THE BIG CELL
MD of RWG
the thinking and
the launch of its
phone service for
RedHanded: Tell us about the idea?
Andrew Davies: Having been involved with mobile
virtual network operators before, and being Welsh, I
just wondered why there was nothing Welsh in this
market space so decided to do something about it.
RH: What does RWG do?
AD: At its core, RWG Mobile is a Pay as you go mobile
network that offers the same level of coverage as
our network partner, Three, including access to 4G
networks but our smart technology means we offer
more than that. Smartphone and tablet users can,
via an app make free voice calls over the internet, as
well as register up to five different phone numbers
for multiple profiles such as personal and work calls
- on one single device. The network is supported by a
customer service team based in Wales who can speak
to customers in both Welsh and English.
RH: How did you raise the finance to launch?
AD: Having been involved in similar projects before
I was able to use my network of private investors and
business angels. However, we have recently secured
additional investment by Finance Wales and S4C.
Our partnership with S4C is of significant strategic
importance which will benefit both S4C and us. In
the future we hope to share information and develop
our capabilities together. RWG Mobile, like S4C, is all
about providing a service that is tailored to customers
in Wales and reflects their lives.
RH: Obviously, you’re up against some big
companies – are they worried?
AD: Not really. We still use their infrastructure so
we’re paying them wholesale rates so they’re getting
money from us, albeit less than they get at retail level.
They see MVNO’s as the real innovators and get their
ideas from us. And often they acquire us at a later date
as they see us as real catalysts and market testers for
RH: As an entrepreneur, you’ve clearly thought
about what will happen in the future, is the exit plan
to sell the business to one of the market leaders?
AD: Yes, in the telecoms space it’s unlikely to be an
IPO and because the big four networks are so large it’s
much more likely to be a trade exit.
RH: In order to get it off the ground was it quite
AD: It’s far less resource intensive than it used to be,
there’s far more technology available. If you go back
six years apps were in their infancy whereas now you
can roll out a telecoms app reasonably quickly and for
a reasonably low cost. It’s a lot more capital intensive
and less labour intensive – there’s a core group of four
or five people in our business that have brought the
technology to market. We’ve outsourced most things
such as sales, IT, design and marketing, but we are
slowly bringing those in-house.
RH: What’s the next phase?
AD: To get the distribution network as mature as
possible. We’ll soon be launching our cross-channel
marketing campaign to increase visibility. We’re
aiming to interact with businesses and the general
public at events throughout Wales in the coming
months, so as many people get to know about RWG
Mobile as possible. And then we’re looking at bundling
products in different ways, with media partners,
and content from our supplier base, and maybe into
financial services. More than a telecommunications
company and more of a communications hub for our
segmented market – the Welsh population.
RH: So similar in principle to what the nationals are
doing but with a Welsh slant?
AD: Yes, if you look at news, sport and entertainment
it will take a Welsh stance. But there will be other
aspects with a Welsh flavour. When I was seeing
investors I told them the story of O2 giving away
tickets to customers to gigs in London but what use is
that to individuals in Wales? But if you’re giving away
loyalty rewards that relate to Wales you are rewarding
your customers for being loyal to your network.
RH: If there was one personal quality needed to
succeed in a launch like this, what would you pick?
AD: Aside from expertise, that would be
determination. You have to stick to what you believe
in even through difficulties or when others are telling
you different. By all means take advice on board but
don’t be swayed if you think you’re right.
To find out more visit www.rwgmobile.wales