MVNOs have the capacity to broaden the market and hence they are useful to the OpenGardens/developer model.
Anita gives some interesting insights on MVNOs in her blog mobilegirl.
From an interaction stand point, the experience will now be more inclusive: hardware purchasing, service, and content will all be controlled by one brand. Bundling all these price points to really drive a product, both limits choices but makes things much easier on the end user. [Apple does this very well!] For example if I want to purchase the latest mo-blogging phone software, maybe my MMS service becomes cheaper. Or if I want streaming TV or radio, maybe my dataplan is automatically unlimited, without me having to choose that option too. The focus shifts from service to function. What do I want my portable device to do? The pricing, service, and even hardware for the best experience could then naturally come along with it.
I like this approach and thinking but in doing so, are we perhaps at a danger of replacing one ‘choke point’ i.e. operators with another (brands)? Most importantly, do customers want it? If not, there is little chance it will succeed. If I think of myselves as a ‘user’ in this case – I could be a candidate for a ‘disney’ mvno/portal. My fondness for animation is well known – right from my earliest blogs. And it includes disney. But .. it also includes a lot more. Specifially ‘Tom and Jerry’ and alsoTintin and Asterix. Would a disney mvno / portal allow me to view other animations? I doubt it. Worse still .. I like pixar more than disney! Another problem for ‘disney’. I think branded portals and MVNOs would work only with the most fanatical of fans – maybe sports fans – but these are few. The rest of us may well prefer a choice