For far too long, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have been the best-kept secret in the cell phone industry. No longer!
Thanks to low overhead and marketing costs, MVNOs offer the cheapest cell phone plans around. Better yet, they offer customized plans to everyone. And best of all, they lease excellent 4G LTE coverage from the big carrier networks.
In this guide, you'll learn about Verizon Wireless' MVNOs, which could help you save over half on your cell phone service while retaining that sweet, sweet coverage.
Using the Verizon Network
Put simply, you can use Verizon's network without paying Verizon prices.
With some justification, Verizon claims to have the best nationwide 4G LTE network coverage. Unless you live in a remote rural area, you can pretty much rely on great coverage from Verizon.
In fact, according to RootMetrics during the second half of 2017, Verizon remains in the top spot for reliability, speed, data, call, and text. Overall, it takes first place, featuring coverage for more than 98 percent of the American population.
With that being said, the differences in percentages between the carriers are incredibly small, so don't become too panicked in deciding what network you should opt for. If you do happen to live in an incredibly remote area, take a moment to ensure that you'll receive service.
Below, you'll find a list of Verizon Wireless MVNOs, so you'll know what to look for when researching carriers that save you the most money while keeping Verizon's excellent network.
- US Mobile
- ROK Mobile
- Straight Talk
- Total Wireless
- Tracfone Wireless
- Red Pocket Mobile
- Page Plus Cellular
- Best Cellular
- Boom! Mobile
- Affinity Cellular
- Eco Mobile
- Ready Mobile
- Selectel Wireless
- Speedtalk Mobile
- Zing Wireless
Verizon and CDMA Technology
Verizon Wireless and Sprint both rely on CDMA radio technology, while AT&T and T-Mobile use the GSM radio system. As you'll see below, this has a bearing on whether your phone will work on another network.
Will My Phone Work on a Verizon MVNO?
If you have a Verizon phone, it will definitely work with a Verizon MVNO.
With all other phones, you need to start with a simple check - go to the new carrier's website, click on "check compatibility" and enter your phone's IMEI number (you can find the IMEI Number by checking your phone's settings, though the following steps depend on the type of phone and OS; for instance, you'll find the IMEI number in "About Phone" > on Android Marshmallow). You will get an instant verdict on whether your phone will work.
For the techies among you, your phone will need to be compatible with the following frequencies:
3G: 800Mhz (BC0), 1900Mhz (BC1)
LTE: 700Mhz (Band 13), 1700/2100Mhz (Band 4), 1900Mhz (Band 2)
Sprint phones may work since they are also tuned to the CDMA radio technology. Overall, you should bear in mind that a phone that was used with T-Mobile's or AT&T's networks is unlikely to work with Verizon's network.
There are plenty of advantages to bringing in your own phone to a Verizon MVNO. For one, there are carriers that will only allow you service if you bring in your own phone. Secondly, you're playing your part in preserving the environment. And finally, you'll be saving between $10 and $30 per month that would have otherwise be funneled into a new phone up-front or via financing.
Keep in mind that if you do not have a phone to bring with you, you can always purchase a used phone. Though it is not a new phone, a little-worn, refurbished phone can be purchased at half the price of a new phone! And you can save even more money, as well as some time, by using our used cell phone comparison tool.
The Best Verizon MVNOs
In our view, the following MVNOs bring you the best value wireless service for your dollar:
The Verizon and Sprint network-based Twigby focuses on plans that are perfect for users who have little or no need for data (e.g. many senior citizens).
Better yet, all plans are equipped with a 50 percent off introductory rate for two months and a satisfaction guarantee, so if you're dissatisfied with the service, you'll be able to claim a full refund. As the cherry on top, you can take advantage of free overage protection, so you'll have complete control over your cell phone bill.
Selecting a plan with Twigby is as follows:
- Choose the type of phone you have (smartphone or basic phone).
- Select the number of talk minutes you need, ranging from 200 minutes to unlimited minutes per month. All plans come with free unlimited texting.
- Then pick out the amount of data, between 150MB and 4GB. There is also a Wifi only option.
ROK Mobile is considered revolutionary simply because you can purchase a variety of insurance packages alongside phone plans. All plans include unlimited talk and texting, free international calling, and roadside assistance, but some plans include life insurance, ID theft insurance, accidental death insurance, pharmacy savings, family telemedicine, and more.
US Mobile is an MVNO that offers some of the most customizable plans on the market. US Mobile fully utilizes CDMA technologies, so your current phone will likely work with the service. Plans range from 40 minutes, 40 text messages, or 100MB of data to unlimited talk, text, or data (or all three together).
What really earns our vote are the unlimited plans, as there are nine unlimited plans to choose from, depending on the number of minutes and texts you'd like, whether you want a mobile hotspot, and what data speeds you'd like.
While Red Pocket does not offer unlimited 4G LTE data, it offers incredibly affordable plans that are suitable for both light, medium, and heavy data users alike. The smallest plan features just 500 minutes, texts, and MB of data, but you can also select unlimited text, talk, and over 10GB of data.
All plans include unlimited text, free unlimited international calling to over 70 countries, retaining of your existing phone number, your choice of an English or Spanish customer service agent, a risk-free guarantee, and no credit checks, activation fees, or overage fees.
Other Networks' MVNOs
There are plenty of Verizon Wireless-based Virtual Mobile Network Operators to choose from, including Red Pocket, ROK Mobile, Twigby, and US Mobile. But the point of it all is that if you're tired of paying an arm and a leg for Verizon's coverage, you can move to a carrier that leases Verizon's network coverage.
That way, you can save hundreds of dollars per year while only paying for what you need in terms of talk, text, and data. Better yet, you'll be able to find features and incentives that are further tailored to you.
That money can instead be placed towards a family vacation, a new television, or a new appliance for the household.