Why Next-Gen MVNOs Will Become
One-Stop Shops

To capitalize on this opportunity, the MVNO needs to deploy a next-gen BSS that enables partners to onboard themselves, their customers, or both.
also help them tap a bigger market if being in the MVNO’s partner catalog introduces their brand to people unaware of them.

5G is a game changer for
converged digital billing

The BOBO concept isn’t new. Over two decades ago, NTT DoCoMo made BOBO a key component of its i-mode service. The convenience for consumers and brands alike was such a hit that three years after its launch, i-mode had 60 percent of the Japanese mobile market and became the subject of Harvard case studies. 

Does 5G provide the catalyst to truly enable and monetize the BOBO concept? 5G enables business and consumer use cases that weren’t practical or possible with previous generations of connectivity technology. For example, an MVNO can use 5G capabilities such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC), and network slicing to provide a BOBO partner’s streaming video service with the bandwidth and low latency that ensure a great user experience. That’s one way an MVNO can add even more value to its ecosystem partners.  

Network slicing also enables new MVNO B2B business models. For example, an MVNO could provide the slice, billing, and catalog services that a set of partners use to create an IoT service for verticals such as logistics. To capitalize on this opportunity, the MVNO needs to deploy a next-gen BSS that enables partners to onboard themselves, their customers, or both.

A real-world example is a security service for large venues such as airports and malls, where the ecosystem partners provide compute resources, a video analytics platform, systems integration, and fiber. The MVNO’s 5G slice offers the connection between that fiber backbone and IoT devices such as surveillance cameras.

Digital Billing for MVNOsFigure 1: Converged digital billing for MVNO customers

But just as important, the MVNO also uses its BSS to handle billing with the end customer, such as the airport security department. The MVNO’s BSS splits the bill and handles tasks such as reconciliation and settlement across each partner. That value-added service elevates the MVNO’s role beyond just being a provider of last-mile broadband connectivity. And the bigger the role, the more revenue the MVNO can derive from these B2B ecosystems.

A Deloitte research note agrees with this evolution of both the marketplace and the role of MVNOs. “Business models and the landscape as a whole will become vastly more complex. An industrial device maker, for example, might want to become a one-stop shop for IoT hardware and the network service on which it will rely. Deeply integrated offerings could emerge, bundling an application, hardware, support services and MVNO-enabled mobility into a unified package. Meanwhile, new businesses could spring up at any point in a transaction chain to offer some sort of value-added feature or functionality—product tracking, alerts, other contextual content—that revolve around MVNO services.”

Cloud is an enabling technology for MVNO growth. It provides MVNOs with the ability to leverage more enterprise-like commercial services— such as software as a service (SaaS)—and thus enables business models where they can take more risks but also limit their financial exposure. This means MVNOs expanding into further adjacent markets is promoted, and with the agility that many MVNOs bring, one would argue this is the catalyst for them to expand their suite of services they deliver to their target market. 

Between the cloud, 5G, and the rise of pervasive mobility use cases such as IoT, the role of the MVNO has the opportunity to explode in this digital transformation journey we are seeing emerge. An MVNO is inevitably evolving with the enablement technology of 5G and the cloud. The ability to enable the digital lifestyle with a converged digital bill, simplifying consumer engagement, is pivotal to this journey.


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