Amp'd's Future Looks To Be As A Content Provider, Not An MVNO

The biggest lesson from the failure of Mobile ESPN was that exclusively selling your content through your own MVNO isn’t always such a great idea. Content providers that go down this road are basically shutting themselves off from the vast majority of the market: while there may be plenty of people interested in their content, the number of those actually willing to switch mobile operators — and pay a premium price for it — is quite low. It’s interesting then, to see another MVNO, Amp’d, start to take the reverse track. Its MVNO operation in the US appears to be struggling, but it’s begun licensing its content platform to foreign carriers. Following a deal in August with Canada’s Telus, Amp’d has now struck a deal with Japanese mobile operator KDDI that will make Amp’d content available to its 20 million or so subscribers. So is the future of Amp’d as a content aggregator and provider, rather than a standalone MVNO? Again, this makes a lot of sense. Despite the protestations of the company’s CEO that the MVNO model isn’t broken, Amp’d certainly doesn’t have many subscribers to show for its $250 million in investment (and that’s even if the most recent user figures can be believed). It’s built on the belief that its target demographic of young cool kids need or want a mobile operator that focuses on them, but this really isn’t the case, particularly when it comes at a higher price than the standard mass-market operators. Their possible interest in certain types of content really isn’t a strong enough draw, and like ESPN, Amp’d is probably better off making deals that will let it sell its content to whoever wants to pay for it, regardless of what operator they use.

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Comments on “Amp'd's Future Looks To Be As A Content Provider, Not An MVNO”

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Carlo says:

Yeah, that coupled with their cheaper-than-everybody family plans really sort of undermines their claim that they’re a content-based MVNO. Just like pretty much every other operator that’s tried to differentiate by using content and services, they’ve had to use deeply discounted voice services to try and lure in users. That model isn’t likely sustainable when you’re an MVNO.

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