battle of the MVNO'S

Another interesting article

Sprint will also help with marketing if the MVNO wants that type of assistance. Because of this, Carter said that he can't talk to his Sprint colleagues about what he's working on with the company's MVNO partners because the MVNOs are often competing directly with Sprint. That separation "enables our customers to compete confidently in the market," Carter said.

Risky business, nonetheless

Today's high-profile MVNOs like FreedomPop, Republic Wireless, Solavei and Ting offer innovative service plans, marketing techniques and, in some cases, devices that they hope will draw consumers to their offerings. But even with the innovative plans and the support, analysts caution that it's still a risky business and there will likely be consolidation and/or fallout in the future. "There are a good number of them that will not survive very long," Welsh de Grimaldo said. "It is hard to create any lasting and compelling differentiators."

Likewise, Current Analysis' Henderek cautions that MVNO offerings are becoming so compelling that they may start challenging the host carrier's postpaid base, which is not something operators will want to occur. "The MVNOs and prepaid providers are now in a competitive position and can challenge some carriers and appeal to a broader segment than just the credit challenged," he said. "They may start getting customers that would have opted for postpaid."

But that doesn't worry Sprint's Carter. "Are you enabling them to steal subscribers from you? If we didn't do this, someone else would," he said. "So you might as well eat your own. You should cannibalize yourself."




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