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Mobile virtual network operator

Mobile virtual network operator definition

Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) refers to a company that provides mobile phone services but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of the radio spectrum, nor does it necessarily have the entire infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone service. Instead, MVNOs lease wireless capacity from existing mobile service providers and sell it to their own customers.

See also: mobile network operator

Mobile virtual network operator benefits:

  • Cost-effectiveness. MVNOs can often offer services cheaper because they don’t need to maintain and develop large-scale infrastructure.
  • Flexibility. MVNOs often provide flexible plans aimed at a variety of niche markets. For example, some companies have plans for international travelers, providing special packages with roaming benefits or international calls.
  • Innovative deals. Many MVNOs offer no-contract plans, catering to users who don’t want long-term commitments. At the same time, these companies are in a great position to offer unique bundling or loyalty programs, differentiating themselves from traditional operators.

Mobile virtual network operator examples

  • Boost Mobile. A company was started in Australia in 2001 and expanded to the U.S. It uses Sprint's network to offer its services.
  • Straight Talk. Operated by TracFone, it utilizes networks from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
  • Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile is a global network operator that leases bandwidth from established players in different countries.