At last the cell phone spotlight is well and truly on Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) who are now mounting a serious challenge to the big four carriers.
These MVNOS offer you great 4G LTE network coverage because they use the towers of one or more of the big four carriers. Since they do not shell out lots of money for overheads or marketing, they are able to offer much cheaper plans.
Need another advantage? MVNOs also offer customizable plans to everyone, not just one-size-fits-all unlimited plans.
In this guide, you'll learn about Sprint MVNOs, which could help you to save over half on your cell phone bill while enjoying Sprint's nationwide coverage.
In This Guide
Using the Sprint Network
Sprint MVNOs function by leasing coverage from the actual Sprint network towers, so you'll be able to take advantage of Sprint coverage without paying Sprint prices.
In terms of overall performance - and we're going by Rootmetrics' report of Mobile Performance in the US for the second half of 2017 - Sprint places third, behind Verizon and AT&T. The overall score of 87.8 (compared with 95 for Verizon, 92.8 for AT&T and 86.8 for T-Moble) reflects metrics for reliability, speed, data, call, and text.
Another report, from OpenSignal for the fourth quarter of 2017, also puts Sprint in third or fourth place against a range of metrics. Although Sprint ranks fourth for 4G availability, it made the biggest gains during 2017 and at 85.6% has closed the gap versus T-Mobile (93.1%), Verizon (92.7%), and AT&T (87.0%).
You'll find below a list of the available Sprint MVNOs. With this list, you'll be able to find some of the most valuable plans possible, allowing you to find a plan that is tailored to your needs while saving hundreds of dollars each year.
- TPO Mobile
- Boom Mobile
- Boost Mobile
- Red Pocket Mobile
- Republic Wireless
- Straight Talk
- Net10 Wireless
- Virgin Mobile USA
- Project Fi
- Charge Mobile
- Chit Chat Mobile
- Expo Mobile
- good2GO Mobile
- Infinium Wireless
- Ready Mobile
- Telcel America
- Tempo Telecom
Sprint and CDMA Technology
Sprint and Verizon Wireless both run on CDMA radio technology, while T-Mobile and AT&T utilize GSM radio system. As you'll discover shortly, this can affect whether your phone will work on another network.
Will my phone work on a Sprint MVNO?
If you have a Sprint phone (i..e. it's been purchased from Sprint), then you can rest assured that the phone will work with Sprint-based MVNOs! With all other cell phones, you will need to check the phone's compatibility with the particular new carrier you're sweet on.
Fortunately, checking this compatibility is a simple process. All you need to do is head over to the carrier's website and click on "check compatibility," which may fall under a "BYOP" tab (or the Sprint MVNO BYOD tab). After that, you'll be asked to input your IMEI number, which you'll find in the phone's "settings" option. The path you take after reaching "settings" to access the IMEI number will be dependent on the type of phone and OS. For instance, with Android Marshmallow, you'll be able to find the IMEI number by going to "Settings" > "About Phone."
If your phone is compatible, then congrats! All you'll need is a SIM card from the desired carrier and you'll be on your way.
For the technologically minded, your phone will need to be compatible with the following frequencies:
3G: 800Mhz (BC10), 1900Mhz (BC1)
LTE: 850Mhz (Band 26), 1900Mhz (Band 25), 2500Mhz (Band 41)
If you have a Verizon phone, you may be able to transfer the phone to the Sprint network, since it also uses CDMA technology, but check with the MVNO first. Bear in mind that most AT&T and T-Mobile phones will not work with the Sprint network (again, check with the MVNO to be sure).
On a more positive note, many of the newer phones from the Samsung Galaxy and the Apple iPhone ranges will work on multiple networks. Again, check with the MVNO regarding compatibility before you make the commitment to the Sprint MVNO program.
However, why should you bring your own phone to a Sprint MVNO? For a few good reasons, including:
1. Many low-cost carriers insist that you bring your own device.
2. You'll be able to help preserve the environment.
3. You'll be able to save hundreds of dollars, as a new phone costs a lot. Some phones cost around $1,000! Even financing a phone would add up between $10 and $30 to your monthly bill, and it adds up.
