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Besen Group predicts US will have largest MVNO data market

In the American telcom industry — or at least the media covering it — the acronym MVNO is viewed negatively. Everyone thinks back to the spree in the mid 00s and how so many of them failed. ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile, and Amp’d Mobile just headline the list of virtual operators — those that buy minutes wholesale from major carriers — that closed shop. But if you look around, there are plenty of MVNO success stories. In the future there should be more. Back in 2008 I talked to Alex Besen of the Besen Group on the Prepaid Podcast. In it he predicted that MVNOs would succeed more when the wireless penetration rate plateaued. He’s looking more right on that. Now he’s made another prediction about the US MVNO market.

We’ve seen many virtual operators — such as PlatinumTel and Simple Mobile — offer data plans. It seems like a big thing for MVNOs these days. That trend shouldn’t slow. Besen predicts that by 2017 the US will have the largest mobile data MVNO market in the world. Specifically, he pegs the number at 920 virtual operators that offer data services to their customers. That’s an exciting prospect. It means that customers will have more choices when picking a smartphone and service.

Of course, 2017 is a long way off. It’s always tough to gauge predictions like this. But after talking with Alex for just a few minutes it’s clear that he knows his stuff. I’m not sure he’ll be right in this instance, but even if he’s wrong I don’t think he’ll be too far off.

One Response

  1. Ike Denvers Says

    No one can predict what will happen next month let alone seven years from now. i wouldn’t put too much stock in anyone’s predictions, including “experts”. If everyone knew so much, they’d have seen the stock market crash of 2008 and the Recession coming but they didn’t. If they can’t see something that big coming, guaranteed there’s no way the state of prepaid wireless can be predicted either.


    Posted on October 6th, 2010 at 2:31 am

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