MVNEs connect mobile operators and providers that do not own their own infrastructures. As a result, MVNEs help start-up MVNOs get established faster, on a tighter budget.
Find out the difference between MNOs, MVNOs, MVNAs and MVNEs, as well as the advantages for MVNOs to use MVNEs, how to choose the right one and current challenges facing MVNOs today.
What is an MVNE?
An MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler) provides network infrastructure and related services, (for example, administration and operations support systems) to an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). This allows MVNOs to offer services to their customers within their own brands.
The MVNE only provides network enablement platforms and services, having no relationship with the MVNOs customers.
Difference between MNOs, MVNOs, MVNAs and MVNEs
An MNO (Mobile Network Operator) creates a mobile network and is responsible for its upkeep, as well as business support and operation systems. Examples of MNOs are Orange, Verizon and Vodafone. The MNO sells to an MVNO, who is often a brand of the MNO, or to the MVNA or MVNE.
The MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) doesn’t have their own infrastructure; instead, it relies on the MNOs infrastructure, and most other things. An older, stable MVNO may have its own business support and operating systems, but a smaller MVNO relies on the MNO for usage information. Examples of MVNOs are Virgin Mobile and Walmart Mobile. The brand of the MVNO is what customers see.
An MVNA (Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator) connects smaller MVNOs to the MNO instead of a whole bunch of smaller MVNOs connecting directly to the MNO. Typically, the MVNA won’t have subscribers, only the MVNOs, and it will usually have it’s own business and operating systems. An MNO sells to the MVNA.
An MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler) is back enablement for smaller MVNOs to be created, or the MVNA to connect to an MNO. It can provide services such as billing, administration, operations, support and so on to MVNOs. The MNO often outsources all functionality to an MVNE. It typically does not have customers, instead of providing infrastructure and services to MVNOs. The MNO sells to the MVNE.
Advantages of MVNOs using MVNEs
In order to deliver its products and services, the MVNO needs two things:
- Access to an MNO network and
- A system to manage products and subscribers.
The MVNE facilitates both.
The speciality of MVNEs is their planning, implementation and management of mobile services.
When an MVNO falls under the umbrella of an MVNE, they are able to get started quickly, with minimal start-up costs and reduced airtime costs because of the MVNE hosts multiple MVNOs on a single platform, in order to offer a reduction in costs. The MVNE provides SIM provisioning and configuration, customer billing, CRM and value-added service platforms.
The MVNE enables the MVNO to outsource the MNO integration as well as the business and technical operations management, thereby substantially reducing the amount of staff needed to be employed.
Additional benefits include smoother launch processes and the MVNO can tap into the previous experience of the MVNE, although not all MVNEs are the same, with varying experience levels and technical capabilities, integrations and support.
Using an MVNE keeps operations simple and focused, reduces the risk for the new venture, gets the MVNO into the market more quickly and allows for test marketing.
How to choose the right MVNE
As mentioned, not all MVNEs boast the same levels of expertise, so it’s important to look for the right one to help your MVNO get up and running fast, with the least amount of spend. Here’s what to look for:
- Network: must be connected to a solid MNO. The MVNOs products and services are only as good as the MNOs network it uses.
- Financial flexibility: find one that can meet your financial requirements and if necessary, your terms.
- Platform: provision of the right tools to manage your products in order to respond to market trends with speed. Essential tools are comprehensive reports when you need them, a full range of DPI tools, how well the platform can support the kind of offers you want to make, and the ability to offer unique deals.
- Experience: how much experience does the MVNE have?
- Reviews/case studies: can they provide references or case studies showing how they’ve helped other MVNOs?
Challenges that MVNOs are facing
By knowing the key challenges that MVNOs are currently facing, they can be prepared to take them on with creative strategies in order to gain the edge over their competitors:
Focus on value-add, not price
Companies like banks, clothing stores, supermarkets and media have entered the MVNO arena in order to boost customer loyalty by offering value-add services. MVNOs should respond by offering value-add services like managed services, IP PBX, and business solutions. Price is not the greatest factor anymore; convenience and value are.
Unique brand positioning
The most successful MVNOs start by targeting a specific group of people to narrow down the niche. For example, people in a certain location or with specific needs. There has to be something to differentiate the MVNO in order to be attractive to potential subscribers.
Customer service is key
Satisfied subscribers must always be the aim, so MVNOs need to understand their key audience very well and to do this, they need insights in order to make better decisions around the customer experience.