Keep in mind that if you do not have a phone you can bring to a carrier, you'll be able to purchase a refurbished phone for far cheaper than a new phone would go for. A used, refurbished phone in excellent condition can be purchased at up to 50 percent off the MSRP of the same phone when new.
Want to save time and even more money? Then check out our used cell phone comparison tool.
Best Sprint MVNOs
Looking for the best Sprint MVNOs? Then look no further! We've done the comparing for you, which you'll find below:
Twigby, which uses both Sprint's and Verizon Wireless' networks, offers cell phone plans that focus on users who have no need for heavy amounts of data. Twigby is the perfect option for many senior citizens.
All plans come with a 50 percent-off introductory rate for two months and a satisfaction guarantee, so if you find yourself unhappy with the customer service, the network, or the plans, then you'll be able to claim a full refund. Better yet, you'll be able to take advantage of free overage protection, so you won't be charged a single penny when you reach your allotted data for the month.
It's also an easy process to select a Twigby plan:
- Choose your type of phone, between smartphone and basic phone.
- Select the number of minutes you'd like, which ranges from 200 minutes to unlimited minutes per month. All plans come with free unlimited texting.
- Pick between 150MB and 4 GB of data. There is also a Wifi only option.
Tello offers customizable plans for light, medium, and (potentially) heavy data users. You can either build your own plan or choose from any of their "ready-made" deals. Plans range from no data/no minutes to 10GB of data, unlimited minutes, or both. All plans include the following:
- Calls to Canada, Mexico, and China
- Free tethering
- The ability to reconfigure or cancel your plan anytime you want
Known as The People's Operator, TPO Mobile is a cell phone service provider that utilizes Sprint and T-Mobile networks. Additionally, it offers plans at significantly cheaper prices. What is unique to the cell phone carrier is that 10 percent of your cell phone bill, as well as 25 percent of the company's profits, are directly donated to charities and organizations in need.
There is no unlimited 4G LTE data plan but if you're a light or medium data user, you'll have no issues with the amount of data TPO Mobile offers. 4GB, the maximum amount offered (without purchasing additional GB), is plenty, and again, you're donating a portion of your bill to causes you love.
Ting is a cell phone service provider known for its simplicity. With its talk, text, and data service, there are no hidden fees. Better yet, it features GSM and CDMA network compatibility. With Ting, you pay for only what you need. In fact, according to the service, the average cell phone bill is only $23 per month, making it one of the cheapest Sprint MVNOs out there. If you're a heavy data user, it's best to turn your attention to other MVNOs, but if you're a light or medium user, you can't get much better than Ting.
It is highly unlikely that you'll run out minutes and texts with a Ting plan (and even then, the plan will adjust appropriately), so unless you're always traveling and require lots of data, Ting should be considered as your go-to carrier.
Hands down, ROK Mobile is one of the most revolutionary carriers around, because you can purchase phone plans that come equipped with various insurance packages. All phone plans include unlimited talk and text messages, free international calling, and roadside assistance, but some plans include life insurance, ID theft insurance, accidental death insurance, pharmacy savings, family telemedicine, and more.
Red Pocket is the perfect carrier for all three types of data users: light, medium, and heavy. You can take advantage of over 10GB of data (depending on the type of phone you bring to the mobile service). Plans range from 500 minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data to unlimited talk and text, as well as over 10GB of data; they're all affordable too!
All phone plan offerings feature unlimited text, free unlimited international calling to over 70 countries, the ability to transfer your current phone number, English or Spanish customer service access, a 30-day risk-free guarantee, and no credit checks, activation fees, or overage fees.
Other Networks' MVNOs
The point is, if you like Sprint's coverage but are not so keen on its prices, you can have the best of both worlds with a Sprint MVNO.
There is a wide range of low-cost carriers to choose from: Red Pocket, ROK Mobile, Ting, Tello, Twigby, and TPO Mobile are just are our pick of more than twenty service providers available.
Check out our cell phone plan comparison table. It could help you save hundreds of dollars a year.