&D, Idemia, Gemalto and Valid, for example.
What are the opportunities for MVNOs in Blockchain? What about Fintech, how it disrupts the MVNO market?
I know several friends in the industry who focus on Blockchain, and they try to integrate their MVNO business model with the Blockchain technology. Most are just dead end like thousands of other new tokens. There are commercial innovations based on blockchain, but not sure yet about the details.
Fintech already made huge changes in the Chinese market, like Alipay and WeChat pay. We have gone really far, especially when compare to other countries. Because China is a highly regulated country in foreign exchange, so there creates a niche for roaming MVNOs to fulfil the role.
Which new sectors offer the most lucrative opportunities as mobile services grow beyond the consumer device market?
I believe we’re going through a major shift in the traveller market, since more and more people want experiences rather than just wondering around and spending one week on the beachside. Young Chinese are crazy about diving, parachuting, pilot license and other things out of your usual daily life. We will see an increase on investment related to products and services around this; such as drones, diving equipment and photography. In the past, all these fitted in a very small rather niche market, but it’s grown with more young people flocking into these areas. Besides specialised equipment, smart watches, belts, shoes and other ‘intelligent platforms’ could become more and more popular if they provide real functions for the users.
Godfrey St. Claire looks forward to meeting with the leaders in IoT, AI and Blockchain during our event in Singapore. For a chance to meet with both Godfrey St. Claire and some of the most influential names in the tech space join us at the MVNOs Asia 2018. Godfrey will deliver a presentation on Joy Telecom’s unique service offerings, which includes catering for the needs of the Chinese travellers and building a unified platform to merge an MVNO and online travel services. Also joining us as a speaker, we have Bobby Bathia, CEO and Founder at TrakInvest Group, who will share how blockchain is changing the world and how it can reshape your business.