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How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

8 simple ways to save money on your cell phone plans

Can you get good cell phone service from an MVNO? Why are MVNOs so cheap? Do MVNOs have the same coverage? These are all common and valid questions if you are considering a switch – especially if you have been a customer of Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile/Sprint.

Let us put your mind at ease. Switching to an MVNO is a great way to save money on your cell phone bill while still getting excellent cell phone coverage.

What is an MVNO carrier?

In the United States alone, there are 100 mobile virtual network operators (commonly referred to as MVNOs). Unlike the MNOs (mobile network operators) who own and operate the cellular networks and towers, MVNOs lease the cellular network and package up voice, SMS, and/or data services to consumers.

So, should you switch to an MVNO? Here are 5 reasons to choose an MVNO that’ll help you decide if an alternative to the major cellular providers is right for you.

5 reasons to choose an MVNO

MVNOs run on the same networks as the big carriers

Every MVNO provides mobile connectivity via the cellular towers owned and operated by a major carrier. MVNOs like Reach Mobile “rent” the network space that provides its customers with mobile service. Depending on the agreement with the carrier, it may not be able to advertise which network(s) its customers ultimately use. In the case of Reach Mobile, we can answer direct questions about the network we use, but we cannot publicly advertise the information. Thanks to social media, bloggers, and forums, you can usually find this information with a simple Google search.

MVNOs may not have a mobile store

Some MVNOs do have stores, however the new wave of digital-only carriers like Reach Mobile do not. The benefit to this is that without stores, the savings of lower overhead costs can be passed along to customers. Some MVNOs sell through major retailers (e.g. Walmart) while others – including Reach Mobile – engage directly with customers online or through an app.

If you’re worried about not having a store to visit, research how the MVNO handles customer support. Reach Mobile provides 24/7 chat support and phone support 5 days per week (M-F 9am-9pm) and strives to deliver a personalized and helpful experience. This blog describes our friendly approach to customer success. Our take? No matter how “cool” you make a mobile store, no one enjoys waiting in line there.

MVNOs offer the same network quality at a lower cost

Because MVNOs use the carrier networks, they offer the exact same quality and reliability. The idea that MVNOs are in some way lower quality is simply a misconception – they run on the same networks as the big carriers. Data speeds or potential de-prioritization have more to do with your plan than your carrier. In fact, many cell phone plans marketed as “unlimited” actually throttle or de-prioritize the connection during times of congestion or after a certain amount of data has been used. Check out our blog on The Myth of Unlimited Plans for more info on that.

Tip: Make sure to check cellular coverage of your primary zip code with any mobile service provider (large or small) before opting for a plan with them. Check your coverage

MVNOs let you “BYOD” (bring your own device), which is usually a good thing

BYOD, or bring your own device, means you can keep your existing (unlocked) phone with a new mobile plan. Going this route avoids getting locked into a multi-year contract to get the latest device. If you do need a new phone, selecting an unlocked device offers the freedom to pick and choose your mobile service provider at will. Free phone offers are not free phones… the cost (often plus interest) is simply paid in installments over the course of your service contract. Additionally, some mobile service providers restrict your ability to unlock the device even if you pay it in full. Selling you a phone locked to their network is a de-facto contract. By purchasing an unlocked device, you maintain the freedom to pick and choose your mobile service provider at will. Check out our Device Purchasing Guide and our Recommended Phones page.

Some MVNOs – like Reach Mobile – have better Customer Service

Big banks vs. local credit unions; big box stores vs. boutiques. Smaller companies offer numerous benefits, not the least of which is personal customer service.

Of course, everyone wants a cell phone service that offers reliability, nationwide coverage, and affordable plans. MNVOs have evolved into trusted and oftentimes innovative mobile service providers that offer all the “must-haves” and more. If you could get the same network reliability at a better price and with a better experience, why wouldn’t you?

Introducing the “Boutique” Mobile Service

Here at Reach Mobile, we consider ourselves to be a boutique mobile service. In the shopping world, a boutique offers a curated collection with the most personalized shopping experience. As a mobile service, it means we’ve combined the most reliable network, thoughtfully constructed plans, and value-adds like personalized customer support and a social impact. We may not own the towers, but we certainly know how to make them work in your favor.

If you want to save money on your cell phone bill, consider subscribing to one of the dozens of MVNOs in the United States.

What had been the “big four” wireless carriers became three after T-Mobile’s 2020 merger with Sprint, meaning less competition and choice for consumers (along with the possibility of higher rates). The combined company, along with fellow giants Verizon Wireless and AT&T, dominate the cellular landscape with roughly 430 million total subscribers.

But you don’t have to pay hefty bills to use their cell towers.

Nowadays, there are much cheaper options to help you budget and save, including Red Pocket Mobile (with plans starting as low as $5 per month) and Tello (plans starting at $8 per month.

The emergence of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) have been a godsend for budget-conscious cell phone users, often offering the coverage of the major carriers at half the cost.

MVNO carriers like Cricket Wireless don’t own their own network hardware but rather operate over the same cell towers as the “big three,” often targeting the prepaid, no-contract market. Subscribers can usually sign up without a credit check and benefit from lower monthly rates than their host operators.

But, as they say, you get what you pay for, and that can sometimes be the case with MVNOs. Because they don’t own their own networks, MVNOs can’t always offer the same range or quality of service as the big three. For example, under heavy network loads, access for an MVNO subscriber using A&T’s network will often be prioritized below AT&T’s own subscribers, resulting in performance limitations (i.e. dropped calls or no access at all).

Nevertheless, if you’re willing to accept that performance tradeoff, you’ll find that the cheapest cell phone service options are typically offered by MVNOs, though it’s still largely a hidden secret for many. As of 2018, there were an estimated 139 active MVNOs in the United States, but only about 7% of wireless subscribers got their service through one.

If you want to save money on your cell phone bill, consider subscribing to one of the dozens of MVNOs in the United States.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

We thought we’d republish our post about lowering your AT&T bill as there are more cell phone providers in the market – but AT&T still remains one of the premiere players out there. While you may be able to save more with an MVNO provider, AT&T still offers some of the best service. My wife is still on their plan, even after trying to convince her to jump providers.

After we started racking up some overage fees associated with one of our family member’s phone – I decided to do some digging on how we could get our AT&T phone bill lowered. Much like you, I hate paying more than I have to on bills that we don’t really need – like cable and cell phones. Many folks are getting along just fine without cable these days (one report cited that 1.8 million people dropped cable during the 2nd quarter of this year).

I could see a day where we might drop cable and expensive cell phone plans. But since I can easily get out-voted in our household (I think a wife’s vote counts as 1.5 – 2 votes) I needed to find a way to lower our cell phone bills.

A little background on our AT&T plan

  • Both my wife and I got our plans together in 2009. Shortly after, AT&T decided to do away with their “unlimited” plans – but they grandfathered those who were already on that plan – and let ’em stick with it. I kinda think this was a genius marketing ploy – cuz it causes you to feel like you are “stuck” in a plan AND that you are getting the best deal around. Trust me – there are better deals: a prepaid phone OR no phone at all.
  • My step-son does not have unlimited everything (save for texts – he once set a an unofficial AT&T store record for the most at that branch in a month.. ). And, he uses the web – a lot.
  • The AT&T Mobile Share plans are an alternative for us – but would require my wife and I to leave our grandfathered plans. This could save us about $10 a month – but then you don’t have that assurance of not incurring further overage fees.

Due to the unique nature of our plan and usage, I decided to do more research to see how we could lower our bill. I also called AT&T to see what they could do to get us lower rates. The following are ways that have worked for us – and I hope they help you too if you use AT&T and wish to get better rates.

Find out what all those items on your AT&T bill are

Check with your employer

One way we found to reduce our AT&T payment is to take advantage of a discount offered through her employer for 25% off our AT&T bill. I would recommend checking with your workplace too as they may have a similar offer in place for their employees. That savings can go a long ways over a years time.

Family share plans

If you have several members in your family, it may benefit you all to join their Family Plan where you can get free mobile-to-mobile calls. You also get a bucket of minutes you can use for the whole plan.

Switch phones

In our case – where we have one really high “utilizer”, there is the option to switch phones. This was suggested by an AT&T rep and it was something I never even considered. So, we are thinking about switching my phone out with my step-sons so that we can avoid the overage fees since I don’t use nearly as much web data. Of course this works for us because at least one of us has an unlimited plan.

Talk to a representative

Best bet is to call up the AT&T rep (or go to a store) and walk through all your options with them. You’re likely to get somewhere faster with a representative if you get in touch with their loyalty department. Lay out your case – how you use the phones and see if there are any alternative plans/pricing that you might qualify for.

Ask for discounts

Here’s a little-known tip that has worked for me several times. At the end of your conversation with a representative (either on the phone or at the store) ask the associate, “Are there any discounts I might qualify for today?” If you’ve been with AT&T for awhile, you’re more than likely to get a loyalty discount off your next months bill. I’ve had anywhere from $40-60 taken off the bill because of this. I wouldn’t recommend calling every month – but you probably could try it 2-3 times a year.

Be polite

I’m not a big fan of calling up a company and berating the representative on the other end. I think you can actually accomplish a lot more if you are polite and respectful. This person on the other end is a human too. They probably get tons of nasty, inconsiderate people on the line during their day. Be the bright spot in their day. They’ll likely be more responsive to you and look for alternative ways to help you out.

I’d love to hear about any ways you’ve been able to lower your AT&T bill.

Update 11/1/14 : I have since switched my cell phone provider to Republic Wireless and would recommend them to almost anyone. I’ve been with them for two months now and pay (with taxes) $15/month for unlimited talk, text and data. It’s great and they are saving us $$ every month.

Update 12/13/16 : AT&T will be providing a refund to customers for bogus charges over the past years by order of the FTC. Average refunds will be about $31 and happen over the next 75 days.

Update 1/25/17 : While my wife remains on the AT&T plan, I have since moved (again) to Tello from Republic Wireless. While a new player in the MVNO space, I’ve been happy with their build-your-own-plan and cost is cheaper.

You don’t have to get a cellphone plan from the big four. Here is how alternative carriers work, and how they can save you money each month.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Welcome to Product Sup port, a column devoted to helping you get the most out of the gadgets and software you already use.

