Houten, The Netherlands, 01 August 2011 - The number of virtual-enabled customers increased slightly (0.4%) to a total of 6.6 million, or 32.8 percent of the total Dutch mobile market. Of the total virtual customers, 56.4 percent or 3.7 million are operator-owned virtual (co-)brands. Excluding this segment and the resellers (0.1 million), the independent MVNO market had just under 2.8 million SIMs, or 13.7 percent of the total Dutch mobile market, down 1.3 percent compared to Q3 2010. The market is dominated by 11 virtual brands which remains almost unchanged from six months ago. These are some of the main findings of the semi-annual research conducted by Telecompaper available in the new report "Dutch Mobile Virtual Operators Market – Market Overview first quarter 2011".
Due to the increase of operator owned virtual (co) brands, such as MTV Mobile and Simpel, Telecompaper decided to include these types of virtual brands from this edition onwards in order to capture the whole virtual mobile market. The number of active mobile virtual operators in the Netherlands reached 56 at the end of Q1 this year, stable compared to Q3 2010. Nevertheless, the market remained dynamic, also after Q1, with new virtual players entering the market, several exiting and others still in testing phase. Major introductions (up to Q1) included mostly operator-owned virtual brands, such as Vodafone’s launch of a no-frills brand called hollandsnieuwe and a co-brand with RTL named Sizz as well as T-Mobile’s launch of Hyves Mobile together with social networking site Hyves.
As mentioned the market is dominated by 11 virtual brands which remains almost unchanged from six months ago. Hi and Telfort are the leaders of the operator-owned brands and Lebara and Lycamobile of the independent MVNO brands. In terms of network operator usage, KPN continues to lead, although it has lost some share. Both Vodafone and T-Mobile increased market share, with T-Mobile growing the most due to its acquisition of Simpel and growth at Ben. While MVNEs share benefits of scale, enabling more VOs to enter the market, 77 percent of all VOs are still run directly with or by the MNOs.
The Dutch mobile virtual market segment has been and will remain a highly dynamic market in 2011 and onwards. National and EU regulations will continue to have a negative effect on some VOs (particularly the independent MVNOs), and with the growing use of smartphones, the proposed new EU regulations for mobile data roaming will also impact some VOs.
New growth has to come from either churn at competitors, finding new niche markets or introducing new, value-adding services. Another possibility is launching a VO service based on an existing customer base. Even though the market is saturated, there are still opportunities for those who can find a new niche or offer a new concept. “New players will have to differentiate themselves by offering real value-added services, and not just plain voice and SMS services, in order to survive,’’ said Alejandra van de Roer, senior analyst at Telecompaper and co-author of the report.
The report “Dutch Mobile Virtual Operators Market - Market overview first quarter 2011” provides a detailed analysis of all the virtual (co) brands in the Dutch market, including operator-owned, independent MVNOs, resellers but also MVNE players. It looks at the target markets, propositions and performance in the active players in this market segment. The report focuses on the mobile VOs with activities in the Dutch market and outlines the most important business issues and strengths and weaknesses per virtual operator. The report also contains a section discussing the market by segment, analyzing exposure in the media and forecast expectations. The report is published twice a year and a copy for 1-2 readers (within one organisation) costs EUR 1,650. A business licence (up to 10 users) costs EUR 2,800, and a company-wide licence costs EUR 5,600.
Alejandra van de Roer - Senior Research Analyst
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