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Difference between MNO, MVNO, MVNA, and MVNE

Due to rapid advancements taking place in the telecommunications industry with evolving technology, mobile connectivity is reaching new levels .In that case, we have a variety solutions to keep our devices connected as we enter each year. Certainly, there is an addition of new products, services, and business modules almost every new day.

Let’s take you through the types of operators like MNO, MVNO, MVNE, and MVNA and the basic difference between each one of them.

What do you mean by an MNO?
Mobile Network Operator (MNO) also known as Mobile Network Operator has the ability to provide a Mobile communication service that can be completely owned and controlled by an MNO itself. It possesses its own radio network license and all the required elements along with the capability of providing end-to-end solutions to the end user. MNO typically owns a full-fledged mobile network infrastructure, customer care, marketing, billing, and also radio spectrum allocation such as 3G, 4G, 5G & LTE.

An MNO can also enable   MVNOs to access its network services at wholesale rates along with providing retail services. An MNO can either have its own staff running various functions or can even outsource it and can still be called a Mobile Network Operator.  

What do you mean by an MVNO?
Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is responsible to provide mobile communications to its subscribers without having its own mobile network infrastructure. An MVNO typically does not have its own licensed frequency spectrum, it normally resells network services to its subscribers ,

Precisely, an agreement takes place between an MVNO and a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) where an MVNO can have bulk access to the network services which can later be sold at retail prices. As per the market needs, an MVNO can then take full charge and serve its customers with mobile connectivity. An MVNO can manage its own functions such as customer service, marketing, billing support, sales etc., or can be dependent on intermediary like a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) or Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) for its services.

Launching a MVNO has several advantages such as brand extension, boosting revenue opportunities, adding additional revenue lines, improving the  engagement quality with the customer base, improving customer loyalty  and building a unique community. This unique community can be used by a MVNO as a captive base to market or upsell its services.

Thus the key drivers for any brand to launch its own MVNO include ability to give a differentiated value proposition,  additional revenue streams, increasing customer  loyalty and engagement
Learn how you can launch innovative mobile services worldwide for your brand!

There are 3 types of MVNOs:
1) Branded Reseller MVNO
This MVNO type is extremely light and the easiest of all types of MVNOs as the setup of this MVNO is very quick with a lesser amount of complications at hand. Certainly, branded resellers are the ones who can sell the services under their own brands as they operate under their own brand in collaboration with existing service operators. They tend to have their own staff handling functions such as marketing, customer acquisition, client support, sales etc.  
Branded resellers run services with their own expertise which can lead to enhancing their subscribers’ loyalty and retaining a maximum number of customers. There is no need for any major investments in this type of MVNO infrastructure due to minimal startup costs.

2) Light MVNO/Thin MVNO
Light MVNOs are usually more flexible and sustainable compared to Branded Reseller MVNOs as they offer bundled services that are in high demand in the current market. Light MVNOs handle functions and operations such as billing, sales, marketing etc themselves and only source network access from network operators. Light MVNOs can easily create and provide new mobile propositions to their customers and this model is adopted by global brands who are planning to expand their businesses on a large scale.

3) Full MVNO/Thick MVNO
Compared to a Branded Reseller MVNO and a Light MVNO, a Full MVNO or Thick MVNO is one that manages everything on its own. For large setups and projects, a Full MVNO is always preferred as its suits best the requirements rather than a light MVNO or a Branded MVNO. As a Full MVNO has control over all its operations and network elements, it is usually in high demand.

If you would like to find out how to set up an MVNO then refer to this handy white paper which guides you step-by-step on setting up an MVNO quickly!

What is the major difference between an MNO and an MVNO?
An MNO has its own mobile network infrastructure whereas an MVNO does not have its own mobile network. To provide mobile connectivity to its customer base, an MVNO can only have access to the network from an MNO or any other network provider and can later resell it to its customers at wholesale prices. Furthermore, an MNO has the authority to decide which MVNOs can use its network as it has its own license.

What do you mean by an MVNA?
Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) is a wireless network provider where it typically buys airtime from an MNO in bulk and then resells them to various MVNOs in the market. An MVNA receives network access in bulk at discounted wholesale rates. MVNA is a middleman between MNOs and MVNOs and do not sell airtime directly to end subscribers. Sometimes an MNO tends to directly sell its network to an MVNA rather than giving access to multiple small MVNOs due to the ease of single point access.

