Sprint and XO announced a MVNO agreement today that allows XO to resell Sprint services, including 4G. The deal allows XO to integrate Sprint wireless services into XO’s VoIP, SIP trunking and in-building WiFi networks for a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) offer to XO’s business customers.
The move demonstrates the growing importance mobility plays in business services. More often than not, business customer employees have smartphones and use them to conduct business. I’ve seen market research that suggests that more than 50% of small and medium business owners and employees own a smartphone. Service providers who can deliver applications that allow those business customers to integrate those smartphones with their wireline IP communications services create competitive differentiation and ‘stickiness.’
“This agreement underpins XO Communications’ commitment to deliver innovative services for our customers and is another step in our converged services strategy to bring together wireline and wireless services over a single IP-enabled network infrastructure,” said Don MacNeil, chief marketing officer for XO Communications in a Sprint press release. “This capability will further differentiate XO Communications in the market as one of the only providers to offer a very unique fixed mobile convergence offering for our customers that simplifies the management of their wireless and wireline communications needs.”
Customers not only want basic integration like accessing business voicemail from their smartphone, but also want the smartphone to become a mobile extension of their office unified communications platform. Service providers who can enable such an experience create compelling value propositions for the lucrative small, medium, and enterprise business sectors.
By partnering with Sprint, XO is not allowing their lack of a wireless network prevent them from achieving such a goal. Indeed, while owning one’s own wireless network for such purposes is the preferred method, not owning one shouldn’t rule any service provider out. The end game of adequately meeting the growing mobility demands of business customers is too important of an objective.
Sprint is targeting wireline partners with their Wholesale Mobile Integration (WMI) services. Launched last year, the platform allows wireline carriers to extend their IP communications offer to mobile phones.