Matrixx Software, a company that provides wireless carriers with charging software, has joined the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA).
Matrixx’s software can be used by regional wireless providers to quickly create custom service packages, cross promotions with local businesses or targeted offers.
Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and CMO of Matrixx, said the company’s software is being used by large Tier 1 carriers such as Telefonica in Germany, AT&T in Mexico and Telstra in Australia. But it can also be scaled down for smaller, regional players such as members of CCA.
She said the businesses of competitive carriers are only getting more competitive. And even though many regional wireless carriers in the U.S. have been gobbled up by larger operators, there are still a fair number of small players. “We think we have a really good solution for them,” said Kyriakakis.
MVNOs and wireless wholesalers
But perhaps the more exciting possibilities for companies such as Matrixx and similar vendors will come from all the activity related to the big wireless carriers wholesaling their networks to smaller providers that want to act as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).
In the U.S. the big wireless providers are already wholesaling their networks to the top cable operators, including Comcast, Charter and Cox, as well as to many smaller MVNOs.
And the MVNO activity is accelerating. The trade associations ACA Connects and the National Content & Technology Cooperative (NCTC) are in the midst of helping dozens of their small cable operator members become MVNOs.
ACA and NCTC have struck an agreement with AT&T to wholesale its wireless network to small cable operators. And the MVNO enabler Reach Next will handle all the back-office logistics.
Matrixx is eyeing similar MVNO opportunities for its charging software. It’s done work related to the operators One New Zealand and Swisscom, which are wholesaling their networks to MVNOs.
“Globally, what we see is a big focus, as 5G gets rolled out, onto the wholesale side,” Kyriakakis said. “A big part of the industry believes there’s a big wholesale opportunity with niche players. In all of the markets that are in the 5G cycle already, they’re all looking at wholesale as a new opportunity.”
Where does 5G play?
Kyriakakis said all of this new activity with operators wholesaling their networks is being made possible by 5G, and specifically, 5G core networks.
She said in the past it was “unwieldy” to onboard a new MVNO, and “it has not been a simple process.” But as operators deploy their 5G cores, the costs to onboard MVNOs are coming down. “The move toward packet core software, open APIs, the shift to cloud, these are all helping make the process for onboarding an MVNO much less painful and more cost effective.”
Now, operators may be able to recoup some of their 5G investments by wholesaling their networks. And new MVNOs can tap the abilities of the 5G core to quickly package and sell their services in interesting new ways.
Matrixx isn’t the only charging vendor looking at the new opportunities. It competes with the primary network vendors Nokia and Ericsson as well as with Oracle, Amdocs and Netcracker.
All of this was a twinkle in the eye of Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen at least five years ago when he wanted to create a greenfield 5G network based largely on software. At that time Ergen talked regularly about the potential opportunities of “dynamic pricing” that could be provided by a cloud-native 5G network.
In 2020 Dish selected Matrixx as its vendor for wireless charging.
Kyriakakis said, “We do the charging and monetization for Dish. We are their charging engine for the 5G service they have now and for wholesale as well.” Dish’s 5G wireless service is live for customers, although the company has not said how many subscribers it currently has on its network.
But Dish has had a lot of irons in the fire since 2020, and the company is currently taking a pause from its 5G network buildout. Perhaps dynamic pricing is not its top priority right now.
Kyriakakis said Matrixx is still exploring things with Dish, especially in regard to working with enterprises and providing wholesale offerings.
“I wouldn’t say we’re talking about dynamic pricing for 5G services they have now but more for the wholesale environment or what developers might decide to use,” she said.