How can MNOs become more relevant to subscribers? Exploring sub-brands

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

MNOs are increasingly challenged to become more relevant to customers, which has led many to explore opportunities to launch distinctive new propositions and offers as independent or autonomous vehicles – the sub-brand. What are sub-brands and how can they help MNOs?

Maturing mobile markets has led to growing competition. New market entrants, whether MVNOs, OTT players or other Digital Service Providers, have been able to create differentiated or low-cost propositions that have attracted customers away from established services.

As a result, mobile network operator (MNO) brands have become less relevant to an increasing number of customers. With more providers to choose from, customers have become more discriminating, searching for offers that match their specific needs.

Many of the newer entrants are also highly agile, with the ability to introduce new propositions more rapidly than traditional players, or even to pivot to new opportunities faster.

This trend is confirmed by research company, YouGov, that reveals that MNOs are losing more customers than they are gaining, while MVNOs are gaining more customers than they are losing. In other words, MVNOs have become more appealing than MNOs.

MNOs lose while MVNOs gain


As such, MNOs have sought new tactics to recruit and retain customers. One approach that has achieved success is to launch sub-brands, sometimes known as second, or B brands.

Sub-brands are vehicles, often acting autonomously from the master brand, that enable MNOs to address significant market segments or niche opportunities, that have distinct demographic, distribution or service characteristics, and which can be launched without damaging or distorting the main brand. They are designed to enable MNOs to become relevant to target customers in a way that the master brand is not.

When can a sub-brand help?

  • Targeting new and distinct niches
  • To defend market share against Digital Attackers and OTTs
  • For experimentation and agility

In the eyes of consumers, the network owner is becoming increasingly irrelevant. They care about the products they purchase, the service provided and less about the network over which these are delivered. This has been shown to be the case by the consistently high satisfaction scores obtained by MVNOs, that do not operate networks directly when compared to traditional service providers[1].

With networks moving to an increasingly unified data model, this disaggregation is likely to increase. As a result, the services and brands will become ever more important – and sub-brands have become a key tool for MNOs. If you want to hear first-hand how sub-brands offer a powerful tactic for MNOs, why not join Digitalk at MVNOs World Congress?

Paul Bassa, EVP Mobile Cloud from Digitalk will address this key strategic question in a key session at the conference. Paul will be speaking from 1500 – 1520, on Wednesday 22nd May, at the MVNOs World Congress – book a meeting with Digitalk to discover more.

[1]Institute of Customer Service (UK Customer Satisfaction Index, January 2017)

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