When it comes to cell phone plans, you obviously know the big four: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. But you may have also noticed other, smaller companies like Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile or Ting. Through the help of an alternate business model, these scrappy little alternative providers that can provide big upsides, though not without a few caveats. Here’s what you need to know.

The technical trick that makes these plans possible

The main thing to know about these companies — technically known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MNVOs — is that yes, they can save you a substantial amount of cash over time. The clue as to why is in the “V” of their name: they don’t own a network of antennas and other expensive physical infrastructure — they are virtual networks that run on the same physical backbone as the big four.

That keeps costs down, as does the lack of other overheads like retail stores—most MVNOs operate a streamlined online operation. That then translates to more money in your pocket, which is why you’ll often see some very appealing rates from these virtual operators.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

You’ll get more than just a discount.

Lower prices are the big draw of MVNOs, but not the only one. Some MVNOs sign deals with multiple carriers, which means your SIM card can hop between networks depending on where the signal is strongest. If you’re experiencing a dead zone or an unstable connection on Verizon, for example, your MVNO-enabled phone might be able to jump over to AT&T instead, or vice versa.

As smaller companies, MVNOs are often more flexible and friendly too. They have more of a startup feel than the big name carriers, which are more weighed down with years of history, huge numbers of staff, and all kinds of different side businesses and operations. Also, owing to the more competitive atmosphere, they tend to be a bit more hungry to get and hold onto your business, but don’t expect them to cut you sweetheart deals with their thin margins.

Plans from MVNOs often offer a lot of choice in terms of the devices you can use and the length of time you need to sign up for, though this varies between providers. You can tailor your plan to suit you—what your budget is, how much data you’re going to need each month, how long you want to sign up for, whether you want to keep your existing device, and so on. Many MVNOs couple modern necessities like high-speed data with more old-fashioned “pay what you use” billing instead of blanket contracts, which means you have to predict your usage accurately if you want to come in under budget, but can modify your usage to save some coin.

Last but not least, the sign up process is often more straightforward with an MVNO, and can often be done with a lower credit rating, because there are fewer strings attached. This is in part because you’ll often be bringing your own phone to the table, which is where we start getting into the complications.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

But it’s not all upside.

MVNOs are smaller than the main carriers, and that gives them less clout when it comes to making deals with phone makers. You probably won’t get the same choice (or any choice) of handsets with an MVNO, so it often makes most sense to buy a new phone outright, direct from a manufaturer (or use one you already have) than to expect to bundle one with your plan. Ultimately, this usually winds up being cheaper, but it is a little more complicated, and there is some room for error, so choose wisely and make sure you phone will work on the service you want.

Then there’s the speed issue: while the major carriers are happy to do deals with MVNOs (money is money after all), you won’t necessarily get the top tier speeds or coverage, as the carrier is going to look after its own customers first. Sometimes you’ll see limits on download speeds as part of your deal, so be sure to check the fine print.

When new technology like 5G gets rolled out, MVNOs aren’t usually the first in the queue to get it. The big names in cellular networks are the ones investing in the infrastructure, and they want to be the ones to get the most benefit (and the most customers) from it. Sometimes you have to be patient when it comes to MVNOs catching up.

Cutting down on the extra bells and whistles means MVNOs can offer lower prices, but sometimes you’ll want those extra bells and whistles—that might mean streaming products bundled with your contract, for example, or special offers, or the opportunity to sign up for a family plan that you can use to look after the kids as well. Don’t just assume that a lower-priced package is automatically better for you.

Customer support can sometimes be patchy with these third-party MVNOs as well, with trimmed down operations meaning fewer staff to help out if something goes wrong. Cellular service customer support leaves a lot to be desired right across the board though, MVNO or no.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Which plan is right for you?

Not all MVNOs and MVNO packages are created equal, so it’s important to do plenty of research. In particular, shop around for different types of package, and don’t assume all MVNOs will offer the same sorts of deals: some will focus on data, others will let you prepay a long way in advance, and so on. Here are a few of the major players and their main gimmicks:

Ting uses a combination of Sprint and T-Mobile’s network and doesn’t offer pre-made plans, but rather lets you build your own with its rate calculator. This lets you completely avoid paying for minutes and texts (or even data!) if you don’t use it, but at the cost of a relatively high $10/GB price for data usage above 2GB a month.

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile uses the Sprint network, and has plans starting at $35/month for 3GB of 4G LTE, and $50 a month for unlimited plans, all of which come with the fairly rare ability to use your phone as a hotspot and six free months of Tidal. Though if you live in an area where Sprint is spotty, that won’t do you a lot of good.

Cricket Mobile

Cricket Mobile uses AT&T’s robust network and currently offers a rock-bottom $30/month plan for 2GB of data, unlimited calls and unlimited texting. There’s also a $55/month “Unlimited” plan, but throttling will kick in if you get all the way up to the 22GB range. It also offers a $5 credit to your bill if you enable autopay.

Straight Talk

Straight Talk uses a combination of all four major networks (though your phone itself may not support them all). Its baseline “Unlimited” plan runs just $45/month, though only the first 25GB of that data is unthrottled, which explains the low price.

We’ve rounded up 10 techniques to cut expenses on both your cell phone plan and your device.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Cellphones are a way of a life that Americans turn to for streaming video, playing games, applying for jobs and more. And that’s on top of good old-fashioned phone calls and text to family and friends. But that service isn’t cheap. Americans spend an average $906 a year for a single person, $1,281 for a married couple according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add in kids and your bill has a potential to skyrocket to $2,000 or more.

Luckily, there are numerous ways to trim the cost of owning and using a cell phone. Some are as simple as changing your bill-payment method or picking up the phone to negotiate a better deal. If you’re up for switching to a different provider, you may save even more money. We’ve rounded up 10 techniques to cut expenses on both your plan and your device.

Pick the Right Unlimited Data Plan

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Data, data and more data. Streamers and non-streamers alike have a multitude of choices when it comes to unlimited data plans. While in years past, going unlimited generally meant paying more, now the big carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—are offering mostly unlimited data plans at good prices. The difference between plans are the perks that come with it.

For example, T-Mobile’s Essential Unlimited plan costs $27 per line per month for a family of four, for a grand total of $105 a month. It comes with unlimited talk and text and unlimited 5G (when available). When it comes to data, you get 50GB of high speed data a month. Once you go over 50GB, your speeds could be slowed, though it’s still unlimited. If you wanted more perks, you could sign up for its Magenta plan which comes with 100GB of high speed, a mobile hotspot and more. The cost: $140 a month.

Verizon and AT&T also offer similar packages. For example, AT&T’s most costly unlimited plan—the Unlimited Elite—comes with mobile hotspot, 5G access, and unlimited high speed data for $50 per line for a family of four. Its cheapest unlimited plan is $35 per line per month for a family of four.

Most everyone has a cell phone. For many, the cell phone bill is a significant cost every month, and can be a financial burden, even if it’s a necessary one.

Some cell phone users choose their cellular provider because of their location. If only one provider provides good signal to a location, then alternatives may not be available.

However, for cell phone users in areas that receive good signal from several providers, there may be more competitive options than many cell phone users realize.

In addition to the handful of well known mobile network operators (cellular companies), there are also MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). Wikipedia explains, “An MVNO enters into a business agreement with a mobile network operator to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates, then sets retail prices independently.” [1]

Choosing an MVNO for your cellular phone service can, for many use cases, result in greatly reduced cell phone bills.

I’ve had experience with two well-regarded MVNO cellular providers and would like to share them with you, but first some terms need to be defined…

Postpaid: Users are billed, after the fact, according to their usage of mobile services (calls, texts, and data).

Prepaid: Users buy credit, in advance, which is used to pay for mobile service usage (calls, texts, and data). Once the credit is exhausted, then access to the mobile network is denied, until more credit is purchased.

For cell phone users who prefer the Postpaid billing method, I would recommend checking out Ting. Ting started offering cellular phone service in 2012, and is well-regarded for their customer service. They can offer service over the Sprint or T-Mobile cellular networks.

For cell phone users who prefer the Prepaid billing method, and who receive good signal from the Sprint cellular network, I would recommend checking out, Tello. Tello is a more recent addition to the MVNO marketplace who began offering cellular phone service in 2016. They offer prepaid “plans” with affordable rates from $5 to $39 (as of June 2018).

Both Ting and Tello allow customers to purchase a new phone to use on the service, or, in some cases it’s possible to use your existing phone, if it’s compatible, and meets some additional requirements.

If you have a large monthly cellular phone bill, it may be worth your time to investigate some other options, such as Ting and Tello, which have the potential to reduce your typical monthly cell phone bill.

Good luck! Hope this helps you locate some ways to save money!

For many households, the mobile phone bill is one of the major expenses in the monthly budget. The average smartphone bill is about $80 per month, and it can go much higher if you have a family plan with some unnecessary bells and whistles. But I’ve got some tips for paring down that bill and keeping it under control. Read on to learn how to save on your monthly mobile phone bill.

TIPS: Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Did you know, you don’t have to get your mobile phone service from one of the “Big Three” cellular companies? My first tip is to consider getting your cellular service from a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), instead of directly from Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. MVNOs buy service in bulk from these carriers; often, they pass on to customers savings of up to 50%. It’s exactly the same network, just re-branded and re-sold.

Some of the more popular MVNOs include Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Cricket Wireless, H20 Wireless, MetroPCS, Net10, Republic Wireless, Straight Talk, Tello, Ting, Tracfone and Walmart Family Plan. You can find a much longer list of MVNOs, with links to their websites at BestMVNO.com

Over the years, I’ve learned that lots of AskBob readers love Consumer Cellular, which I wrote about in my article Can You Fall in Love With a Phone Company?. I’ve also reviewed Ting, Tello, and Republic Wireless. You’ll need to pick one that’s compatible with your phone, your usage patterns, and one that has a good signal where you use it most often.

Next, buy your phone with one lump sum of hard-saved cash, if you possibly can. Avoid finance charges hidden in those “easy monthly payments” advertised by phone sellers. It’s hard to determine who offers the best deal on a given phone because offers are constantly being changed and their complex terms are all different. Just shop around and compare plans and prices carefully.

You might think your local Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile store is the best place to go when looking for a new phone. But it might be the worst, in terms of the price tag. Some good places to shop for bargains on the latest smartphones include your local Best Buy, Staples, Costco, and WalMart stores. Amazon and Wirefly are two online phone sellers that offer excellent deals. These third-party resellers can access your AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon account and make any changes necessary. You can also find mobile phones on eBay or Swappa, and activate them via your mobile provider’s website. I’ve bought two phones on Swappa, and was happy with both transactions.

