Tokyo-based Soracom, a startup that provides a communications platform for connected device developers, announced on May 11 that it has raised $22 million in its Series B round of funding. World Innovation Lab and Infinity Venture Partners led the initiative.

Soracom claims that it will use the funding to rapidly deploy its services around the world, as well as new features situated around customer needs. CEO Ken Tamagawa told TechCrunch that self-service, programmable, and pay-as-you-go cellular platform services will top the list, and many of these features will expand into the U.S.

Soracom is a mobile virtual network operator, and it has a partnership with NTT Docomo, one of the leading telecommunications companies in Japan. Its platform is already being used in products including Canon multifunction printers and Edy, a contactless payment card.

As companies like Soracom make their way around the globe, the MVNO industry is expected to explode within the coming years. A new report released by P&S Market Research on May 9 found that the compound annual growth rate for the MVNO industry is projected to grow 9.8 percent between 2016 and 2022. AT&T, Verizon Communications and T-Mobile are leading the charge.

"Technical flexibility is expected to be the major factor driving the growth of the global MVNO market during the forecast period," P&S Market Research concludes. "The telecom subscriber growth is expected to slow down considerably during the forecast period, owing to the maturing of telecom market. However, the growing demand of mobile internet in developing countries is expected to provide significant growth opportunity for MVNO vendors during the forecast period."

The researchers behind the report state that mobile subscription penetration in a majority of developed nations has reached 100 percent. Additionally, the discount, cellular M2M, and business and media/entertainment sector made up more than 50 percent of the MVNO market in 2015.

Big players in the industry have also been looking to enter new regions with untapped potential. AT&T and Virgin Media, for example, have been planning their second coming into India in an attempt to operate as MVNOs. This would give them the options to buy airtime and bandwidth in bulk from existing providers in India.

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