Launching an MVNO like a pro

The MVNO market is experiencing significant expansion due to the increasing digitalization of various industries. One key point to consider before launch: ensuring you’re targeting a specific market segment, to differentiate your service and stand out to customers.

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Jean-Luc Gerard, Business Development, Digital Brands


28 Mar 2023

Launching an MVNO like a pro

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The need for reliable mobile networks and communication tools has changed the working landscape.

Additionally, the proliferation of smartphones and technology advancements such as eSIMs and mobile money are also contributing to the market's growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role, as remote working has necessitated better communication solutions for businesses.

Location, location, location

The best region to launch a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) business depends on several factors, including the market competition level, the regulatory environment, and the population's demand for mobile services. Generally, regions with a high population density and a developed telecommunications infrastructure may be more favorable for MVNOs. Additionally, regions with a lower penetration of mobile services and less competition may also be a good opportunity for MVNOs to enter the market.

Europe and the USA are more mature markets, with the presence of a large number of MVNOs and significant ARPU, but are also the most competitive markets for MVNOs, with 40% market share in Europe and 25% in the US.

The APAC market is expected to witness the fastest growth in the coming years, with changing regulations and the influence of nations such as India, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, China, and Australia.

The African market is also forecast to grow significantly. This growth is driven by a combination of factors, including better regulatory environments in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, increasing mobile penetration rates, a growing middle class, and increasing demand for mobile data services. MVNOs will be able to fill a gap in the market by providing services to underserved communities, particularly in rural areas, and democratizing mobile money in countries where most of the population does not have bank accounts.

Segmentation is key

When launching a new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), it is essential to target a specific market segment to differentiate the service and attract customers. According to Future Market Insights, the consumer segment is the largest in the MVNO market, and it is expected to maintain its dominance with a strong CAGR of 7.3% during the period 2022-2032. The driving force behind the growth of this segment is the increasing trend of consumers switching to MVNOs due to higher pricing from traditional mobile network operators.

Some potential market segments to target include:

  1. Price-sensitive consumers: MVNOs can offer lower prices than traditional mobile network operators (MNOs) and target consumers who are looking for affordable mobile services.
  2. Niche markets: MVNOs can target specific segments such as students, seniors, communities, or ethnic groups and tailor their services to meet the needs of these groups.
  3. Businesses: MVNOs can target small and medium-sized businesses and offer specialized services such as international roaming, mobile device management, and data analytics.
  4. IoT: MVNOs can play a significant role in this market segment by providing connectivity and communication services for IoT devices. They can offer specialized plans and packages for IoT applications.
  5. Rural areas: MVNOs can target underserved rural areas where traditional MNOs may not have a strong presence.
  6. Prepaid users: MVNOs can target users who prefer to pay for services in advance, rather than postpaid, and offer prepaid plans with customizable options.

It is important for MVNOs to conduct market research and analyze the competition before choosing a specific market segment to target. By diversifying their revenue streams, operators can reduce their dependence on a single source of income and better manage fluctuations in demand for their services. This can help them to remain financially stable even during challenging economic conditions and enable them to invest in their core business and pursue new opportunities for growth.


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