Telecoms provider Gamma has terminated its MVNO agreement with Vodafone after more than five years, switching to rival Three.
The move comes as part of a major overhaul of Gamma’s mobile offering,which is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of this year.
Gamma head of mobile and converged services Rob Davis told Mobile News the firm has invested more than £6 million in bolstering its mobile capabilities over the past 16 months in preparation for the switch. Significantly, this included buying its own core network, giving it full control of the services it offers its current 153 mobile partners.
“We believe our new proposition will really shake up the market and there’s a real opportunity for our very wide range of channel partners,” said Davis.
“In acquiring our own core network, we can now offer the capabilities that our partners and their customers are demanding. Some of the things we wanted to offer and do were not possible as a Light MVNO under the terms of our Vodafone agreement.”
One of the key decisions behind the switch away from Vodafone was the operator’s reluctance to offer Gamma and its partners access to 4G. Davis, who like Vodafone refused to discuss the details behind the split due to strict NDAs, admitted it had become an issue.
“The main issue for us was our frustration at not being able to launch a 4G service,” said Davis. “Obviously in the early days having 4G was less of an issue but it’s increasingly being demanded by businesses in the market.
“It was one aspect of a much bigger decision that we took to invest in our own network.”
Trials of the new proposition have begun internally and will be extended to selected partners ahead of the official launch. Briefings with Gamma partners to discuss the benefits of its core network, and additional services that will be offered began at the end of January.
New services will include the ability to fully customise deals based on the customer requirements, including contract lengths. Pricing can also be determined by the partner, giving them full control of their potential earnings and profitability.
They will also have greater con- trol over customers accounts, such as the ability to add or remove bolt ons or restric- tions (such as international) using Gamma’s online portal. Fixed line services can also be added to deals, enabling cus- tomers to acquire all their telecom requirements from a single supplier.
“The key to all of this is our partners are in control of what they do,” said Davis.
“We provide services for them at rates which mean they can earn very healthy margins, depending on how they choose to sell it. Most of our partners, based on feedback, make significantly more than they can with other offerings in the market.
But it’s not all about price. Service is key and we offer the tools to provide a service that best suits the customer. Increasingly business customers are looking to work with a single supplier, with us they can do that.”
Other services to be introduced as a result of Gamma owning its own core network, include business bespoke voicemail and a new national roaming bolt on.
“In a Light MVNO model, you use a hybrid voicemail used for both consumer and businesses. Because we have our own core, one of the features is our own voicemail. We’ve configured it for the needs of our customers,which are businesses. That control allows us to offer a service we’ve never been able to do before.”
The same applies for Gamma’s new national roaming service, which is expected to be sold as a bolt on. The option, which is rumoured to cost £8.50 extra per month, means customers will automatically switch to another network should they be in an area Three’s doesn’t cover.
“As a full MVNO, we don’t have to use a single network,” explained Davis. “We are very confident that the vast majority of customers will have a very good coverage solution with our primary access partner. But if there are any issues in any areas, we do have the option to make use of some of the other networks as well.”