Maximizing MVNO Revenue


Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) represent a significant business opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). As the telco landscape transforms rapidly, CSPs can leverage MVNOs to diversify their offerings, capture new market segments, and maximize revenue streams.

MVNO, MVNE, MVNA, MNO: Definitions

Before we dive into the how of increasing MVNO/MVNE revenue, it’s important to understand the meaning of each of these acronyms and the difference between them.

MNO: Mobile Network Operator – The company that sits at the core of the ecosystem. They are the licensed owners and operators of the physical network infrastructure, including cell towers, core network equipment, and the radio access network (RAN). MNOs provide wholesale access to their network capacity to MVNOs and MVNAs. 

MVNO: Mobile Virtual Network Operator – A reseller of mobile network services. They buy wholesale network access from MNOs to offer their own branded services like voice, data, and SMS. MVNOs can target specific market segments or offer competitive pricing based on their agreements with the MNO. MVNOs can offer competitive rates or cater to specific customer groups.

MVNE: Mobile Virtual Network Enabler – The turnkey solution providers for MVNOs. They offer a comprehensive suite of services, including core network infrastructure, billing and subscriber management systems, and interconnection with the MNO’s network. This allows MVNOs to launch quickly without significant upfront investment in infrastructure. MVNE can also refer to the platform enabling the launch of an MVNO (e.g., LotusFlare DNO™ Cloud).

MVNA: Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator – Network capacity aggregators. They negotiate bulk network access agreements with MNOs and then resell that access in smaller portions to multiple MVNOs. This allows smaller MVNOs to benefit from economies of scale and avoid the complexities of direct negotiation with MNOs.

The Challenges of Launching MVNO

Launching a successful MVNO, however, poses significant challenges for MNOs. The wholesale side of the MNO business is often plagued by slow go-to-market times resulting from a lack of agility in operational capabilities. Additionally, reaping the full benefits of the MVNO proposition requires CSPs to overcome the following obstacles:

The Rise of MVNAs

The MVNA market is expanding and using wholesale rates from all major carriers to market directly to brands. MNOs have minimal control over how MVNAs market to different brands and which MNO they choose to route their traffic to. MVNAs are taking a share of the wallet from MNOs, threatening to relegate them to a dumb pipe with little ability to innovate or touch the end customer.

Customers, Not Just Partners

While seeking to maximize revenue, MNOs often make the mistake of focusing more on forming partnerships than on engaging directly with their customers. This approach can lead to a disconnect between the MNOs and their customer base, potentially resulting in missed opportunities for understanding customer needs and preferences. Prioritizing customer engagement allows MNOs to gather valuable feedback, and tailor their services more effectively, ultimately enhancing customer experience.

Fit-for-Purpose BSS and OSS

MNOs need the systems, operational experience, product strategy, and customer service capabilities to support a new kind of customer experience — one that resembles an Internet experience rather than a classic telco experience. 

The Challenge to Differentiate

Augmenting connectivity (voice, data, and SMS) with advanced digital services can help wholesale teams differentiate their offerings and provide greater value to their MVNO customers. By providing MVNOs with access to APIs, devices, wireless, fiber, Web3, and other digital services, MNOs can enable their MVNOs to offer more innovative and engaging services to their customers.

From the LotusFlare experience, MNOs have the bulk of their focus on monetizing their 5G investments. They realize they must empower their partner communities with new tools and innovative monetization opportunities.

Business, growth, city

Road to MVNO Revenue

With 5G network capabilities, MVNO partners are driving wholesale divisions to offer network services in innovative ways. These wholesale partners will purchase traditional voice, messaging, and data and additional capabilities exposed through MNO APIs. These new capabilities should be combined and monetized in ways yet to be fully understood by MNOs, necessitating an agile support system to secure, digitize, and monetize these services.

MNOs require a simplified solution or a “wireless-in-a-box” offering for their MVNO partners. A prime example is regional broadband providers in the US: they seek to add wireless services to their offerings but want an “easy button” solution, avoiding the complexities of an additional billing and care system. They also hesitate to undertake the major project of integrating wireless services into their current BSS. In other words, MNOs need to provide this easy button to enable innovation.

From the LotusFlare perspective, MNOs need to advance in the following areas:

Go-to-Market Strategy

Wholesale divisions of MNOs need to quickly define how they want to go to market and build the capabilities to sell and support more advanced digital services. The challenge we see is that wholesale teams have an idea but need the software or product management expertise to define an offering and test it out.

Strategy: Develop a clear go-to-market strategy that includes quick pilot programs to test new offerings and gather customer feedback for rapid iteration.

Agile Digital Partner Innovation

Even if they have a basic product defined, MNOs need to support “what is next” through agility and tailored capabilities to support their innovative MVNO partners who push the envelope.

Strategy: Implement agile methodologies and flexible platforms that allow for rapid development and deployment of new services tailored to MVNO needs.

Simplified 5G Monetization

MNOs need to recognize this and prepare an infrastructure that not only provides the network services but sets up the capability to monetize network services.

Strategy: Invest in scalable, cloud-native BSS/OSS solutions that enable seamless monetization of 5G capabilities and other advanced digital services.

Looking to increase your MVNO opportunity? 

LotusFlare DNO Cloud shortens the typical MVNO journey.


For MNOs to increase their share of wallet, wholesale divisions need to evolve to allow partners to use the network and IT services to innovate. With 5G network capabilities, MVNO partners are pushing the wholesale divisions to offer their network services in different ways. These wholesale partners will not only be buying traditional voice, messaging, and data, but they will also be buying additional capabilities exposed through MNO APIs, which need to be combined and monetized in new ways. From witnessing the challenges that are pressing on MNOs, we believe that MNOs and their wholesale divisions should seek a simplified solution to offer up to MVNO partners. In talking to many broadband providers, there is a desire to add wireless services to their offerings but they want an easy solution so as not to have to deal with additional billing and care solutions. They also know they do not want to undertake a project to add wireless to their current BSS. To enable innovation, MNOs need to provide that “easy button”.

Want to learn how?

Learn about the 4 key qualities of ideal MVNE.