Unpacking the MVNO Opportunity with Bradwin Roper

June 3, 2022

Helen Whelan

Helen Whelan

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Unpacking the MVNO Opportunity with Bradwin Roper

When a business has a mature value-added services (VAS) portfolio, is launching your own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) the next step to maximise value for your customers? We chatted to Bradwin Roper, previous CEO of FNB Connect, to find out more about the strategy behind FNB’s MVNO.

We have learnt that customer experience is key when purchasing digital goods and services: Which channel is most popular for FNB VAS transactions, and how did this play into your MVNO strategy?

“Our most popular channel remains our FNB App for our VAS business. Nearly 70% of our sales happen on our banking app across the 9 geographical regions that we offer these services to. In the 6 months to December (our half-year results), we sold over R9 billion worth of VAS products on our banking App in South Africa alone. This just speaks to the power of this convenient and secure platform.”

We know that FNB Connect offers users highly-personalised options. How has personalisation played a role in your MVNO and app strategy?

“Aligned with our money management strategy, we aim to offer unprecedented flexibility and choice to our clients on their telco spend, which we recognise is a significant component of household expenditure. So, our month-to-month world-class top-up offering gives our clients great choice and flexibility without them getting locked into a clunky 24-month deal. Most importantly, we offer this through unmatched convenience on a platform where our clients can order, port, and maintain all their telco services on the FNB App (a first in South Africa).”

 How does launching FNB Connect leverage the existing customer relationships that FNB has?

“Helping clients on their money management journey towards saving and investing means that we have to solve all their needs, including their telco spend. So, our Connect offerings further help to entrench our clients in a manner that delivers shared value to us and them.”

What is the market for MVNOs alongside the already established, traditional mobile network operators (MNOs)? 

“The MVNO subscriber base grew substantially from 1.8 million in 2018/19 to 2.4 million subscribers in 2020/21. The South African MNO – MVNO market is expected to register a CAGR of about 7.8% during the forecast period (2021-2026). In an increasingly digital world and fragmented telecommunications industry, MVNOs are on the rise, applying emerging technologies, exploring new verticals, and providing value to both consumers and existing MNOs.”

How do you view Telecom and Banking services getting closer in the future?

“In an ever-increasing interoperable world, the lines will continue to blur between traditional MNOs and traditional banks. We are seeing mega-trends where MNOs are venturing into payments and remittances, as well as into lending (e.g., Airtime advance). Similarly, banks like FNB are venturing into VAS and telco spaces. Ultimately, I think either directly or through partnerships, these boundaries will continue to blur. The winners will be the ones that offer the best user experience coupled with security features to foster trust with clients.” 

Finally, any last comments on where you see the future of the digital marketplace heading?

“As the approaching contest plays out, industries will converge under newer, broader, and more dynamic alignments: Digital ecosystems. These will be driven by a highly customer-centric model, where diverse, multi-industry players will provide the following:

  • End-to-end experiences with a wide range of functionality

  • Single-access gateways

It is worth noting that the global ecosystem marketplace is estimated to reach $60 trillion by 2025; impacting around 50% of world GDP. Africa’s B2B spending is expected to increase to $3.5 trillion by 2025. Watch this space.”

Learn more about the state of airtime and data to make sure your VAS offering remains relevant to consumers.  

Bradwin Roper profile picture

About Bradwin

Bradwin was CEO of FNB Connect and has previously served as Chief Executive Officer, Sales and Service Contact Centre and Chief Executive Officer, Lesotho for FirstRand. In addition, Bradwin also worked as the National Manager of Strategy, Planning and Costing and Executive assistant for Absa Group.

Bradwin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 2006 and a Master of Business Administration in Theory of Constraints in Service Organisations from Gordon Institute of Business Science in 2015. Some of Brad’s momentous achievements include being named the Mail and Guardian Top 200 2019.


You can also follow Bradwin on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in the MVNO space.

Helen Whelan

Helen Whelan

Helen Whelan is a Content Writer at Electrum. With a BSc (Hons) from Rhodes University, she enjoys the combination of creativity and technical topics that content creation at Electrum involves. Cats and coffee fuel her day.

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