Navigating the MVNE landscape: How CSPs can choose the right vendor in a rapidly changing market

by BICS | | 8 mins read

The state of the IoT market and the challenges for CSPs wanting to operate in it 

As a Communication Service Provider (CSP), you know that choosing the right IoT vendor is no easy feat. Not only do you have to keep up with the fast-paced and constantly evolving demands of the market, but you also have to navigate the challenges of digital transformation. To make matters even more complicated, the recent emergence of 5G technology has brought a flood of new, non-IoT MVNEs into the market, all vying to provide services and infrastructure.  

The 2022 Gartner® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers has recently been released, and “CIOs at CSPs developing IoT MVNO capabilities should use this guide to select an IoT MVNE solution” (Gartner® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers). We are proud that BICS was included in the Market Guide as a Representative Vendor in IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers.  

With so many options and factors to consider, how can you make the best decision for your business? In this blog, we will walk you through what to look out for when finding the right vendor for your CSP’s IoT needs. 

What capabilities are needed to meet the demands of the market? 

According to the Gartner® Market Guide, the IoT MVNE market is moving forward with a specific focus on six main areas: 

  • “eSIM 
  • Global coverage 
  • Composable IoT connectivity platforms 
  • Security and LTE and 5G private mobile networks 
  • 3GPP LPWA networks 
  • Ease of management for small and midsize businesses and indirect channels 
  • Integration with hyperscalers”

Gartner® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers

Source: Gartner® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers, by Pablo Arriandiaga and Eric Goodness, 31 October 2022

Let’s break down what these areas mean in practice: 

  • eSIMs: The embedded SIM (eSIM) has disrupted the mobile industry with adoption becoming increasingly mainstream. There are multiple reasons why eSIMs are crucial, including that they give the flexibility to remotely change the carrier operating the SIMs. This is particularly valuable for global deployments. When enterprises deploy IoT devices in a large number of countries, they can have a single manufacturing process with a global eSIM profile and locally decide, on a case-by-case, country per country basis, whether to keep the simplicity of this global eSIM profile or to replace it with a local one, that can be optimized, typically in terms of cost. With a significant majority of MNOs expected to adopt the technology in 2023, eSIMs need to be enabled by your vendor to support your global deployments.
  • Global coverage: “…global infrastructure enables existing IoT MVNOs — and even MNOs — to expand and compete in new geographical regions and extend their coverage to multinational clients”  – Gartner ® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers. More and more enterprises conduct business internationally and, typically, products are manufactured in one country and then deployed in a different region. IoT MVNO models are therefore only able to stay globally competitive when they rely on an MVNE that has the infrastructure and the commercial agreements in place to support global IoT use cases.
  • Composable IoT platforms: To sustainably provide IoT connectivity for many industries, you need to be able to manage this connectivity from your side in a simple, quick, flexible, and effective way that requires minimal intervention from your team. You need a vendor that offers an all-in-one solution that allows you to self-manage your connectivity through a bespoke platform, so that you can strengthen your offering and expand faster, at scale. 
  • Security and mobile private networks: As IoT deployments with large number of endpoints considerably expand the attack surface for enterprises, securing IoT solutions end-to-end is crucial. Private networks can be a solution for some verticals, such as manufacturing, in which case an MVNE with global private network connectivity will facilitate your internal management operations to deploy IoT solutions worldwide with higher data security. 
  • 3GPP LPWAN networks: “In energy and utilities, government, and manufacturing and natural resources, including agriculture, 3GPP LPWAN will reach 1 billion connections worldwide by 2025, and the first three verticals will account for 73% of NB-IoT and LTE-M connections.” (Gartner® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers).  A provider with wide 3GPP LPWA coverage will give you not only the flexibility to meet specific industry needs, but also the ability to optimize your IoT deployments for most of your enterprise customers’ use cases.
  • Ease of management for small and midsize businesses: Providing continuously reliable and out-of-the-box connectivity is key to meeting the accessibility need of enterprises, but it’s not enough.  To truly thrive, enterprises need the ability to self-manage that connectivity. That’s why it’s important to choose an IoT MNVE provider that offers self-management tools for your connected products and services. 
  • Integration with hyperscalers: “The majority of IoT platforms and connectivity platforms are running in or have been built with scalable cloud infrastructure provided by hyperscalers. This means that having a secure integration with the hyperscaler’s infrastructure, or being integrated in the hyperscaler’s IoT stack, provides differentiation for enterprises and IoT MVNOs developing IoT solutions using the hyperscaler’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or PaaS.” (Gartner® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers). As a CSP, you require a dedicated connection between your connectivity management platform, your data center, and the hyperscalers’. You should try as much as possible to have your needs covered by a single connectivity partner, with simple configurations to enable various data streams.

The MVNE vendor for you 

To stay competitive in the MVNO market, you need to choose a vendor that provides the right IoT solutions for you. This means secure global reach (eSIM capabilities and management, global private networks), and advanced insights into business and customer operations (AI and ML). 

We believe that BICS fulfills these needs and more, through: 

  • eSIM capabilities: Simplify your global deployments and increase your business flexibility with eSIM. BICS recently partnered with Thales to remove some barriers to eSIM adoption, through a unique solution in the market.
  • Global reach, and fully-owned global infrastructure: Our solution simplifies IoT connectivity by enabling the launch and management of IoT businesses through one platform, one SIM, and one partner. We’ve been a market leader in roaming for over 20 year with direct commercial agreements with the majority of mobile operators worldwide. Benefit from BICS’ fully-owned global infrastructure which gives you end-to-end control of all data coming in and out of your devices. This is optimized wherever you are located through regional platforms.
  • Comprehensive connectivity platform: Our managed IoT platform’s reseller module (SIM for Things) is a turnkey CRM toolbox for CSPs. It enables them to quickly launch their business, manage enterprise customers, design their own business models, provide superior support, and benefit from advanced business intelligence.
  • Seamless and secure MPN connectivity, both in and outside of your private network: SIM for Things for MPN uses LTE/ 5G to keep devices securely connected both inside and outside of private networks, switching seamlessly between them, and therefore removing complexity for CSPs across all industries.
  • 3GPP LPWAN network supported: We continuously aim to provide the widest reach reach for NB-IoT and LTE-M, leveraging our unique multi-IMSI technologies to combine the coverage of multiple sponsors.
  • Self-management model for enterprises: Our managed IoT platform and SIM for Things provides everything enterprises need to manage, control, monetize, and understand their connected business through a user-friendly, comprehensive self-service platform.
  • Direct and secure connection to AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud: BICS’ Cloud Connect enhances the integration between the hyperscaler’s data centre and yours, with end-to-end security and strong SLA. Easily integrate connectivity data into the applications of your customers with data streams and our Connectivity Twin available through SIM for Things.

To find out more about how BICS can provide your CSP with the flexibility that it needs to build and deploy scalable global solutions, please get in touch 

Gartner ® Market Guide for IoT Mobile Virtual Network Enablers, by Pablo Arriandiaga and Eric Goodness, 31 October 2022 

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This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from BICS.