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Frequently Asked Questions


What Is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)?

 A mobile virtual network operator is a wireless communications service provider that doesn’t hold ownership of the wireless network infrastructure that it uses to provide services to its customers.

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Why Can MVNOs Offer Cheaper Services to Their Customers?

An MVNO will enter into an agreement with an MNO (mobile network operator) to gain bulk access to the services of a network at wholesale prices. The MVNO is subsequently able to offer its own customers services at a cheaper retail rate.


What Are the Different MVNO Business Model Components?

These components consist of access to basic network infrastructure; service pricing, packaging and billing systems; and marketing, sales and management of customer relationships.


What Is an Enhanced Service Provider?

This MVNO has its own infrastructure, which gives it more control over the services it offers. An Enhanced Service Provider model of MVNO tends to have a stronger focus on customer-ownership, branding and differentiation via additional services such as SIM and data applications.


What Is a Full Mobile Virtual Network Operator?

 This type of MVNO implements its network with technology that is almost identical to the technology used by an MNO. A Full MVNO only lacks its own radio network.


What Is a Service Provider?

A service provider is in charge of its own marketing, customer support, distribution and sales processes. It can also set its own tariffs, independent of the MNO’s designated retail prices.


What Is a Branded Reseller?

This reseller is almost totally reliant on the MNO’s facilities and is not the owner of any network elements. A branded reseller may operate its own marketing, sales and customer care.


Are MVNOs regulated?

The European Commission issued a recommendation in 2003 to national telecom regulators, advising them to examine the competitiveness of the market for wholesale access and call origination on public mobile telephone networks. As a result of this study, new regulations were introduced in several countries and Ireland and France compelled operators to open up networks to MVNOs.

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