Mobile virtual network operators, MVNOs are mobile service providers who do not own the network infrastructure on which they operate. This implies that the MVNO will get into an agreement with a Telco to obtain certain services at a negotiated/wholesale price; the MVNO will in turn offer retail services to its customers independently.
In Kenya, the Communications Authority of Kenya has so far licensed three MVNOs in Kenya. The licensed operators are Finserve Africa (a subsidiary of Equity bank), Tangaza Mobile (associated with Mobile Pay Limited) and Zioncell Kenya (associated with Mo-De). The three licensed MVNOs in Kenya have partnered with Airtel Kenya. The three licensed operator will focus on offering Mobile money, SMS, Data and voice services.
The biggest influence for operating a MVNO in Kenya is competition in the mobile money space which is currently dominated by safaicoms Mpesa. The biggest beneficiary of all these developments in the Mobile money sector will surely be the wananchi through reduced money transfer charges, easy access to Loans from your phone and a variety of providers to choose from.