Key Features to be taken into consideration while looking to select an MVNA:

  1. Wholesale airtime contract
  2. Number ranges and SIM cards
  3. Readymade Roaming contracts
  4. Full range of services including Airtime, SMS, and data contracts in addition to a complete SaaS stack of OSS/BSS/NSS/GW, MNP, Product Management, Customer Care, and Development services

Are you looking for MVNA model that is a comprehensive end-to-end one-stop-shop solution and offers complete hassle-free easy launch and management of MVNO services? Click here!

What do you mean by an MVNE?
Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) is an integrated platform that provides the infrastructure needed to launch an MVNO. Any brand can become an independent MVNO and launch its own mobile services with the help of an MVNE.

Key Features to be taken into consideration while looking for an MVNE:

  1. Cloud-based solution
  2. Scalable capacity
  3. Affordable Commercials
  4. Choice of Billing- Postpaid, Prepaid Billing, Convergent
  5. Self-care / Do It Yourself App, Supporting both IOS/Android & Self-care website for customers including My account
  6. e SIM for Mobile & Devices
  7. Domain wise Reports for various MVNO functions
  8. Choice of Deployment – Private, Public, On-Premises
  9. Comprehensive & integrated OSS/BSS/NSS/GW suit
  10. Customisable Flexible Solution
  11. Platforms support Multiple-Languages
  12. Library of APIs
  13. IMS suppport0VoLTE and  VoWiFi calling
  14. 5G / 4G LTE technology support
  15. Support of tird part integration

Find out about the MVNO World Congress and  the ‘MVNE OF THE YEAR 2022’
What is the major difference between an MVNA and an MVNE?
The key difference between a Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) and a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) is that MVNAs provide wholesale airtime in addition to  infrastructure support  to their MVNO customers Whereas, MVNE acts like a bridge between an MNO and an MVNO providing infrastructure and OSS/BSS  support

Do you know how MVNAs and MVNEs can help you launch an MVNO?

If you take the Do It Yourself (DIY) strategic approach to launch and manage your own MVNO, a lot of time, effort, and particular resources are required. Hence, as an alternative, you can approach intermediaries such as an MVNE who are  responsive and provide an end-to-end  infrastructure & OSS/BSS/NSS  solution or an MVNA that helps with wholesale airtime contracts, good customer care services, GTM consultation, Number ranges, SIM Cards, etc.

Sometimes, there is a possibility that MNOs prefer to deal with multiple MVNOs only through a single intermediary such as the Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) rather than dealing directly with an MVNO. In this case, collaborating with an MVNA is helpful as it acts as a middleman and facilitates between the MNO and multiple other MVNOs. Some entities might even offer both MVNA and MVNE services that can be useful to support the projected MVNOs.

Wholesale Airtime contracts Complete software & platform cloud
Mobile Number Portability Fully integrated NSS/BSS/OCS/OSS suites
Customer care Plug & play solutions
GTM Consulting Usually scalable solutions
Number ranges & SIM cards Affordable vis a vis build own MVNO
Legal & Regulatory support  
All MVNE benefits  

What is the key difference between MNO, MVNO, MVNA, and MVNE?

Each intermediary mentioned above (MNO/MVNO/MVNA/MVNE) plays a vital role within the telecommunications sector and each one of them has its niche segments.

For a better understanding of the key difference, an MNO and an MVNO are always in direct touch with their respective end subscribers  as MNO on one hand owns the network  and acquires its subscribers directly whereas an MVNO, on the other hand, resells the network after acquiring the access. Likewise, the primary difference between an MVNA and an MVNE is that MVNA offers whole sale airtime in addition to whatever an MVNE offers.

In conclusion, the telecommunications market is flourishing day by day and all four intermediaries (MNO/MVNO/MVNA/MVNE) have their key roles to meet the necessary demands of their customers,

Hence, for better efficiency and effective mobile connectivity services, all these operators, intermediaries, or aggregators (MNO/MVNO/MVNA/MVNE) work together to give desired outputs that will make the telecommunications sector bloom in the upcoming future. They all contribute in their own way to a flourishing mobile services ecosystem.

Still, figuring out the difference? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
Go through the below chart to know more about the chain of services or call experts to learn more!

difference between MVNO, MVNA, MVNE and MNO