Carrier Do you MVNO?

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Original poster
Oct 31, 2009
10,190
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Curious about (U.S.-based) MVNO’s and people’s firsthand experiences with them (be they positive or negative).

I’ve been with VZW for ages, but I’m still curious about whether cheaper rates are really worth it. Most specifically, I’m curious about US Mobile, as they use VZW’s network, but I’d be interested in hearing about experiences with others as well.

Anyone switch away from the Big 3.5 carrier and love it?
Anyone hate it and switch back?

TIA,
Will
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,176
13,009
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Never used one. Did 16 years postpaid with Sprint, then transferred straight to T-Mobile postpaid.

MVNOs tend to offer less perks, which is understandable given that they cost less. I'd never be able to get free lines or my two SyncUP Drive devices on Metro PCS for instance.

Additionally, postpaid and prepaid data on the major carriers is prioritized above the data of MVNOs.
 
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wicker21

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2010
135
61
I've mainly used Cricket and Mint Mobile. Can't beat the price and now that Mint Mobile supports wifi calling and voicemail there are no drawbacks. Hard to beat paying $20 per month. Cricket throttles download speeds and heavy users will notice delays at times.

MVNOs do tend to lag quite a bit on new features and don't provide a timeline. For instance there has been little to nothing about eSIM support. I am sure the same will be true when 5G is rolled out as well.

I've been with an MVNO for 5+ years and tend to switch back and forth depending on features and prices. If you don't mind buying unlocked phones up front and possibly not having the latest features then it is win win.
 
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timeconsumer

macrumors 68000
Aug 1, 2008
1,771
1,427
Portland
I’ve looked into switching to a Verizon MVNO, but realistically it doesn’t make sense for me to switch as I’m receiving a 18% discount and I don’t need unlimited data. The possible savings is very low as I’m paying approximately $150 per month for 4 lines. Cricket does have a good deal as mentioned by @vietalogy but unfortunately Verizon is the only carrier that works at my office.
 

gurase

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2015
274
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I’m on the 4/$100 unlimited plan with Cricket. Works wonderfully and I don’t notice the speed cap. It has Canada/Mexico roaming too. I don’t need any other perks.

I’ve looked into switching to a Verizon MVNO, but realistically it doesn’t make sense for me to switch as I’m receiving a 18% discount and I don’t need unlimited data. The possible savings is very low as I’m paying approximately $150 per month for 4 lines. Cricket does have a good deal as mentioned by @vietalogy but unfortunately Verizon is the only carrier that works at my office.
If you have Xfinity or Spectrum internet, they have great pricing with Verizon coverage. I know with Xfinity it’s $12 per shared GB or $45 for unlimited.
 

dmccombs

macrumors regular
May 13, 2013
160
124
I have US Mobile set up as a 2nd line on my XS (using the physical sim). I have T-Mobile set up as my Primary line on the eSim.

US mobile has some advantages for me since I am just playing with the technology so I know how things work when I travel internationally, and want to use a local sim card. They also have some disadvantages.

Advantages:
- Flexible Plans. You can change you plan based n what you need and even add minutes/data mid-month.
- Their unlimited talk/text is very cheap.
- It's easy to reach their customer Service.
- My signal strength seems comparable to my t-mobile line.
- I haven't had any problems getting calls or texts. I dont have data set up on this line, so I can't comment on anything related to data speeds.

Disadvantages:
- As a 2nd line, I cannot get voicemail to tell me when I have messages. I have to call *86 to check if I have messages. This may not be an issue if US Mobile is your primary line.
- You are not able to use Verizon's Spam blocking features since you aren't a Verizon customer. I get ~4 spam calls a day and have no way of stopping them. This is very frustrating.
- If you get a full unlimited talk/text/data plan, it isnt any cheaper than a Tmobile unlimited plan. The advantage of US Mobile pricing seems to be in the Data/Text pricing and low data plans.
- Supposedly, MVNOs can de-prioritize data when their network is congested. If I were considering US Mobile as my primary line, I would get others feedback on this. I don't how how often it happens or to what extent.
- Getting my XS set up with US Mobile was excruciating. They are not familiar with the dual sim iphone setup, so they had me use the wrong EIMD to do the first setup. They had to send me another sim. It took about 7 hours of my time, just to get the sim setup properly.

I hope this helps.
 
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satinsilverem2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2013
701
189
Richmond, VA
I switched to Google Fi about a month ago and have been very happy with it so far. I was with Verizon for almost 15 years and was unhappy with both the service and cost for what I was getting. Fi is much cheaper on paper but I haven't gotten my first bill but seeing how it is payed by GB up to 6GB then its free I cant imagine its going to be all that much. The ONLY downside that Ive come across so far is not having visual voicemail anymore which isn't a dealbreaker. Also for me google doesn't charge to have a data only line so my iPad Pro is free compared to the $10 that Verizon charged. Service is provided through T-Mobile so its a very large network. I travel frequency and haven't noticed a single drop in signal even in rural areas. Also being T-Mobile its very fast. Ive been running speed tests all over the place and Ive been getting between 70-290mbps vs Verizons 30-50mbps.
 

