The global mobile virtual network operator market size was valued at USD 61.1 billion in 2019 and is projected to witness a CAGR of 7.6% from 2020 to 2027. The growing use of data and value-added services such as live streaming and M-commerce based services are expected to drive the market for mobile virtual network operators over the forecast period. The increasing smartphone penetration across the globe and subsequent rise in mobile subscriber base are estimated to remarkably contribute to industry growth. Mobile virtual network operators cater to various customer needs; however, they do not own the full infrastructure or license for using radio frequencies.
The presence of a large number of market players has led to increased competition among service providers. Consecutively, this has led the players to offer mobile services at cheaper rates. The emergence of groundbreaking services such as machine-to-machine transaction and mobile money is expected to impel the growth of the market for mobile virtual network operators. Furthermore, mobile virtual network operators are collaborating with smartphone manufacturers to offer their services at cheap prices to attract new customer base, which is instrumental in driving market growth over the forecast period.
Technological advancements such as cloud and M2M are projected to propel the growth of the market for mobile virtual network operators over the next eight years. Mobile virtual network operators are expected to provide cheaper and convenient mobility options for industries such as lifestyle, entertainment, and productivity to increase revenue generation. Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) also provide various features to their customers by offering roaming services while traveling or for tourists. For instance, Lyca mobile offers cheap international calling rates to their users.
Factors such as increasing network speed and growing use of advanced devices have led to high growth in the use of data applications such as video streaming and internet browsing. Significant investments are being made to improve Mobile Broadband (MBB) connections and network coveragebenefits offered by the mobile virtual network operator model include time efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In addition, low-cost data and voice services offered by the model are expected to lure more consumers, which, in turn, are expected to accelerate its growth. Mobile virtual network operators also provide potential opportunities to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the market by improving network utilization, thus facilitating them in developing their own MVNOs.
MNOs are making substantial investments in upgrading and maintaining their existing infrastructure. However, this has resulted in high operational costs and declining average revenue per user for MNO. Moreover, the lack of operational expertise is expected to restrict the growth of the market for mobile virtual network operators. Fragmented and lower spectrum holding by MNOs may impact service quality and could make entry of mobile virtual network operators in certain regions unviable.
On the basis of type, the MVNO market is segmented into business, discount, M2M, media, migrant, retail, roaming, and telecom. The market is expected to witness significant growth in the M2M market due to the increasing adoption of cellular connectivity in machines ranging from vehicles to vending machines. Technical advancements in the 3G M2M market, extension of mobile network coverage, and initiatives by MNOs to expand their service offerings are the key factors supporting the growth of MVNOs in the M2M market. There has been a significant increase in the number of MNOs collaborating with M2M application service providers, which is expected to drive the demand for mobile network element deployment in M2M applications over the forecast period.
MNOs offer various service plans and products for different markets having fewer users, which leads to expensive and inefficient operational and business support systems. The cost associated with retaining and acquiring new customers is relatively high, mainly for fixed term contracts. The mobile virtual network operators can help in overcoming cost issues, optimizing resource allocation, and improving the Quality of Service (QoS). This, in turn, would contribute to the growth of the market for mobile virtual network operators. Moreover, access to voice and data services at low cost is expected to be the key interest for customers.
On the basis of end-use, the market is segmented into consumer and enterprise. The consumer segment dominated the market for mobile virtual network operators in 2019 and is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. Increasing network speed and use of advanced devices enable growth of data applications such as internet browsing and video streaming. Increasing investments are made to improve network coverage and growth in Mobile Broadband (MBB) connections. The mobile virtual network operator model offers benefits such as time efficiency and cost-effectiveness, which is expected to lure more consumers, in turn, accelerating the growth of consumer segment.
Managing connected living, personal data, and rising e-commerce activities is also anticipated to provide significant growth opportunities for key players operating in the market for mobile virtual network operators along with increasing consumer benefits. Intelligent networks connecting a wide range of devices enable increased productivity of enterprises. The partnership between MNOs and MVNOs majorly depends on brand reputation, distribution network, promotional strategies, and access to segments. The mobile virtual network operators model is shifting from voice to a more data-centric experience. MVNOs across the globe are looking for data-capable smartphones as a way to expand their businesses.
On the basis of operational model, the market is segmented into full MVNO, reseller MVNO, and services operator MVNO. The full MVNO segment dominated the market for mobile virtual network operators in terms of revenue in 2019. Implementation of full MVNO network infrastructure requires low capital investment and gives full call control, which allows customers to call internationally at highly discounted rates. The emergence of mobile virtual network operator is the result of regulatory interventions to lower the barriers for entry and eventually increase competition and strategic decisions undertaken by MNOs.
MNOs have their own mobile licenses, infrastructure, and customer relationships with their end users and are capable of handling network routing. They generally have roaming deals with foreign counterparts. However, in an attempt to expand their existing customer base and operations, MNOs are collaborating with mobile virtual network operators and targeting niche segments. To avoid direct competition with MNOs, MVNOs are focusing on offering differentiated services. They are aiming at capitalizing opportunities related to roaming services by providing special services to tourists and youth. MVNOs aid in increasing revenue for MNOs by providing wholesale deals, increasing network utilization, and creating their MVNO’s by launching sub-brands.
Europe dominated the market for mobile virtual network operators in 2019. The growth can be attributed to the favorable regulatory framework, which is expected to play a crucial role in developing the mobile virtual network operators. Countries such as U.K., Germany, and Netherlands are projected to impact regional growth in a positive manner over the forecast period. Data services are expected to be the key services for regional growth over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific and MEA are projected to experience significant growth over the forecast period. The growth of the market for mobile virtual network operators in the Asia Pacific region can be attributed to the phenomenal expansion of the telecom services industry in this region. Emerging economies in the region, such as India, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China, are making efforts in the expansion and modernization of their telecommunication services. South East Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines are also estimated to contribute substantially to the regional market expansion over the forecast period.
Countries with advanced cellular networks such as Japan, Malaysia, and Australia are expected to play a major role in the expansion of the Asia Pacific regional market. For instance, in Japan, MVNOs offer services such as remote management of vending machines, online gaming, M2M, and surveillance. They also provide voice-controlled services in security applications and patient monitoring in the healthcare industry.
Prominent players in the market for mobile virtual network operators are Lebara Group; Lyca Mobile; TalkTalk Group; Giffgaff; Poste Mobile SpA; Virgin Mobile; and TracFone Wireless Inc. Geographic expansion remains the key focus of all the players operating in the market. For instance, Virgin Mobile is present in various countries such as U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Poland, Mexico, France, and Saudi Arabia. It offers a broad range of services such as digital cable recorders, TV-on-demand, broadband, cable, television, and mobile and converged solutions.
Industry players are also adopting various strategic initiatives such as partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, collaborating with other firms for gaining a competitive edge and deploying better services to their customers. For instance, in April 2019, FRiENDi mobile, a part of Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa group and Ooredoo Oman entered into a long-term agreement to offer mobile services to FRiENDi mobile users through Ooredoo’s 4G Supernet network.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2016 - 2018
2020 - 2027
Revenue in USD Billion, Subscriber in Million, CAGR from 2020 to 2027
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and MEA
U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, Middle East, Africa
Revenue forecast, subscriber forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
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This report forecasts revenue and subscriber growth at the global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of latest industry trends from 2016 to 2027. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global mobile virtual network operator market report on the basis of type, operational model, end use, and region:
Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2027)
Operational Model Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2027)
Service Operator MVNO
End-use Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2027)
Regional Outlook (Volume, Million Subscribers; Revenue, USD Billion, 2016 - 2027)
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