Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) essentially resell the voice and data services of big operators, but often at much lower prices and with more flexible plans.
Why virtual? They virtually operate networks by renting infrastructure.
They offer lower rates, and contract-free purchases at the cost of losing data roaming (reduced data coverage) and potentially call quality. MVNOs operate on slim margins, and adding roaming would increase the rates that they charge.
Nowadays there are many options for you to consider for those of you looking to save money on your next phone bill.
There are now over 70 MVNO and prepaid providers just in the USA.
In Europe the number of MVNO’s continues to grow. Today there are over 60 MVNO’s in the UK and over 80 in Germany and there are still new launches on a monthly basis. The barrier to start an MVNO is very low, and many fail to establish a sustainable business model. Worldwide, only 20% of the conceived MVNO’s survive.