Mobile Virtual Network Operator's (MVNO's) are mobile operators that do not own any spectrum or any network infrastructure. Instead, MVNO's have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers.
In general, MVNO's have full control over the SIM card, branding, marketing, billing, and customer care operations.
The market is seeing a number of these businesses cropping up since the huge success of Boost Mobile. I may be a little dense, but I don't really get the value proposition and sustainability of these businesses. Most of these new businesses cropping up seem to be purely lead generation businesses, with very little long-term value creation other than a brand (possibly). I feel like this rash of new companies is a little reminiscent of the days of CLECs. After all, wireless voice/data services are pretty much a commodity (today).
I would argue that for a new MVNO to be truly successful (over the long term), they need to find some meaningful differentiator other than some trendy urban or language brand push. But, I hope that someone out there can prove me wrong...