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Qualcomm Plans Healthcare And Wellness MVNO

Just when you thought the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model might go away, some big giant pulls it back into the limelight. The giant this week is Qualcomm and its play is a health and fitness MVNO. So Qualcomm wants to become a service provider?
Just when you thought the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model might go away, some big giant pulls it back into the limelight. The giant this week is Qualcomm and its play is a health and fitness MVNO. So Qualcomm wants to become a service provider?Qualcomm's new MVNO play, called LifeComm, was created by Qualcomm and other unnamed partners. The MVNO will have a healthcare and wellness content focus with broad enough appeal for consumers and will launch in the second half of 2008.

LifeComm will offer a number of wellness-centered mobile apps, including, "fitness, weight management or reduction, diabetes management, and monitoring heart health, including hypertension and congestive heart disease." Imagine being able to use your cell phone as a heart monitor while you jog or as a calorie counter for your diet.

LifeComm represents a variation on the MVNO theme. The first generation of MVNOs were centered on existing brands, such as Virgin Mobile, ESPN, and Disney. Of this generation, Virgin Mobile has been the only runaway success and ESPN Mobile was a flat-out flop.

The newest generation of MVNOs is targeting lifestyle. Another MVNO, Voce, is designed for business professionals who need lots of high-end service and handholding.

Will this new generation of MVNOs be any more successful than the previous generation? What do you think?

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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