MVNO versus IoT

Telecoms is changing fast. Not only is the game changing, but the playing field the game is played on is changing as well.

Lumbering onto this playing field, like two rubber-suit monsters from a 1950's Japanese horror film, comes MVNO, followed by IoT.

These two monsters could be in an uneasy stand-off, warily eyeing each other's rubber tentacles as surrounding cardboard buildings are crushed under outsized costume reptile boots. Or they could be forming an alliance, spewing forth destruction to all comers while screaming badly dubbed monster noises.

It depends on your viewpoint. To allow you to make up your own mind, let's look at these two in more depth.


MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. It is a way to introduce smaller Mobile Operators to the market, bringing their own niche products and services. Rather than having the large Providers stifle competition, MVNOs allow smaller companies to gain market-share. Using available infrastructure means less cash investment, and this in turn means launching new services becomes a much more viable option.

And introducing - IoT

IoT, or the Internet of Things, has been widely hailed as the next 'big thing'. Rather than internet connectivity being just for people browsing, buying or interacting with others, it is now a method of connecting devices to other devices, or central processing systems. A good example could be a smart fridge. This knows what cycles you buy groceries in, when you last bought, and when you should buy more. This functions by being connected to the internet. Without an internet connection a smart fridge becomes a dumb fridge.

The IoT is heading towards a completely connected world. Being able to unlock your car with a smartphone app. Feeding your cat from thousands of miles away. Turning the kettle on when you are walking home from work. All are made possible by connecting devices to the internet.

The playing field

As we said at the start, the telecoms game is changing fast. Even the playing field the game is played on is changing. Along with technology advances pushing connectivity further into our lives on a personal level, it is also causing change on a national level. Persistent rumours that BT is switching off the traditional phone system, for instance. Or the linking of traffic cameras to central management systems via a 4G connection.

The changes mean potential disruption, but also opens the door for plenty of opportunities.

An MVNO can now set up, buying an allocation of network capacity from a larger Operator, and passing this allocation along to their direct customers. The MVNO can add value to this, supplying niche services and innovative products.

We can now tie together the two stars of this article in their showdown - IoT meets MVNO!

A SIM card set up to only supply data is the magic ingredient which powers a lot of the IoT. After all, the devices don't operate by magic. They must have a communication capability, which talks to the internet. This capability is supplied by a SIM card, just the same as in the mobile phone you carry.

The difference is that the SIM card in an IoT device is set to only allow data. It can't send or receive calls or texts. This data transfer is what allows the device to talk to other devices, or a central processing system. Your smart fridge, when it alerts you that you need milk, does this by sending a data message over the internet to an app on your mobile.

Obviously there has to be a link between the two things, and this is provided by an internet connection. If the internet were to fail, then smart devices would lose all ability to respond to requests or send information.

Any companies out there who are developing or releasing an 'IoT' device should contact us regarding how we can help with a data-only SIM. We can develop SIM cards for projects and devices, set up to meet your requirements.

Any companies who use mobiles as part of their day to day operations, for instance keeping staff members in touch with one another, or giving emergency services access to lone workers on site, should consider one of our Mobile SIM cards.

More on the SureVoIP® Mobile SIMOr Contact us to discuss how we can help.