MVNOs don’t need a network to leverage innovations in network technology

Tuesday, 05 July 2022

In today’s hyperconnected world where the ability of network technology to support innovation in both the delivery of and the services themselves is expanding rapidly, MVNOs have an enormous opportunity to identify and meet the evolving needs of their customers, both consumers and enterprises. But will they grasp it, and where should they be looking for avenues to gain a competitive edge?

What network service innovations do MVNOs need to support new business propositions?

There’s not been much new to say about the Mobile Virtual Network Operator landscape in recent years. The business model, wireless providers who essentially buy network capacity and connectivity from a network operator and then resell mobile services (usually alongside select value-added features and products often related to the core brand) is mature.

But the times, (at least according to the contemporary poet-of-record), they are a changing. With the arrival of 5G LTE, network technology is taking a leap forward.  With it, reservoirs of valuable data are accumulating. New commercial opportunities are coming within reach. All this means offering new services and better experiences to its core consumer market represents an obvious avenue MVNOs can tap. But there are others. The enterprise market is one, as companies expect customised and seamless real-time connectivity via a variety of devices. Machine-to-machine systems are another.

All this means that there’s now an opportunity for MVNOs to reinvent themselves if they can take advantage of innovations in network technology. So, the time to understand and identify where the opportunities lie is now. To get you thinking at the start of the road, here are six points for MVNOs consider as they contemplate life in a 5th Generation Network world.

1. The more things change; the more things change!

Sometimes, we’re told the more things change the more they stay the same. Not now, at least not for MVNOs. Consumer expectations are rising. Connectivity to the network is no longer a differentiator. “Thin” customer service is increasingly unacceptable. Suddenly, specialisation, vertical integration, data-driven capabilities, and the customer experience are kings. That means embracing new technologies that can delight the customer, support innovating in services, and more. Having access to these is becoming table stakes.

2. Big future, big data

You’ve heard this claim before, right? That’s because it’s true.  MVNOs must find new ways of harnessing data; capturing it, processing it, analysing it, and using it in ways that will increase the value they can deliver to customers. Commercial success is generally the result of giving customers what they want: by mining data to isolate the relevant information and using it to drive subsequent actions, MVNOs can do that.

3. There IS an IoT opportunity for MVNOs

The Internet of Things (IoT) is composed of sensor-equipped devices that interact and share data that can be used to automate and drive processes. There’s no reason MVNOs can’t get in on the act. MVNOs (or any other party) can buy network service and start delivering innovative, data-driven functionality when an opportunity to do so becomes apparent. The rise of eSIM only underlines how fertile this area is likely to be.

4. Give the people what they want

As the network evolves, the end user’s expectations for better User Experience increases in lockstep and to meet them, service providers will need to offer a range of services and options specific to each customer’s needs. MVNOs who can support QoS parameters for different services and subscribers will be among the first tap an enormous advantage, moving away from delivering generic performance to surprising and delighting customers via personalised experiences.

5. 5G: where do we start?

There’s a shopping list of opportunities that MVNOs might tap as 5G networks take root.  New services (think real-time gaming or augmented reality) might be launched. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) may offer an alternative to fixed DSL connectivity where fibre is too hard or too expensive to deploy. 5G’s low-latency capabilities make it a logical option for targeting new vertical markets such as factories, ports and other industrial locations where completely wireless operations are present. For MVNO, 5G presents a lot of possible future directions to think about. Urgently.

6. Give them cake. But slice it first

With 5G comes network slicing, the establishment of multiple networks in parallel, based on the same logical and virtual resources. Each slice can be configured with its own performance parameters and can be established for whatever duration is desired. In principle, all this means that an MVNO deliver a dedicated slice with entirely different performance capabilities from those of the host MNO to any customer. This will allow MVNOs to deliver new kinds of services and new levels of differentiation that meet the evolving needs and expectations of its customers.

Get on the road to tapping the opportunity

For MVNOs, even though they don’t “own” the network, innovations in network technology are changing the game.  To capitalise on the opportunities identified in this blog, and many more, they have much to learn after which they will need an established partner to help them.

Digitalk has been a proven enabler of commercial success for MVNOs for over a decade and its solutions provide one example of the bedrock on which the strategies that will underpin future success can be realised. If you’d like more detail on this important subject and the specific opportunities noted in this blog, please click here to download Part 3 in our MVNO Innovations series to learn more about how new network services can support innovative new business propositions.