After seeing numerous MVNOs like Amp’d Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and now Helio crash and burn, it would appear, from a US perspective anyway, that the virtual operator model is doomed to failure, with maybe the exception of new Helio parent Virgin Mobile USA.
Worldwide, however, MVNOs are expected to flourish. Well, survive, anyway. New figures from Informa forecast some 150 million MVNO subscribers by 2013, when they’ll account for a whole 3% of the mobile market.
Informa even launched MVNODirectory.com, a Web site featuring all sorts of MVNO data. Apparently, back in November, there were some 255 active MVNOs around the world. The majority, 151 of them, were in Europe, 63 in North America and the rest spread out in other regions.
Based on those numbers, it’s not hard to see why Informa expects 63 million of those 150 million subscribers in 2013 to be in Western Europe.