What are the diffrences between mobile virtual operator ?

Mobile telecom world is complexe and full of different actors. It can be, sometimes, hard to understand what they really do and what is their added value.

Mobile network operator (MNO) :

MNOs are known by everyone. They are your day to day telecom operator : Orange, T-Mobile, AT&T. They run their infrastructure, are responsibles in case of troubles. They buy their frequencies to their regulator. Without them, there is no global mobile network. They have B2C and B2B offers and are bound by the law to open their frequencies to competition.

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) :

They dont have their infrastructure and rely on MNOs’ one. In the telecom wholesales system, MVNOs will have access to better prices and be able to create B2B and B2C offers. They can also create special offers for IoT for example (data only). MVNO will bill its client. In fact, usually, those MVNOs are an other brand of the MNO.

MNOs prefere to work with bigger partners and have a simplified management thanks to them. In fact, having a lot of MVNOs can be hard to manage.

Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) :

This is a strategic choice for the MNO. Rather than rely on a lot of small MVNOs they will sell to a MVNA. The aggregator will take in charge mass buying and resell it to its MVNOs. MVNAs don t have direct clients. But a MVNA can also rely on a MVNE instead of selling to MVNOs directly.

Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) :

MVNE will offer the same services as a MVNA. Why is it call enabler ? Because it launches more small MVNOs way easier. MVNE will have a more important role next to his reseller. Mobile world is hard to master and MVNOs need to be structured.

MVNOs will have access, thanks to its MVNE, to an information system (OSS). It will allow MVNOs to order and bill services.

Indeed, billing mobile communications is difficult (voice, sms, data, roaming…). They need to be helped, structured and guided.

Sum up of the MVNx wholesales system

A drawing is worth a thousand words.

A) MNO sells to a MVNO.

This is a rare case. Most of the times, the MVNO is a brand belongig to the MNO.

B) MNO sells to a MVNA

MVNA can sell directly to a MVNO. But the MVNA can choose to sell only to MVNEs who provide a solution (OSS) to structure their MVNOs.

C) MNO sells to a MVNE

In this case, there is one level less and the MVNEs do its job directly between the MNO and MVNOs and provide its OSS.


MNOs always sell directly to B2C clients.

billing cdr charging mvno mvna