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

The following TMT guidance 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 and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs)
  • Regulation of MVNOs
  • The UK market
  • Full and light MVNOs
  • Wholesale roaming access
  • Access to new technologies
  • The MVNO agreement

Spectrum and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs)

Spectrum is the basis for wireless communications, eg mobile voice and data communications, wi-fi services etc. It 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).

An MVNO is a mobile communications service provider that contracts with a mobile network operator (MNO) for the resale of mobile services. This type of transaction is a 'white label' resell, meaning that the end customer has no contact with the underlying MNO and as far as the customer is concerned, its relationship is with the MVNO, and it is the MVNO that provides the services.

A white label resell can also come about from an MVNO contracting with a third party intermediary, such as:

  1. a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE), which provides, among other things, network infrastructure—thereby allowing MVNOs to offer services to their own customers, or

  2. a mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA), which purchases mobile airtime in bulk from an MNO and sells this to multiple MVNOs, which in turn sell the mobile service to end-users

Regulation of MVNOs

Regulation plays a very important role in the resale of mobile voice services just as it does in other areas