Another story out of Austria caught our attention last week: Hutchison 3G Austria (3 Austria) has agreed to give MVNOs long-term access to its network. As with Everything Everywhere’s LTE spectrum sale, this move is in response to conditions imposed by a regulatory body, in this case the European Commission, in connection with 3 Austria’s proposed takeover of rival Orange Austria.
The mandated future availability of network capacity in Austria should not fool observers into thinking that any entity can succeed as an MVNO there. Tarifica believes that a significant existing customer base and considerable financial resources are virtually prerequisites for success in this sector of the mobile marketplace, be it in Austria or anywhere else. As such, large entities like fixed line operators and cable companies are the best candidates to launch MVNOs, under which they can provide bundled services to millions of existing subscribers. On the other hand, small, independent start up players, with or without some type of customer “affinity” angle, face substantial hurdles succeeding against entrenched industry giants.