Don’t throw your old phone into the junk drawer when you get a new one. You’re probably not going to use it again. Instead, trade it in for cash or credit on a new phone, or sell it to a third-party phone refurbisher or broker. Gazelle and others are large trading sites that pay more money for used phones than carriers do. See my article HOWTO: Sell Your Cell Phone (or Other Gadget) Be sure to do a factory reset on your phone before selling it, to erase all personal data that you may have on it.

More Money-Saving Tips for Mobile Phones

Maybe you don’t need a new phone. Every mall seems to have at least one “phone fixit” kiosk where you can get a cracked screen or a broken charging port replaced for much less than the cost of a new phone. My wife’s Samsung Galaxy would no longer charge after getting wet, but the phone was otherwise functional. Even a used model was more than we wanted to spend, but a guy in the mall replaced the charging port for $45 in 15 minutes. Replacing a screen typically costs around $80-$100, but you can buy do-it-yourself kits for much less.

Consider a family plan even if you do not have a family, strictly speaking. Just as many cash-strapped Millennials are sharing houses, many more share cell phone service plans as “families.” Friends on family plans can save up to 60% versus buying individual service plans.

Check for discounts offered by your provider. Verizon has monthly discounts for corporate, government and education employees, as well as service members and veterans. AT&T discounts are also available through employers, schools, and associations. Your benefits or HR department would be a good place to ask. If you’re a senior, call your provider and ask about discounts too!

Tweaking your data plan can make a big difference in your monthly bill. Most users do not come close to using up their gigabytes. Some cell plans let you roll unused bytes into the next month’s allotment. If you’re on a family plan, and you’re getting whacked with overages, a larger or “unlimited” plan may save you money.

Shop around for the extras. Power cables, batteries, protective cases, earbuds, and other accessories should be bought at Walmart or online, never in a dedicated brick-and-mortar store operated by your mobile carrier. Prices there are grossly inflated.

And finally, you probably shouldn’t buy device insurance. I’ve written about the scam of electronics insurance. Short story: like all insurance policeis, they are rigged in the seller’s favor. Some of these plans cost as much as $40 a month, and they don’t even guarantee that they will replace your broken phone with the same model. A few years back, I fried my brand-new Motorola Z3, (see Oops! I Dropped My Phone AGAIN) and broke the screen on the used replacement phone I bought. But I don’t regret not having device insurance. Over the long run, I think I’ll still come out ahead.

What’s your favorite way to save money on phones every month, or when buying or selling a phone? Share this article with friends, and then post your comment or question below.

For many households, the mobile phone bill is one of the major expenses in the monthly budget. The average smartphone bill is about $80 per month, and it can go much higher if you have a family plan with some unnecessary bells and whistles. But I’ve got some tips for paring down that bill and keeping it under control. Read on to learn how to save on your monthly mobile phone bill.

TIPS: Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Did you know, you don’t have to get your mobile phone service from one of the “Big Three” cellular companies? My first tip is to consider getting your cellular service from a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), instead of directly from Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. MVNOs buy service in bulk from these carriers; often, they pass on to customers savings of up to 50%. It’s exactly the same network, just re-branded and re-sold.

Some of the more popular MVNOs include Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Cricket Wireless, H20 Wireless, MetroPCS, Net10, Republic Wireless, Straight Talk, Tello, Ting, Tracfone and Walmart Family Plan. You can find a much longer list of MVNOs, with links to their websites at BestMVNO.com

Over the years, I’ve learned that lots of AskBob readers love Consumer Cellular, which I wrote about in my article Can You Fall in Love With a Phone Company?. I’ve also reviewed Ting, Tello, and Republic Wireless. You’ll need to pick one that’s compatible with your phone, your usage patterns, and one that has a good signal where you use it most often.

Next, buy your phone with one lump sum of hard-saved cash, if you possibly can. Avoid finance charges hidden in those “easy monthly payments” advertised by phone sellers. It’s hard to determine who offers the best deal on a given phone because offers are constantly being changed and their complex terms are all different. Just shop around and compare plans and prices carefully.

You might think your local Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile store is the best place to go when looking for a new phone. But it might be the worst, in terms of the price tag. Some good places to shop for bargains on the latest smartphones include your local Best Buy, Staples, Costco, and WalMart stores. Amazon and Wirefly are two online phone sellers that offer excellent deals. These third-party resellers can access your AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon account and make any changes necessary. You can also find mobile phones on eBay or Swappa, and activate them via your mobile provider’s website. I’ve bought two phones on Swappa, and was happy with both transactions.

Don’t throw your old phone into the junk drawer when you get a new one. You’re probably not going to use it again. Instead, trade it in for cash or credit on a new phone, or sell it to a third-party phone refurbisher or broker. Gazelle and others are large trading sites that pay more money for used phones than carriers do. See my article HOWTO: Sell Your Cell Phone (or Other Gadget) Be sure to do a factory reset on your phone before selling it, to erase all personal data that you may have on it.

More Money-Saving Tips for Mobile Phones

Maybe you don’t need a new phone. Every mall seems to have at least one “phone fixit” kiosk where you can get a cracked screen or a broken charging port replaced for much less than the cost of a new phone. My wife’s Samsung Galaxy would no longer charge after getting wet, but the phone was otherwise functional. Even a used model was more than we wanted to spend, but a guy in the mall replaced the charging port for $45 in 15 minutes. Replacing a screen typically costs around $80-$100, but you can buy do-it-yourself kits for much less.

Consider a family plan even if you do not have a family, strictly speaking. Just as many cash-strapped Millennials are sharing houses, many more share cell phone service plans as “families.” Friends on family plans can save up to 60% versus buying individual service plans.

Check for discounts offered by your provider. Verizon has monthly discounts for corporate, government and education employees, as well as service members and veterans. AT&T discounts are also available through employers, schools, and associations. Your benefits or HR department would be a good place to ask. If you’re a senior, call your provider and ask about discounts too!

Tweaking your data plan can make a big difference in your monthly bill. Most users do not come close to using up their gigabytes. Some cell plans let you roll unused bytes into the next month’s allotment. If you’re on a family plan, and you’re getting whacked with overages, a larger or “unlimited” plan may save you money.

Shop around for the extras. Power cables, batteries, protective cases, earbuds, and other accessories should be bought at Walmart or online, never in a dedicated brick-and-mortar store operated by your mobile carrier. Prices there are grossly inflated.

And finally, you probably shouldn’t buy device insurance. I’ve written about the scam of electronics insurance. Short story: like all insurance policeis, they are rigged in the seller’s favor. Some of these plans cost as much as $40 a month, and they don’t even guarantee that they will replace your broken phone with the same model. A few years back, I fried my brand-new Motorola Z3, (see Oops! I Dropped My Phone AGAIN) and broke the screen on the used replacement phone I bought. But I don’t regret not having device insurance. Over the long run, I think I’ll still come out ahead.

What’s your favorite way to save money on phones every month, or when buying or selling a phone? Share this article with friends, and then post your comment or question below.

For some, cell phone bills can be a big expense after housing, transportation, and food. You might be wondering if you can spend less on your cell phone bill without having to change carriers. It is worth the effort to call your provider and find out how you can lower your cell phone bill.

First, it depends on the cell provider you have, phones are paid off, your current plan, data usage, number of phones on your plan, and any extras like paid apps and insurance payments. Secondly, find out if you’re under contract. And lastly, research to find out if other carriers are offering promotions in your area. This will help you during your discussion with your existing cell phone provider.

Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill

  1. Enrolling in autopay can quickly lower your bills by as much as $5 with some carriers.
  2. Go green and enrolling in electronic statements can give you a discount.
  3. Drop your phone insurance plan (but risk the chance of not having it insured). Ask yourself if you’ve ever filed an insurance claim, how you handle your phone, and the age and current condition of the phone? Also, find out if your car insurance, rental insurance, or home insurance have an insurance rider to include electronic gadgets.
  4. Add someone else into your line. Most often having multiple lines can reduce your overall monthly cost. You can share the bill evenly.
  5. Ask your current provider about group or affinity discounts. You can save money with military, credit union, and corporate discounts.
  6. Reduce your plan. Find out how much data is used per month and ask the representative to do data usage analysis. They can give you options for lowering your bill by placing you on a reduced data usage plan.
  7. Connect to wifi whenever you can to reduce your data usage. This is a good tip for anyone who does not have an unlimited data plan.
  8. Payoff your smartphone. You might like the idea of “financing” your phone and making payments each month as opposed to the full retail price. Ask your service provider how much is left in your plan and if you can pay off the amount. This will require money upfront but will lower your total fixed monthly payments.
  9. Buy your next phone on sites like Gazelle. A used smartphone can save you hundreds of dollars and will keep you from having to pay a larger monthly cell phone bill. Tip: Sell your phone to someone else on a buy/sell marketplace or through Gazelle and other like websites. You’re going to get more for your old phone than using it as a trade-in.
  10. Choose a prepaid phone option or an MVNO. This can ensure your monthly bill is a fixed amount with no surprise charges. An MVNO is a mobile virtual network operator that is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers. Visible, for instance, is an MVNO that uses the Verizon network.

Jason Vitug

Jason is the founder of phroogal, creator of the award winning project Road to Financial Wellness, and author of the bestseller and New York Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once. Jason is a world traveler, certified yoga teacher, and breath work specialist.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

For those looking to lower their cell phone bills or for other cell phone options, I thought it might be helpful to get a list and comparison of MVNOs chart of some of the cheaper options out there for users.

MVNO comparison chart

For the purposes of this comparison, I’m going to list out some of the big players in the MVNO arena as it could get quite labor intensive to list all 80+ players in the US.

