This Monday, Dutch VoIP and business broadband player Voiceworks entered the mobile market. As MVNE on the KPN network, it launched three (converged) business mobile services. Voiceworks Mobile is the core mobile voice and data service. Mobile Connect mobilizes existing on-premise PBX installations through a connection with the Voiceworks hybrid VoIP/GSM core. Managed Mobile hosts PBX functionality plus mobility in the Voiceworks data centre, alleviating the need for an on-premise PBX.
Voiceworks partners can resell these services under the Voiceworks brand name, or use their own branding. Voiceworks launched four mobile partner models: Dealer, Wholesale Agent, Wholesale Premium and MVNO. These models vary in customer control, ownership, and branding. For instance, Dealers resell Voiceworks services, while MVNO partners set their own pricing and brand and have sales commitments and targets.
While Voiceworks claims to have the most complete FMC portfolio in the Dutch market, they are not alone in offering FMC services. They do have some unique features, most notably the ability to link two numbers to one simcard, an efficient real-time ordering process for the channel (Operator Online), and self-service smart routing capabilities for mobile workers and customers. In addition, Voiceworks claims to be 10-15% lower in pricing compared to KPN or Vodafone offerings. In a saturated Dutch telecom market, Voiceworks will need that feature and price differentiation in order to compete.
We recently wrote about the surge in FMC. The METISfiles expects service providers to combine cloud, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), and FMC aspects into single converged services that combine the following:
- A focus on cost reduction and productivity increase
- A single number, single voicemail, and/or a single bill
- UCC features such as conferencing, collaboration, presence, and instant messaging
- Cloud based, available as pay per user, per month, per functionality
- Self service portals for ease of use
- Service management features such as directory and operator consoles
Voiceworks will encounter fierce competition in the battle for the converged customer.
- Vodafone offers a similar, if not more complete, FMC portfolio with One Net, OneVoice, Wireless Office and VastOpMobiel. Vodafone has had success with One Net and currently boasts over 2 million seats in Europe.
- KPN is offering BedrijfsSelect, Microsoft Lync, and Microsoft Lync. In addition, KPN will be getting revenues from Voiceworks through the MVNO agreement.
- T-Mobile offers Vast=Mobiel, and Vast-Mobiel integratie. In addition, Esprit Telecom has an FMC agreement with T-Mobile.
- Tele2, MVNO on the T-Mobile network, has said it will launch FMC later this year.
- Telfort Business (KPN subsidiary) is offering both fixed and mobile services to SMBs. We expect that FMC is on the Telfort Business services roadmap as well.
- Yes Telecom (another KPN subsidiary) is focusing on mobile only, for the moment.
- Ziggo, UPC, and XS4ALL (another KPN subsidiary) currently focus on mobile internet, not voice. They are likely looking at the current FMC frenzy with interest.
- New players like Firmtel are also eager to get a piece of the FMC pie
- BT, Verizon, AT&T, OBS, and T-Systems have been addressing the multinational FMC opportunity for some time now
We believe Voiceworks has an excellent opportunity in adding mobile to its current voice connect and managed voice customer base. Their existing dealer and wholesale channel will embrace the four mobile partner models. New customer opportunities for Voiceworks and the channel will now also include mobile and FMC. On the other hand, competition will be fierce and MVNO partners might find that selling your own branded FMC and mobile voice services will not be easy. Voiceworks will have to look carefully at the business plans submitted by their wholesale and MVNO partners. If they do and are capable of maintaining their feature and price differentiation they are on to a good thing.