0970373

Suspended
Mar 15, 2008
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1,406
I've mainly used Cricket and Mint Mobile. Can't beat the price and now that Mint Mobile supports wifi calling and voicemail there are no drawbacks. Hard to beat paying $20 per month. Cricket throttles download speeds and heavy users will notice delays at times.

MVNOs do tend to lag quite a bit on new features and don't provide a timeline. For instance there has been little to nothing about eSIM support. I am sure the same will be true when 5G is rolled out as well.

I've been with an MVNO for 5+ years and tend to switch back and forth depending on features and prices. If you don't mind buying unlocked phones up front and possibly not having the latest features then it is win win.
While there isn't anything official, the co-founder of Mint is actively trying to find a way to get eSim for MM. He's very open about how hard and how long it could possibly take. My main line is VZW now but I moved my 2nd line from TMO to Mint in Dec and I haven't found any difference in service. If/when Mint gets eSIM, I'll move my main line over as well.

They have fantastic rates and honestly, now that we have dual SIM phones, I don't need the TMO free roaming for post-paid (I always used a local payg when I travel overseas anyway, but now I don't have to use 2 phones etc).
 
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dmccombs

macrumors regular
May 13, 2013
160
124
My main line is VZW now but I moved my 2nd line from TMO to Mint in Dec and I haven't found any difference in service. If/when Mint gets eSIM, I'll move my main line over as well.
On the 2nd line that now uses Mint... When people leave a voice mail message on that line, do you get a notification on your phone, or do you just have to call into voicemail periodically to see if you have messages?
 
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0970373

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On the 2nd line that now uses Mint... When people leave a voice mail message on that line, do you get a notification on your phone, or do you just have to call into voicemail periodically to see if you have messages?
I get a legit notification.
 
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nburwell

macrumors 601
May 6, 2008
4,582
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DE
I used Straight Talk and Virgin Mobile roughly 5-6 years ago. Straight Talk was great (albeit no visual VM. I don't know if that has changed since). Had coverage wherever I traveled and it was perfect for the monthly rate. Virgin Mobile left much to be desired. Coverage wasn't that great, especially in the areas I traveled (NE area especially). I certainly would recommend Straight Talk.

I ultimately left MVNO's for AT&T and now T-Mobile. Especially with Apple introducing IUP, I wouldn't be able to (I believe) use my iPhone on a MVNO.
 
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0970373

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I ultimately left MVNO's for AT&T and now T-Mobile. Especially with Apple introducing IUP, I wouldn't be able to (I believe) use my iPhone on a MVNO.
As long as the phone is unlocked, you can use anything on an MVNO. And if it's locked, as long as the MVNO is using that carrier's towers, you should also still be able to use. One of the biggest points for the AiUP is that you can use any carrier.
 
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1rottenapple

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2004
2,320
578
Curious about (U.S.-based) MVNO’s and people’s firsthand experiences with them (be they positive or negative).

I’ve been with VZW for ages, but I’m still curious about whether cheaper rates are really worth it. Most specifically, I’m curious about US Mobile, as they use VZW’s network, but I’d be interested in hearing about experiences with others as well.

Anyone switch away from the Big 3.5 carrier and love it?
Anyone hate it and switch back?

TIA,
Will
MVMO cricket under att.

I love it!!! $35. I refuse to pay more than $45 for my phone.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68000
Jun 20, 2009
1,996
1,547
Lincoln, UK
While I am UK based, the same issue may be worth considering in USA.

I swapped around all of the main networks with each new phone I got (deals only available to new customers does not encourage loyalty). I eventually tried an MVNO and while it was good for price, the network operator was prioritising their own customers over the MVNO customers for both call connections and data. I switched to another MVNO (that uses a different network) with the promise that wouldn't happen, and it didn't. I am now with a third MVNO (that uses the same network as the previous one) and am very happy with them. Good prices, good network service, and the best customer services I have encounter for mobile providers.

It is worth trying to find out if the network operator will prioritise their own customers over the MVNO customers they service.
 
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1rottenapple

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2004
2,320
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On the 2nd line that now uses Mint... When people leave a voice mail message on that line, do you get a notification on your phone, or do you just have to call into voicemail periodically to see if you have messages?
Yah what’s the answer? I think red pocket is 10gb for 33 but no visual vm. I can live with that!
 

Wide opeN

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2010
1,449
756
Georgia
While I am UK based, the same issue may be worth considering in USA.

