published 2022-05-14 13:00:00 2 How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill with an MVNO /content/thumbnails/p-6-save-money-on-phone-bills-1-small.webp save-money-on-phone-bills-with-mvno Most of us don't even consider saving on phone service because it looks like the price is virtually the same no matter what major wireless providers we go to. But is there a way to save on your wireless bill? Of course, there is.

How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill with an MVNO

Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Cell phone service is one of those things that everyone must have. But even if you are not a heavy phone user, you still have to pay a hefty bill as the people who are glued to the screens of their phones. Most of us don't even consider saving on phone service because it looks like the price is virtually the same no matter what major wireless providers we go to. But is there a way to save on your wireless bill? Of course, there is. One of the easiest ways to save money, sometimes a lot, is to switch to an MVNO.

What is an MVNO?

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a provider of wireless services that does not own wireless network infrastructure. MVNOs lease wireless capacity at wholesale prices from mobile network operators (MNO) that do own and maintain their infrastructure. Then MVNOs resell this capacity at retail prices to their consumers. In the US, MVNOs use the networks of the major providers (MNO) such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile.

The savings can be substantial. For example, Mint Mobile offers a plan with unlimited talk, text, and 4 gigabytes of data just for $15 a month. Check out Mint Mobile phone plans.

Why MVNOs' Mobile Phone Plans are so Cheap?

Mobile virtual network operators can offer cheaper rates for a few reasons:

  • MVNOs don't have to maintain their own network of cell towers and communication equipment.
  • MVNOs buy only the capacity required for their customer base.
  • MVNOs spend less on marketing as they don't compete with the large providers with enormous marketing budgets.
  • MVNOs don't have physical stores with customer service representatives all over the country.

Pros and Cons of MVNOs

Pros

  • Price, of course. MVNOs offer much cheaper plans than traditional wireless network operators.
  • MVNOs use the networks of large providers. You can get the same coverage as you have with the traditional provider.
  • MVNOs have plans for practically every budget.
  • You can keep your existing number.
  • No contract is required.
  • No surprise fees.

Cons

  • Perhaps the biggest con is deprioritization. Deprioritization is the temporary slowing of your data speeds during times of network congestion or sometimes temporary disconnecting from the network.
  • Fewer phone purchase options. Usually, you have to bring your own unlocked device.
  • No physical locations for customer service issues.
  • There is no domestic roaming. Domestic roaming is when you travel outside of the network areas of your primary provider, your phone automatically switches to networks of other providers partnered with your primary provider. MVNOs don't have partners and don't provide this option. For most, this is not an issue, but for anyone who travels a lot, roaming may be important.

What are the Most Popular MVNOs?

There are dozens of mobile virtual network operators, and the complete list would be too long for this article. But here are a few most popular MVNO brands and the networks on which they operate.

Company Name Network
Mint Mobile T-Mobile
Google Fi T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular
Metro by T-Mobile T-Mobile
Xfinity Mobile Verizon
Cricket Wireless AT&T
Straight Talk AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint
Boost Mobile T-Mobile, Sprint
Visible Verizon

Is It Worth Switching to MVNO?

MVNOs are cheaper for a reason. They may not have what you need. Or, they can be exactly what you need and can save you some serious cash. Deprioritization may be a dealbreaker if you live in a densely-populated area. But in other areas, they can provide premium wireless service for little money. Some MVNOs are better than others with coverages indistinguishable from the major providers. In short, it's best to try for a month or two and see if it works for you. MVNOs have great introductory offers and don't tie you with long-term contracts.

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