Back to the blog.

Featured Image Blog Feature

November 19, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the Bed of Procrustes

Enterprise  |  IoT  |  Product

Key takeaways for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs):

  • MVNOs, OTT messaging solutions, and Wi-Fi calling present consumers with more communications options than ever before.
  • MNO’s are struggling to compete, relying on generic services, rigid pricing, and dusty branding to appeal to dwindling customer bases.
  • The Pareteum Experience Cloud can help MNOs launch new, bespoke services to capture underserved customers and regain lost market share.

Want to learn more about Pareteum Experience Cloud for MNOs? Set up a meeting!


Who on earth is Procrustes and why should Mobile Network Operators care about his bed?

If you’re not familiar with the classics, you’re probably wondering “who on earth is Procrustes, why are we talking about his bed, and what does any of this have to do with MNOs?” Well, the story of Procrustes is an old one — an important episode in the life of Theseus, the legendary founder of Athens.

According to the myth, Procrustes was a highwayman who had a stronghold on the pilgrim’s route between Athens and Eleusis, an important spiritual center in antiquity. He would invite travelers to stay with him, luring them with promises of feasts, mixed wine, and a good night’s rest.

However, once his victims had had their fill, Procrustes would force them into an iron bed. If they were too tall for it, he would amputate whatever hung over the edges; if they were too short, he would use weights and a smith’s hammer to pound them flat like sheet metal, stretching them to size.

Nevertheless, Procrustes eventually snagged the wrong fish. Theseus, savvy to Procrustes’s treachery, forced him into his own bed and held him to the same standards to which he had held his victims. In this way, Theseus ended Procrustes’s reign of terror.

Thus, the bed of Procrustes is a useful metaphor, denoting situations where things of differing conditions or properties are fitted to the same arbitrary standard, often backfiring on those responsible for imposing it.


Cool, but what does this have to do with Mobile Network Operators?

Well, back in the day, most countries had only two or three MNOs, many of which were government owned and operated. This was not an ideal telecommunications environment, and the convergence of onerous regulations and rigid laws failed to encourage the sort of competition necessary for sustaining healthy markets. Needless to say, consumers suffered for it.

Fortunately, things have changed quite rapidly. More and more, countries are opening up networks to other companies, leading to robust telecommunications environments and the creation of new businesses with innovative mobile services and offerings.

However, with the rise of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), OTT messaging platforms, and fast, reliable public Wi-Fi, MNOs are increasingly coming to the realization that they’ve strapped themselves to their own version of Procrustes’s bed.

While the telecommunications market has largely thrown off the regulatory yoke, many MNOs remain stuck in their pre-competitive glory days. They’ve struggled to adapt to the elevated competition. Indeed, one of the most common challenges carriers face is that, in order to develop offerings that continue to appeal to their large subscriber-bases, they’ve got to compromise. These compromises have led to generic services, rigid pricing, and, frankly, uninspiring branding.

As such, consumers inevitably slip through the cracks; either because they’re reluctant to pay for data they won’t use, or because they need more data than they can afford. If MNOs fail to free themselves from the iron bed of rigid data plans, consumers will continue to seek out alternatives.


That’s not good! How can Pareteum help?

Time for the good news! The Pareteum Experience Cloud is a fully managed, cloud-based solution, built to help MNOs launch their own MVNOs, sub-brands, and other mobile services into new markets and territories.

At a fundamental level, we at Pareteum believe that the more elements you control, the more control you have over the services and experiences you offer.

Take MVNOs, for example. They present MNOs with an opportunity to capture underserved customer segments and regain lost market share. With Pareteum’s comprehensive menu of telecommunications solutions, MNOs have the pricing and branding independence necessary to create bespoke offerings that appeal to specific businesses or consumers.

Indeed, Pareteum offers complete visibility and control via an end-to-end, portal-based subscriber management solution. This includes:

  • Simplified multi-vendor telecoms management and operational processes
  • An interface offering visibility and control over connectivity service, including the ability to generate reports that provide usage stats and insights
  • Performance notifications, such as configurable alerts, notifications, and commands

Moreover, the Pareteum Smart Network delivers unified access to global cellular and Wi-Fi networks, with intelligent network selection, for unbeatable performance, cost, and reach. This includes coverage in 200+ countries and territories, with inflight Wi-Fi on over 5,000 planes from 40 leading airlines.

Interested offloading to Wi-Fi? Check out these articles!

And that’s the Pareteum Experience Cloud!

It’s the only single-source cloud-communications platform that provides limitless scale and control for the creation and management of mobile communications through APIs and the world’s largest unified global network.

If you have any questions about how Pareteum can free you from the bed of Procrustes, reach out to our team!

In the meantime, feel free to watch our latest webinar, Creating Market Leading Mobile Experiences.