The basics of micro-mobility

The sheer growth of the micro-mobility industry alone is reason enough to get excited. Some see this growth as unsustainable.

Micro-mobility is constantly confronted with some unique challenges to overcome before they can be seen as a sustainable industry. What are they and why are they important?

First, is undoubtedly speed. Because the industry is growing so rapidly, there are many new companies entering the market to try and capitalise on it. Businesses need to act quickly before things become too crowded. The quicker they can respond to opportunities, the more market space they will secure.

And second, is being able to manage your fleet. Theft, vandalism, customer safety, city regulations and capacity management all sit under this umbrella term. Vital for fleet management is connectivity. Without a way to keep micro-mobility vehicles connected, there’s little difference between this and any other form of micro-transportation. So as a micro-mobility company what are your options and what should you consider?

Choosing a mobile APP on the consumer’s own phone as your connectivity provider is the simplest and most cost-effective solution. The challenge of built-in vehicle connectivity is that it raises expenses slightly and can sometimes reduce battery life. However, while being a small part of the overall business model, it can be a serious tool in overcoming micro-mobilities challenges.

Meeting the challenges of micro-mobility

Whether you have just implemented your service in its first location or you’re one of the more established players, it’s necessary to be adaptable both geographically and in terms of scaling your fleet size to fit demand. The demands of the micro-mobility market are ever-evolving — and this means that current somewhat rigid practices and connectivity options will likely become insufficient over time.

To be successful, therefore, micro-mobility businesses need to be both agile and independent, which can be achieved by switching to a dedicated IoT connectivity provider. A dedicated connectivity solution can help micro-mobility businesses bring their products to the market quickly and scale sustainably.

The economics of micro-mobility are challenging and a reason for many earlier attempts in this industry have struggled. We have therefore seen that better unit economics is often rightfully on the mind of executives in this industry.

When it comes to the cost of connectivity, micro-mobility businesses focus on the added overhead. Keeping a fleet of devices connected across multiple cities is no easy feat.

As such, dedicated device connectivity can be difficult to find and costly to implement. It’s important for businesses to plan ahead and understand the economic changes that come with the benefits of a dedicated network solution.

Consider this example, a simple micro-mobility business model as a baseline for the next part of the discussion.While these numbers might not be 100% accurate, they provide great food for thought.

According to this example, every charge of an electric scooter provides approximately three rides. This means that it takes 258 rides for an electric scooter to break-even, while the overall lifespan of a scooter is roughly 300 rides. So, based on this, there are only 42 rides per scooter that can generate profit. — for now, anyway.

To improve these figures, micro-mobility businesses need to innovate constantly and at speed. Finding ways to increase longevity and number of rides per scooter; the amount of rides between charges and eliminate unnecessary overheads.

Better connectivity will improve how well you can manage your fleet, but can come at a cost. Balancing the cost of a secure and flexible connection with the extra functionality it can offer can still create uncertainty.

In our experience, sustainable profits are achieved when micro-mobility services effectively manage their fleet of vehicles.

This includes reducing theft through GPS and smart security solutions; adapting to changing demands within the market; and being flexible enough to follow different, and evolving, regional regulations.

A screen shot of a possible micro-mobility fleet management solution

The ability to manage a Fleet at a global level can be competitive advantage.

Micro-mobility businesses also need a way to send software updates to vehicles even after they’ve been deployed — otherwise, they risk vehicles being recalled, which at scale is costly.

Perhaps most importantly, a value-driven cost structure is necessary for the longevity of a micro-mobility business. Unnecessary costs — like connectivity fees on unused vehicles, and excessive data transmissions, for example — can all lead to high expenses, without adding any value to your service.

Scaling at Speed

When it comes to connectivity, it’s vital to pick a provider that can scale with your business.

Without a scalable network provider, you risk having to switch hundreds of micro-mobility vehicles to a new network after they’ve already been deployed.

A scalable network should not only be able to support a growing fleet of vehicles, but also a global map of locations, too.

Why? Because as your fleet grows, it is sure to grow beyond the initial cities you first deployed vehicles in. Choosing a global solution from the start, therefore, will ensure that you never outgrow your connectivity provider.

That said, finding a global solution can be difficult. Every region has different regulations in place when it comes to connectivity, and often agreements need to be made between different telecoms providers for global connectivity to be viable.

A globe surrounded by a circle of scooters connected to a factory on the top

The need to scale is at a global level.

Creating A Trusted Micro-mobility Brand

Micro-mobility services already have a negative image by portions of the public in certain cities, as a result of how they are driven; where they are left when not in use; and the faceless nature of the services.

Brands can combat these negative images by implementing solutions that benefit not just their riders — but everyone in a city, too.

Designing safe experiences for riders can include education, better equipment and use of IoT technology (automatically slowing vehicles, when speeding or wobbling) to reduce the perceived danger of micro-mobility vehicles.

Navigating regional regulations as a connectivity provider has taught us that another way to improve the image of your service is by creating positive relationships with city officials.

A light graphic of a scooter and an arrow pointing to a city hall

A trusted brand makes entering new cities easier.

This can be achieved by complying with regulations, or even suggesting new ones. Being seen as a collaborator with a city will not only imbue trust in consumers, but also make it much easier to deploy in other cities, too.

So, the key takeaway here is to build a city-friendly brand that collaborates with communities, rather than disrupts them.

Onomondo: A reliable connectivity provider

If you’re looking for a reliable connectivity partner for your micro-mobility business, consider partnering with Onomondo.

Here at Onomondo, we offer a flexible connectivity solution that has been designed specifically with IoT in mind. Unlike other traditional cellular networks — which have instead been created to service cell phones first, and IoT second — Onomondo’s connectivity can scale with your business seamlessly.

A smart network

With Onomondo, you’ll have complete control over your connectivity and data transmissions.

Our in-depth management solutions and API allow you to set up your network however you like, and also offers you the ability to control when and where your data is being sent. This, in turn, reduces the amount of data being transmitted — saving you in overhead expenses and increasing device battery life.

What’s more, you can also update information like data location and encryption on the network end, so your devices — conveniently — won’t need to be updated for either of these changes to be made.

Moving features like encryption to the network end of your micro-mobility service also allows you to cut down on development needs — in turn, saving expenses when it comes to engineering and debugging.

This, as a result, keeps device logic simple; leading to faster and longer-lasting vehicles.

Value-based pricing

Connectivity can quickly become one of the larger running expenses in a micro-mobility business, with traditional pricing structures often including recurring fees — even for devices that haven’t used any data during the payment period.

Providing an alternative to this, Onomondo offers a pricing model that reflects the value that you actually receive from the data transmissions — not charging for access or other overhead fees.

Rather than charging any flat or recurring fees, Onomondo only charges for the data your devices use. This helps to create a more predictable and fair pricing structure than most other network providers and allows you to scale seamlessly with the growing success of your service.

A global solution

Lastly, Onomondo offers a global solution — which is key to any micro-mobility business.

Unlike regional connectivity providers, Onomondo offers a solution that keeps your devices connected — no matter where they’re deployed or where they travel to. We have 550 network partners across 196 countries, with multiple network vendors per country. This means that you’ll never outgrow our networks — you can deploy as many devices in as many locations as you like, all without ever missing a beat.

We also offer permanent roaming as a standard — so you won’t encounter dark zones and dropped connections regardless of where you take your service.


In short, launching a micro-mobility business requires careful consideration of several different factors.

And if you’re wanting to streamline your service and expedite your growth, consider partnering with us at Onomondo for a global, flexible, and truly reliable connectivity solution.