A new virtual communication operator planned to occupy 7% of the Russian market

In Russia, the operator of mobile communication Easy4 begins its work. The project is positioned as an international one and promises subscribers a favorable price in roaming. However, experts believe that there is no place for a beginner in the Russian market.
Origin source
From June 1 in Russia, a new mobile operator will start working, it is said in the message received by RBC Easy4.

Easy4 is the brand of the European EasyCall group. In addition to Russia, it is represented in Turkey, China, Holland, Spain and Germany. The total investment in the project for the next seven years is 900 million rubles. Some of these funds will be provided by the owners of EasySall - private funds, told Sergey Malyshkin, who according to Kartoteka.ru, is the owner of Sonet, a legal entity that will To provide services under the Easy4 brand in Russia.

The company will work on the model of a virtual operator (Mobile Virtual Network Operator - MVNO). Such operators provide communication services under their own brand on the networks of existing operators.

According to Malyshkin, in Russia Easy4 plans to use the networks of all four major mobile operators, "negotiations with them are at the final stage." Many virtual operators cooperated only with one basic operator, which "drove them into the corner with their tariffs," he noted.

A source close to Easy4 said that the company had already agreed on cooperation with MTS and T2 RTK Holding (Tele2 brand). A representative of T2 RTK Holding confirmed this information. MTS declined to comment.

For subscribers Easy4 will be created virtually without roaming space - the operator will work on the technology Multi-IMSI (Multi International Mobile Subscriber Identity - changeable international individual subscriber number). "A SIM card can connect to any tower of any partner operator, based on more favorable conditions for the subscriber both in price and quality," Malyshkin said. All incoming calls for Easy4 subscribers will be free in any country, and outgoing calls will be charged at home region prices. The SIM card will record several numbers at once, and the subscriber will be able to make and receive calls both to his "home" number and to the number of the host country.

The main part of the technologies used by Easy4 was developed by the Russian company Intersat, which is a resident of Skolkovo. According to Kartoteka.ru, 70% of "Intersat" belongs to Sergei Malyshkin, 15% - "Sonnet", the remaining 15% - from physical persons.

During the first year of operation Easy4 plans to occupy 7% in the Russian market. To promote Easy4 will be created a wide distribution network with the participation of travel companies, hotels, airlines.

Virtual market

According to Orbis Research, in 2017 the world market volume of MVNO was $ 54.1 billion. In 2018-2023, this indicator will grow by an average of 8.8% per year. Now in the world there are about 1 thousand MVNO, they serve about 10% of the total number of cellular subscribers on the planet. More than half of such projects are concentrated in Europe.

According to the results of 2017, 255.4 million cellular subscribers were registered in Russia, according to AC & M. MVNO accounted for 6 million subscribers, or slightly more than 2%, according to TMT Consulting. The volume of this market in Russia amounted to 40 billion rubles.

In Russia MVNO began to develop later than in other countries. This business model was described in legislation in late 2008, but for a long time the largest operators refused to cooperate with such companies, allowing only affiliated projects on their networks. The situation changed in 2015 after the establishment of T2 RTK Holding and the launch of its network in Moscow. In particular, MVNO Sberbank ("Let's Talk") and Tinkoff Bank ("Tinkoff Mobile") were launched on its network. "MVNO is one of the important strategic directions for Tele2, and we see a serious potential in this segment. Today, the Tele2 network in Russia employs the largest number of virtual operators created by financial institutions, fixed-line operators and international telecommunications companies. The total number of MVNO subscribers on the basis of Tele2 exceeds 1 million people, "- said Olga Galushina, representative of T2 RTK Holding.

However, of the major international brands developing MVNO, only Virgin brand trademark Richard Branson still indirectly existed in Russia. At the end of 2017, the company "Trivon Networks" launched in Russia MVNO under the brand Virgin Connect.

According to the general director of TMT Consulting, Konstantin Ankilov, the MVNO market in Russia is already crowded. " "In practice, only MVNO, created by the mobile operators themselves, is successful. For example, Yota (a brand that the "daughter" of Megafon, Scartel, RBC) sells services to a certain target audience at attractive rates for it. Interesting for MVNO customers who sell mobile and fixed communication in a single package - Rostelecom and MGTS, "Ankilov said. A newcomer needs to offer something special in order to win a place in the crowded MVNO market. "Multi-IMSI can be such a competitive advantage, because this technology allows you to offer low prices in roaming. The question is whether the virtual operator will be able to agree with its partners on low roaming tariffs, "Ankilov said.

Unobvious benefits

In the opinion of Maxim Savvatin, iKS-Consulting analyst, MVNO with Multi-IMSI technology is a very niche product that may be of interest to either the premium segment - wealthy people who travel a lot, or businessmen. "In addition, there are various roaming offers from the base operators, which in the conditions of fierce competition try to attract subscribers with the most favorable prices," Savvatin said. In the current market conditions, the analyst sees no great prospects for such a virtual operator: "It is unlikely that they will be able to offer subscribers prices that are lower than what the base operators offer, since small market players have little opportunity for flexible charging."

Press-secretary of VimpelCom (Beeline brand) Anna Aybasheva noted that they already have "automatic prices low in international roaming, and for subscribers it does not require additional efforts to connect services or change the number."

MegaFon spokeswoman Yulia Dorokhina also agrees that MVNO, designed for travelers, is a niche offer. "According to various sources, in Russia about 30% of residents have foreign passports and only 9% actively travel from them. Is it beneficial for subscribers if they communicate according to the conditions of foreign operators? Revolutionary economy is not visible. First, mobile communication in Russia is much cheaper than abroad. Secondly, now the foreign operators have an average minimum minutes on calls and Internet costs from € 10 - that's more than 700 rubles, "Dorokhina said.