MNO (Mobile Network Operator) or service providers and MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) both provide telecommunication services to their clients. The greatest difference between the two is that MNO can operate independently, but MVNO depends upon the former to function. They both can provide calling, SMS, data, billing, customer support, roaming, and similar kinds of services to their end-users. While an MNO can provide all these services to its customers on its own, an MVNO can’t. As an MVNO doesn’t have its frequencies, it has to buy a radio spectrum from MNO.
Differences Between MNO and MVNO
These are the distinctions between mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators:
- MNO has its radio spectrum and a valid license from the government to operate the spectrum. MVNO also has the license, but not a radio frequency.
- MNO owns assets and infrastructure to provide its services and run its operations. An MVNO may own some assets or not at all. This depends on the infrastructure of the MNO. An MVNO may acquire assets on lease in bulk or at wholesale price from MNO.
- An MNO provides direct customer support and billing services to its customers. On the other hand, an MVNO may let the MNO provide these services on its behalf or choose to provide them themselves.
- MNO purchases the network equipment and uses them to set up their mobile networks. MVNO purchases bulk packages of data and calling minutes at wholesale prices from MNO and brands them as theirs, and then sells them to its users. Thus, an MVNO acts as a reseller.
- MNOs always test their network equipment before purchasing to make sure it is working properly and is in good condition. But an MVNO doesn’t need to do that. After all, it uses the network equipment of MNO which is already tried and tested.
- MNOs charge more from their customers as they set up all the infrastructure from scratch. In contrast, an MVNO is usually cheaper for customers because they don’t possess any infrastructure. Thus, virtual mobile network providers don’t bear the costs of putting up or maintaining it.
Advantages and Disadvantages of MVNO
You can already see many pros of MVNO above. Essentially, because an MVNO doesn’t have to set up the mobile network infrastructure, it can save lots of money. That’s why it can provide its services at cheaper rates. As for the cons of an MVNO, the biggest downside for a user that employs their services is they are likely to have low network reception if they are in a crowded place. It is because the postpaid customers of the MNO will often get priority on the network towers compared to its prepaid users or its MVNO users.
Advantages and Disadvantages of MNO
A benefit MNO has is the ownership of towers and mobile network infrastructure, hence they can provide high-speed connections and wide coverage to their customers. As for the drawbacks of MNO, because they spend lots of money on setting up the infrastructure, it adds up their cost. Hence, their services are likely to be pricier than that of the MVNOs.
There is a general presumption that MNOs and MVNOs are competitors. But in reality, they are not. They need to work together to get more customers and earn more revenue. If they work together by maintaining a strong partnership, they can certainly overcome their disadvantages and differences. That’s how they can have an edge over their competitors.