What is a MVNO Mobile Cell Phone Company?

A MVNO Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator. What this means is the Company does not own a Cellular Network. They buy time from other Cell companies and resell it under their own label. Virgin Mobile, Amp'd Mobile, Tracfone, Seven Eleven, Disney, Tracfone, Net 10 are all Mobile Virtual Network Operators.

Tracfone Net10 is the Largest MVNO Mobile Operator

In the United States the first MVNO Mobile Virtual Cell Operator was Virgin Mobile. They mainly use the Sprint Cell Network for their customers. The largest MVNO is Tracfone/Net10. Tracfone is rumored to have contracts with over 300 different cellular networks to provide service. This is easy money for the Cell Networks because they just sell minutes, they don't have to sign up customers or provide customer service. Most Cell Networks have a lot of unused capacity so the MVNO money is gravy.

The MVNO Advantage

There are a couple of advantages the MVNO's have. Once they have a pretty good customer base then the MVNO can bargain pretty hard with the big Cell Networks like Cingular, Verizon, T-Mobile, Alltel for good deals on minutes.

I believe the larger MVNO is able to get better minute prices from Alltel and other cell networks than Verizon is able to because they don't see the MVNO as major competition. This is why I believe the large contract cell companies like Verizon, Alltel, T-Mobile, Cingular have expensive prepaid offerings. Also the Large Contract operators do not want their own prepaid offerings competing with their Contract Service.

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