Followers of the data-only mobile virtual network operator concept have a range of ideas for the types of companies that might like to offer wireless data services without building their own networks.
Nitin Shah, ArrayComms executive vice president and general manager of business development and strategy, says the most obvious are the well-known ISPs. Those providers could offer a branded service to their existing landline customers, who could then use a laptop or a Palm device to access the Internet wirelessly.
Yahoo! has investigated options for delivering a branded wireless data ser-vice to its loyal users, says Andrew Cole, vice president of Adventis. "They dont want to get into voice, so a data-only MVNO would be terrific," he says.
Companies such as Yahoo! and the ISPs would brand the service and handle the billing relationship with the end user.
But startups with new ideas could potentially strike deals with the providers or the data-only network operator to handle the billing relationship. For example, a company could charge business travelers a couple of dollars per month for wireless access to a Web site that has specific information about traffic conditions near airports or up-to-the-minute stock information. Others might target teens with games they can play against others in real-time. Those companies could pay the wireless ISP or portal to bill the end user on their behalf, instead of investing in back-end billing systems.