Only Telenet, Lycamobile growing in flat Belgian MVNO market
The number of customers at virtual mobile operators in Belgium grew to 3.25 million in Q3 2014 from 3.02 million a year earlier, according to Telecompaper’s latest report on the market. Two players managed to increase their customer numbers significantly, Telenet and Lycamobile, which respectively grew by 22 percent and 25 percent. Many others, however, lost customers or remained more or less stable.
In total there were 37 players active in the VO market in Belgium, compared to 39 a year ago. Five providers ceased activities in the past year, while three new players entered the market. The three largest players are Telenet, JIM Mobile and Lycamobile. JIM Mobile saw only modest growth in the past year, despite ranking in the top three providers for marketing exposure in the period. The cable operators Telenet and VOO Mobile also were among the most active in above-the-line advertising for their mobile offerings. The majority of virtual players operate on the Base network, but thanks to Telenet and Lycamobile, Mobistar has a slightly larger share when based on customer numbers.
Telecompaper expects the Belgian mobile virtual market to see more entries and exits in the near future, with notably US-based provider FreedomPop expected to launch in early 2015. New VOs will need to focus on innovative services or business models, such as Freedompop’s ‘freemium offer’, as the mobile market is a crowded one. Potential areas for growth include data services and smartphones, which still have a relatively low penetration in Belgium. Expansion in this area is supported by increasing 4G coverage in Belgium, which some of the virtual players are already using.