Want To Save Money? Try Smartphone Deals From MVNOs
When you sign up for a plan offered by a major wireless carrier, it is always about updating your service inclusions, or upgrading to a newer device. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is a good, even convenient way of making sure you can always avail of the latest offers out there.
But what about those who do not need that kind of thing? What about those who just want a deal that fits their simple wireless needs?
Thankfully, there are mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs. These are smaller wireless companies that rent space on the networks of major carriers. Sure, they don't offer deals as encompassing as the Big Four (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless), but they often have plans are more suitable for users with non-extensive cell phone usage.
Ting (on Sprint's network)
Ting is unique because it does not force its subscribers to lock in a specific amount of calls, text messaging, or data use with a rigid plan. What it does is divide the usage (number of minutes, texts, or megabytes) into preset blocks. Customers just need to pay the amount that corresponds to their blocks.
If you are an average user, you might expect to be billed about $39 monthly on Ting. The charges should comprise the following: $6 service charge for the device, $9 for 101 to 500 minutes of calls, $5 for a thousand text messages, and $19 dollars for less than 1 gigabyte of data use.
Ting lets users bring their own handset, or buy from Ting's website. The handsets brought in must be compatible with the Sprint network (BlackBerries are not). Ting does offer the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and the iPhone 5C.
RingPlus (on Sprint's network)
RingPlus offers both Wi-Fi and your usual calls, text messaging, and data services. It offers monthly plans that are contract-free.
You can save money with RingPlus because it allows you to make voice calls over Wi-Fi instead of 3G/4G LTE networks, which generally cost more. RingPlus's plans start at $1.99 monthly and already include domestic and international text messaging. The $1.99 Kate plan offers 50 minutes of calls and 10 SMS texts, with overage fees at $0.04 per minute. Its most expensive plan is the Jump plan, which offers unlimited voice calls (on both Wi-Fi and cellular networks), unlimited international text messaging, 2.5 gigabytes of cellular data, and unlimited Wi-Fi data, all for $33 monthly. Customers can bring in their own Sprint-compatible devices to their plans.
Republic Wireless (on Sprint's network)
Republic Wireless offers $5, $10, $25, and $40 monthly plans that include unlimited voice calls, text messaging, and unlimited data (for the $25 and $40 plans). The $5 plan uses only Wi-Fi for calls and texts, while the $10 plan uses both Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The $25 plan offers 5 gigabytes of 3G data (plus unlimited throttled data, calls, and texts), while the the $40 plan offers access to Sprint's 4G network, plus 5 gigabytes of high-speed data and unlimited calls and texting.
Customers, however, are not allowed to bring their devices.
TextNow (on Sprint's network)
TextNow offers a $18.99 Tall plan that gets you unlimited incoming calls and text messaging, plus 750 voice minutes over cellular networks, and 500 megabytes of cellular data. If you want more, you can opt for the $39.99 Venti plan, which offers unlimited texts and incoming calls, 2,000 voice minutes, and 2 gigabytes of cellular data.
All of TextNow's plans include unlimited Wi-Fi calling and data, but do not allow for overages. Customers can bring in their own device as long as it is compatible with Sprint's network.
ROK Mobile (on Sprint's network)
ROK Mobile offers unlimited cell phone service with unlimited streaming music and radio for a monthly fee of $50. Customers also get access to ROK Music, a digital music streaming service that has over 20 million songs in its catalog.
ROK Mobile currently utilizes Sprint's LTE network, and more than 20 million Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States (use of hotspots is free as long as you have a ROK Mobile plan). Customers are also free to bring their own Sprint-compatible phones.
Before you avail of any plan offered by an MVNO, it might be a good idea to know your smartphone's capabilities first, especially with regards to what type of networks your device is compatible with.