MVNO : What are MVNOs and the best options for you?

Your smartphone is your lifeline, yet services may be expensive despite its functionality. If you are overpaying for your cellular service, try using a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) rather than the more costly big mobile suppliers. MVNO providers provide the best of both worlds by delivering the same level of coverage as big carriers but at a reduced cost. This is because they employ the same networks as the Big Three — AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile — while offering a vastly different product portfolio. These pay-as-you-go programs enable you to avoid a massive cost while still getting the most out of your mobile device.

What exactly is an MVNO?

What precisely is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, and what distinguishes it from a standard Mobile Network Operator (MNO)?

MNOs have physical control over the network, operations, and infrastructure. MNOs are frequently present in a single nation or, at best, in many places worldwide. MNOs either created their mobile networks or purchased them from other MNOs.

The Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a more robust and adaptable variant of the MNO. MVNOs do not own or control their network or infrastructure. MVNOs have strategic alliances with MNOs, Fiber Network Operators, and Internet Service Providers worldwide.

This vendor-agnostic strategy enables them to find the optimum solution for each customer while maintaining the most flexible terms and reasonable prices. Mobile Virtual Network Operators are fantastic partners for enterprises that rely significantly on international IoT and strategically rely on unique connections.


The MVNO API allows you to manage all operations, build multiple business models, and design your tariffs and services. Creating applets for both SIM cards and MVNO subscribers is also feasible.

  • Act as an HNO despite the absence of a radio network.
  • The MVNO API provides complete control over Services and Offers.
  • SIM management tools, DID allocation, and the possibility of utilizing one’s traffic.

MVNO Types

Different types of MVNO
Different types of MVNO

The MVNO list is classified into the following general categories:

1. Full MVNOs

These are the highest category level, as the name implies, because they possess the whole core network equipment and infrastructure, except a specialized radio network.

2. Skinny MVNOs

They do not own network equipment or infrastructure but provide services through specialized customer support, marketing, and sales operations.

3. Thick MVNOs

These are more self-sufficient service providers, such as GMSC for voice services, GGSN for data services, and HSS/HLR for subscribers. They also put in place their billing system.

4. Light MVNOs

Aside from integrating the components of a skinny MVNO, this kind also manages its distribution operations and may create its pricing model independent of the plans supplied by the MNO with whom it partners.

5. Branded Reseller MVNOs

Branded resellers are MVNOs that offer predetermined settings, prices, and packages from current service providers (MNOs, MVNOs, MVNEs, and so on). Because they rely on these ready-made surroundings, they can concentrate on their areas of competence – sales, marketing, relationship-building, etc.

Best MVNO Carriers

1. Google Fi

Most MVNO operators are low-cost alternatives that do not provide much above-the-base carrier service. Google Fi in the United States utilizes the best connection from Sprint, T-Mobile, or US Cellular. Although fewer phones support the whole network, if you have a suitable handset, such as the Google Pixel 6 or the Samsung Galaxy S22 series, you should get good 5G service.

Most unlocked phones will continue to operate with Google Fi but will be limited to T-Mobile exclusively, including 5G capability. The finest Google Fi phones will function over the whole network and be labeled as Designed for Fi on Google Fi’s website. If unsure, you may use Fi’s compatibility checker to verify your phone before signing up.

2. Cricket Wireless

Cricket became a far more appealing alternative this autumn when it removed data speed limitations from its contracts. Previously, only Cricket’s most costly unlimited package had no speed limitation. That means Cricket’s reasonably priced plans are far superior to the competitors.

3. US Mobile

US Mobile offers plans starting at 75 minutes and progressing to unlimited talk, text, and data. US Mobile is a fantastic choice for a backup or emergency phone. It also implies that you can create such a plan if you don’t want many minutes or messages but require up to 15GB of data.

US Mobile’s two unlimited plans are among the most appealing possibilities. Absolute Basic costs $35 a month for a single line, but the price drops with each additional line up to four. This package costs $20 per line and includes 30GB of premium data and 5G connectivity, including C-band. If you want more out of your plan, the Unlimited Premium plan is $10 more expensive at $45 a month and increases premium data to 100GB with 50GB of hotspot data. If you bring three lines, you will receive a free streaming subscription, and four lines will receive another.

4. Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular offers a wide range of options and is an excellent option for senior mobile phone plans. If you are an AARP member, you may get an additional 5% off your plan, providing some low-cost options.

5. Ting Mobile

Ting Mobile offers some of the most affordable cell phone rates, with plans starting at $10 per month for unlimited speaking, texting, and internet at $5 per gigabyte. The entry-level Ting Flex plan resembles Google Fi’s flexible plan, but the starting point and data are half the price. Ting also offers a variety of plans that are suitable for almost everyone, with unlimited data plans delivering 22GB or 35GB if required.

For most customers, starting with a basic plan like Set 5 with 5GB of high-speed data and adding more as needed will be less expensive in the long run than more extensive plans. Nonetheless, with Set 12 and the unlimited plans, you may rapidly obtain adequate data if you consume more than anticipated. All plans include hotspot data, which allows you to share your phone’s data connection with another device, such as a tablet or laptop.

6. Xfinity Mobile

Xfinity Mobile is a full-service MVNO that uses Verizon’s network. It is only available to Comcast internet users. It offers low-cost unlimited plans with savings for adding extra lines.

7. Visible

Visible by Verizon is a straightforward prepaid provider with two unlimited plans to select from and little to confuse the decision. Visible’s base plan is equivalent to Visible’s previous strategy. This plan includes complete data on the Verizon LTE and 5G networks, albeit data is prioritized lower than other traffic on the carrier. Nonetheless, speeds should be sufficient for most people to use their phones without significant limitations. Visible has one of the most excellent cell phone plans owing to its unlimited talk, text, and data. This also provides complete 5Mbps hotspot data.

Visible+, Visible’s second package, adds 50GB of premium data to keep speeds as high as feasible in crowded locations. When connected to 5G with C-band or mmWave coverage, Visible+ can use Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G for higher speeds. It also has international roaming and international calling possibilities.

8. Mint Mobile

While several MVNOs are under the T-Mobile and Sprint umbrella, Mint Mobile provides some of the most excellent overall pricing. Mint is one of T-best Mobile’s value options, with various prepaid plans ranging from 4GB to unlimited data and many excellent phone offerings on the cheap.

9. Tello

Tello is a straightforward prepaid carrier that allows you to choose how many minutes and data you want. All plan combinations include unlimited texting. If you use data at home and only need a small amount for drives to the store, the 500MB option is a terrific place to start, and it comes with unlimited calling for less than $10 per month.

The 10GB plan is a fantastic place to start for heavy users, with enough data for light streaming, social media browsing, and texting. If you want additional data, the unlimited plan allows you up to 25GB, which should be more than adequate for most users. Even if you use it all, you will not be disconnected, only slowed down. When you’ve used up all of the data on your Tello plan, you’re not charged an overage fee, and your data is merely delayed. While it is not fast enough for YouTube, it is sufficient for messaging and email.

Which MVNOs are the Best?

Your demands and preferences frequently determine the most acceptable MVNO and package.

First, make sure the MVNO has service in your location.

You should also think about an MVNO that will operate with your current smartphone or the phone you want to acquire shortly.

The next step is to choose an MVNO with a plan that matches your requirements.

MVNOs are a terrific way to receive the same outstanding service on major networks while dramatically lowering your cell phone bill.

They have the possibility to save you hundreds of dollars every year.

MVNOs are not for everyone, but I believe they are worth investigating, given the cost reductions.

Talk to Us

Spenza helps companies become a MVNO within hours and enables them to offer connectivity services to their customers, thus creating an additional revenue stream for the company.

It is an embeddable, API-first operator that lets you sell phone & data plans to your customers without the hassle of setting up your MVNO in every market.

Spenza is an authorized reseller of ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile, and dozens of IoT and MVNO operators across the globe and is serving dozens of companies.

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