Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO): An Overview


The term mobile virtual network operator, also known as MVNO, might sound very dry, but this has a significant role these days. MVNO can find you the best mobile phone plan according to your use.

What is referred to as an MVNO-mobile virtual network operator?

An MVNO or mobile virtual network operator is a communications service provider that is wireless in nature. The old type of mobile network operators own their infrastructures, but mobile virtual network operators do not have the infrastructure. 

Instead, the mobile virtual network operator leases the infrastructure from the mobile network operators and provides the best services to the customers. A mobile virtual network operator signs a business deal with the mobile network operator to get majority access to network services. 

They get this access to wholesale rates and later fix retail prices independently. A mobile virtual network operator might use its own billing service, customer service, sales personnel, and marketing. It sometimes also hires services from the mobile virtual network enabler.

What is the work of a mobile virtual network operator?

A mobile virtual network operator does not make any investment in mobile network infrastructure. Nevertheless, it provides several important services that would support its client base. These services provided help a mobile virtual network operator transfer good brand experiences and value. 

They are as follows:

  • The mobile virtual network operator takes charge of managing the billing as well the invoicing of the clients for all the services taken.
  • The mobile virtual network operator also promotes products and looks after the marketing strategy.
  • The mobile virtual network operator also distributes several assets such as mobile phones and SIM cards.
  • A mobile virtual network operator looks after the registration of the subscriber to the network.
  • Mobile virtual network operator offers several services like customer care, network tip-ups, balance checks, and SMS capabilities.

What are the different types of mobile virtual network operators present there?

There are four different types of mobile virtual network operators MVNOs. Countries adopt each one of them on the availability and features. The four types of mobile virtual network operators are as follows:


The full mobile virtual network operator is regarded as a well-established type of mobile virtual network operator. In a full-MVNO, the access to the mobile network operators-MNOs is much greater than usual, as it is with the others. 

A Full MVNO is responsible for all the other elements present in the value chain. This results in a more significant investment.

Network enablers

Network enablers are also known by the name of MVNEs or Mobile Virtual Network Enablers. An MVNE is considered the middleman. They provide and provision infrastructures that are used for the MVNO operations. The MNVEs also allocate value-added services or/and back-office processes to the other existing MVNOs.

Light MVNOs

The Light MVNOs appear in the gap between Full MVNOs and Branded Resellers. Light MVNOs handle the entire back-office processes, sales and marketing, operations, and value-added services.

Branded Reseller

Branded reseller is the quickest and lightest of all the MVNOs present to create business models. This is possible because of the way Branded Reseller functions. 

It also helps in leveraging the name of the brand and, at regular intervals, the channels of their distribution to get onboard the existing customers and bring in new customers. The investment is much less in Branded resellers, which control several other sides of their new business.

To Conclude

An MVNO delivers a great value to their markets. They give MNOs access to new customers and spur growth. Regarding the customers’ mobile virtual network operator offers several products and services that are more competitive than usual.