MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operators

Ofcom issues licences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 to the UK Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) that operate the physical networks and use radio spectrum. A MVNO does not require a WT Act licence as it is a customer of a MNO and is not itself a user of radio spectrum.

All UK communications networks and service providers (including MVNOs) do need to comply with a general authorisation regime (under the Communications Act 2003) for the provision of communications services. We have published advice in the Telecoms area of our website which provides details of the regulations that apply, in particular the General Authorisation Regime.

Background information about the MVNO market may be found in Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review (2015 – see, for example, sections 1, 4 and 8 of the consultation document).