I swapped around all of the main networks with each new phone I got (deals only available to new customers does not encourage loyalty). I eventually tried an MVNO and while it was good for price, the network operator was prioritising their own customers over the MVNO customers for both call connections and data. I switched to another MVNO (that uses a different network) with the promise that wouldn't happen, and it didn't. I am now with a third MVNO (that uses the same network as the previous one) and am very happy with them. Good prices, good network service, and the best customer services I have encounter for mobile providers.

It is worth trying to find out if the network operator will prioritise their own customers over the MVNO customers they service.
Can you specify the MVNO's
 

jsavvy

macrumors regular
Aug 19, 2011
117
95
I’m on Cricket with 3 lines for just over a year. Service has been great, even while traveling. I’m on the 5gb plan so the data speed is higher (8mbps) than their unlimited (I believe is 3mbps). I’ve never noticed the speed to be a problem.

As someone else has said, MVNOs don’t always have the bells and whistles like WiFi calling on iCloud connected devices.

IMO, the savings of an MVNO is definitely worth it and I don’t plan on returning to postpaid. The great thing about prepaid is that you can try each of them out and see for yourself. Let us know what you do.
 

Wide opeN

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2010
1,449
756
Georgia
I have T-Mobile on eSim, and Xfinity Mobile.

Data through T-Mobile and Xfinity as my secondary.

Xfinity seems like a good deal for those with single lines.
 

ImAnAgent

Suspended
Oct 11, 2018
273
209
My mind
I'm trying out Xfinity Mobile on the by the GB plan. So far, the speeds seem to be very fast, just as fast as when I tried Verizon in December with no deprioritization at all from what I have seen. Speed tests range from 35Mbps all the way up to 130Mbps which was what I got on Verizon exactly, this is just much much cheaper and seems just as reliable.

I have T-Mobile as the eSim and Xfinity for calls.

Only problem is caller ID blocking is not working and I've called twice to get it enabled. I use my phone for my Job a lot and I block my number so that I don't get calls from people at 2AM wondering why I called them.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 601
Apr 11, 2014
4,147
1,470
USA
Mobile virtual network operator.

They run off any of the three major carriers selling prepaid service at much lower prices such as Boost, Visible and Xfinity, Visible and Xfinity use Verizon. Metro is basically T-Mobile.
So then why use att. Like have I been overpaying for nothing?
 

ImAnAgent

Suspended
Oct 11, 2018
273
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My mind
So then why use att. Like have I been overpaying for nothing?
Probably but prepaid usually offers a few less services that you get by going through the actually carrier.

As an example, on AT&T prepaid, you would lose VoLTE and Wifi calling and lots of features on the AT&T website such as being able to change your phone number through the website. AT&T is now adding VoLTE and Wifi calling to prepaid. You can get cheap plans on AT&T prepaid for about $30 with limited data plans. During Christmas, they offered an unlimited plan for $65 with autopay and this plan had no throttling of speeds.

On T-Mobile, you can get cheap $50 plans that include unlimited everything and because it's T-Mobile, you get VoLTE and WiFi calling included on any prepaid plan and you can use the plans on eSim. T-Mobile doesn't have have call forwarding on prepaid.

On Verizon, they have cheaper unlimited plans but they are often deprioritzed in congested areas so you will often get slow data speeds.

I am using XFinity mobile which uses Verizon for it's service. I get WiFi calling and VoLTE and my speeds are just as fast as when I used Verizon last month. PLUS, I can pay for my service by the GB so if I only use 1GB this month, I only pay $12. They have an unlimited plan for $45.
 
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1rottenapple

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2004
2,320
578
Probably but prepaid usually offers a few less services that you get by going through the actually carrier.

As an example, on AT&T prepaid, you would lose VoLTE and Wifi calling and lots of features on the AT&T website such as being able to change your phone number through the website. AT&T is now adding VoLTE and Wifi calling to prepaid. You can get cheap plans on AT&T prepaid for about $30 with limited data plans. During Christmas, they offered an unlimited plan for $65 with autopay and this plan had no throttling of speeds.

On T-Mobile, you can get cheap $50 plans that include unlimited everything and because it's T-Mobile, you get VoLTE and WiFi calling included on any prepaid plan and you can use the plans on eSim. T-Mobile doesn't have have call forwarding on prepaid.

On Verizon, they have cheaper unlimited plans but they are often deprioritzed in congested areas so you will often get slow data speeds.

I am using XFinity mobile which uses Verizon for it's service. I get WiFi calling and VoLTE and my speeds are just as fast as when I used Verizon last month. PLUS, I can pay for my service by the GB so if I only use 1GB this month, I only pay $12. They have an unlimited plan for $45.
Cricket has volte and WiFi calling.
 
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