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What is the difference between MNO and MVNO

Nowadays the mobile telecom world is complex and full of different operators. It is difficult to distinguish them, to understand what they actually do and what their benefit and value is.

Nowadays the mobile telecom world is complex and full of different operators. It is difficult to distinguish them, to understand what they actually do and what their benefit and value is.

Let’s have a look and try to understand what MNO and MVNO are and how to distinguish them.

The details of Mobile Network Operator

The MNO is an everyday telecom operator which has its own infrastructure and equipment. MNO stands at the top of the “mountain” and provides others with the network connection. It is your direct daily provider and it depends on it if the network connection will be good or bad.

Mobile Network Operator can get its license to operate mobile telephone services over a range of frequencies within the Radio Frequency spectrum. These frequencies spread your calls and texts through the airwaves.

Every country and region always has a licensing and regulatory body that can regulate and license their subscribers within a certain territory. Every MNO should buy frequencies to their regulator body. If MNO starts to create the mobile network, it has to buy or rent the spectrum from the regulatory body of its country. The second step is to buy or rent the equipment from the providers.

After purchase or rent they agree with different providers and do different experiments. So that is why, Mobile Network Operators have their own infrastructure, hardware (such as wires, switches, masts, transmitters) and administrative capabilities (such as marketing, branding, invoicing, operational support and business support) to operate a Mobile Phone Network.

The details of Mobile Virtual Network Operator

MVNO doesn’t have their own infrastructure, so it relies on MNO’s. Usually, MVNO is another brand of the MNO. The MNO sells their calls, texts and data to the MVNO with cheap prices.

In contradistinction to Mobile Network Operator, Mobile Virtual Network Operator cannot obtain its own license to operate over a range of frequencies. Furthermore, the Mobile Virtual Network Operator cannot obtain the infrastructure to operate a Mobile Network. They will not have masts, transmitters, switches, wires, but they may have some administrative capabilities. Usually most of them retain or control Customer Relations, Marketing and Branding. This may differ in various MVNO’s.

The bigger MVNO can obtain its own operation and business support systems. The bigger MVNO can send the bill to the subscribers on its own. Smaller MVNOs are under the MNO. Smaller MVNOs cannot provide their subscribers with payment information, it is done by MNOs.

One of the youngest MVNO’s in the UK is To The Moon Mobile that is focused on products and services that aims to best equip their  customers with mobile essentials for not only today but even tomorrow. To The Moon Mobile has its own mobile app where you can: order a free SIM, check your bundle allowance, change your plan or add a payment method. Also there is always a support team that is ready to help and answer all your questions anytime. You can buy SIM free phone!

Conclusion

To sum up, we should understand that MNO stands at the top of the “mountain”. Any MNO can deal with any number of MVNOs. National network operator wants to increase its subscriber base to the largest possible number. That is why MNO combine their own direct subscribers with subscribers of MVNOs and operate across their masts and transmitters.

We can distinguish such differences as:

  • MNO has license to operate mobile telephone services, while MVNO cannot have it;
  • MNO have their own infrastructure, hardware and administrative capabilities, while the MVNO doesn’t have the infrastructure and hardware, but it may have some administrative capabilities;
  • the bigger MVNO can send the bill to the subscribers on its own. Smaller MVNOs are under the MNO. Smaller MVNOs cannot provide their subscribers with payment information, it is done by MNOs.

Nevertheless, they are interconnected, so MVNO cannot exist without MNO.

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