MVNO Network Used Plan Price
(Min. available)
Calls to Mexico & Canada Included in Plan Customer Service Plan Friendliness
(Ability to uprade / downgrade at will)
Free Tethering
Boost Sprint $35 (Unlimited / 3GB data) $5 extra Fair 1 month notice No
Consumer Cellular AT&T, T-Mobile $15 (250 min / no data) AARP members can get 15% discount. International direct dial Good Anytime
Cricket AT&T $25 (Unlimited Talk / Text Plan) Smart / Pro Plans only Fair 2x per billing cycle No
Gen Mobile Sprint $5 (Unlimited text) Yes (over 101 countries) Good Yes Yes
Republic Wireless Sprint, T-Mobile $15 (Unlimited talk / text), + $5/GB No Fair (Most CS logged to community) 2x per billing cycle Yes
Straight Talk Wireless AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon $35 (Unlimited text/talk + 2GB) Add-on Good Anytime No
Tello Sprint $5 (100 min / Unlimited text) Yes (texts and MMS only) Good Anytime Yes
Ting Sprint, T-Mobile $15 (100 min / MB / text. Plans based on what you use). Offers $50 credit upon signup Yes Good Okay Yes
TracFone Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint Corporation, and U.S. Cellular $14.25 for auto-renew (200 min / 500 texts / 500mb) No Fair Okay No
Twigby Sprint, Verizon $9.00 (Text + 300min + WiFi only) Yes (and China) Good Yes Yes
UNREAL Sprint $10 (Unlimited text + talk + data – up to 1GB) No Fair Yes No
Visible Verizon (Visible is not considered a traditional MVNO) $40 (unlimited talk,text and data) No Good Only one plan offered Yes

While this list is not exhaustive, it does give you a good idea of what you can expect if you decide to go with a lower-cost carrier.

Choosing a discount mobile service provider

Most of the least expensive plans are offered by MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) such as these. These guys piggy-back off of the major networks by purchasing some of their bandwidth and then reselling to users.

I’ve been with an MVNO since mid-2015 after hearing about Charlie’s experience. While they are not the premium networks – they do get my vote mainly due to the overall cost savings and customized plans (with no contracts!). Since I live in a major metropolitan area – access to WiFi is almost a guarantee wherever I go. That being the case, I really don’t need to be “on-network” very often. In fact, I rarely use more than 200MB’s of data every month.

MVNO’s have their positives and negatives – but if you know what you need from a cell phone and aren’t a globe trotter, it’s likely that you can jump on board a MVNO and be quite pleased.

Deciding what you can live without

A good first step is to determine your current cell phone usage and needs. But even this is not exactly the best gauge as you could be utilizing more services than you actually need because your plan includes it (ie, streaming non-stop because it is available).

When I switched to a MVNO, I knew I would need to cut my roaming data use as well as minutes. This wasn’t a great sacrifice to me because I value being able to save more money every month vs. convenience.

What Tello has that others don’t

Since this article has been brought to you by our friends at Tello—a MVNO that we’ve reviewed at the site—I think it would be fair to tell you what they provide vs other MVNOs. Allow me to break down a few highlights for you:

  • Minimum plan price starting at $5/mo
  • Unmatched customer service
  • Ability to upgrade and downgrade any time
  • Free tethering
  • Mexico and Canada calling included in plans

What others have that Tello doesn’t

One of the biggest differences with Tello is they do not yet offer roaming. So if you travel a lot and need the roaming, you may wish to look elsewhere. Tello has confirmed they are planning to add national roaming in their plans (More details could be found on their coverage page.) It’s important to note that you can use Tello’s My Tello app to call over WiFi where roaming is not available.

Are you with an MVNO? What do you like / dislike about your provider?

People love to brag about how little they pay for their cell phone plan. But ask them how they got a rate so low, and they’re bound to tell you one of two things: Either they’re on a family plan, or they’ve been on the same plan for 14 years and have been grandfathered into some sort of amazing unlimited service.

But you, the person reading this? You’re here because you didn’t get grandfathered into a super cheap phone plan. And you don’t have a family with a plan to latch onto–or you don’t want the pressure of having to maintain the relationships necessary to participate.

Luckily, these aren’t the only ways to save money on your cell phone bill. And you can get on a more budget-friendly plan without having to sacrifice your slick smartphone or give up your phone number.

Do a plan audit

Before you do anything, do a contract audit, said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com . “Perform an audit yourself and see if the contract is still worth it. Are you still using all the features you have? Do you need less data? Auditing your situation before your contract is up allows you to contact your carrier and try to negotiate for a different plan, whether that means downsizing or upscaling,” she said.

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If you think you’re ready to switch carriers , make sure to find out which providers are compatible with your devices and offer network coverage that works for you. You can usually do both on any provider’s website.

What to Expect When You Switch Cell Phone Carriers

Everyone loves to complain about their cell phone carrier. Maybe they have terrible customer…

Choose a low-cost carrier

Low-cost cellular providers used to be a good deal, but came with a distinctly low-budget aesthetic. But that’s no longer the case, said Michael Timmermann, cell phone expert at Clark.com .

While budget carriers may have only been a good proposition for city dwellers in the past , now Timmermann says the coverage is now almost indistinguishable from standard coverage. Over the past two years, Timmermann has tested 12 low-cost cell phone service providers.

The most noticeable difference between standard service and low-cost providers these days is whether your data gets deprioritized during high-traffic times, which your plan’s fine print might mention. “When the network is really congested, you might have slower data, compared to people who have one of the big carriers,” Timmermann said. But he’s run speed tests during all his phone service experiments, and said, “It hasn’t made a difference in how I actually use my phone.”

And while you won’t find the flashy free-phone deals you can often get from the “big four” carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon), the savings usually make it worth paying for a phone on your own.

Most of these low-cost companies are mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), which means they don’t own their own infrastructure but operate off one of the big networks. “If you like the network you’re on, look for a low-cost cell phone provider that uses the same network,” Timmermann said. “Chances are, you’re not going to have any problems because it’s using the same towers. Also, there’s a greater chance you’ll be able to keep your phone if you’re already on that network.”

What You Need to Know Before Switching to a Cheaper Phone Plan

This month, we challenged you to cut back on an expense many people overpay for: cellphone service.

Timmermann ranks Visible (on the Verizon network) Mint Mobile (uses T-Mobile’s) and Total Wireless (another with Verizon) among his favorites. Each offers monthly service for $40 or less. Visible even has “party pay,” which gives you a discount for linking up with other Visible users—you don’t even need to know who they are. How’s that for a modern twist on the traditional family plan?

He also mentioned Tello, which offers unlimited talk and text on Sprint’s network along with one GB of data for $10 per month. He said it works great if you can rely on WiFi to surf and use apps.

Ramhold also recommended Google Fi, which gets high marks for its international service as well as its pay-as-you-go options for data. The only catch is that if you want to get a phone with your plan, you have to get an Android phone. If you want an iPhone, you’ll have to bring your own.

Downgrade to prepaid

Your other option is to swap out your typical post-paid plan—where you pay your bill after using services–to a prepaid plan.

These plans often offer comparable talk, text and data services to their big-time counterparts, at about half the price. Timmermann said one thing to be aware of with prepaid plans is that you often lose the top-notch quality service you often find with traditional plans—especially if you’ve joined a carrier that doesn’t have physical locations.

Negotiate with your carrier

If you really want to stay with one of the big guys, Timmermann recommends taking a competing offer to your current carrier to see if they’ll match it.

There are also often special plans for seniors , military members, or even through your employer, so check for anything that might apply to you before making a switch.

Why I Love This Mobile Carrier for Old People [Updated]

The stock photos on Consumer Cellular’s website all feature senior citizens. The buttons are…

If you want to try negotiating with your current provider, “Do your research ahead of time and note things like how many minutes you use every month and how much data you use,” Ramhold said. Compare that usage to what other companies are offering before talking to yours. “If you can point to your specific usage and inform them what other reps are offering, you might be able to find a better deal without leaving.”

Time your switch wisely

When you’re ready to change your plan, Timmermann said to make sure you time it right. Don’t wait until two days before your next billing cycle to try to get off your current plan. “Give yourself at least a week, because that’s going to ensure that you have enough time to get your SIM card, work out any issues with your phone, and be able to port your number,” he said.

If you wait, you may get charged another month with your regular carrier, “And they’re usually not going to refund you when you cancel for that last month.”

This post has been updated to reflect that Google Fi users can bring their own iPhone.

Tips for cutting your cell phone bill

The average family spends $157 bucks a month on cellphones, according J.D. Power and Associates. And BillShrink found 80% of us are overpaying.

HOUSTON – If you’re looking to cut your bills right now, one place to save is on your cell phone.

The average family spends $157 bucks a month on cellphones, according J.D. Power and Associates. And BillShrink found 80% of us are overpaying.

When most people choose a cell phone service provider, they choose one of the “Big Four,” AT&T, Verizon T-Mobile and Sprint.

But tech expert Andrew Moore-Crispin with Ting https://ting.com/ says there are alternative carriers called Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNO’s, that lease coverage from the Big Four and sell it for less.

“So you get the same level of coverage, same service you expect, but the difference is you now have access to a different business model,” said Moore-Crispin.

You’ll find a list of MVNO’s and their prices on WireFly.com. And you don’t have to sign a contract.

“MVNO’s . give you a whole different world of thoughts on how a cell phone plan should work, thoughts on how billing should work, how customer service should work,” he explained.

And speaking of no-contract, pre-paid phones can also help you set a limit on how much you spend.

But even if you are in a contract, it doesn’t hurt to ask your provider to cut your costs.

Said Moore-Crispin, “I will say it’s always important to see what your cell phone provider is offering to new customers, as opposed to existing customers because those will often be different things. It’s important to remember that it is ultimately a business relationship.”

If you’re going to continue working from home for a while and using wifi, you don’t need unlimited mobile data.

Here’s how to search for a lower cost plan to meet your needs.

Your cell phone bill shows your monthly usage.

Let’s say you use 900 minutes a month of talk, send 300 text messages, but you don’t even use one gigabyte of data.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

By Josephine Nesbit

For the first time in two years, Verizon customers will see an increase in their monthly wireless phone bills. Verizon started notifying customers and larger corporate clients of the coming rate hike on May 16.

Millions of customers will see a $1.35 increase in administrative charges for each voice line beginning in June, Bloomberg reported. Verizon representatives also said that business customers will see an “economic adjustment charge” beginning on June 16, as well as mobile phone data plans rising by $2.20 a month and basic service plans going up by 98 cents.

AT&T also raised its prices earlier this month by $6 on single lines and $12 for families.

However, these price increases could cause some problems, according to a Recon Analytics mobile intender survey. A separate Bloomberg report noted that customer deflections for AT&T could rise to as much as 12% per month from its usual 1%.

Wireless carriers cite the state of the current economy for the price hikes. According to the Labor Department, the all items index increased 8.3% year-over-year in April, not seasonally adjusted.

