MVNOs and CEM – is there much they can do when it comes to customer experience?

lacy on mobile CEM

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are in a great position; they avoid the difficult task of managing a complex network infrastructure, but still reap the benefits of selling voice and data services into the marketplace. But when it comes to customer experience management, is it plain sailing or simply out of their control?


Customer experience management (CEM) is a hot topic in the telecoms industry right now. Operators are looking for novel ways to generate revenues through new and existing customers, and offering a superior service is at the top of the list. To achieve this, optimising the network is key, but if an MVNO doesn’t control the network, is there really much they can do when it comes to CEM?


MVNOs – what are they?

An MVNO provides wireless services, such as voice and data into the marketplace, but they typically do not own the licensed spectrum or the wireless network infrastructure by which these services are delivered. To do this MVNOs work with either a mobile network operator (MNO) or mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) to utilise their infrastructure and systems. This could range from simply using the Base stations / Radio Network (RAN), through to a complete end-to-end infrastructure including operational systems such as billing etc. (effectively whole-selling airtime), or somewhere in the middle.


What differentiates an MVNO?

MVNOs target various market segments, and look to differentiate themselves through:

  • New applications and content
  • Creating bundles with other services
  • Price points

Because of this, some MVNOs will be more concerned over quality than others. For example, those who have built their brand around ‘excellence’ will want to ensure that the service delivered does not comprise their marketing position.


So how can MVNO’s understand and enhance their Customers’ Experience?

The customer experience is a broad term which can relate to every interaction between the customer and the MVNO, which includes procuring the service (handset and/or subscription), using the service on a daily basis and using customer post-sales support (issues, billing queries etc.). For owned domains, MVNOs can control their own CEM strategies, but for those that are owned by their partners, it’s not as simple. However there are a number of things that they can do:


Learn from the MNOs

Since MVNOs do not own the entire end-to-end service delivery, they must work closely with their MNO/MVNE partner to understand how they measure their customer experience. This will enable them to determine which techniques can be applied to their particular implementation.

Get access to the data

MNOs will use a number of different approaches in order to get a better understanding of customer experience; OSS performance statistics (from RAN, Core and Transmission), handset based agents, drive testing, network monitoring (probes), analysing billing data, customer surveys or social media etc. There are quite a few approaches that can be taken, but what is important for an MVNO is to get access to as much of this data as possible to get a full understanding of the service(s) delivered.

Use the right tool to gain the most insights

MVNOs require a big data analytics tool which has the functionality to take data from different sources, combining data directly from their customers, from social media and from their MNO/MVNE partner. MVNOs can then consolidate the information, trend and analyse performance. They can then highlight issues within their domain that could be changed and also provide a view on their partners performance and if they are meeting their obligations.


With the right tools and the right approach, an MVNO can optimises the customer experience over both their own domains and those provided by their partners. What is important is that they work closely with their partners to achieve maximum visibility and mutually benefit from optimisation of the network.