interview


Paul Walsh, Head of Operations, Tesco Mobile Ireland

Paul Walsh

Paul Walsh

Tesco Mobile Ireland has been in operation for over 6 years now.  In your opinion, what have been the key changes in the MVNO industry in the last few years.

Many MVNO brands like Tesco Mobile are now maturing in the market through longevity so customers are now more comfortable with MVNO’s as a destination for their mobile services. This is opening more opportunities for other brands to expand into the industry. MNO’s themselves now clearly see alternate brand type MVNO’s as a major opportunity for their growth or market share protection. This wasn’t necessarily the case in 2007.

Another major change is that the services on offer are more complex now. When Tesco Mobile Ireland launched Voice and Text were the primary offerings. The advent of smartphones and High Speed Data mean that MVNO’s have to offer a much more diverse product portfolio. This is challenging for MVNO’s who tend to operate with smaller teams delivering simple value based propositions.

What is driving MVNO industry growth?

There are many factors at play and they vary from market to market. Regulatory changes opening markets in countries outside Western Europe/US/Australia are a major factor. In some markets growth is being driven by MNO’s looking to diversify their brands and product portfolio. In some markets its being driven by competition and non-MNO brand evolution. Brands obviously use MVNOs to drive revenue growth but they are also in mobile as a means of developing an integrated relationship with the customer. Because mobile is such a large part of everyone’s life and include a direct communication channel to the customer, it is a clear opportunity for brands to further develop a long term affinity and loyalty with their customers.

What does the MVNO landscape look like in Ireland?

There are five active national MVNO’s currently

  • eMobile: MVNO of eircom national fixed operator hosted on their own MNO Meteor
  • Tesco Mobile:  retail MVNO hosted on Telefonica
  • 48 : a Telefonica youth brand MVNO fulfilled from online
  • Postfone: MVNO provided by An Post the national Post Office hosted on Vodafone
  • Blueface: MVNO from an established VoIP service provider hosted on 3

Just Mobile which had launched in October 2010 hosted on Vodafone ceased trading 11 months later.

If you were launching again is there anything you would have done differently?

There are always learnings from projects of this scale but fundamentally Tesco Mobile has been very successful for its shareholders.

What do you have planned for Tesco Mobile Ireland’s future?

We will continue to offer strong value with an increased distribution presence. We will launch new and innovative products that will challenge our competitors. Our focus is and will continue to be the Tesco shopper. Our mission is to be the operator of choice for the Tesco shopper in Ireland.

We understand you have a strong focus on customer analytics and the campaign management.  Can you give us some detail about this please?

All will be revealed on the 22 April!

Hear more from Paul Walsh, Head of Operations, Tesco Mobile Ireland at the MVNOs World Congress, 22-24 April 2013, Rome, Italy.

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