This year’s edition of Ingenium Mobile, the first exclusive forum for Mobile Operators in Spain, organised by JSC Ingenium, took place in Madrid for the third consecutive year, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees on Thursday, 15 June. On this occasion the venue chosen was the Nouvel building, the extension of the Reina Sofia Museum, designed by the renowned architect Jean Nouvel.
Summary of the event:
Fran González, a Partner at Analysys Mason, started the day off by providing an outline of the mobile industry in Spain and some market trends. Fran emphasised how MVNOs, with a share of almost 10% in lines (accounting for between 5% and 8% of revenues) have consolidated their role in the industry, despite the deregulation of the “15 market” for wholesalers of access to mobile networks, and are leaving their imprint on the development of the Spanish Telco industry.
Then came the turn of the virtual operators. The first round table was chaired by Antonio Lorenzo, Technology editor at El Economista. Antonio opened the discussion by asking the other guest speakers whether virtual operators can hold out any hope (mobile only). The answer did not take long to arrive. All the speakers emphatically answered in the affirmative, and agreed that the future of virtual operators, faced with the boom in the Host Operators’ convergent services, as well as those of MÁSmovil and now Lowi‘s range, involves finding their niche and standing out in terms of value and continuing to offer innovation. According to Carlos Vecino, CEO of República Móvil, “the key to the survival of MVNOs is to make the transition from being low cost operators to becoming large service operators.”
Following on from the previous round table discussion, Sergio Cano, CEO of JSC Ingenium, gave his personal view on the future of MVNOs after the deregulation of the 15 Market. Sergio emphasised that price is no longer a determinant factor to continue competing, and that mobile operators should rely on other factors such as cost efficiency, the new 4G and 5G technologies, the work of the regulator (700 Mhz band) and convergence itself to gain some degree of operating margin with which to compete. Sergio focused on three ideas that can help us to understand the future, without committing, as he said later, “the folly of predicting the future”: The role of Host Operators and their opening up to MVNOs compared to Fiber, other access technologies, etc… Technology, which is critical in order to be able to compete, by innovating and optimising the operations of the service, and to incorporate other services that enable us to offer a convergent offer with value, and finally, specialisation in the face of concentrations by the major transnational operators such as Movistar, Vodafone and Orange. Sergio ended his talk with the resounding and very encouraging message of “there is always room for more”. The MVNO sector in Spain has still a great deal of life left in it. Despite the concentrations that we have seen in recent years, and the disappearance of some brands, new MVNOs have continued to appear, ready to compete, which tells us that the market is vibrant, ready to compete and to continue down breaking barriers.
The second part of the day began with the presentation of the MÁSmovil success story by Pablo Freire, Chief Strategy Officer of the MÁSmovil Group. In his talk, Pablo summed up the titanic journey that in only 24 months has taken them from being a small MVNO to becoming what many people call “Spain’s fourth operator,” with all its indicators increasing exponentially: mobile lines, clients, revenue, EBITDA, etc. A multi-brand strategy, the effective combination of its own and third-party networks, the optimisation of network costs and cross selling agreements for fixed networks are some of the keys to the group’s success that are enabling it to consolidate itself, to continue gaining market share from the Host Operators and from the MVNOs, and to be a success story that is a benchmark in the Telco sector.
The second round table and the day’s main event focused on the possible effects of the new roaming regulation on Mobile Operators. This regulation entered into force on 15 June, the same day as the third edition of Ingenium Mobile took place. The round table, chaired by Miguel Uriondo, Editor-in-Chief of El Español, included Alejandra Iturriaga, Director of Telecommunications and the Audiovisual Sector of the Spanish National Commission on Financial Markets and Competition (CNMC), who highlighted the major efforts made at a regulatory level to finally resolve the eternal problem of roaming, although she pointed out that despite the new regulation, operators are still unsure about what to do with roaming and where to set the limits marked by the European Union, because how it will affect consumers is as yet unknown.
One exception to this widespread situation has been DIGI Mobil, the Romanian operator which has asked the CNMC to allow it to apply surcharges on both calls and browsing, appealing to the European regulation for applying a surcharge on objective grounds. Alejandra confirmed this request had been made, and mentioned that another operator had already requested the same measure, without specifying which one.
The acid test for the end of roaming will come this summer, especially in Spain, when foreign tourists descend on the country en masse and want to maintain the same levels of data consumption as they are accustomed to in their countries of origin. At that point, we will see whether the Host operators’ networks are sufficient to deal with these traffic peaks, or if on the contrary it will be necessary to take alternative measures.
The day ended with a farewell cocktail, which was enlivened by a live jazz band and the subsequent private visit to the temporary exhibition on Picasso “Pity and Terror. Picasso’s Path to Guernica,” which provided the perfect finishing touch for the third edition of Ingenium Mobile.
Summary of the event in figures:
- 208 attendees
- 33 + 4 Mobile Operators represented:
Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, Yoigo, Grupo MÁSMovil, Digi Mobil, Truephone, BT España, Tuenti, Lowi, Deutsche Telecom, Alai Secure, PTV Telecom, Euskaltel, Telecable, Lebara, Movil Día, Eurona, LCR Telecom, Simyo, NetHits, BluePhone, Lyca Mobile, Freedom Pop, Quattre, Parlem Telecom, SUOP Mobile, Lemonvil, República Móvil, Limba (Kitel), Diferenza, Telecom Boutique, IOS -Ingenium Outsourcing Services-
Alejandra Iturriaga. Director of Telecommunications and the Audiovisual Sector – Spanish National Commission on Financial Markets and Competition (CNMC).
Antonio Lorenzo. Editor-in-Chief of Technology, El Economista
Miguel Ángel Uriondo. Editor-in-Chief, El Español.
- Profile of attendees. CEO, CTO, CMO, Sales and Regulation.
Summary of the event, with videos, presentations and images: www.ingenium-mobile2017.com