This means you need to buy your phone outright at full price or own your current phone, which you bring with you to your new MVNO plan.
MNO carriers, on the other hand, offer installment and leasing options along with prepaid plans.
He now uses Straight Talk—a multinetwork mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service—and pays $45 a month for unlimited talk, text and 10GB of data, saving him about $480 a year.
"What prompted me to make the switch was realizing I could save a lot over a year's time," he said.
But there are other considerations to factor into your decision-making.
Pros Most MVNOs work strictly with prepaid phone options.A traditional MNO owns its network infrastructure and therefore pays to maintain and expand it — an expensive cost of doing business.For an MNO, it can make sense to incorporate a reseller partner such as an MVNO, since that can help them expand their market reach to bring in new customers.In fact, annual spending for cellular phone services increased by 58.4% per consumer from 2007 to 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they've since continued to rise every year.While most of us are tethered to our smartphones and a major carrier plan that seems to cost more every year, there might be a smarter alternative."If we take a look at unlimited plans only, MVNO plans are priced around a month," said Chang."The only plan offered by any of the MNOs that is also a month is AT&T's prepaid plan (or plans discounted for military or seniors)."This is a marketing technique for targeting different types of customers," said Brandon Ackroyd, founder of Tiger Mobiles.com, a cellphone comparison platform."For instance, Metro is a subsidiary of T-Mobile trying to target younger and more price-conscious consumers who historically viewed prepaid as a lesser form of service." Why traditional MNOs would offer tiered pricing is a matter of reaching more customers, said Ackroyd: "Lower prices can be offered on a sub-brand without cannibalizing the revenues made on the primary brand." If you're halfway sold on MVNOs, there are plenty of upsides to making the switch.Discounts are provided for more lines, with four lines of unlimited data topping out at 0 a month.Device: Visit Cricket's website for information on compatible devices.