“We’re all feeling the pressure and we’ve been in the process of deciding how much of that pressure we can share with our clients,” Tami Erwin, head of Verizon Business, recently told Bloomberg.

Large mobile carriers are also trying to balance higher prices with better service, like switching customers from older plans to the new 5G network, Bloomberg reported.

Walt Piecyk, an analyst with LightShed Partners, told Bloomberg that “5G and free streaming services have not been enough to stimulate migration to higher bundles that are needed to generate revenue growth in the wireless industry.”

More From GOBankingRates

  • 11:44, 23 May 2022
  • Updated : 11:44, 23 May 2022

HOUSEHOLDS could save up to £96 a year by a simple switch on your broadband, TV and phone bills.

Millions are being hit with soaring bills from energy to food and fuel as a cost of living crisis continues to hit budgets.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Households are expected to be £1,000 worse off a year, with many struggling to make ends meet and falling behind on their bills.

Households are looking at how to strip back their outgoings – and your broadband, mobile phone and TV bill could be one area where you could save money.

It comes as millions of Vodafone, BT and EE customers saw their bills jump by up to £73.68 a year.

Read more in Money

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Slash your energy, childcare & tax bills with our tips to save YOU money

While Sky and Virgin Media have hiked bills too by up to £56 a year.

But switching providers could mean you enter a new, cheaper contract that will save you money in the long-run.

We explain how a simple switch can help you beat the bill rises.

Switch providers – save up to £96

It doesn’t pay to be loyal – shopping around for the best deal could save you nearly £100 on your bills.

Most read in Money

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Sunak could make announcement TOMORROW to help Brits with soaring energy bills

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Which? estimates you could save £48 a year by changing providers – or £96 if TV is included, the Daily Mail reports.

To switch providers, first head to a price comparison website – like Uswitch or MoneySavingExpert – to check out the cheapest deals.

Before you switch, it might be worth seeing if your provider can match the lowest rate you’ve found.

Companies don’t want to lose customers and may come up with a last-minute offer to keep you.

If your haggling doesn’t work, threaten to leave – and if your provider still won’t budge, apply to the new provider to switch contracts.

If you are considering moving elsewhere, be sure to check out any exit fees you may have to pay, particularly if you’re still in a contract period with your provider.

Usually when you enter a contract, you’ll be obliged to keep paying the agreed amount for the services you’ve opted for, for a set amount of time.

If you try leave early, you could face paying a penalty.

Even if you are mid-contract, there are still ways you can avoid paying these fees though on your broadband package.

Ofcom’s Voluntary code means customers have means to get-out of contracts if the service isn’t up to scratch.

The Ofcom code means that if your speeds aren’t the same as what you were advertised you could opt out of the contract.

There are other ways you’ll be able to terminate your contract early without being charged, too.

A price increase alone can be cause for leave, but you have to get moving quickly.

You’ll only get 30 days to decide to switch after you’ve been told there’s a price hike – after that you could still have to pay the termination fee.

How else can I save money on my broadband and mobile phone bills?

There’s other ways to save even more money on your phone and broadband bills.

Check you’re not paying for any extra add-ons you don’t need.

For example, you could be paying up to £35 for unlimited data – but if you don’t regularly use your internet allowance, this is probably not the best value for money.

You may be eligible for a cheaper tariff as well.

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Many broadband providers offer cheaper packages for households on benefits including Universal Credit.

You could save up to £144 a year by switching to one of these social tariffs.

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Cell phone bill is a huge drain on everyone’s wallet. Most US customers have monthly payment plans with the top three careers. These plans charge around 40-80$ per line per month for data. On top of this most charge you an additional 25-50$ per month for just buying the phone on installment plan.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Reduce Phone Installments to 0, go with NO contract!

In my opinion there is no need to buy a phone in installments. If you cannot afford to pay 700+ dollars for a phone outright. You don’t need to buy that phone on installments at all. Phone is just another liability like a car. Its depreciating asset whose value will go to 100$ or less in 2 years. Plans today like JUMP, NEXT etc. are designed to get money out of you every month. 1 year done? Time to upgrade to latest I phone. All you got to do is keep paying. Remember planned obsolescence from my article? Phones now a day are not created with good quality control. Most of them have some or the other issues. But it’s still possible to use them for 2-3 years if you want. So, there is no point in buying the best I phone for a 1000$ only to change it 2 years later. That’s like 1000$ down the drain. Saving money on phone is easy:

  • Buy cheap phones from companies with good customer service because you are probably going to need it.
  • Make sure you buy using a credit card that doubles your warranty. You will probably end up using later and the card company will service it for free.
  • Avoid buying the latest gen phone, buy a generation older instead. There is a small difference in specs and things phone can do between 2 immediate generations. Most of it is just software gimmicks.
  • Buy latest gen when you know you are getting a great deal as incentive when you switch carriers.

Reduce text/talk/data cell phone bill

Now lets come to the meat of the article which is cell phone bill for talk text & data. I have listed a few carriers which I really like and which are continuously innovating to help reduce the bill on your wallet.

Project Fi

Key highlights:
  • 20$ base + 10$ per GB of data monthly
  • Credit on next month cell phone bill if you don’t use all data on prorated basis. If you use only 300MB of 1GB you get back 7$ next month.
  • Same data rate internationally (3G-4G speeds) in over 170 countries.Check countries here.
  • Unlimited plan available to but I won’t recommend that.
  • Works only on few phones. Although they have added more options in all price ranges recently!

This is an offering from Google. They basically rent networks from Tmobile, US Cellular and Sprint. They have a smart tech that switches you from one network to another if a network is weak in your area. The switch is seamless, and I never had any problem with it. You can even do calls using your laptop and using your wifi on phone. It links to your Gmail account and you can do messaging off there too.

Good for:
  • People who have access to wifi most day so they can save on data daily.
  • People who travel internationally a few times a year.
  • Great customer support on any question related to billing,device support if bought from Google.
Shortfalls:
  • Limited number of devices that are officially supported.
  • 20$ for talk and text and 10$ for 1GB of data seem steep in today’s world of unlimited data.

Tmobile

Key highlights:
  • Family plan with 4 lines costs only 40$ a month on Tmobile One, more people the merrier! (this is the only plan I recommend)
  • Can be reduced to 30$ cell phone bill every month using kickback on less than 2 GB data usage.
  • Gets you Netflix access for free on plan with minimum 2 people.
  • Tmobile Tuesdays has great deals that can get you a dough nut/movie tkt etc. for cheap every week.
  • They also provide 2G-3G speed data internationally at no cost in over 140 countries.

This is probably the only big carrier that has been innovating like crazy. The above-mentioned points make it really cheap to use Tmobile as your provider. Helps save money on Netflix as well! For almost 30$ a month you can easily get 2GB of data with kickback on a family plan per line making it even cheaper than Project Fi.

Good for:
  • People who will be able to create a plan among themselves.
  • Those who are judicious with data usage and can take advantage of kickback.
  • People who travel internationally since it gives an option to not buy a local sim.
Shortfalls:
  • Most customer service is usually nonexistent.
  • Sometimes the MVNO provider

Don’t forget the MVNO’s (Mobile Virtual Network Operators)

These are virtual network operators. Just like Google’s Project Fi, these networks rent out bandwidth from big 4 carriers and then let users use it. They in turn offer way cheaper prices and allow you to bring your own device. So you can buy a cheap phone online and use them. Since they rent networks from the big carriers, there is no problem with connectivity. I would suggest you check the coverage map on their website before signing up with them. Some of the best ones are Mint, Teltik, Ting(Tmobile Network), Redpocket(Works using all) or Cricket(AT&T).

My only warning is to make sure you check the coverage area on the provider’s website. Search online to see what network they rent from. Also make sure you know the phone you have is supported on that network(GSM/CDMA). People are usually hesitant to give MVNO’s a try but its easy to sign up and connectivity is great at insanely cheap prices.

Good for:
  • People who are a bit tech savy and know what type of phone is needed under BYOD plans.
  • Those who want absolutely rock bottom prices. Some of these plans start at 10$ for 500MB-1GB of data a month!
Shortfalls:
  • Most customer service is usually nonexistent.These are pretty small business that just lease the network. So don’t expect a great customer service, although the service at big 4 carriers isn’t great either.
  • Sometimes MVNO has lower priority on the main providers network they rent. Usually this is very rare and too small to worry about or notice any difference.
  • Some advanced features like Wifi calling or texting from laptop may or may not be available. Maybe you don’t need those.

In Conclusion

If you are paying more than 35$ on your monthly cell phone bill then you are doing something wrong. Cell phone bill is another monthly liability which you should try to reduce as much as possible. Think about how you use your phone. Do you make a lot of calls for work or personal use? Do you just need data to check social media and browse internet during the day? Make sure to incorporate your daily habits into decision making. Make sure to buy phone without contract and choose a provider that allows unlocked phones and charges low. Hopefully the tips above help you reduce your monthly cell phone bill.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Calling all cell phone users!! (aka everyone)

Love the coverage of your cell phone network, but hate paying that big fat monthly bill?

You likely have data, texts, and phone minutes you don’t even use.

And what about your current network’s customer support? Are you tired of not getting any real, human support whenever you have to give them a call?

Good News:

Did you know you can keep your current phone and keep your coverage, but pay less for your service and receive award-winning customer support.

YES! You can! That’s where Ting Mobile comes to play…

What is Ting Mobile?

Ting is a post-paid cell phone company. In other words, it’s a cell phone service where you only pay for what you use.

At the end of the month, you’re billed ONLY for what you use:

  • talk
  • text
  • data

You’re billed only for the levels that you reach! This means the less you use, the less you pay.

Big Family? Even Better:

Usage is pooled across the different lines on your account. So, the more family members you add to your account, the less you pay per phone!

No need to worry about the kids using too much data. You can set your own caps and alerts for each phone on your account, so you can keep the kids’ screen time in check.

Save even more when you can use WiFi! Connect to it while at work or home, then turn off your data. This will drive your cell phone bill down even further!

How Much Does Ting Cost?

Ok, this is the most important part. How much does Ting really cost? What are the rates?

Well, to give you a quick idea, let’s use the bill estimator on Ting. It’s super easy to get an idea of how much you’ll be paying. You just have to fill out some quick multiple choice:

Lines:

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Lines = the number of phones you plan to have on your account. If you’re just signing up for yourself, you’d sign up for one line. Let’s go with four lines for this example (about an average family size).

