Resale of mobile voice services
Produced in partnership with Purvi Parekh of Anakiya Consulting
Resale of mobile voice services

The following TMT practice note produced in partnership with Purvi Parekh of Anakiya Consulting provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Resale of mobile voice services
  • Spectrum, mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators
  • Regulation of MVNOs
  • Access to new technologies
  • Full and light MVNOs
  • The MVNO agreement
  • Wholesale roaming access
  • Direct access
  • Resale access
  • Published reference offer
  • More...

Spectrum, mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators

Spectrum (ie the range of wavelengths or frequencies over which electromagnetic radiation extends) is the basis for wireless communications, eg mobile voice and data services and wi-fi services. A mobile network operator (MNO) is normally allocated certain bands of spectrum in order to operate within the telecoms industry and thereby provide the network that enables customers to send and receive calls and texts and access the internet. However, spectrum is a finite resource and there can be issues with respect to its use. Therefore, spectrum licensing, assignment and management is regulated nationally and also at a European level (see Practice Note: Radio spectrum regulation).

In the UK, Ofcom issues licences for the use of spectrum to MNOs under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (WTA 2006).

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a mobile communications service provider that contracts with an MNO in order for the MNO to provide wholesale mobile electronic communications services to the MVNO, which it then resells. This is often described in the industry as ‘piggybacking’, in that the MVNOs will normally be smaller operators who are not licensed to use spectrum and do not operate their own networks, but effectively piggyback off the MNO’s spectrum and are treated as customers of the MNO.

The operation of MVNOs in the market is generally seen as

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