Wholesale & MVNO
Unlocking the potential of networks
Wholesale services are a huge part of traditional Mobile Network Operators (MNO) business portfolio. Starting out as both a way to use up excess capacity and increase competitiveness in the communications markets through Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), wholesale has evolved from purely voice airtime to include mobile data, messaging, fixed broadband, IoT services and more.
MNOs sell airtime at wholesale prices to resellers, that is, MVNOs, who in turn sell it to consumers. There are various types of MVNOs depending on their capabilities, from full MVNOs to simply brand resellers, but none of them can use radio spectrum. Acting as a bridge between the MVNOs and MNOs are a key set of platform business called Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNE), who offer network infrastructure and related services, such as provisioning and OSS/BSS services. There are also Mobile Virtual Network Aggregators (MVNA), who reduce complexity in airtime negotiations with the MNOs.
As mentioned, the wholesale sector has been evolving from purely voice to more advanced services, opening up new opportunities and business models. Over the next five years, we predict a doubling in global consumer wholesale connections to over 1bn and a seven-fold increase in IoT wholesale connections to over 2bn.
To take advantage of this growth, mobile operators need to embrace new wholesale partnerships and business models to further monetise network capacity.
We see wholesale growth coming from three key areas: lifestyle services, IoT (Internet of Things) services, and converged media giants. Big brands want to deepen customer engagement through connectivity and surge forward with innovations in healthtech, fintech, education and entertainment.
Meanwhile, IoT is experiencing a boom thanks to lower device costs and increasing 5G coverage, with new applications and business being unveiled every day. Finally, higher bandwidth, expanded coverage and increased capacity availability will open a new set of opportunities in streaming services such as virtual reality and eSports.
RDC has unparalleled expertise in wholesale, negotiating win-win agreements with operators for connectivity across fixed, cellular and satellite. We have launched successful MVNOs and operator sub-brands, developed wholesale platforms for MNOs wanting to launch sub-brands and MVNOs and negotiated profitable airtime deals for IoT service providers. RDC has performed the world’s largest number of MVNO projects.
We also have unparalleled MVNO and operator sub-brand knowledge, with an unrivalled database of KPIs specifics to these companies. We provide up to date metrics and insights on the entire MVNX ecosystem (MVNOs, MNOs, MVNEs, MVNAs) and any mobile innovator on networks (MIONs). You can learn about the number of MVNOs and sub-brands in specific countries or regions, what network they’re on, technologies used, subscriber numbers and more. This is used to great effect for M&A activity, new market entry, proposition development and negotiations.
We create disruptive strategies by encouraging players to shift away from siloed thinking to embrace a wider ecosystem incorporating e-commerce, social media platforms, payment systems, app developers, retail players, and content creators.
To demonstrate our thought leadership in this area, we have developed a concept to take wholesale a new level, placing a greater emphasis on the role of a well-executed cloud-based platform architecture.
We see mobile wholesale evolving beyond traditional MVNOs to include a new breed of innovators: MIONs (Mobile Innovators on Networks). These are IoT, over-the-top (OTT players), app providers and any brand wanting to take control over the mobile connectivity experience to engage with customers. By thinking of MIONs as one group, with a common set of needs, the industry, and platforms in particular, are then able to provide a more integrated and standardised approach.
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