Each line has a base cost of $6 each. If you have multiple lines on your account, your usage (for the categories below) will be shared across accounts, which means savings for you.

Remember: You can limit usage on each phone in your account. If you don’t want one phone to have access to data, you can do that.

Minutes:

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

These are your call minutes. Ting recommends an average based on the number of lines you chose, so for a family of four, that’s 501-1000 minutes. If you have teenagers that never like to talk on the phone, it could be even less – ha!

Texts:

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

This is pretty self-explanatory! If you rarely text, you can find some easy savings here. For our example, Ting is showing the average number of texts for a family of four is 1001-2000.

To save on texts, use a 3rd party app like Whats App or Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts to communicate.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Last but not least is the amount of data you plan on using! If you’re using WiFi as much as possible, you should be able to keep this area pretty low. I chose 1.1-2GB for a family of four here.

The final cost:

As you can see from the example above, based on our choices a family of four would only pay $17.75 per phone with Ting Mobile. That’s crazy cheap!

With the average US cell phone bill being $99/month according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ting Mobile is about 82% cheaper based on our results!

Now remember once again, this is only an idea of how much you could be paying. If you end up using fewer services than you expect, your bill will be lower.

On the other hand if you end up using more, you’ll pay more. You can always set caps and alerts in your account though if you want to avoid going over certain thresholds.

Now that you have an idea of the costs, let’s talk about the next most important thing:

Will I get sufficient coverage?

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

This was definitely a big concern for me… but the answer is YES!

Ting Mobile is an MVNO, which simply means that they use the networks of the bigger carriers rather than building out a nationwide network of their own.

In fact, Ting is pretty unique as it offers coverage on three nationwide networks (all of them except AT&T), so no matter where you live in America, you’ll be able to use Ting.

Ting also chooses the network that’s right for you based on your current phone and where you use it. Meaning they do all the heavy lifting to make sure you have great quality calls and a fast Internet connection.

In the market for a new phone? Find a great deal in the online Ting Shop! They often have new phone deals that give you hundreds of dollars back in credits towards your future bills.

Is everything online?

Mostly, yes. Ting is able to offer better rates by not building lots of retail stores across the US. Instead, you would use the website and app to manage your Ting account.

If you do ever need some help from a real human though, you can reach out to Ting’s fantastic support team via phone, email and live chat. They are always happy to help. In fact, Ting received Consumer Reports’ highest rating for customer support and has been named as one of their top three cell phone companies for the past three years.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been looking for ways to lower your phone bill without sacrificing the services you need or the current coverage you have, Ting is a great choice. They’ve got nationwide coverage, most phones are compatible, and they’re easy to get started with. The bill estimator is super handy too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts: What do you think of Ting Mobile? Have you used it? Are you going to try it? Leave a comment below!

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here’s how we make money.

Have you ever opened your cell phone bill and thought, “Wow, that was cheap”? Yeah, didn’t think so.

But take heart: It’s possible to save money on your cell phone bill without making drastic changes. Simple tweaks can lower your bill — leading to big savings over time.

1. Opt for autopay

Most wireless carriers will knock $5 to $10 off your bill if you sign up for automatic payments. T-Mobile applies its $5 discount per line, so a family of four could save $20 on their monthly bill by opting for autopay. With some carriers, including Verizon, you can’t use a credit card for automatic payments but must link a checking account or debit card instead.

2. Switch to prepaid

You can slash your monthly cell phone costs by switching to a prepaid carrier . Consider these examples:

A 5GB plan with Cricket Wireless costs $40 per month before autopay discounts. The least expensive postpay plan available from AT&T, which owns Cricket, is 3GB for $60 per month before autopay discounts.

Four lines of unlimited data cost $100 per month with Boost Mobile, but $160 per month (before discounts) with its parent company, Sprint.

Verizon customers can get 6GB of prepaid data for $40 per month or 2GB of postpaid data for $55 per month.

3. Change or remove your cell phone insurance

Most cell phone carriers offer a variety of protection plans . Your options can include extended warranties, insurance and full-blown 24/7 tech support for any Bluetooth-enabled device in your home.

In most cases, standard insurance provides more than enough coverage. It protects you if your phone is lost, stolen or damaged. It’s also the least expensive option available through your wireless carrier.

Switching from a premium protection plan to basic insurance coverage will save you a few dollars each month. Remove insurance entirely and you’ll save $80 to $180 per year, depending on your carrier and current protection plan.

Dropping insurance could be risky if you have a brand-new phone, but it can make sense for older devices. That’s because insurance providers for major cell phone carriers typically charge deductibles ranging from $100 to $300.

If forgoing a policy makes you feel vulnerable, consider an alternative, such as AppleCare+ or SquareTrade.

4. Skip the phone upgrade

Your smartphone is built to last more than two years, but most people still trade up after 24 months. Doing so locks you into another 18 to 24 months of payments for that new phone — adding $20 to $40 per month, per line to your bill. Keeping your smartphone for even a year after it’s paid off can save you hundreds of dollars. So, wait until your phone truly needs to be replaced before upgrading. Then, consider a used cell phone to save even more money.

5. Cash in on discounts

Students, government employees, current and former service members, and employees of some companies may qualify for a discount on their cell phone service. The easiest way to find out: Call your carrier or stop into a store. You often need to verify your status — with an email address or pay stub, for example — to keep your discount active.

6. Add lines

This seems counterintuitive, because adding one or more lines will increase your bill. But splitting the cost with other people can lower the amount you each pay. Here’s how that works out:

One line on AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan is $65 per month (after autopay discounts, before taxes and fees). But if you have four lines on that same plan, the cost per line is $35.

One line on Verizon’s 8GB plan is $90, but if you have four lines sharing the plan, the price drops to $37.50 per line before taxes, fees and device charges.

7. Update your service address

The taxes and fees added to your bill each month are based on where you live. If you’ve moved to a new state, or someone on your family plan has, you could save big just by updating your service address .

A person who moves from Washington state to Oregon would save an average of $170 per year in wireless taxes and fees, according to a June 2016 NerdWallet study. Migrating from Illinois to Wisconsin? You’d pocket $103.72 in savings on average. Those figures are based on an individual cell phone bill; the savings would be greater on a family plan.

Updating your service address is easy. In most cases, you simply log in to your account and change it under your user profile, just as you would for your billing address.

About the author: Kelsey Sheehy is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet. Her work has been featured by The New York Times, USA Today, CBS News and The Associated Press. Read more

Personal Finance Defined: The Guide to Maximizing Your Money

5 Steps for Tracking Your Monthly Expenses

How to Lower Your Bills: 40 Ways to Save

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HOUSTON – When was the last time you shopped around for cell phone service? Most Americans don’t, and that means many of us are paying more than we have to. If you look beyond the big four wireless carriers, you will find you can pay far less for the same service.

WhistleOut can help you compare about 350 cell phone plans across 40 different providers for free. All you need to know is approximately how many gigabytes of data you use each month, how many minutes you talk on your cell and about how many texts you send. You can find all of this information on your cell phone bill.

KPRC 2 Consumer Reporter Amy Davis asked WhistleOut to find a cheaper plan for Houstonian Jenny Litchie. She is a Sprint customer on an unlimited data plan for $55 a month.

Here is what WhistleOut found for her:

1-year phone plan (not including taxes and fees) :

While Litchie currently has an unlimited plan, she uses less than 4GB each month. Litchie could switch to any of the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that WhistleOut found for her and save $420 over a year.

Advantages of MVNOs

MVNOs charge much less than the four big carriers because they have much less overhead. They rent space off of the networks of the big carriers. Most are prepaid services and they exist only online. There are no storefronts.

Disadvantages of MVNOs

When big networks are congested, like at a music festival or football game, those big carriers may slow down the data speeds of MVNO’s to prioritize their own customers.

Compare plans. Even if you stick with one of the big four carriers, Tina Chang of WhistleOut says switching carriers will get you more benefits than loyalty ever will because the best perks are for new customers.

“And the minute that you switch, after you wait a few months, you’re counted as a new customer on your old carrier,” she explained.

Biggest Waste of Money

Chang says where a lot of people overpay are those who lease their phones. In Litchie’s case, it is costing her $240 a year. She still won’t own the phone at the end of the year. Chang said Litchie should get the pay off amount for her phone, pay it and keep it, instead of trading up for the next model.

If you are the type that always wants the latest phone, Chang says switching companies will get you the best new phone deals every time.

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Cellphone bills could be the most expensive bill in your budget after necessities like rent, groceries, and bills. It’s no news that cell phone costs are insanely high. According to CNBC, the average monthly cell phone bill in the United States is $127.37.

Cellphones have evolved from a status symbol to a necessity. They’re no longer simply for calling; they’re also for managing your life, keeping up with pals, running a business, and finding the finest food joint. We cant live without our cell phones. Many households no longer have a landline and rely only on their cellphones.

It might be challenging when you’re trying to figure out how to save money on your cellphone bill. But, believe it or not, it is simple to save money!

Here are seven ways to save money on your cell phone bill right now.

1. When Possible, Connect To Wi-Fi

When possible, use a Wi-Fi network —especially at the workplace or at home. And if you don’t have connectivity to Wi-Fi, use your phone data smartly! If you’re not using Wi-Fi, don’t waste your mobile data on online streaming services.

Look out for applications that are consuming data in the phone’s background. This might result in a significant increase in your monthly payment.

Check out your phone’s settings, where you can check your cellphone data usage. You can disable cellular data and only use it when connected to the internet to save data.

2. Switch to a Low-Cost Carrier Provider

There is no need to subscribe to well-known carrier providers. Compared to huge carriers like AT&T or Verizon, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is sometimes a considerably more affordable choice.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

However, they don’t operate their wireless network but utilize the network services from the big carriers at a cheaper rate. As a result, you won’t have to pay for premiums and still get your cellular data at a low cost. Based on the data you consume, each of these carriers offers a different package. The monthly cost varies between $15 and $40. If you want to save money, go with the lowest package you can find.

1. Cancel Unnecessary Carrier Services

Don’t be afraid to change the monthly services that you no longer need. You may have excess calling minutes, number of SMSs, monthly streaming package, or roadside emergency help service which you don’t use. Try talking to your phone service provider and let them know which services you are subscribed to and which one you want to cancel.

