The MVNO business depends mostly on the cost-efficiency of its core infrastructure and roaming agreements. This page comes with some preliminary information about our solutions for MVNOs, relevant in terms of market prospection.
How to enter a new market as an MVNO
A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) provides services to its subscribers (roaming, voice & data, applications, customer care, handset management, etc.) by making agreements with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) without owning a radio access network infrastructure.
Types of agreements that have to be signed
When entering a new market, MVNOs get an agreement that gives access to the radio network infrastructure of at least one MNO (Mobile Network Operator – owner of license), always including access to the radio network infrastructure and commercial terms.
The MVNO may or may not have acquired its own MCC (Mobile Country Code) and MNC (Mobile Network Code). In case it did, it has its own IMSI range (International Mobile Subscriber Identity, which identifies the SIM card). In case not, the MVNO also has to acquire an IMSI range from the MNO.
The SIM (Subscriber Identification Module)
MVNOs provide SIM cards to their subscribers for authentication and registration to the network. Each SIM card has an IMSI code with the following structure:
- MCC = Mobile Country Code
- MNC = Mobile Network Code
- MSIN = Mobile Subscription Identification Number.
The MVNO can have its own [MCC][MNC] codes from the legal authority of the country where the MVNO operates.
The core network infrastructure needed
MVNOs need some or all of the following network components for its business:
- HSS/HLR (Home Location Register/ Home Subscriber Server) – for authentication, registration and authorization
- GMSC (Gateway Mobile Switching Center) – for voice
- GGSN (Gateway GPRS Support Node) – for data
- SMSC (Short Message Service Center) – for SMSs
- MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Service Center) – for MMSs.
The billing system
The billing system makes each MVNO’s business model different. Find some examples below:
- offering low prices to subscribers for roaming all over the world
- charging a monthly fee and providing international minutes for voice services and data
- offering specific services such as Customer Care Services in a certain language, for the niche market of migrant population
- providing only data services using the same tariffs all over a continent
- offering specialized mobile apps for niche markets, such as kids niche market, seniors niche market, health and safety niche market, sports niche market, etc.
- presence on the IoT market: fleet management, POS terminals.
The roaming agreement
MVNO users can roam using either the main MNO roaming agreement, or other roaming partners.
A roaming hub is a type of carrier that provides a package of roaming agreements in a single contract. Roaming hub providers have roaming agreements with many operators and they allow smaller operators to use these agreements.
The Yate solutions for MVNOs
There are two types of approach in the MVNO business in terms of voice-data infrastructure, which give a classification of MVNOs:
- Full MVNO: its own GMSC (voice), GGSN (data), HLR-AuC, HLR/HSS (subscribers management), billing system
- Light MVNO: its own HLR, HSS, billing.
Subscriber management: YateHSS/HLR
To begin with the common subscribers management functionality, YateHSS/HLR is single product which includes both HSS (Home Subscriber Server – 4G/LTE) and HLR-Auc (Home Location Registry – Autentification Center – 2G/GSM):
- supports both SS7 and Diameter protocols (the so-called signaling systems necessary to manage a mobile network)
- is a software implemented product that uses commodity hardware, which results in a lightweight, multifunctional and reliable piece of equipment.
As an HLR, YateHSS/HLR supports the SS7 MAP protocol and connects to the radio network infrastructure through the STP routers:
As an HSS, YateHSS/HLR provides Diameter support and delivers signalling to the RAN (Radio Access Network) through DRA routers.
- each subscriber profile operations are replicated in all the other YateHSS/HLRs of the network
- many to many relationships between the core network, SS7 STP/ Diameter routers, and the YateHSS/HLR nodes eliminate single points of failure from the network
The YateHSS/HLR supports the following profiles: Wifi, EPS, IMS, CS, PS. YateHSS/HLR supports both SS7 MAP and Diameter in a single product, so MVNO subscribers can roam from a 4G network to 2G/3G networks.
For the YateHSS/HLR specifications click the following link.
Core Network Components: YateUCN
YateUCN is a cost-efficient and easy to manage core network solution for MVNOs.
- YateUCN implements in software the functions of GMSC and GGSN using Linux OS and Dell servers
- supports both SS7 and Diameter protocols
- uses Yate MMI, a web-based management interface for the core network
- Yate core network components support JSON API for configuration.
YateUCN as a GMSC (voice in GSM)
YateUCN uses the HLR to localize the MSC/VLR of the called subscriber and routes the call to the designated MSC/VLR in the MNO network.
Yate UCN as a GGSN (GPRS data trafic)
When configured as a GGSN, YateUCN establishes and maintains the IP sessions of the subscriber and routes the IP packets to the SGSN in the MNO network.
The IP packets are routed to the SGSN over the GTP-c v1 protocol.
MVNO billing system solutions
YateUCN supports billing integration with any (OSS/BSS) charging system of an MVNO.
- the YateUCN as a GMSC supports charging operations for prepaid and postpaid billing using CAMEL phase 2
- the YateUCN as a GGSN supports RADIUS and 3GPP extensions for postpaid billing.
Note: our Yate network components can interconnect with other network components.
YateHSS/HLR and YateUCN specifications