An MVNE, or Mobile Virtual Network Enabler, is a company that provides the infrastructure and services necessary for a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) to operate. A “non-IoT” MVNE implies a lack of an Internet of Things (IoT) capability.
The emergence of 5G technology has brought a flood of new entrants into the non-IoT MVNE landscape in Asia, making its navigation more daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Step one is to understand what a non-IoT MVNE is and what it does.
With that understanding in mind, step two is to research the different MVNEs that are available. There are many different MVNEs out there, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some MVNEs specialise in certain areas, such as IoT or M2M, while others are more general.
When researching MVNEs, it’s important to consider factors such as pricing, features, and customer support. It’s useful to look at the MVNE’s track record and reputation in the industry.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential MVNEs, step three is to ask them questions about their capabilities. According to a Gartner Market Guide (the “Gartner Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers”), the IoT MVNE market is moving forward with a specific focus on seven areas.
The embedded SIM (eSIM) has disrupted the mobile industry, with adoption becoming increasingly mainstream. There are multiple reasons why eSIMs are crucial, including that they give the flexibility to change the carrier operating the SIMs remotely.
This is particularly valuable for global deployments. When enterprises deploy IoT devices in a large number of countries, they can have a single manufacturing process with a global eSIM profile and locally decide, on a case-by-case, country-per-country basis, whether to keep the simplicity of this global eSIM profile or to replace it with a local one, that can be optimised, typically in terms of cost. With a significant majority of MNOs expected to adopt the technology in 2023, eSIMs need to be enabled by your vendor to support your global deployments.
2. MVNE for global coverage
The Gartner report states, “a global infrastructure enables existing IoT MVNOs — and even MNOs — to expand and compete in new geographical regions and extend their coverage to multinational clients.” More and more enterprises conduct business internationally; typically, products are manufactured in one country and then deployed in a different region. IoT MVNO models are, therefore, only able to stay globally competitive when they rely on an MVNE with the infrastructure and commercial agreements to support global IoT use cases.
3. Composable IoT platforms
To sustainably provide IoT connectivity for many industries, operators need to be able to manage this connectivity from your side in a simple, quick, flexible, and effective way that requires minimal intervention from your team. In so doing, they need a vendor that offers an all-in-one solution that allows them to self-manage your connectivity through a bespoke platform to strengthen their offering and expand faster at scale.
4. MVNE role in security and mobile private networks
As IoT deployments with a large number of endpoints vastly expand the attack surface for enterprises, securing IoT solutions end-to-end is crucial. Private networks can be a solution for some verticals, such as manufacturing. In this case, an MVNE with global private network connectivity will facilitate the internal management operations to deploy IoT solutions worldwide with higher data security.
5. 3GPP LPWAN networks
Gartner states, “In energy and utilities, government, and manufacturing and natural resources, including agriculture, 3GPP LPWAN will reach 1 billion connections worldwide by 2025, and the first three verticals will account for 73% of NB-IoT and LTE-M connections.” A provider with wide 3GPP LPWA coverage will allow not only the flexibility to meet specific industry needs but also the ability to optimise IoT deployments for most of the enterprise customers’ use cases.
6. MVNE offers ease of management for SMEs
Providing continuously reliable and out-of-the-box connectivity is key to meeting the accessibility need of enterprises, but it’s not enough. To truly thrive, enterprises need the ability to self-manage that connectivity. That’s why choosing an IoT MNVE provider offering self-management tools for your connected products and services is important.
7. Integration with hyperscalers
Garter said that “The majority of IoT platforms and connectivity platforms are running in or have been built with scalable cloud infrastructure provided by hyperscalers. This means that having a secure integration with the hyperscaler’s infrastructure, or being integrated with the hyperscaler’s IoT stack, provides differentiation for enterprises and IoT MVNOs developing IoT solutions using the hyperscaler’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or PaaS.”
As such, CSPs require a dedicated connection between their connectivity management platform, their data centre, and the hyperscalers’. They should try as much as possible to have their needs covered by a single connectivity partner with simple configurations to enable various data streams.
In summary, the MVNE landscape can be a challenge, but with the right research and preparation, it can be done. By understanding what an MVNE is, researching the different options, and asking the right questions, it’s possible for an operator to find the right MVNE for its needs.
Related article: 5G and IoT will transform Asia’s MVNO game
By Malcolm Chan, Senior Vice President, Enterprise, Asia Pacific, BICS
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