5G and Beyond

Reach Mobile CEO on 'Shopifying' mobile, broadband and IoT

Shopify has been using its e-commerce platform to provide an easy path for partners to sell products online for more than 15 years. Reach Mobile believes its platform offers something similar for the worlds of mobile, home broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT) and, more recently, connectivity for enterprises.

"Reach is doing to the telecom networking industry what Shopify did to e-commerce," Reach Mobile founder and CEO Harjot Saluja asserted on the Light Reading Podcast. "We built a digital stack that allows companies, any client, to leverage the network and monetize it in many different ways, but in a very, very simple manner."

An example he points to is WideOpenWest (WOW), a competitive cable/fiber service provider that recently launched a mobile service in partnership with Reach Mobile.

"They [WOW] can just focus on marketing and distribution, and our platform does everything else," Saluja explained, noting that his company is pursuing similar types of mobile service partnerships with other US cable and broadband operators.

Reach Mobile, Saluja said, can apply its model to other service categories, including fixed wireless access, wired broadband and even IoT.

"We thought mobile was antiquated in terms of the back office and systems, but when we went to the broadband side it was just a different definition of antiquated," Saluja said, noting that the company's platform can set up partners to build and develop new premium and prepaid options or even set up so-called "flanker brands."

Reach Mobile tends to get lumped into a segment of the market known as the mobile virtual network enabler, or MVNE. Saluja agrees with that general characterization, but believes the point-of-sale baseline associated with the MVNE concept oversimplifies what Reach's platform provides.

"There's another 95% that you're not solving," he said, pointing to elements such as customizable and personalized transaction messages and in-app notifications and SIM tracking. "Traditionally, the MVNEs don't think of it that way. They are basically giving you some APIs [application programming interfaces] so that you don't have to work with the carrier underneath … I think we are an MVNE, because we do the enabling, but that's like 5% of our solution."

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here are a few topics discussed during this podcast:

  • A brief overview of Reach Mobile and why the company believes it is doing for the telecom networking industry what Shopify did for e-commerce (1:00)
  • A drill-down into Reach's approach to support not just mobile, but also fixed wireless, wired broadband services and even IoT (2:46)
  • An exploration of Reach's home broadband use case, including how the company can help service providers create "flanker brands" or develop other types of service options, including premium or prepaid options (6:00)
  • An update on Reach Mobile's deal with WideOpenWest and its ongoing engagement with the cable industry and wireless ISPs about developing similar types of mobile products (14:00)
  • A look into the use of policy engines that enable partners such as WOW to get creative with mobile plans, including family plans that enable elements such as data sharing (16:00)
  • Reach Mobile views itself as a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE), but believes that characterization over-simplifies the capabilities of its platform (20:00)
  • An overview and update on Reach's new connectivity-as-a-service for the enterprise services sector (25:00)

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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