2. Check Out Their Monthly Special Offers

Different service providers offer different services. Check out what cellphone discounts are available by visiting their website, social media, or calling them on a monthly basis.

Some of the special discounts are available for old age people, students, former or current service members, government employees, responders, or teachers.

1. Downgrade or Cancel Your Cellphone Insurance Plan

When you purchased, your new phone salesperson might have offered you a tempting insurance coverage plan for it. With a brand-new phone, you may have opted for a premium plan that insures far more than simply theft, damage, and loss, such as unlimited storage, covering replacement for cellphone battery, and regular free tune-ups.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

A range of insurance programs is available from most cell phone operators. If it gets compromised or stolen, it will cover you. If you have a new phone, it is a good option to downgrade your current cellphone premium insurance plan to a basic one. Or you can think of canceling your cellphone insurance plan if you have an older cellphone device – which makes total sense!

Depending on your coverage plan, you may save hundreds of dollars every year by downgrading or canceling your plan entirely.

1. Choose a Family Plan and Split Your Cellphone Bills

Given that it may appear illogical, it is occasionally beneficial to add lines. Check out with your cellphone carrier provider if they offer a family plan that can help you add more lines. Sometimes cellphone carriers must compete to recruit families that aren’t ready to pay a premium price for many phone lines.

As a result, splitting your cellular phone cost with several individuals can lead to cost savings and get the most out of your mobile phone plan.

2. Change Your Wireless Provider

So now you’ve exhausted all other options. Now it’s time to change your wireless carrier! Browse around to discover who can provide you with what you want at a price that is within your pocket reach. Just do your homework, inquire about it, and examine the reviews.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

It’s all about figures when it comes to your monthly budgeting. To save more money, you have to compromise a little by lowering your bills. And when it comes to cell phone bill negotiation, there is no better place than Billsaverusa Inc.

They can help save money on monthly bills whether you want to lower energy bills, downgrade or upgrade your current carrier plan, and negotiate TV and satellite bills. Their services are completely free if they can’t help you save money. And if they do, it is only 35% of the savings they will deduct, and the rest savings will all be yours!

So, what are you waiting for? Call their toll-free number 888 – 789 – 1357 or visit their website to contact them today for more information

We’ve rounded up 10 techniques to cut expenses on both your cell phone plan and your device.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Cellphones are a way of a life that Americans turn to for streaming video, playing games, applying for jobs and more. And that’s on top of good old-fashioned phone calls and text to family and friends. But that service isn’t cheap. Americans spend an average $906 a year for a single person, $1,281 for a married couple according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add in kids and your bill has a potential to skyrocket to $2,000 or more.

Luckily, there are numerous ways to trim the cost of owning and using a cell phone. Some are as simple as changing your bill-payment method or picking up the phone to negotiate a better deal. If you’re up for switching to a different provider, you may save even more money. We’ve rounded up 10 techniques to cut expenses on both your plan and your device.

Pick the Right Unlimited Data Plan

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Data, data and more data. Streamers and non-streamers alike have a multitude of choices when it comes to unlimited data plans. While in years past, going unlimited generally meant paying more, now the big carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—are offering mostly unlimited data plans at good prices. The difference between plans are the perks that come with it.

For example, T-Mobile’s Essential Unlimited plan costs $27 per line per month for a family of four, for a grand total of $105 a month. It comes with unlimited talk and text and unlimited 5G (when available). When it comes to data, you get 50GB of high speed data a month. Once you go over 50GB, your speeds could be slowed, though it’s still unlimited. If you wanted more perks, you could sign up for its Magenta plan which comes with 100GB of high speed, a mobile hotspot and more. The cost: $140 a month.

Verizon and AT&T also offer similar packages. For example, AT&T’s most costly unlimited plan—the Unlimited Elite—comes with mobile hotspot, 5G access, and unlimited high speed data for $50 per line for a family of four. Its cheapest unlimited plan is $35 per line per month for a family of four.

(This page may contain affiliate links and we may earn fees from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. See our Disclosure for more info.)

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Every month you look at your cell phone bill and ask yourself – Is it really worth the money?

You know it’s crazy, but month after month, you just keep paying the bill. And it can add up to thousands of dollars by the end of the year and up to $75,000 over a lifetime.

But you justify it because you have to have the latest phone, your service can never be interrupted, and everything you do requires a ton of data. Right?

Be Honest With Yourself

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Rather than asking yourself the same question every month, ask yourself the hard questions once.

  • Why do I have to have the latest and greatest phone? (There may be cheaper or older phones with all of the features you actually use! Or maybe you could skip the upgrade just once?)
  • What would I do if my service is interrupted for a short time? (This can happen on all carriers, so you should have a backup plan for emergencies anyway.)
  • How much data do I really use? (You might be surprised and use less than you think you do.)
  • Could I cut back on data usage or use wifi more often? (Are you just being lazy by not switching to wifi when it’s available? And what about cutting out some mindless screen time? You frequently complain you don’t have time to exercise!)

And then there is the most crucial question – What else could I do with the money I’d save?

Hint: The answer is PLENTY. You could pay off debt, create or add to an emergency fund, save and invest for your future, or…. You get the idea.

Is Low-Cost Cell Phone Plans the Answer?

You will still need to pay for a cell phone plan, but you might be able to reduce the cost significantly. Your bill might drop by 50% or more – depending on the service you choose. And you can still have unlimited calls/texts and plenty of data each month.

But you’re going to have to learn about low-cost cell phone options and keep an open mind. You’ll also have to decide what is most important to you – your current phone and plan or more money. Maybe a lot more money.

There are times when it makes sense to stick with the “big” carriers. But for most people, the long-term contracts and the high cost of service just doesn’t make sense.

Even though it seems like the cost of your new phone is meager – remember, you are still paying them back. And you’re probably spending a lot more than you realize.

Start by Learning About MVNO’s

What’s an MVNO? A Mobile Virtual Network Operator. MVNO’s resell wireless communication services from the more prominent carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile.)

These low-cost cell phone operators get wholesale rates and set their own prices while reselling to you under their own brand name. Almost all prepaid cell phone plans are offered through MVNO’s. And don’t let “prepaid” scare you away.

They are designed to save you money – while providing great service!

Start your research by searching MVNO + (the carrier you currently use). Then look at the options and what you might save! The Women Who Money Team has tried (and currently uses) various MVNO’s.

Here are our reviews of Total Wireless, Republic Wireless, Tello Mobile, and a guest contributor’s review of Google’s Project Fi.

This is an excellent time to start learning! If you have a specific MVNO you’d like us to review based on your current service provider, let us know! We’re happy to do the work for you!

What Really Matters

After you search and look at the low-cost cell phone options, take the amount of money you would save each month and multiply by 12. That’s what you’d keep in your pocket in a year by making a change.

If your employer subsidizes your phone on a major carrier through your employee benefits package, it may make sense to stay on your plan. But at least you’ve learned about other low-cost options.

Finally, think about what really matters to you. Are the latest phones and the fastest download speeds starting to control you?

Or do you need to take control of your finances and consider making a move to a low-cost MVNO or a different carrier?

Remember – you won’t have to sacrifice much at all (if anything) on many of these low-cost cell phone plans. And if you have kids, reconsider adding them to any big carrier plan you have.

MVNO’s are an excellent way for your kids to start learning about how to save money on cell phone service!

Have a money question you’d like answered? Submit it here.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Written by Women Who Money Cofounders Vicki Cook and Amy Blacklock.

Amy and Vicki are the coauthors of Estate Planning 101, From Avoiding Probate and Assessing Assets to Establishing Directives and Understanding Taxes, Your Essential Primer to Estate Planning, from Adams Media.

From communicating with one another to testing out mobile sites before launch, we are without a doubt attached to our smartphones by the hips here at NJI.

While traditional 2-year contract plans are still the payment of choice for many smartphone users, prepaid plan providers known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), are gaining popularity due to their inexpensive cost and noncommittal payment plans. MVNOs do not have their own physical network but instead purchase the right to use phone towers from larger carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint. This means that you pay a fraction of the price with MVNOs compared to obtaining service directly from nationwide carriers. There are a variety of MVNOs with different requirements and services on the market, the most popular one being Straight Talk.

For $45 dollars a month, Straight Talk offers Unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB data plan. You can either bring your own unlocked GSM phone and use Straight Talk’s sim card (available in both AT&T or T-Mobile variety, take your pick) , or choose from the selection of Straight Talk approved phones that runs on CDMA frequencies. Phones that are locked to AT&T or T-Mobile will also work with their respective sim cards. Another selling point is that Straight Talk now offers 4G LTE on their AT&T sim while it was only offering up to HSPA+ speeds previously.

Carriers often lure consumers in with the latest smartphone model at a cheap up-front cost while masking the monthly cost per line over the course of a 2 year agreement. They will entice you with a seemingly low device cost, but in reality you are making up for the price of the device through high monthly plan costs over the span of the contractual period. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the 8GB iPhone 4s as an example. Verizon and AT&T are selling it for as low as a dollar for a 2 year contract. Sounds like a great deal, right? Wrong. I ran through the online checkout process of the 3 carriers*, choosing the unlimited talk/text and data plan as similar as possible all across the board, and created a spreadsheet below for a more detailed break down.

As seen above, Straight Talk is the clear winner.

While you pay $450 upfront for an unlocked phone, you will still save a lot compared to buying a phone at $0.99 and paying all the extra charges carriers tack on. However, there are also a few limitations to keep in mind when it comes to MVNOs.

  1. Network Coverage & Data Speed – Things such as coverage or data speed may vary depending on where you are. GSM phones on Straight Talk will either be using AT&T or T-mobile towers. You should take that into consideration when deciding which sim card to pick depending on which carrier is more prevalent in your area.
  2. Data Limit – If you are a person that stream Pandora constantly or use your phone to tether, then MVNO might not be for you. Many MVNOs have a data cap if you are using too much data constantly and can throttle you to EDGE speeds or even suspend your service for the month.
  3. No Roaming Outside America – Don’t plan on using your MVNO phone service outside of America unless you purchase an international plan.
  4. Manual APN Configuration – You will have to manually set up your phone to the correct APNs. This is more problematic for iPhone users but there are many ways around i t.

If you use your phone moderately and have no qualms with a few restrictions, you can save a lot of money on your cellphone bills by using MVNOs and your wallet will thank you in the long run.

