Welcome!

Search Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Shelly Palmer, Lacey Thoms

Blog Feed Post

Is 2013 the Year of the MVNO?

By

straighttalk

For 50 a month, get all the Text/Calls you can

For the past 8 months, I’ve been using different versions of MVNOs. MVNOs are mobile virtual network operators, they run on top of traditional wireless carriers, providing access for a fraction of the typical mobile network costs. MVNOs come in many different varieties, from Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk to T-Mobile’s Solavei. My experiments with these have led me to the following conclusions;

  • traditional mobile network services are overblown and a waste of money
  • CDMA networks (Sprint/Verizon) are a waste of money
  • the booming second-hand smartphone market combined with the way Google is selling Android smartphones provides freedom from traditional contract schemes
  • MVNO’s are smarter than regular operators, they provide incentives and flexibility
  • there is a difference in service between AT&T/Verizon, Sprint/T-Mobile and then MVNOs (and you pay for it)
  • a dedication to MVNOs requires some hard work, it requires some technological know how but it’s not impossible
boostmobile

Boost operates on Sprint’s networks

So why might this year be the year of the MVNO?

Assertion 1: traditional mobile network services are overblown and a waste of money - Traditional mobile networks in the US require a commitment of $80-100 a month, to start. You pay for data, minutes and text messages, often a fee for each service. Carriers do not give you a break for underusing, but will charge you an arm and a leg for any overages. While T-Mobile and Sprint will offer you “unlimited” for around $80, their service is somewhat lacking, AT&T and Verizon no longer have any unlimited plans, and charge a ton for data, and a criminal amount for SMS.

Assertion 2: CDMA networks (Sprint/Verizon) are a waste of money - These networks use proprietary coding, so that the smartphones can only be used on their networks. If you only have CDMA (not 4G LTE) your data speeds are incredibly poor, and battery life suffers due to technological limitations. This vendor lock in has forced people to stick to bad contracts, and bad service. Global networks are possible on CDMA smartphones, but you cannot just jump from provider to provider, or get services anywhere you choose. Yes, Verizon does offer 4G LTE, but I only believe you need those services for Streaming and Tethering, and not much else.

cricketAssertion 3: the booming second-hand smartphone market combined with the way Google is selling Android smartphones provides freedom from traditional contract schemes - You can find a used Galaxy Nexus GSM for around $200, a used Samsung Galaxy S3 for $300 and an iPhone 4S for the same price. Google is selling the best smartphone for $299/349 right now (when they are available). It is no longer a requirement to get contract reduced prices to get a good phone, but if you are willing to tinker, you will get the latest and greatest capabilities. Purchasing a subsidized/contract type phone just is not worth it anymore, the benefits do not out weigh the cost of being on a contract.

Assertion 4: MVNO’s are smarter than regular operators, they provide incentives and flexibility - Most MVNOs have a variety of ways in which the operate. One, gives you credits for adding other users, another, lets you add things such as tethering. They can be used for only a few days a month, or in one lump fee for the year (with a savings tacked on). T-Mobile even allows you to take out insurance on your smartphone, on a pay as you go basis. By making you a part of the marketing and sales team, you can save yourself money (or make it!).solavei

Assertion 5: there is a difference in service between AT&T/Verizon, Sprint/T-Mobile and then MVNOs (and you pay for it) - You won’t have a store you can go into to get your phones to work, it’s unlikely you’ll have insurance, and there isn’t always quality customer service available. Most MVNOs offer zero roaming, because they only are attached to a single carrier. If you’re a rural user, this can ruin your experience. Similarly, if you have to have service all over, you are best off with AT&T/Verizon, if you need to save the money, Sprint/T-Mobile are decent, but if you are adventurous MVNOs can work, and work well. When you go the MVNO route, you take customer service into your own hands, with Google/Titter and more, you need it.

virginmobileAssertion 6: a dedication to MVNOs requires some hard work, it requires some technological know how but it’s not impossible - Pretty much any device can be activated on MVNOs, but only if you work at it. I had to put a fake IMEI into one service just to get a simcard. Sometimes you’re searching the internet for proper APNs, or just taking hours to get things going. It happens, but I’ve found it to be relatively worth it. I have used a variety of them (all on GSM variants) and think each one has its own merits.

So is it?

I think so, everyone has heard about Cricket or Boost Mobile, but there are variants for every carrier and (pretty much) every device. MVNOs offer the ability to make your own decisions about your smartphone carrier, and with the device you use most often, you should have flexibility.

How am I doing it?

Right now I’m on Solavei, you can find more details about it via this link, or you can just straight enroll via this one. Solavei is an MVNO that runs on T-Mobile, and gets true HSPA+ speeds (which do not quite rival 4GLTE, but are more than enough). The service is the same as T-Mobile, just without roaming. Is it the perfect solution, no, but it does allow me to cut in half a monthly bill that just was not cutting it.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, or find me on Twitter, right here.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Swiss innovators dizmo Inc. launches its ground-breaking software, which turns any digital surface into an immersive platform. The dizmo platform seamlessly connects digital and physical objects in the home and at the workplace. Dizmo breaks down traditional boundaries between device, operating systems, apps and software, transforming the way users work, play and live. It supports orchestration and collaboration in an unparalleled way enabling any data to instantaneously be accessed on any surface, anywhere and made interactive. Dizmo brings fantasies as seen in Sci-fi movies such as Iro...
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
This Internet of Nouns trend is still in the early stages and many of our already connected gadgets do provide human benefits over the typical infotainment. Internet of Things or IoT. You know, where everyday objects have software, chips, and sensors to capture data and report back. Household items like refrigerators, toilets and thermostats along with clothing, cars and soon, the entire home will be connected. Many of these devices provide actionable data - or just fun entertainment - so people can make decisions about whatever is being monitored. It can also help save lives.