Anyone start an MVNO?



  • Anyone here have experience/advice on starting an MVNO (in the USA)? Is it reasonable to start one or very complex?

    Any advice or info would be much appreciated. Thanks.



  • Unfortunately yes.... we wasted about $250k before calling it quits.

    These days the prepaid providers offer better spectrum and pricing than even the MVNO can get a contract for, unless you go to Sprint. And even then you are buying at about the same rate the big 5 are selling service for.

    If you have a niche it can work.



  • And there is a billing MVNO (common with rebranded Sprint) or there is infrastructure MVNO, where you cover an otherwise dead area (say in the mountains) and failover to a major network when your customers go out of band. This is feasible with the rise of 3GPPP cells which allow you to forgo expensive tower builds. (Anywhere off network usually doesnt have tower infrastructure)

    So that is what I mean by "niche".



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  • @bigbear

    So if I understand correctly, the biggest expense was paying the phone service provider or what was the biggest expense for you (if you can say)? Can you say if you had to pre-pay, or do you know if they will let you buy the service you need as you grow?

    Thanks for your help.



  • @glasswireken said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    @bigbear

    So if I understand correctly, the biggest expense was paying the phone service provider or what was the biggest expense for you (if you can say)? Can you say if you had to pre-pay, or do you know if they will let you buy the service you need as you grow?

    Thanks for your help.

    To become an actual MVNO you have to register and certify yourself with the FCC. Its a six figure, time consuming process. There are something like 3,000 MVNO's in the US and you have probably only heard of less than 10, to give you an idea of how many people have wasted time and money.

    If you are looking to brand and sell residential service and dont intend to build infrastructure you should google MVNE. Everyone will try to get $5k to $10k to turn you up, and usually there is a $1000 or more commitment per month. If you have a clear idea of how to get to a decent monthly revenue you should be able to get them to forgo the charges.

    We had a wireless ISP customer base, VOIP business customers and a tight geographical area we could service. So we had market, but the pricing in bulk that we got still fell far short of what a customer could get direct by the time we had ourselves up and running. We were paying $10 per GB on failover (same as google). Consider now Verizon and AT&T offer 6GB and unlimited talk and text for $40 prepaid per month.

    What were you thinking of doing, or just investigating in general?



  • @glasswireken said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    @bigbear

    So if I understand correctly, the biggest expense was paying the phone service provider or what was the biggest expense for you (if you can say)? Can you say if you had to pre-pay, or do you know if they will let you buy the service you need as you grow?

    Thanks for your help.

    Also, I visited your website. Is this software something you created? Or do you just work there?



  • @bigbear We were thinking about using our mobile app to offer a niche MVNO to our users, but it's just a very early stage unlikely idea.

    I will Google MVNE as you suggest, but it sounds like it's more than we could handle.



  • @bigbear Both. It's a small team. We have an Android app in Google Play also. The software is a consumer software, but I came here to learn more about the IT audience to see how we could offer something for IT customers.



  • @glasswireken said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    @bigbear We were thinking about using our mobile app to offer a niche MVNO to our users, but it's just a very early stage unlikely idea.

    I will Google MVNE as you suggest, but it sounds like it's more than we could handle.

    Checking your apps out, this is interesting. I an see where your thinking is headed. There are a few good platforms that provide well written API access on top of the carrier network that might work.

    As things sit now MVNO's still have to ship new sim cards, a minor setback. But I definitely see what you are thinking.



  • @bigbear said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    out, this is interesting. I an see where your thinking is headed. There are a few good platforms that provide well written API access on top of the carrier network that might work.

    GlassWire has been great alternative to track Internet usage from apps like https://www.netlimiter.com/ and others.



  • @dbeato said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    @bigbear said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    out, this is interesting. I an see where your thinking is headed. There are a few good platforms that provide well written API access on top of the carrier network that might work.

    GlassWire has been great alternative to track Internet usage from apps like https://www.netlimiter.com/ and others.

    You've been using it?



  • @scottalanmiller Yes, for a while.



  • @bigbear I have an idea to put your money to work.



  • @kevin-k said in Anyone start an MVNO?:

    @bigbear I have an idea to put your money to work.

    he's been gone a long time. Almost a year.


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