Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui

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 writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...