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New GSMA Guide: Forming Successful Partnerships With Mobile Network Operators

By Kristen Roggemann on July 15, 2014

Partnerships are vital to achieving scale, sustainability and success in the M4D sector. A 2014 GSMA Mobile for Development Impact survey of representatives from mobile operator Value Added Service (VAS) departments from 38 countries found that operators recognize that they cannot work alone and successful partnerships with third party providers are crucial to deliver successful content and other services.


The GSMA mWomen report, “Mutual Value, Mutual Gain,” focuses specifically on lessons learned in successful social sector/operator partnerships to bring value-added services to rural or marginalized populations, especially women.

Social sector organizations that seek a partnership with an operator usually seek these partnerships in order to leverage operator capabilities to deliver at scale. The content or services some social sector organizations offer to operators, such as health or educational content or agricultural advisory services, would generally be considered mobile value added services by the mobile industry.

Additional services or expertise social sector organizations bring to operators, such as existing distribution networks, consumer insights or market sizing data, can help operators along other parts of the VAS value chain such as product development or market opportunity assessment.

The scale, visibility and commercial service expertise accessible through an operator partnership are extraordinarily attractive value propositions to social sector players in the M4D space. Operators have strong in-house capabilities and dedicated teams to conduct scaled above the line and below the line marketing campaigns that are often far more extensive than the outreach tactics available to and employed by social sector organizations.

Additionally, the potential for sustainable, unrestricted revenue streams from revenue-share services and reduced risk and investment through an early-stage partnership are some of the unique benefits to social sector organizations found in mobile operator partnerships.

Want to learn more? Then please RSVP now to join the next Technology Salon, where we’ll talk with the report author, Kristen Roggemann, and share our experience in partnering with MNOs.

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Kristen Roggemann currently serves as the Principal Mobile Solutions Specialist at DAI. She previously worked at GSMA mWomen, Souktel, Inc., and The Bridgespan Group. Kristen has extensive field experience in the Middle East and Africa working on mobile for development initiatives in both public and private sector contexts and got her start in international development through a Fulbright Scholarship to study women’s literacy in Morocco in 2005.
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