knowledge centre

A private mobile virtual network operator approach will offer new opportunities for utility companies

Ian Adkins Principal, Consulting

“Telecoms networks are an essential component and enabler of the secure and efficient operation of critical national infrastructure (CNI) such as utility networks.”

Utility networks depend on telecoms networks, and the resilience of telecoms networks is therefore coming under the increasing scrutiny of governments, regulators and investors. In addition, utility companies are facing the dilemma of whether to rent their telecoms networks as inflexible and expensive managed services from commercial operators, or whether to develop their own telecoms network and application services to satisfy their specialist needs. The trend for many commercial enterprises is to develop more-agile strategies that use cloud and over-the-top (OTT) services and adopt an ‘-as-a-service’ approach, but the self-provision of networks has many attractions for a utility.1

Analysys Mason works with utilities to develop telecoms strategies. Using mobile solutions as an example, many utilities worldwide have requirements for field engineers and fixed-location, nomadic and wide-area network monitoring devices to be served with a variety of voice, data and bespoke OTT services. A private mobile virtual network operator (P-MVNO) is an MVNO, but implements services for private enterprise use only and does not offer services to public users. A P-MVNO could provide the in-house needs of a utility. The opportunities afforded by future 5G deployment and the deeper reach of fibre that is expected from the acceleration of residential FTTB/H fibre roll-out in many countries could be catalysts for a P-MVNO approach. However, introducing and sustaining a P-MVNO model has many challenges that the utility company must overcome, across a range of technical, commercial and regulatory complexities inherent in the telecoms market. Some benefits and challenges for implementing a P-MVNO are illustrated in Figure 1, highlighting the dilemmas faced by a utility.

Figure 1: The benefits and challenges of implementing a P-MVNO [Source: Analysys Mason, 2019]

The benefits and challenges of implementing a P-MVNO
A summary of some of the issues we have considered are listed in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The challenges of implementing a P-MVNO [Source: Analysys Mason, 2019]

The challenges of implementing a P-MVNO

Does the P-MVNO model offer real opportunities for utility companies or does it present too many challenges?

Most utility companies should consider a P-MVNO approach, in spite of the issues outlined above. In doing so, it is critical that utilities engage with both MNOs and national regulatory authorities.

Analysys Mason has the technical and market knowledge to help utility companies to assess this situation, and to prepare and present a strategic and business-oriented solution to management, internal stakeholders, vendors and host networks. Analysys Mason also has knowledge of the competitive and regulatory aspects of telecoms markets worldwide, which we can use to provide comprehensive advice.

For any organisation seeking to implement a P-MVNO, or considering any deployment of their own telecoms network, please contact Ian Adkins, for a no-obligation consultation.

1 For more information, see Analysys Mason’s research on business approaches to IoT. Available at