Data, da...ta...da...ta...da...ta...

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Last week we attended the annual MVNO Asia conference in Bangkok. While the topics covered were many and varied (and some of the speakers were certainly more engaging than others: Jason Lo and Farid Yunis, CEOs of Tune Talk and RedONE respectively, take a bow), two of the most common themes were the explosion of data use and how MVNOs need to react.

As one speaker put it, "It's all about data...da...ta...da...ta...da...ta...".

Customers' appetite for data is voracious, their expectations on price are keener than ever and the shift from using mobile handsets to communicate over the mobile network to communicate over top is all but complete.

Operators must keep up, or they will disappear. In the blink of an eye.

The world of seemingly endless data consumerism requires MVNOs to do much more than fill their plans full of data and price it right. Doing that is not strategic. It is obvious.

It requires having a deep understanding of how their customers are consuming data, in what amounts and then building a predictive model for future usage patterns. Armed with that ‘big data about data’, the MVNO can negotiate with its network operator to sharpen the MVNO’s competitiveness in the market and secure partnerships with content providers that offer what the MVNO’s customers want (or will otherwise consume in the future).

Put simply, MVNOs must enable their customers with the data they want, for what they want to use it for and for what they are prepared to pay. Fail to do any of those things and your customers will not only go digital with one of your competitors, they will give you the digit on the way out.