Cellular connectivity options have grown in recent years. You now have more available solutions than ever before to keep your devices connected. But with more options comes more connectivity plans to learn about before making a decision. We’re here to help you understand a few of the options you may have heard about and what the key differences are between each of them. 

What is an MVNO?

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a branded reseller of wireless technology. An MVNO doesn’t own its own spectrum but rather resells and leases network capacity. An MVNO doesn’t have its own radio network, but it can rely on the radio network of MNO and sell mobile communication services to the users of the MVNO. The main MVNO types include full MVNO. A full MVNO works with two layers: a network and customer service. They have a core network, and they also produce a SIM card with dialing resources available. 

What is an MNO? 

A Mobile Network Operator (MNO), also known as a Mobile Service Operator (MSO), is a communications provider that owns its radio network license and controls access to the license. An MNO typically owns and has access to the physical requirements like an antenna as well as office services like billing and customer service. Well-known MNOs include T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. 

The Difference Between MNO and MVNO

The key difference for an MVNO vs. MNO is who owns the radio network spectrum. An MNO owns the license and doesn’t rely on another provider to connect devices. It also controls who can use its radio network. On the other hand, an MVNO doesn’t own its own network. It has to use an MNO to provide services to its clients. 

What is an MVNA? 

A Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) is a provider that buys access to an MNO’s network and then sells it to MVNOs. An MVNA doesn’t have direct clients because they sell access to MVNOs instead. Many MNOs use MVNAs because it’s a strategic choice to just sell to one company. 

What is an MVNE? 

A Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) supplies the infrastructure needed for MVNOs to operate and provide services. An MVNE might provide planning, billing, customer service, and provisioning for an MVNO, but an MVNE won’t provide the actual connectivity services. 

The Difference Between MNO, MVNO, MVNE, and MVNA

MNOs and MVNOs provide services directly to clients. One owns the network and one just resells space, but they’re both the ones working with clients. MVNEs and MVNAs provide services to MNOs and MVNOs. The key difference between an MVNA and MVNE is one provides infrastructure and one acts almost like a middleman between the MNO and MVNO. 

Essentially, the chain of services looks like this: 

What SIMON IoT Brings to the Table

SIMON IoT taps directly into tier 1 MNOs so you get the best possible connectivity wherever you’re located. We’ll provide you the SIM cards, connection, and customer service you need all in simple, flexible data plans. See our prices to get started today.