Feature Article

June 03, 2013

Airis Mobile Foresees Growth in Virtual Mobile Phones despite Spanish Recession

Jaime Bustillo, the previous CTO of Vodafone ES, is looking at the current Spanish recession with the glass half full and launched a new mobile operator, Airis Mobile, in a declining market where 27 percent of the workforce is unemployed. Bustillo even set a goal to hopefully attract 50,000 mobile customers by this time next year.

 “We aren't going to be as big as Telefonica or Orange,” Bustillo said in a statement. “What we're looking for is something specialized. Really we are competing with Skype."

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) like Airis Mobile have seen their markets grow in Spain to 10 percent this past March, up from 7 percent last year. Consumers, according to Bustillo, have put more effort into obtaining a certain type of phone (like an iPhone) instead of a certain operator for their phone. Also, the growth is mainly credited to Spaniards who are looking for work in other countries, leading to consumers purchasing low-cost smartphones with cheap international call rates.

"There is an opportunity for MVNOs but it's a really difficult and tough market place,” Carrie Pawsey, senior analyst at technology and telecoms research firm Ovum, said in a statement. “It's not a get rich quick scheme that's going to work for everybody."

Airis Mobile’s target audience varies only slightly compared to many other MVNO’s in Western Europe; the most common target audience is immigrant communities looking for low international rates. And with the steady growth of unemployed Spanish citizens looking for work in other countries, the low international rates offered at Airis Mobile will be a major factor when it comes to the consumer choosing which mobile operators to use.

MVNOs are most often bought out by operators when they grow into big competitive threats and become sub-brands for larger operators in the industry.

Also, major operators like Telefonica do not have to worry about losing too much revenue due to the MVNO’s limitations in regard to marketing budget and reaching a wide target audience. MVNOs are very important for market growth because of their ability to promote competition and improvement in the field.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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