Can a green mobile telephony operator succeed in Switzerland ?

Robert, Aurélien ; Dubosson-Torbay, Magali (Dir.)

Mémoire de diplôme HES : Haute école de gestion de Genève, 2007 ; TDEE 52.

A very entrepreneurial intuition happened to be at the source of this project. The intuition that the Swiss mobile telephony market is a “green-able” one, meaning a new virtual operator whose value proposition relies on the ethics of its functioning and offer could be launched: a green mobile operator. Thus, this document aims at inquiring whether such an operator would actually be relevant,... Plus

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    Summary
    A very entrepreneurial intuition happened to be at the source of this project. The intuition that the Swiss mobile telephony market is a “green-able” one, meaning a new virtual operator whose value proposition relies on the ethics of its functioning and offer could be launched: a green mobile operator. Thus, this document aims at inquiring whether such an operator would actually be relevant, industry-wise and consumer-wise. It only constitutes the very first step towards the hypothetical actual creation of a green mobile operator and, as a consequence, only addresses the very major elements needed to form an answer. These list as follows: · Is the Swiss mobile telephony market limp enough to allow entrance to a newcomer? · What is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and how can it create value? · Do the ethics of the functioning and offer of a green mobile operator represent valid core competences? · How do consumers perceive ethical companies and how frequently do they purchase from them? · What are consumers’ decision factors and means of comparison when choosing their mobile operator? · How do consumers value the green mobile operator concept and are they willing to switch for it? The first three questions were treated through desk research. First, I analyzed the market situation and evolution. Then, I went back to the very definition of an MVNO and observed various existing ones and I ended up by submitting the green mobile operator concept to a viability test using a mix of strategic analysis methods. The last three questions were addressed using a field market study in order to get the consumers’ feeling about ethical companies and consumption, mobile telephony and the combination of both. Firstly, it was essential to understand how consumers perceive ethical companies and how they relate to them. Secondly, I needed to understand how consumers proceed when they choose their mobile operator and get a hint of how they would choose their operator today. Finally, the consumers’ response to the green mobile operator concept and their hypothetical willingness to sign up were questioned. Then, by combining the results of the analysis of the mobile telephony industry and those of the survey, I was able to assess whether the green mobile operator concept is a commercial opportunity that should be considered or not. The first answer this research brought is that the Swiss mobile telephony market is not limp enough to allow entrance of a newcomer. Reasons for this are the declining progression rate of revenues, a penetration rate that reached saturation, the maturity of the market and a fierce competition. Secondly, I demonstrated that the ethics of the functioning and offer of a green mobile operator are elements not clearly sufficient to survive on the market. Indeed, the underlying competences are not solid enough. An operator relying on these elements only could then probably not hold a defendable position on the market. Thirdly, the survey unveiled that the respondents have a very positive perception of ethical companies and are used to consume their products or services. The respondents clearly identify companies that, in their own opinion, integrate sustainable development principles and perceive their added value. Moreover, such companies are often considered more attractive and a majority of respondents like the fact that they share similar values and principles. Fourthly, when it comes to choosing a mobile operator, respondents said the price, network quality as well as the offer & services are the key elements (offer & services includes the applications and the matching with one’s needs). Besides, more respondents would make a formal comparison before choosing a new operator and a large majority of them uses several sources of information to form an opinion. Finally, the respondents are clearly satisfied with their current mobile operator but a large proportion declared to be ready to change, even more if they could change for a green mobile operator. The results are overly enthusiastic but it does confirm the genuine interest of the respondents for such a mobile operator and it shows that they do perceive its value. Consumers say yes, the industry says no. In the end, launching in Switzerland a new mobile operator relying on the ethics of its functioning and offer is a commercial opportunity I recommend not to pursue.