Information & Communication Technologies


Mobile Virtual Network Operator Market in Africa, 2016

Regulatory Policy Should Be Adapted to Support Increased Competition as South African Market Shows Signs of Maturing and Rest of Africa Remains in Nascent Phase with Potential for New Entrants
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Published: 10 Nov 2016

In Africa, mobile network operators’ motivations for hosting mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) include segmentation-driven strategies, network utilisation-driven strategies, and product-driven strategies. This in-depth study looks at various MVNO models in Africa and explains the different MVNO types according to the market segment they seek to service. Across Africa, banking MVNOs seem to be the most successful due to improved mobile banking functionality and customer service ability. Key enabling factors are discussed—economic outlook, niche market availability, MNO support structure, market penetration rate, business M2M market, and telecoms industry outlook—with profiled nations assessed according to these factors as well as to the applicable business model. Countries profiled: • Tunisia • Ghana • Nigeria • Kenya • Uganda • South Africa Operating models explored: • Branded reseller • Service operator • Thin MVNO • Full MVNO Key MVNOs discussed: • Lycamobile • Expresso Ghana • Equitel • K2 Telecom • BokSel • FNB-Connect • Me and You Mobile • MRP Mobile • Smart Mobile • Virgin Mobile Market constraints such as regulatory policy, low starting capital, and tight margins are also explained. The regulatory environments for each nation are examined with a focus on assessing the relative level of regulatory support for MVNOs and an increase in competition among mobile network operators. As the African telecommunications markets continue to develop towards maturity, the demand for MVNOs will increase as their unique value propositions attract subscribers by offering services that prove unviable for larger MNOs. These services are often geared towards niche markets such as banking MVNOs for regions that lack formal banking services, or business MVNOs that target corporate clients through solutions tailored to address their unique challenges. The study concludes with an analysis of the future of the MVNO market in Africa.

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