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MVNO: Through thick and thin

The below article was taken from Silicon.com. Click here to read the actual article.


By Natasha Lomas, 27 October 2008 16:23

MVNO? That'll be an abbreviation - another pointless four letter one no doubt…
Right and wrong. MVNO stands for mobile virtual network operator - and it refers to a rather intriguing slice of the mobile pie.

I'm listening…
Building and operating a mobile network is an expensive business, not least because it requires radio spectrum, so the number of mobile network operators (or MNOs) is limited to, at most, a handful per market. For instance, the UK market has five: 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

Spectrum does not come cheap. The auction for 3G licences in the UK - way back in 2000 - ended with five companies shelling out a whopping £22.47bn for the privilege of flogging third-generation services to Brits. So the requirement for large capital expenditure to set up a mobile network goes some way to explaining why actual networks are not 10-a-penny.

But in…