Traditionally, MVNEs were perceived as complementary players that provide the “abstraction layer” from the HNO. Besides providing the infrastructure, they support MVNOs with limited telecom expertise or those which do not wish to focus on having control over their network elements, reducing their burden by handling a broad range of services ranging from billing, network element provisioning, administration, operations, thus enabling MVNOs to focus on their core strengths of brand, customer loyalty and marketing.
Nowadays thick MVNOs can leverage their experience and commercial relationships in the telecommunications space and generate new revenue streams by becoming the MVNE partners for smaller MVNOs.
Such was the case of Baraka Telecom, a former MVNO founded in 2008 in Malaysia, which changed its focus towards becoming an MVNE in Asia, enabling MVNOs to go to market quickly and to launch competitive offerings cost efficiently. Keen to support MVNOs’ back-end infrastructure and operational needs, Baraka Telecom acquired network switch gateways, data core networks, prepaid billing systems, content management systems and business support systems. To encourage new entrants they also provide revenue sharing options.
Embracing a partnership with an experienced MVNE, an MVNO reduces its launch and commercial risks and also the financial, human and time resources invested for developing specific know-how. On the other hand it limits an MVNO’s flexibility and increases the complexity of its integration processes.
Besides existing MVNOs, HNOs might choose to become MVNEs themselves to support MVNOs directly from their network.
Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) capabilities can expand over all MVNO processes, being able to offer end-to-end solutions, from BSS/OSS, customer care, marketing, broadband services and Business Intelligence. Furthermore the MVNE can provide set-up, regulatory and operational support to MVNOs.