What are some benefits of MVNOs?
Some carriers might include perks like partnerships with media distribution, such as free streaming services and the like. But we’ve asked our readers and viewers, and they tell us that while those add-ons are fun, they often aren’t the features that convince the folks in our comments to stay with the carrier, change their plan, or switch carriers.
Responding to consumer interests, the MVNO game has gotten more aggressive on price and flexibility, no-contract plans, prepaid plans, bring your own phone (BYOD) instead of leasing a phone, and lower prices for metered data instead of unlimited plans. And even some of those unlimited plans are getting really wallet friendly.
As a personal tangent over the last year, I haven’t been traveling, so I switched to a metered plan on my MVNO. That saved us a lot of money since we were mostly using Wi-Fi rather than mobile data. Now that I’m through both of my shots, though, I’m looking to venture out a little more, so we might need to revise that data plan. This is possible because of the contractual freedom offered by MVNOs.
You can take advantage of that too. Let’s say you eventually want to sign on a family plan with a Big Three carrier. You can test drive their networks really inexpensively and without signing your life away if you know which network an MVNO leases time on (again, check out those articles I listed above to see which carriers are on which network).
I’m on a prepaid plan that mostly piggybacks on T-Mobile’s network. Now I’ve got a really good idea of how T-Mobile delivers service in my neighborhood, if I ever choose to sign directly with them.
Better still because an MVNO is a front-end service, many of these carriers will lease time on multiple networks. You can often bring a phone from any other carrier, and it will probably be supported. And if you move to a different area where one MNO has stronger service, you might be able to swap out your phone for a model that better supports that other network without changing who you do business with.