What is Mobile Virtual Network Operator?

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A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is basically a wireless service provider that rents the network infrastructure of a major carrier, like Verizon or AT&T, instead of building its own. Think of it like this: imagine an MVNO is a restaurant that rents out a kitchen from another restaurant instead of building their own.

This allows MVNOs to offer cell phone plans and data to customers, often at a lower cost than the big carriers. They target specific customer groups with plans that might be a better fit for their needs, like a plan with more data or fewer minutes.

Here’s a breakdown of how MVNOs work:

  • They buy network access in bulk at wholesale rates from the major carriers (MNOs).
  • They set their own prices for cell phone plans and data.
  • They may provide their own customer service, billing, and marketing, or they may outsource those tasks.

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a company that provides mobile phone services but does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides those services. Instead, MVNOs lease wireless capacity (in the form of bandwidth and network services) from traditional Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who own the network infrastructure. MVNOs then sell this service to their own customers under their own brand names.

Here are some key aspects of how MVNOs operate:

  1. Network Agreement: MVNOs make agreements with MNOs to buy network services at wholesale rates. These services include data bandwidth, voice call services, and text messaging capabilities.
  2. Business Focus: Many MVNOs target specific market niches that are underserved by larger carriers. This could include budget-conscious consumers, specific ethnic groups with international calling needs, or fans of certain lifestyle brands.
  3. Cost Efficiency: Without the overhead of maintaining network infrastructure, MVNOs can often offer competitive pricing. They focus on marketing, customer service, and billing, which allows them to tailor their services and potentially operate more efficiently in their niche.
  4. Service Innovation: Some MVNOs differentiate by offering innovative pricing models, customer service approaches, or bundling services in unique ways that appeal to specific consumer segments.

List of mobile virtual network operator

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers. Instead, MVNOs lease network capacity from network operators (Mobile Network Operators, MNOs) and sell it to their customers under their own brand. Here are some well-known MVNOs from around the world:


Circles.Life is a brand under Liberty Wireless. Liberty Wireless, a digital telecommunications company based in Singapore, established Circles.Life as its mobile brand. In July 2015, Liberty Wireless signed an agreement with M1 Limited to utilize M1’s network, allowing Liberty Wireless to operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and launch the Circles.Life brand .

  1. Boost Mobile – Operating in the United States and Australia.
  2. Circles.Life –
  3. Cricket Wireless – An American MVNO on the AT&T network.
  4. Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS) – A United States-based MVNO using T-Mobile’s network.
  5. Virgin Mobile – Founded by Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile has operations in various countries, including the UK and Canada.
  6. Ting Mobile – An American MVNO that offers services on multiple networks.
  7. Mint Mobile РA U.S. MVNO known for its low-cost plans using T-Mobile’s network.
  8. Giffgaff – A UK MVNO operating on the O2 network.
  9. Red Pocket Mobile – A U.S. MVNO offering service on all major networks.
  10. Lycamobile – Specializes in international calling, operating in multiple countries worldwide.
  11. FreedomPop – Known for its low-cost and free mobile plans in the U.S.
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