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IoT MVNO: How IoT is set to transform the Telecoms Industry for MVNOs

Digital transformation, the effect of COVID-19, and the move from 4G to 5G are just some of the elements causing a shift in the telecommunications industry. This shift has resulted in many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) relooking at their offerings and solutions as well as focusing on the opportunities that the Internet of Things (IoT) offers in terms of adding value to both consumers and enterprise. We examine the relationship between MVNOs and IoT in more detail below as.

The relationship between IoT and MVNOs

Globally, there is a prominent discussion around IoT and the effect it will have on the telecommunications industry, and for good reason.

According to Market Research Future, the IoT Telecom services market was valued at USD 3.45 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach a whopping USD 22.57 billion by 2023. This will be further impacted by the rollout of 5G, which is projected to more than double the IoT connections to 25 billion in 2025 and bring in a global revenue of more than USD 1.1 trillion. It is safe to say that IoT connectivity and applications will significantly impact how we live and work in the future. We are already seeing how this is going to play out with the development of smart cities in various global markets.

So, what does this mean for MVNOs? In simple terms, it means opportunity. MVNOs are in the perfect position to meet the needs and demands for consumer and business-focused IoT platforms and solutions. This is because, unlike Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), MVNOs have the flexibility and can customise their services and develop innovative B2B, B2C, IoT applications. This not only opens up a new revenue stream for MVNOs but also gives them a way to differentiate themselves in an already congested market. IoT will provide MVNOs with the competitive edge needed for market growth as a holistic IoT MVNO business model. 

It is important to note that MVNOs are often very focused on B2C business models that include network, connectivity, and mobile phones, but now more than ever the B2B market, especially where IoT is concerned, offers immense potential to drive revenue and growth. Digitisation across different industry verticals is on the rise as this enhances productivity and profitability, which every business strives for and works towards.

According to a recent GSMA survey, 52% of enterprises around the world view IoT as transformational to their company and the wider industry. This is mainly because IoT has the potential to address region-wide challenges in critical sectors such as energy, water, agriculture, transportation and logistics, manufacturing as well as healthcare. This puts MVNOs in a sweet spot as digitisation and the implementation of IoT is dependent on the connectivity provided by MVNOs.


This new IoT market gives MVNOs a chance to segment their service offerings and create tailored packages for different industries, all without having to develop new physical network infrastructure or hardware. Many would say this new IoT MVNO business model is geared for success.


IoT solutions for MVNOs

IoT integration brings with it the ability to manage the complex customer value chain associated with the telecommunications sector. With the development of the IoT MVNO business model, MVNOs need IoT solutions that answer the needs of their customer base. These needs include:

  • Connectivity Management – many businesses are transitioning to remote working conditions, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The result of this is that workforce mobility is now essential for enterprise. In order for this to be successful, there needs to be solutions in place to allow for reliable and secure network connections from anywhere and at any time around the world. Network virtualisation, cloud technology and 5G are enablers of these types of IoT solutions and facilitate the reliability of network coverage.
  • Sim card management – IoT devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets etc. are being used more and more by businesses globally. This creates a need for IoT sim card management platforms that will provide complete control over a company’s SIMs, including the ability to erase SIM cards, delete all personal information and phone numbers from the SIM card memory etc.
  • Mobile device and data management – as with sim card management, there is a need for IoT platform solutions to manage and maintain large numbers of mobile devices and their data usage. IoT platforms facilitate this and allow you to register, provision, lock or wipe the device remotely, through a centralised simple to use portal. These solutions also enable the tracking and monitoring of consumer devices in real-time.
  • Machine learning and big data analytics – IoT solutions incorporate machine learning and big data analytics at every level which provides valuable and actionable insights that can be used to improve the platforms, solutions and offerings.

Advantages for customers and MVNOs

The type of IoT deployments mentioned above are catered to MVNOs and their customers need for the following:

  • Enhanced efficiency, as IoT services, streamline processes allowing for more to get done faster and with less chance of human error as many aspects of the solutions are automated and self-service.
  • Simple and efficient inventory tracking and management that is facilitated by machine to machine (M2M) interaction
  • Tailored solutions that speak to customers’ needs and wants, which has a significant impact on customer experience

There are also several benefits that IoT solutions have for MVNOs which include:

  • Positive return on investment and new revenue stream drivers
  • Enhanced customer experience that drives loyalty and reduces customer churn
  • Differentiation in a congested market
  • Ability to provide customers with value-added solutions that drive growth and sales
  • Enhanced flexibility, scalability, and agility through the ability to run multi-channel networks from one central point


IoT is a trend that is set to transform the telecommunications industry, especially where MVNOs are concerned. The MVNO business model is flexible enough to answer to the changing needs of customers and will allow MVNOs to develop solutions and applications that provide new opportunities to create revenue. With different industry verticals looking for IoT capabilities and a move towards smart cities, which will all rely on enhanced wireless connectivity, MVNOs can use their expertise to position themselves as the service providers of choice for IoT solutions. This is an exciting space to watch with many opportunities for innovation and growth for IoT MVNO.


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