What are MVNOs – advantages and disadvantage

In this article we’ll talk about MVNO, cellphone plans and how it may affect your eSIM purchase choice.

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a company that provides wireless communication services by leasing capacity from a larger network operator. Mint doesn’t own any towers, neither does GoogleFI or FreedomPop – they basically lease capacity from the big three – Verizon, ATT and T-Mobile. It allows the MVNOs to offer their customers the same services as a larger network operator, but at a lower cost. Currently approximately 9% of all cellphone users in the USA use a MNVO.

MVNOs offer a great way for consumers to save money while still enjoying the same quality of service they would get from a larger network provider. You can see a huge list of all 100 MVNO in the USA here on our website here with links to all 100 companies.

The main benefit of an MVNO:

  • lower prices than their larger network provider competitors. This is because they don’t have the same overhead costs or infrastructure investments.
  • MVNOs also typically offer more flexibility in terms of plans and services, which can be beneficial for those who are looking for a more tailored experience.

The Gotchas

  • Coverage maps for MVNOs are often not as extensive as those of larger network providers. This means that customers may not get the same quality of coverage in certain areas as they would from a larger network provider.
  • MVNOs may not offer the same level of customer service as larger network providers – ( worse service than the big 3, ouch πŸ˜“ )
  • The one no one talks about : network priority. In a stadium of 50k people T-mobile is going to give its $80 a month plan users first dibs on the network vs some lesser mortal on say a MVNO like Best Cellular or Straight Talk. The result, MVNO may have no data or slooooooowwwwwww data and the bloke next to your with a “real” cellphone plan is live streaming the game! This may or may not be that important.

Summary and why it’s important

For the average user a MVNO many be a great option. But if you regularly use your cellphone in a crowded are, heck, perhaps you’re a hotdog seller and need your cellphone to communicate reliably with your staff at the game, then you may need a non MVNO plan to get the best service.

eSIM plans

So the whole MVNO priority issue will obviously show up in eSIM plans too. As most, if not all eSIM only companies are MVNO one does not have a choice but it’s something to be aware of if you need a high availability super reliable cellphone service.