“Will it be Apple or Google appearing in our mobile display in a few years instead of Ice, Telia or Telenor?” asks CEO and entrepreneur Ove Vik in eRate. Håvard Fossen from Inside Telecom met him and Bjørn Inge Lindhjem, Mitel’s head of Norway and Denmark. The picture and text below is from an article Fossen wrote for Inside Telecom 14. December 2017.

Vik believes that Apple and Google may not be the challengers in the Norwegian market, but perhaps other providers with strong brands and large market shares. They will be able to combine mobile services with content and additional services which will increase customer loyalty.

Fossen met Vik and Lindhjem a few days after Telenor announced that the company is the first operator certified on e-SIM by GSMA. Telenor also presented both advantages and challenges with the technology in a press release. One of the advantages is that customers can have many devices attached to one subscription. A significant challenge for today’s operators is that e-SIM opens for international players to “own” the customer and buy mobile services directly from the network operators, thus eliminating some of the profits.

Easier to switch operator
eRate and Mitel provide solutions that allow mobile operators without their own network, known as MVNOs, to provide services to end users.

One of their new customers is Atea Mobile, which entered the corporate part of the mobile market after Phonero was purchased by Telia. In this setup eRate deliver the entire solution from A to Z, including Mitel’s mobile business network solution.

“We see e-SIM as a big opportunity. It will be far easier for end customers to change operator. We believe many end users are bothered to switch mobile providers, because of the switch of SIM cards. In a company with hundreds of employees, this is a significant operation of logistics”, said Vik.

Provides all what operators need
He believes digitalization of SIM cards with e-SIM is a giant move in the right direction. He also believes that e-SIM will open for new distribution channels where companies from other industries will provide mobile services. And, of course, he sees this as an advantage for the development and growth of eRate.

“It will be difficult for existing players to adapt to the new reality, and then it’s beneficial to have a cloud-based, scalable solution”, said Vik, who sells cloud-based services to operators.

Lindhjem and Mitel also have their service platform in the cloud and provide services such as “my page” and other customer services to operators, through eRate. Both companies are solely system providers, and not visible for the end user.

Vik says that eRate delivers everything an operator needs. “Just ad shape and color on the top, a logo, and you’re up and running”, he says. “Should the operator also wish to provide corporate solutions, we have Mitel’s corporate networking solutions that appear as the customer’s brand.”

The cloud gives new providers
It’s not just e-SIM that can lead to new operators in the mobile market. Lindhjem points out that moving platforms to cloud services has made it much easier and cheaper to enter as a new provider. Vik and Lindhjem refers to actors like Komplett, Fjordkraft and Saga mobile as niche players who benefit from new tools for virtual operators.

Vik explains that the trend is that operators want costs to grow in line with the customer base, which is what eRate and Mitel offer.

“Of course there will be some starting costs to customize to the business idea, but essentially the running costs are dynamic as the business grows”, Vik says.

Norwegian article Inside Telecom: Who will provide mobile services in five years? »