What is a mobile virtual network operator?

What is a mobile virtual network operator?


Mobile virtual network operator or MVNO – wireless service provider. Unlike traditional mobile operators (MNOs), MVNOs do not have the infrastructure they use. Instead, they rent it from MNOs and use the infrastructure to deliver a unique set of services to their markets. Collective MVNOs obtain access to MNO services at discounted or wholesale rates and set retail prices for sale to consumers.

Network Operator

Tesco Mobile is an MVNO. It offers cell phone plans, calls and data like MVNO. Tesco Mobile can become an MVNO by leveraging O2’s mobile network infrastructure.


What makes a mobile virtual network operator unique?

There are four types of MVNO that are distinguishable from the models they use. However, MVNO has a similar set of features that make them unique. MVNO is usually the following brands:

Access to the existing vast consumer base

Loyal customers, simplifying the sale of white label mobile network products and services

Capital or access to capital to invest in front-end systems to serve consumers (think marketing, sales, and customer service)

As a large multinational supermarket chain, Tesco has access to a large consumer market. Using its name and reach, Tesco is able to leverage brand affinity to offer consumers an alternative to traditional mobile network offerings.


And this isn’t the first time Tesco has entered a new industry. They did something similar in the financial sector, creating a bank in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland, proof that brands have tremendous power.

Why do phone network operators want MVNO?

Phone operators choose to promote MVNO for two main reasons. These are:


Access to non-targeted domains

Phone operators come in a variety of forms; they want to grow all the time, but growing up can sometimes be hard to get. The solution is to find partners and big customers. These partners can secure and integrate partnerships to sell their mobile network services to their customers.


Use the tool to create another revenue stream

Mobile network software can also handle user requests more than ever before. For mobile operators, this allows for free MVNO bandwidth, making it possible to sell access to hardware and save money.


What kind of MVNO is it?

MVNO is available in four versions. Check out each one with examples from different countries:


Reseller sales

Merchants with a brand are seen as the “easiest MVNO business model” and quick to create. This is due to the way MVNO works. Brand marketers use their brand name, and from time to time, their distribution channels reach their new customers or sign up for them.


MVNO is perfect

MVNO is completely considered as a solid MVNO type. Full MVNO has great access to the hardware of the mobile network operator. MVNO is responsible for all other factors and strategic planning, leading to their own investment.

Vialis is a mobile and mobile operator in Alsace (eastern France). The company was originally founded in 2003 as a supplier of gas and electricity, and in 2006 it began offering telecommunications services.


MVNO light

Lighting MVNOs fall into the gap between branded retailers and full-blown MVNOs. They cover sales and marketing, back-office processes, and value-added services and operations.


Ello Mobile, the Dutch lightweight MVNO, was founded in 2006. It offers local and international telephone rates and attractive mobile data offers.


Network activators

Network activators, otherwise known as “mobile virtual network activators” or “MVNE”, can be considered intermediaries. They provide the infrastructure for MVNO operations. MVNEs can also provide value-added services and back office processes to other MVNOs.

In many ways, MVNE is true to their name. As enablers, they provide space for mobile virtual operators to enter the markets. They also act as aggregators, taking requests from a few smaller VPN operators and negotiating better terms with mobile operators. These solutions enable the introduction of “in-a-box” VPNs to smaller and smaller VPNs, accelerating the market access of more brands.


Pareteum is a global provider of communication platform as a service solutions. It gives interested brands a chance to become lightweight MVNOs.