Sberbank will create a virtual operator

Bank operator

Sberbank plans to create a virtual mobile operator, said a source close to one of the Telecom companies, and was confirmed by a source close to the Bank. We are talking about MVNO model, in which the service works on the network of an existing operator. The project “Sberbank-Telecom”, says the source close to the Bank. Final name not selected yet, just under discussion, said another source. According to him, Sberbank does not want to use your own brand for the mobile operator.

Negotiations on cooperation the Bank has had with the operators Tele2 and MTS, told several sources on the telecommunications market. The representative of Tele2 Konstantin Prokshin confirmed the fact of negotiations further comment, he refused. The representative of MTS Dmitry Solodovnikov declined to comment. A source in one of the “big four” alleges that the Bank has not yet decided on a partner. This is confirmed by the source in a large telecommunications company. Representatives of “MegaFon” and “VympelCom” did not begin to speak about that, asked them their company project with Sberbank. The representative of Sberbank declined to comment.

The commercial terms of cooperation, the sources don’t know. The cost of the project will depend on the business model and format for the MVNO and its magnitude is a Federal or a test run in one or several cities in Russia, explains the head of Department of wireless technologies J’son & Partners Consulting Vitaly Solonin. According to him, to run the operator without the issuance of licenses and building infrastructure enough “several million dollars” that will go on marketing, advertising and distribution.

The project of the virtual operator Tele2 network is, for example, at “Rostelecom”. In February 2016 the state company has published the application form on the website of public procurement, from which it followed that the maximum cost of the project is 300 million rubles (about $4.5 million), but the exact amount of the contract is unknown.

The target audience of the future project — clients of the savings Bank: for they will have developed special tariffs, not bound to the current tariffs of the operator, says a source familiar with the details of the project. Another interviewee believes that the Bank intends to offer virtual operator services to all its customers. Sberbank is going to integrate Telecom services with its other services, such as the bonus program “Thank you”, said one of them.

Solonin believes that options for integration of services the Bank has mass — for example, you can offer customers free mobile communication at the expense of payments of “bonus” interest Deposit to your mobile account or to launch converged products and applications for different user groups.

Question benefits

Virtual operator Sberbank can quickly become the largest MVNO in Russia and to collect “millions” of subscribers, the analyst iKS-Consulting Maxim Savvatin. Sberbank can count on hundreds of thousands or even millions of users in the future three to five years in an optimistic scenario adds Solonin. Now five major players in the market of virtual operators have 2 million subscribers: 1.5 million of them — Yota.

Sberbank has a competitive advantage — its network of branches throughout Russia, and for distribution of SIM cards MVNO-projects, according to Cavatina, this “important factor”. Based on the information on the Bank’s website, in Russia are about 16 thousand offices. For comparison, the largest chain of mobile retail MTS is averaging 5.1 thousand salons.

However, if the prospects of the project for Sberbank, experts believe, to the commercial benefits for the operator-partner — no. For example, a source close to one of the “big four”, believes that after launching the project, part of Sberbank clients can cancel the service of existing carriers and to switch to a new service. If this happens, the Telecom company “will lose more than you earn”, said the source . At the moment, Sberbank has more than 110 million customers — “more than half of the population”, stated on the website of the Bank.

Joint project with Sberbank may be advantageous to the operator, did not agree Savvatin. According to him, much depends on the positioning of the new service and conditions of cooperation, such as discounts to the Bank for selling a high volume of traffic. In the present state of market participants tend to think primarily about income, not about building the subscriber base, said the Director of the Agency “TMT Consulting” Konstantin Ankilov. According to him, cooperation with the Bank, “most likely, will not lead to lower income partner carrier”.

In Russia, some large companies have created virtual operators. For example, from 2013 to 2015, he worked MVNO project of the retailer “Svyaznoy” and MTS, during the existence to it managed to connect 800 thousand subscribers. Retailer X5 also developed a virtual operator MTS in 2010-2012, reminds Ankilov. According to him, the project is then scored over 100 thousand subscribers.

In October 2015 virtual operator on the network “MegaFon” launched “Gazprom”. The project designed for employees of the state Corporation, called “Gazprom Telecom”, wrote CNews. By October, more than 5 thousand people in Moscow and St. Petersburg received a SIM card “Gazprom Telecom” in the future, the company may transfer to the new service all 450 thousand employees. As of April 1, 2016, “the Telecom Gazprom” has allocated more than 100 thousand numbers in several regions of Russia.

MVNO-projects, developed by companies from other areas to their customers and increase their loyalty, live, usually several years. “Usually it’s a finite story,” said Ankilov.