Circles.Life: Business Model Innovation and Digital Entrepreneurship in Telecommunications

Published 05 Mar 2020
Reference 6572
Region Asia
Length 21 page(s)

Circles.Life is the new telco challenger startup in Asia. Securing several rounds of funding from Sequoia Capital, Singapore’s EDBI, Silicon Valley’s Founders Fund, and Warburg Pincus for its fully-digital technology and business model innovation, it offers cloud-based telecommunications services around simplified data-focused plans, a simple onboarding process, and easy-to-use mobile app. The case explains how its ‘fully digital’ strategy improves upon established unit economics, enables rapid expansion beyond Asia, and diversification beyond voice and data offerings. Such innovations are often based on improvements in back-end infrastructure that differentiate the disruptor from competitors. In this case, Circles.Life develops a new technology stack with featuries in the e-commerce, network intelligence, and system operations layers that are substantial improvements over other MNVOs (mobile virtual network operators). These eliminate physical retail outlets, cut customer acquisition and service costs through automation, and allow the company to introduce non-telco services such as event ticketing, insurance, games and shops on the platform by early 2020. Meanwhile, 5G is promising to transform the telecom competitive landscape in Asia.

Teaching objectives

This case is particularly well suited for teaching ideas around business model innovation and digital entrepreneurship. Building on data and perspectives derived from internal access, it focuses on four issues: (1) detailed analysis of how digital technology enables business model innovations that improve unit economics in the telecommunications industry, (2) bootstrapping entrepreneurial growth through competitive pricing and enhanced customer experience, (3) how digital technology and business models enables differentiation from startup and established company rivals in highly regulated industries, (4) how digital technologies can be used to accelerate growth scaling and global expansion.

  • Business Model Innovation
  • Digital Entrepreneurship
  • Digital Strategy
  • Telecommunications
  • Customer Experience
  • Customer-centricity
  • Automation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Platform
  • Mobile App
  • Singapore
  • Cloud
  • Telco
  • MNVO
  • Digital Platform
  • Mobile App
  • Automation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Q12020