Where Are All the U.S. B2B MVNOs?

Kathryn Weldon
Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • U.S. mobile operators can charge SMBs and enterprises high prices for business services, as B2B pricing is custom and there are few alternative carriers.
  • A few resellers bundle fixed and mobile services; B2B MVNOs with an array of pricing options and value-added services are hard to find.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have the luxury of being considered the only serious choices in the U.S. for quasi-ubiquitous wireless coverage, access to international roaming services, handset sales and value-added services for businesses. Enterprise pricing is also highly customized and does not have much to do with the list prices available on the carriers’ standardized price sheets. There are a handful of wireless resellers and MVNOs (such as Cbeyond and Granite) that have added wireless plans and devices to fixed services offers for SMB bundles. However, it is hard to find pure-play B2B MVNOs that are serious alternatives to the big four.

There is at least one such provider, a company called Globecomm that started with managed satellite services and moved into wireless. The company is now also offering MVNO services, targeting companies with less than 1,000 employees. Globecomm sells 3G/4G voice and data service plans, WiFi calling and business smartphones primarily through a relationship with T-Mobile USA. The company also has access to T-Mobile’s free international data roaming services, as well as an interesting array of value-added services, for example:

– Extra security by connecting mobile devices back to the corporate fixed network;
– A self-care portal for trouble ticketing and plan changes for individual employees (including those with their own personal devices);
– The ability to feed into corporate loyalty programs, e.g., allowing employees that no longer travel much to change to a less expensive plan;
– For administrators, tools to charge BYOD employees based on company policies about stipends;
– Statistics about consumption, including corporate access to call records.

There are many discussions about European MVNOs targeting consumers and SMBs, and thereby threatening European incumbents. In the U.S., there are pure-play wireless resellers and a handful of other providers with business services that include wireless plans. There remain surprisingly few B2B MVNOs, considering how few mobile operators remain in the U.S. market (and there is a strong likelihood that there may only be three major national wireless providers in the foreseeable future). It will be interesting to watch Globecomm, as its services are new to the market, to determine whether there is a strong enough business model to draw the interest of more B2B MVNO entrants. In the long run, the business customer is what matters; having more options is generally a positive outcome.

What do you think?

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