Across the constantly evolving telecommunications landscape, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have established themselves as innovative players, unafraid of challenging the status quo.

In few areas has their appetite for disruption become more apparent than their ongoing advance on the Internet of Things (IoT) market. Indeed, the global IoT MVNO market is already valued at around $2.9BN and is expected to post revenues of almost $7BN by the close of 2028.

In this blog, we explore how MVNOs could adopt strategies that make an impact in the IoT industry, one traditionally dominated by the network giants.

Understanding the MVNO Advantage

Disruptive Potential

Despite MVNOs not owning the physical infrastructure that powers their services, this seemingly intrinsic limitation can be turned into a disruptive advantage.

Rather than investing in costly network infrastructure, MVNOs can focus on agile strategies that cater specifically to IoT needs, allowing them to swiftly adapt to market trends and provide tailored solutions to businesses eager to become IoT-enabled.

Specialisation is Key

In the IoT sector, one size does not fit all. MVNOs can capitalise on this by focusing on specific verticals or industries, such as healthcare, agriculture, or logistics. By specialising in this way, MVNOs can begin to understand the unique requirements of their chosen sector and provide niche services that traditional carriers may overlook.

Embracing IoT Technology

Investing in IoT Ecosystems

To disrupt a market as emergent and dynamic as IoT, MVNOs must be willing to embrace and invest in the IoT ecosystem, which comprises not only devices but also connectivity, data analytics, and security.

IoT devices typically have different connectivity requirements to standalone mobile devices, such as lower bandwidth and power needs. However, MVNOs are well-placed to offer bespoke connectivity plans that match these requirements.

Data is the New Currency

As is the case with most markets these days, in the IoT market, data is critical. Accordingly, MVNOs can confront traditional approaches by offering advanced data analytics services that empower IoT-ready businesses to derive meaningful insights from their devices. MVNOs can position themselves as attractive partners in the IoT ecosystem by facilitating data-driven decision-making.

Flexibility and Scalability

Customised Pricing Models

A primary challenge among IoT-enabled businesses is cost management. MVNOs can differentiate themselves by leveraging their agility and offering more flexible pricing models that align with the various and unique requirements of IoT deployments.

This can include pay-as-you-go plans, tiered pricing based on data usage, or collaboration with other players in the IoT ecosystem.

Scalability for Growth

As IoT-enabled businesses expand, they require scalable solutions able to accommodate their growth. Here, MVNOs can look to provide seamless scalability options, ensuring that their customers can scale up their operations without encountering network bottlenecks or service interruptions.

Security and Trust

Fortifying IoT Security

As multiple interconnected devices can contain breaks that make them vulnerable to cyberattacks, security is paramount in the IoT market.

As such, MVNOs can position themselves as security guarantors by investing in robust measures and providing end-to-end encryption and authentication solutions. This proactive approach can build trust among businesses interested in or enabled by IoT.

Compliance and Regulation

Navigating the complex web of IoT regulations is a significant challenge for any organisation. MVNOs can offer a disruptive advantage to their customers by again using their agility to respond to IoT-related regulations more quickly and ensuring their services comply with applicable standards. This commitment to compliance can also streamline IoT deployments and reduce legal hurdles for their customers.

Increasing network virtualisation adoption

SDNs and NFVs

Network virtualisation technologies, such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV), can help MVNOs reduce deployment costs and improve network agility.

These technologies can also enable MVNOs to offer innovative connectivity solutions like network slicing and edge computing. At the same time, the likes of SDN and NFV can help them to deploy and manage their networks more cost-effectively.

Better customer experiences

By virtualising network functions, MVNOs cut the need for costly hardware by using more flexible and scalable software-based solutions, allowing them to provide more customised customer experiences. Moreover, this further empowers them to create specialised connectivity solutions for specific industries or use cases that the network operators might deem unworthy of their time.

Paving the Way for MVNO Disruption in IoT

In a market historically dominated by traditional carriers, MVNOs have an opportunity to disrupt the IoT landscape further. By specialising in specific verticals, embracing IoT technology, offering flexible solutions, prioritising security, and staying compliant, MVNOs can carve out a niche as trusted partners within the IoT ecosystem.

The key to success lies in the ability to adapt, innovate, and focus on the evolving needs of IoT-ready businesses. MVNOs that take a proactive approach to disruption in the IoT market are poised to challenge traditional strategies and become the driving force behind the next wave of IoT innovation.