Like many telecoms trends, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business model has gone in and out of fashion in the last decade. The early explosion of MVNOs across developed markets has somewhat subsided, with many MVNOs having a relatively short lifecycle of approximately three years. After this, they either go out of business because someone else has a cheaper “me too” offer or they are bought by the host network provider.
Very few MVNOs manage to achieve scale and longevity. 4G is the latest MVNO opportunity, but there is still doubt as to whether the new technology can truly change the telecoms landscape or if it will just provide another wave on which to ride.