*Prices on the spreadsheet were obtained on October 2013.

The wireless industry is a confusopoly. Every carrier claims to offer awesome service, but only some carriers actually do. Lots of consumers end up confused and spend more money than they need to for mediocre service. Below, I share several tips to help consumers cut through the bullshit and get reliable wireless service at a good price.

#1. Understand network quality

However, nationwide reliability may not matter much if you tend to stay in one place. T-Mobile and Sprint have great networks in many areas. Since service over these networks tends to be cheaper than service over Verizon or AT&T’s networks, people who live where Sprint and T-Mobile offer good service may be able to use low-cost networks and still get great service. I explain how you can assess network quality in specific areas in another article.

#2. Try good, prepaid carriers

Carriers often rope consumers into expensive, postpaid plans by incentivizing customers with discounted devices or no-interest payment plans. Be wary of these deals. Prepaid service from the Big Four carriers tends to be far cheaper than those same carriers’ postpaid service. The freedom to easily switch between carriers with prepaid service can lead to additional savings over the long term.

There are also a lot of prepaid carriers that are distinct from the Big Four. Most of these carriers are mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). MVNOs buy access to the Big Four networks at wholesale rates then resell that access to subscribers. MVNOs regularly provide service over the Big Four’s networks at far better prices than the Big Four carriers offer directly.

There are a few downsides to prepaid service. In many cases, prepaid and MVNO service is prioritized behind postpaid service. This means that when networks are congested, postpaid customers may experience better data speeds than prepaid customers. Prepaid and MVNO customers may also have a reduced ability to roam onto other networks when they’re not in the coverage area of their usual network. That said, many subscribers don’t even notice these limitations. My rule of thumb with prepaid and MVNO carriers is your mileage may vary—just give it a try. If you have a bad experience, it will only last for one month. If you find you like a prepaid service, you can use it for the long term. It’s not unrealistic for a family to be able to save $1,000 per year by choosing prepaid service over postpaid service.

You can find prepaid and MVNO services I recommend over on my list of recommended, budget-friendly services.

#3. Buy devices compatible with many networks

Most phones will not work well across all of the Big Four networks. Some phones are locked to specific carriers and entirely blocked from accessing other networks. Other phones are unlocked, but that doesn’t guarantee compatibility across networks. Many unlocked phones lack radio hardware or whitelisting necessary to even connect to some of the Big Four networks. Other unlocked phones can technically be used on any network but will perform poorly because they’re unable to communicate over some of the radio frequencies used by some networks.

I especially encourage devices on my list of nearly universal unlocked phones. I expect these devices to have the hardware and features necessary to perform well across all of the Big Four networks.

#4. Purchase low-cost, high-performance devices

The days of all low-cost phones being low-quality are over. For example, the Motorola G7 Play was released this year, has decent hardware, looks cool, is compatible with all of the Big Four networks, and costs under $200.

Low-cost devices can also lead to indirect savings:

  • Many consumers end up buying expensive phones and purchasing expensive insurance in case the phones become damaged. In general, these insurance plans are a bad deal. With a low-cost device, it’s much easier for consumers to forego insurance.
  • Knowing that good, low-cost phones are out there makes the device discounts and installment options that come with long-term plans less attractive.

#5. Ignore extras

WhistleOut advises its visitors to “pick a plan with extras.” My advice is roughly the opposite: ignore shit you don’t want.

#6. Watch your data use

Reducing your use of wireless data may allow you to purchase cheaper plans with smaller data allotments. Here are a couple of ways to limit data use:

  • Connect to Wi-Fi when it’s convenient to do so
  • Change app settings so that large updates and content downloads take place over Wi-Fi
  • Set and reset data limits

On that last point, most phones allow you to set data-use thresholds. When a threshold is passed, the phone will notify you and possibly cut off data access. I suggest setting data thresholds below your monthly allotments and gradually increasing them. For example, with a plan that offered 4GB of data each month, I might start by setting a 2GB threshold. If I am alerted that I’ve used up 2GBs of data, I’ll increase the threshold to 3GB. As I approach 4GBs of use, I’ll gradually increase the threshold in smaller increments. This approach makes it easy to keep an eye on data use without doing anything burdensome.

#7. Occasionally reassess your wireless plan

If you’ve taken the above advice to use a prepaid carrier, check a few times a year whether the plan you’re on is still the best deal available. Prices and plan offerings change regularly and your usage patterns may change over time as well.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

MVNO Cell Phone Plans: low cost / high reward!

If you open your monthly bill to a surprisingly high number of dollars owed, you may be asking yourself, “How can I lower my cell phone bill?”

Cell phones – love ‘em or hate ‘em, we can’t seem to live without them. Owning a cell phone, however, does not mean we need to donate a significant portion of cash to the coffers of the “popular” carriers. We’d much rather contribute our hard earned cash to more valuable things in our life like our Financial Independence.

What does MVNO stand for?

MVNO is defined as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). These are smaller, mostly prepaid carriers who rent the networks from the major cellular service providers and charge you much less to use their infrastructure. MVNOs enter into a business agreement with a mobile network operator and obtain services at wholesale prices. Then they set their prices independently and have some of the best low cost cell phone plans with identical or nearly identical service coverage area and network speeds.

What MVNO is the best to lower my cell phone bill?

The best MVNO service will be determined by your own needs. For example, I recently moved to San Diego and wanted to travel back and forth across the Mexican border. I’ve used MVNO services Cricket, Republic Wireless, and most recently Total Wireless. Unfortunately, these MVNOs did not have services that I’d be desiring. So, I switched from Total Wireless to T-Mobile because T-Mobile provided free roaming for uninterrupted service while in Mexico (up to a limit). If you do not intend to travel internationally, you may find a low cost MVNO better fits your needs and budget.

Note: I understand that T-Mobile is not itself an MVNO but they do have many MVNO companies using their infrastructure.

You can benefit from these cell phone plans with low cost and put more money working for you towards Financial Independence.В В

Are MVNO worth it?

For many, our cell phones are our primary way to keep in contact with the people and things in the world that are extremely important to us. It is no surprise, then, that we tend to become defensive at the first thought of modifying the relationship between ourselves and our cell service providers.

After this lesson, you should be much more comfortable with examining and considering the options that most closely meet your needs.

Fiology thanks Deanna of Recovering Women Wealth , for shaping this lesson.

Read:

  • Cellular Service Study В by Deanna of recoveringwomenwealth.com
  • Total Wireless…Same Verizon Network, Less $$$ В by Jim of routetoretire.com
  • Are Low-Cost Cell Phone Plans Really Worth the Savings В by Women Who Money of womenwhomoney.com

Take Action:

  1. Do you really need unlimited data? Track your data usage and find ways to drive that number down and perhaps you’ll discover you can buy a cheaper package. Know what network you need, buy your phone outright (don’t rent it) and research some MVNOs to find one that is right for you. Worst case, you can always shift back to the more expensive option if you are truly unhappy with the switch.

Additional Resources

  • The best MVNOs for 2021 В by Jackie Dove of digitaltrends.com. I do not receive financial compensation from this page, only wanted to provide you a general list of current plans. This list is not all inclusive.

Quote:

“Enough is better than too В much.” – French Proverb

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

Save money on your cell phone bill

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — You see ads for cell-phone companies all the time, but when is the last time you seriously considered switching? It seems like a hassle, but what if you could save hundreds of dollars a year by making a change?

Consumer Reports reveals how switching to a different carrier, maybe one you’ve never even heard of, could save you big money.

Consumer Reports says there are cheaper options out there. They’re smaller carriers known as mobile virtual network operators, MVNOs. And they lease what’s called “excess wireless capacity” from the big four carriers, which means they use some of the same towers. But some people are skeptical of them.
Small carriers are able to offer consumers cheaper plans mainly because they don’t need to build and maintain cell towers themselves.

The smaller carriers usually give you a smaller bill. Consumers see the value in these kinds of companies because they’re not paying for services they don’t need. That can include things like extra data, HD streaming, and hot-spot tethering.

So, how much can you save? You could pay $70 a month with AT&T for unlimited talk, text, and data. Or you could stay on the same network with Straight Talk mobile and pay only $44 a month. That’s an annual savings of $312.

Verizon offers an unlimited deal for $65 a month. Or you could use the Verizon network with Visible, which offers an unlimited deal for $40 a month with some phone restrictions. A $300 difference.

And you could pay $60 a month for an unlimited deal on T-Mobile. Or you could use their network with TextNow and pay just $40 a month. That’s $240 less each year.

Worried about making the switch? CR’s most recent member survey on cell-phone service providers show that people who made a switch over the past few years were usually happy with their new choice.

Consumer Cellular, Google Fi, and Ting topped CR’s most recent survey as well as the two previous ones.

Consumer Reports says one downside to choosing most smaller carriers is that if a big carrier has network congestion, it slows down the data speed of the smaller guys on its network first.

Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side’s stories with Consumer Reports here.

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

How to save money on your cellphone bill with an mvno

For the most part, the mobile plans available today are dominated by a handful of carriers with cookie-cutter plans meant to serve as big an audience as possible. You’ll likely sign up for a plan that provides unlimited data, calling, and texting all for one steep monthly price — and then not use half the features.

If you don’t need unlimited talk, text, or data, an easy way to save money on your phone bill is by shopping around for plans that allow you to choose what you need. Large carriers may not have the plans you’re looking for, but mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) will, and at a much cheaper price.

MVNOs are licensed to use a major carrier’s network to provide you a tailored mobile service experience. One example of this is Tello, which uses the Sprint Network to deliver you 4G LTE speeds. What’s great about Tello is the flexibility you’re given when choosing a plan. You can pick from one of Tello’s pre-made plans or build your own to suit your needs.

For example, if you’re a power user who uses large amounts of data and minutes, you can sign up for Tello’s Data plan, which offers 10 GB of data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited texting for just $39 a month. Alternatively, if you rarely speak on the phone but use your phone often for streaming services and texting, you can build a plan with 4GB of data, 100 minutes, and free texting for just $25. By comparison, Sprint’s Unlimited Basic plan has a flat rate of $60 for unlimited data, talk, and text, which is quite pricey if you don’t utilize it well.

The easiest way to cut your phone bill in half is by doing away with the services you don’t need. With Tello, you can build a custom service that’s right for you for a fraction of the price that major carriers offer.

Click here to see how much you can save today.