The 5th edition of The MVNO Directory launched May 2011. The latest research found 645 active MVNOs operated by 515 companies, meaning that some companies operate more than one MVNO in a single country.
New for 2011, The MVNO Directory has tracked which MVNOs offer mobile broadband services, acting as mobile virtual broadband network operators, or MVBNOs. The directory shows that currently 120 of the 515 active companies are offering mobile broadband services using another operator’s network. This accounts for nearly 1 in 4 MVNOs. These findings show that the mobile virtual network operator market has moved on from its infancy and can no longer be simply dismissed as a mass discount and pre-pay only sector.
Mark Thomas, Director of Network Research, Blycroft Ltd commented: “The rise of the mobile virtual broadband network operator (MVBNO) shows that the virtual market is keeping pace with the spectrum market. Nearly 1 in 4 MVNOs currently offer mobile broadband services and this figure keeps improving. MVNOs are capable of trading within the full arena of mobile offerings, whether this is basic voice through to the latest 4G services. While many MVNOs make a good trade out of pre-pay discount offerings, it is clear that the high ARPU and premium services market is definitely open to MVNOs.”
The majority of MVBNOs also offer traditional voice and messaging subscriptions. Their subscribers are signing up for multiple services providing a double revenue stream. These multi-play virtual operators are in effect taking two bites out of their subscribers’ wallets by offering complementing technologies.
Geographically the MVBNOs follow the same markets as MVNOs, with active operations across Asia, Europe and North America. Although the MVNO market is yet to reach into every country, their presence is now felt across every continent.
“For many years analysts have noted the MVNO market as a discount only offering. The thought process being that MVNOs trade on being cheaper than traditional networks (mobile network operators, MNOs) such as Vodafone and T-Mobile. This new research helps to show that MVNOs are in fact capable of offering the same services as MNOs and can revenue high ARPU streams from specific client bases. The sector is capable of data rich services and post-paid offers commonly seen within the MNO sector.” Added Mark Thomas.
Director of Network Research
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