Image for post
Image for post
Stay restless

Unleashing Mobile Vikings

Koen Vermeire
Sep 20, 2017 · 4 min read

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. — John F. Kennedy

This quote is a nice introduction to the story I would like to share today, and the following weeks. A story about being free, being non-conformists and about growth.

Let’s start off with a short description of who we are today. Mobile Vikings currently is a Light MVNO (Light Mobile Virtual Network Operator). This means we ensure our own business support: administration, sales, customer support, you name it. It also means we depend on another company (called an “MNO” — Mobile Network Operator) that offers the actual network implementation and provides access to a radio network. In our case, this is BASE/Telenet Group. I’m already throwing some lingo at you, so an infographic might be useful:

Image for post
Image for post
Image source : Mobile Vikings (KV), based on Dr Martyn Taylor —

Freedom, independence, growth

As you can see, we rely on a third party for a large part of our business. That partner steers a lot of the things we plan to do, and we’re looking at ways to get out. We want to break free, we need to stand on our own feet. We want to expand the services we offer, to be the best we can be! Yet, to make that happen, we first must become a Full MVNO.

Becoming a Full MVNO is a huge leap forward. We will be responsible for a lot of aspects that are handled by our MNO partner today. Moreover, our technical systems are legacy and were not created to support the load that comes with becoming a Full MVNO.

In telco, you have 2 big components: an Operational Support System (OSS) and a Business Support System (BSS). The OSS handles everything on the network side, the BSS is a support system for our administration (apologies for the corporate wording). Mobile Vikings is a technology company in heart and soul. To this day, we created almost everything ourselves. This resulted in a big monolith that is very hard to quickly adjust to support our Full MVNO ambitions. That’s why we made a somewhat radical decision.


I can honestly say that we have thé best Technology team one can hope for. They are very skilled, agile, ambitious… But most importantly: they work in service of our Vikings. Everything revolves around the end user. They want to create things that actually help our Vikings in their daily life, whereas other players in the market mostly have their financial ambitions in mind (sorry, John and Dominique, but you have to admit that one).

We don’t want these experts spending their time programming a new administrative system. That’s mainstream work that a/ has already been done extensively by many others before, and b/ is quite a waste of the skills we have at Mobile Vikings. Therefore, we choose to work more with partners for the basis of our environment, enabling our crew to focus on building nifty products, that differentiate us from other players in the market.


So, what does this mean?

Image for post
Image for post
Image source: Mobile Vikings (KV)

Well, basically, we have 3 big “construction sites”. The first one is breaking loose from the MNO, working with a partner that allows us to connect to any radio network we choose.

The second one is implementing a BSS system from another partner, so we have a proper CRM environment that supports all the existing services and the new ones we have in mind.

The third step, which is done in parallel with the second one, is taking our front-ends (web and app), dislodging them from the monolith (app already has the basics for this) and connecting them to this new BSS.

Migrating from a legacy monolith to a new BSS suite is quite a challenge. Both from a technological and organisational point of view, because we need to learn to collaborate with partners more intensively. Our Technology team works in a very agile way. A lot of our partners have a more traditional mindset, so we need to align our ways of working and approaches.

Over the coming weeks, we will update you more on how we tackle those challenges at Mobile Vikings. We will also open up on the new world we are building and how it will impact you as a Viking.

Stay tuned !

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store