Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE)

MVNE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler
A Mobile Virtual Network Enabler, is an entity that provides infrastructure and services to both the network operators and MVNOs. The MVNE enables the MVNOs to offer their services on the operator’s network.

Within the value chain, there are intermediary IT companies between the mobile network operators and MVNOs, these are called Mobile Virtual Network Enablers or MVNE.

MVNE differs significantly from the other MVNx models. An MVNE does not provide public telecom services. It has no contact to the end-users and is therefore not subject to telecom regulation.

In the event that an MVNE would become interested in providing services to end users as a MVNO, they would be subject to regulation, as a MVNO (in markets that has MVNO regulation).

MVNEs are intermediaries between the mobile network operator (or MVNA) and the MVNOs, they provide a platform with technical solutions and business infrastructure services that help to execute the launch and operation of MVNOs.

These services may include core network and infrastructure elements, billing, administration, operations, business support systems, operations support systems and provision of technological and network elements, among others – for the adequate provision of the service.

Prospective MVNOs often have little relevant experience to guide them through the different steps of the wireless service delivery chain and need to overcome many challenges.

High peak funding, lack of telecom skills and expertise, lack of economies of scale, limited technological and architectural knowledge of the MNO/MVNO ecosystem and operational complexity are among the major barriers to entry faced by potential MVNOs.

While the challenges for the mobile operators include the workload of administering the heavy processes associated with the launch and day-to-day operations of each individual MVNO.

 

KEY MVNO ENTRY BARRIERS

High Initial Investment

The procurement and integration of IT infrastructure requires a high initial the investment.

Lack of Telco Knowledge

Many companies, with a strong brand and a large customer base, qualify as MVNO candidates but are not attracted to the business due to lack of Telco/MVNO knowledge

Operational Complexity

Starting an MVNO business is faced with significant operational challenges ranging from using a new unfamiliar billing platform to customer service, managing SIMs, devices, etc.

The MVNE mitigates the barriers to entry for the MVNOs, and eliminate many of the integration issues that could otherwise slow deployment, or even sink the MVNO/MNO business in a market altogether.

Table: MVNO and MNO pain points mitigated with MVNE

 
MVNOMNO
  • The MVNE becomes the MVNO partner – not the MNO. Providing each MVNO access to create and manage its own service plans and promotions
  • The MNO saves on infrastructure, subscriber acquisition costs, workload with no risks, while gaining network market share and revenue.
  • The MVNE gives the MVNOs the opportunity to do what they do best, concentrate on customer acquisition and outsource the rest
  • The MNO receives revenue without having to deal with the administrative processes of launch, and day-to-day operations of each individual MVNO
  • As the MVNE will host multiple MVNOs, it is possible to achieve economies of scale, and thereby lower rates/greater margins
  • Provide better utilization of its network and capacity
  • MVNOs can get guidance from the MVNE’s dedicated team of experts, experienced in the launch of MVNO and telecom services
  • Address specific/niche segments through the MVNE’s mix of MVNO clients, and gain healthy and sustainable MVNOs
  • The MVNE reduces the initial Capex and Opex providing faster return of investment for the MVNO  because all agreements and the requisite infrastructure is in place
  • The MVNE solution dramatically decrease the internal skill sets and time needed to launch an MVNO

The MVNO retains customer ownership and compensates the MVNE for the management of thel layers of the wireless service delivery chain.

MVNE Operational Model/ Architecture

MVNE stack integration example. The MVNE will install Business and Operations Support Systems (BSS/OSS) and Core Elements such as:

  • Intelligent Network (IN) / Service control point (SCP)
  • Signaling Transfer Point (STP) / Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC)
  • Home location register (HLR) / Home Subscriber Server (HSS)
  • Session Border Controller (SBC)
  • Short Message Service Center (SMSC) / Short Message Service Gateway (SMS-G)
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) / Voicemail System (VMS)
  • Business Support Systems / Operational Support Systems (BSS/OSS)
  • Online Charging System (OCS)
  • Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) / Packet Data Network Gateway (P-GW)
  • Unstructured Supplementary Services Data Gateway (USSDGW)

The host network operator (HNO) is responsible for providing the following network elements:

  • Radio Access Network
  • MME/SGW/SGSN/GGSN/PGW/PCRF
  • MSC/VLR/STP/EIR
  • EIR (MNO/MVNO)
  • SBC/GMSC
  • DRA (DSC)
  • Internet (ISP)
  • DNS
  • Public IPs and NAT
What is a MVNE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler

MVNE License – No such thing!

MVNE differs significantly from the other MVNA and MVNO models. MVNE is an upstream service provider that does not provide public telecommunications services. It has no contact to the end-users and is therefore not subject to license requirement, like some markets have on MVNO and MVNA.

You may, on very rare occasions come across a national regulatory authority, who has added MVNE under their licensing scheme. One such example is the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), who have added MVNE under its licensing fee structure.

This however, looks more like a mistake than on purpose, it seems that POTRAZ have mixed up MVNA and MVNE.

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Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan’s expertise includes the development and execution of growth strategies, market insights, trends and opportunities, new business models and strategies
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