Research Notes

MVNO, CBB Mobil is now going straight for the Gay community

– Micro Segmentation is a must.
Denmark today launched most probably the first ever service provider/MVNO that is directly targeted towards homosexual mobile users.

Even though the new mobile company “Gaymobile” is unique in its choice of primary mobile users, the basic idea in the actual business concept has a long track record in South Korea. The launch of “Gaymobile” is again proof that the mobile companies – using micro segmentation – are trying to create customer loyalty through targeted offerings to narrow segments.
The mobile market has become very mature and competition is tough, which means that mobile operators can no longer just concentrate on having one single strong brand. Previously a classic mobile operator only had one single brand and the mobile operator totally focused only on this brand being strong enough to symbolise the whole company’s identity towards all customer segments. For the largest mobile operators in the world, it has even been a goal to create one single super-brand that should work across national, regional and global areas – in the same way as the major religions that exist across the world today.
But this infatuation in a single-brand strategy seems to be losing momentum. The mature mobile market is characterised by a high level of penetration, which means that the mobile companies’ customer bases no longer can be viewed as a homogeneous group, as mobile customers have vastly different needs and interests. Add to this the tough competition on the mobile market, which means that mobile operators must try to address the market from various angles to attract and maintain their many disloyal customers. Therefore an ever increasing number of mobile operators are choosing to replace their single brand strategy with a multi-brand strategy, where a number of different sub-brands each are targeted towards specific customer segments. These customer segments can for example be defined from parameters like age, gender, hobbies and now – after the launch of “Gaymobile” – even from mobile customer’s sexual preferences!
E-Plus in Germany is one of the mobile operators that during the past months have gone from a single brand to a multi-brand strategy. Apart from servicing the central E-Plus brand, the mobile operator has launched a mobile discount brand called “”, a mass-market brand called “”, and a sub-brand called “Ay Yildiz” directly targeted towards Turks living in Germany. In the same way the Danish mobile operator Sonofon now have – asides from their Sonofon brand – the discount brand “CBB Mobil” in which there is an association with the female brand “” and now the new homosexual brand “Gaymobile” . Only ones fantasy seems to be able to set any limits for future target groups for new sub-brands, which is emphasised by the fact that the Dutch service provider ”PePtalk – Pep your Addiction”, recently launched with a cannabis plant as their logo!
As we mentioned, there is no tradition in Europe for mobile operators to work with micro segmentation of their customer bases to support the launch of sub-brands. The term sub-branding is however far from new in the mobile world. Already back in 2000/2001, we described in our first reports that covered the South Korean mobile market, how the mobile operator KTF was already using sub-brands to appeal to specific customer segments like children, youths, women etc.
The kick-off for sub-branding on the European mobile market can also be connected to the year 2000, where the world’s two first mobile discount companies – Telmore and CBB Mobil – launched in Denmark. These “no-frills” companies use the Internet as their primary marketing, distribution and sales channel, to thereby offer basic mobile services at discount prices. With Telmore and CBB Mobil, Europe experienced for the first time how mobile companies deliberately avoided large customer segments and instead targeted their focus very specifically to narrow customer segments. And the companies had success with their micro-segmentation. For example Telmore in the period 2000-2004 achieved a 23.4 percent market share within the age group 18-24 and a market share of 21.2 percent in the age-group 25-29 – and all this on a mobile market with no less than four mobile operators and 12 service providers fighting over just 5 million mobile customers! But it is not just the young segments with low available income that discount mobile telephony has attracted – who does not want to save 15 to 20% on their phone bill?
The whole business area surrounding discount mobile telephony has been thoroughly analysed in our earlier bestseller report ”The Moment Of Truth – A Portrait Of The Discount Mobile Service Providers Success”, which we have sold to handset manufacturers, technology providers, mobile operators and service providers all over the world.
There is no doubt that the Danish discount MVNOs created a landmark in European mobile history by creating a completely new method of offering mobile telephony. This is also emphasised by the fact that the over 30 mobile providers in Europe within the last 12 months have launched perfect copies of the Telmore/CBB concept and almost all mobile operators in Europe already have – or will soon have – their own discount brand.
It is also interesting to note that the world’s first discount mobile companies Telmore and CBB still have not finished being innovative, even though both companies over time have been acquired by TDC Mobil and Sonofon respectively. Both Telmore and CBB Mobil have for example launched mobile offerings for the corporate market, which is a concept that is specially the SME’s have embraced.
So now CBB Mobil is launching the mobile concept ”Gaymobile”, which is basically a traditional discount mobile offering with services and benefits especially designed for homosexual mobile users. It will be interesting to see whether CBB has success in reaching their target group with their new sub-brand, because the target group is a well defined segment, that is known for being trendsetters. Also the gay community hold a number of spectacular events that would be excellent venues to market “Gaymobile”.
The new CBB Mobil concept is however not ensured success. The mobile solution must create special value for their users by offering unique services and functionality, if it is to appeal to its target segment.
Micro-segmentation and sub-branding have come to stay, which now means that the Turks in Germany and Belgium, the hash smokers in Holland and the homosexuals in Denmark all have their own mobile provider. Which minority group will become the next big thing?

The Moment Of Truth – A Portrait Of The Discount Mobile Service Providers Success

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