Home > Business Idea, Disrup. Technology, MVNO > Micro and Nano MVNO’s

Micro and Nano MVNO’s


A mobile virtual network operator, a.k.a. MVNO, is a telecom operator that does not have its own network. However what would happen if companies or even groups of friends could create their own MVNO.

These micro and nano MVNO’s would need tools that are directed at the size of their “customers”. A micro MVNO would span all employees of a company. Why would you want a micro MVNO? Enterprise contracts exist that have virtual numbering plans and a lot of more features. However you could extend the number of business and enterprise features a lot more and with a micro MVNO you would be able to provide a personalized experience to every company:

  • Companies would be able to centrally define the pricing plans that best suite them. Even make custom pricing plans. Calling cheaper during working hours, even if those working hours are different from the “normal” data plans. Cheap pricing to call to customers and partners. Calling from the network cells around the office, would be equal to fixed line prices. As a perk, each employee can provide a list of five phone numbers that can be called for free after business hours. Roaming between employees in different countries could have very low tariffs…
  • A common address book with all employees, customers, suppliers and partners.  Common virtual phone numbers to send group SMS to a department, to all customers, to all partners, etc.
  • Pre-loaded mobile apps and auto-provisioning of applications to all employees.

Nano MVNO´s would be focused on groups of friends, associations or family. Except for virtual numbering plans, custom pricing plans, a common address book, group messaging, auto-provisioning, etc. there are other services that could be of interest:

  • Joint reward points, so the group decides what to do with them.
  • Know one another’s location so you can easily do friend-finder type of applications.
  • One-click group conferencing
  • Group ringtones, operator logos, etc.
  • etc.

These lists of services would be just the beginning, especially if you add mobile applications, social networks and cloud computing offerings to the mix. However there is one base principle for these micro and nano MVNO’s: “More customized services, combined with group pressure, will make churning harder and group spending higher”.  It will be harder for an individual to churn. Also the “alpha” member of the group will push others towards using new services.

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  1. Nischal
    December 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Hi Maarten,
    Have following points..:
    1. For a non-telco enterprise/company acting as MVNO for itself, given that it will define its own priceplans, tarrifs, rewards and configuration etc.. what kind of commercials would work between this Micro-MVNO and the MNO? Will it be in the same lines as current MNO-MVNO commercial model prevailing in the market?
    2. Would not it add more work/burden to an enterprise/company for which the primary buisness is not defining and continously monitoring priceplans, data plans, configurations etc?
    3. A non-telco company (micro-MVNO) may span across geographies? regulatory impacts?

    • December 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Hi Nischal,

      1) Of course the micro-mvno can not freely define prices. Think of it as a configurable application in which the micro-mvno can use sliders to adjust one aspect compared to others. Example: Defining the hours in which employees can call at a reduced tariff. If it is 24 hrs a day then the monthly fee per employee is higher. So the MNO is still responsible for defining the mechanisms that define prices: volume, duration, quality of service, etc. However the Micro-MVNO defines the price plan that fits its business instead of the other way around.
      2) Not every enterprise will be interested but having the possiblity to manage your communication yourself can optimize a company’s costs as well as reduce the cost for the operator to support medium and large enterprises. As such a discount can be given to companies that manage their own communication services.
      3) Especially the fact that large corporations span multiple geographies can open up the market for cross-border MVNOs to which corporations subscribe as micro-MVNOs. This cross-border MVNO would buy wholesale from different local operators and provide a uniform way for multinationals to handle their communication. At the moment multinationals too often have to manage communication locally, meaning a lot of extra costs for them.

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