Take advantage of the exciting and rapidly changing business environment for MVNOs and MVNO enablers.

Virtual operators have been around since 1999, becoming an important business model that keeps growing even in mature markets. The larger MVNO markets currently have up to twenty percent of the subscriber market where 2-3 MVNOs grab the larger percentage of that portion. MVNOs are also being introduced as next generation operators in many maturing markets.

MVNOs can be categorised based on their target market, with the three bigger types being Consumer focused, Business focused and M2M focused MVNOs. These appear in the market when a high penetration rate has been reached, thriving by finding subscriber segments in the market that are not properly served by the MNOs.

The possibilities with the MVNO business model is still not entirely set as we see new ideas and models appear every year. One of the latest trends is to offer a data only service with supporting voice and SMS using OTT applications, and even more opportunities arise with the expansion of the M2M market working with businesses outside of the telecom industry to create new types of mobile services.

To fully understand the market we must also understand the capabilities and the foundation for a virtual operator to build the business. When starting an MVNO, you must decide whether you want a solution dedicated to your operation and whether you will buy capabilities from your host MNO or another third party. At Symsoft we use the four deployment layers of a virtual operator to explain these capabilities.


Each layer has its own benefits and drawbacks and care must be taken to choose the right kind of deployment for each specific MVNO. Using the correct layer will strengthen the position of a virtual operator in the market. Using the wrong layer will hurt the business, as the choice of layer affects cost structure, Time-To-Market, flexibility and other aspects that are crucial for the success of the virtual operator.

These layers will also affect how you work with your host MNO and which dependencies your business has with the MNO organisation.

Building a successful operation

Succeeding in the virtual operator business is about creating processes in alignment with the idea of the business. For example, if the virtual operator is targeting the immigrant-worker community then the ability to implement new products fast, due to a natural disaster or other developments in the home country of the target segment, may be of great importance.

Building these processes and providing the tools to support them is the key to a successful operation. Symsoft is an expert partner with many years experience in the industry. Having customers in all levels of the virtual operator value chain allows Symsoft to understand how different types of MVNOs can thrive.

The first step towards building a successful operation is to understand the value that the virtual operator brings to the market and your customers.

  • What is the customer segment?
  • Which problems are we solving?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
  • Which channels are we going to use to reach our customer segment?
  • What are the key success factors?

The next step is to understand how your value proposition can be brought to the market using the capabilities of the telecom world. Symsoft uses a process of five steps to determine the tools necessary to support the business of the virtual operator.

  • Analyse the virtual operator business
  • Selection of processes and tools
  • Deploy the processes and tools
  • Installation & Configuration with external entities
  • Level of support (incl. Managed Service)

What a virtual operator needs to succeed

An asset – a virtual operator needs an asset of some kind to succeed! It may be an already existing organisation to share the cost, a market segment which is not targeted in an efficient way or an existing customer base. This is the differentiating factor between an almost successful virtual operator and other virtual operators. To go from almost successful to successful, a virtual operator also needs the means to make the virtual operator business operational with the ability to launch the intended services and host the customers.

Symsoft have great experience working with operators and virtual operators around the world, creating successful businesses based on the assets of each specific MVNO using the Symsoft virtual operator products.

To learn more, go to our MVNO section or contact us below!

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