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Matrix Cellular: Tapping into Innovation to Disrupt a Regulated and Saturated Market

10 Oct 2017

Set in July 2015, the case follows Matrix Cellular (International) Services (Matrix), a telecommunications company that forayed into the nascent cellular telephony market in India, as a retailer of mobile handsets, accessories and international SIM cards. The Managing Director and Chairman of the Risk Management Committee of the company, Gagan Dugal, identified the potential demand for international SIM cards in the Indian outbound travel market that was set to boom on the back of globalisation.

MCIS bought international minutes in bulk from Mobile Service Providers (MSPs) in destination countries and retailed them through SIM cards to outbound Indian travellers. The service was an instant hit among elite travellers. Matrix, exploiting its pioneer advantage, began to strategically build its capabilities in the areas of sourcing, marketing, distribution and servicing, and expanded its product portfolio. Thus, from being a retailer of hardware and accessories, Matrix quickly evolved into a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), trading and retailing talktime and data.

From 2010 onwards, Matrix started facing intense competition from new market entrants and mainstream MSPs. Additionally, events that affected the outbound travel industry also impacted Matrix. Realising its twin identity as a telecom and travel company, Matrix launched additional services – forex cards, travel insurance and VAT recovery. While the services did not significantly contribute to the revenue of the company, they did add to the attractiveness of the company’s competitive advantage.

Amidst intensified competition and faltering revenue, Dugal and his team had to tap into their core resources to innovatively disrupt the market yet again, but how?

Through this case, the participants will have an opportunity to learn about enterprise growth through the perspectives of portfolio option management, blue ocean strategy and innovation and risk.

Last updated on 14 Nov 2017 .

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