Igreja Sara Nossa Terra, a Brazilian evangelical church, has launched a new MVNO called Mais Parceiros de Deus, running on Vivo’s LTE network. It joins Mais AD, an evangelical mobile operator that the church started in 2016. Mais Parceiros de Deus offers the so-called Mais Mega Total monthly plans, with unlimited calls on-net and to Vivo numbers, plus a data allowance.
Four packages are available, costing BRL 7.99 (US $2.35) per week with 300 MB; BRL 9.99 (US $2.95) per week with 800 MB; BRL 39.99 (US $11.80) per month with 1.2 GB and 25 minutes to local operators; and BRL 190.99 (US $56.38) per month with 5 GB and 320 minutes to local operators. Those who want to talk to other operators may need to buy packages that charge by the minute, at BRL 0.15 (US $0.04) per minute. The 30-minute package costs BRL 4.99 (US $1.47) per week and the 60-minute package costs BRL 8.99 (US $2.65) per week.
In order to succeed, MVNOs must offer something that MNOs do not. One thing they can offer is low cost (usually for relatively modest services for the budget-conscious); the other is comfort and community. The latter has proved to be important to many users, and the branding that grows organically out of pre-existing loyalties and affiliations can be quite powerful in acquisition and retention of subscribers. Conversely, on the operator’s side of the equation, a pre-existing client base is key when it comes to getting an MVNO off the ground.
As we have noted on several occasions, faith-based affiliation has real influence when it comes to decisions about mobile services, despite any assumptions about the incompatibility of the religion and commerce. In this case, this Brazilian evangelical church has a very strongly affiliated pre-existing client base, made even stronger by the fact that this is its second MVNO launch. The very fact that it is launching a second MVNO is a good indicator that the first was successful.
The emphasis on on-net calling (offered unlimited) is probably because many of the potential subscribers’ friends and associates are church members; this aspect of the offering helps keep prices down. Also, the fact that the plans are voice-oriented is likely in response to the needs of the customer base, who must favor voice calling over data-intensive applications and functionalities.