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I always enjoy the end of the year when too many publications start listing their “Best” or “Top” categories of the year. Best Movies, Best Television Shows, Best Books, Best Plays, Best Recipes, Best Getaways and so on and so on. We are not exempt from these evaluations in our little corner of the Wireless Mobility world. I’m not talking about who has the Best or Fastest network or who covers more of the population, etc. Each of the top-tier carriers is the “best” at something. I’m talking about the “Best” value that an MVNO brings to its customers.
Now, value is defined as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, value can be looked at as the “material or monetary worth of something,” (Oxfordify). As a verb, value is “considered to be important or beneficial and that one has a high opinion of.” (Okay, end of English lesson).
However, what is of value to me may be different than what is of value to the next guy. I demand connectivity, lots of data, and customer service that is ready and able to handle any of my issues. I know that I may have to pay a high price for that but being a business consultant on the move, I need my phone, laptop, hotspot, etc. to work wherever I may go.
Others see value in an inexpensive plan that meets their needs of very little data. Why pay $60-$80 for unlimited data if you are using 500MB to 1GB? To this person, the value is paying $10-$15 for a plan that meets their data consumption needs.
Who’s the Best?
Android Central recently published their Best MVNO Carriers for 2022. Considering that we are only three weeks into 2022, their analysis is most likely based on Q4, 2021 rate plans, data offerings, speeds, etc. (Best MVNO carrier 2022 | Android Central)
- Best single line: Mint Mobile
- Best for travel: Google Fi
- Best unlimited: Visible
- Best family plan: Walmart Family Mobile
- Best for multi-line perks: US Mobile
- Best overall: Metro by T-Mobile
The authors of this article, SAMUEL CONTRERAS and OLIVIA LIPSKI, give their reasons for their selections. Mint offers the strong T-Mobile network and a great price but you need to “buy bulk,” or pay for three to six months upfront.
Google Fi uses two networks and international calling on most plans but is expensive for heavy data users and not all phones are compatible on all of their networks.
Visible offers unlimited data and unlimited hotspots on Verizon’s strong network (including 5G) but they have had a limited phone selection and the 5G network hasn’t reached all of the 5G phones that are being used. Although this is changing quickly now that Verizon has rolled out c-band coverage.
The Walmart Family Plan is a great value and the T-Mobile network allows for most unlocked phones. Single lines are $49.88 and add-on lines are only $24.88 each.
US Mobile allows many advantages, creating your own plans, two networks (Verizon and T-Mobile), and international data included with unlimited. They are, according to the authors, short on phone selection and you may have to pay extra for a hotspot.
And finally, the envelope, please…… Best Overall goes to Metro by T-Mobile. No surprise here although my friends at Boost and Cricket would probably argue against this. (JP at bestmvno.com also disagrees, and often finds lists of this type to be questionable at best).
The authors point out that being owned by T-Mobile doesn’t hurt and that the fast 5G network works with most phones that are available. There are great introductory rate plans ($30 for 2GB, $40 for 10GB) and their 10GB plan offers free music streaming and you get 15GB of hotspot data on the unlimited data plan. There weren’t many downsides to Metro by T-Mobile and their strong advertising budget is obviously driving people into their stores.
What Are Others Saying?
Depending on where you live and your definition of VALUE, you may ask why are these MVNOs missing from the list: Ting, Tello, Ultra Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Twigby, other Tracfone brands, Lyca, Red Pocket, H2O, and the other Big Guys….. Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile. Remember, value means different things to different consumers. What is of high value to one, may be of no value to another.
Here’s the question……. do you know what your customers see as value? MVNOs like Consumer Cellular saw that their older subscribers didn’t need huge buckets of data. A few MBs or 1 to 2 GBs was enough and it kept the retail price down. Heavy data users looked for big buckets or truly unlimited and went to Verizon and AT&T and were willing to pay more to know that they’d always be connected and not throttled when they needed high speeds. T-Mobile has closed the gap and their high-end plans are on par with Verizon and AT&T from a cost perspective.
Do you give your customers the value that they are looking for? It all goes back to what I have been saying all along; your Differentiator or niche must give your customers something of value that only you can deliver. It takes a lot for a customer to switch carriers (or in our case, MVNOs). It’s not always about price. Scroll back up and see what the six MVNOs shown above did to meet their subscribers' value needs. You don’t have to be the cheapest, you need to PROVIDE VALUE!
Can You Help Us Define Value?
One of the first things I ask people who want to get into the MVNO space, or are in it and struggling is “what is your Differentiator?" (there is that word again!) and "what is your Distribution plan?” In 2022, I will add a third question, “what value are you bringing to your customers?” If you can answer all three, only then can you become the Best MVNO! Please reach out to us at Atrium Unlimited Consulting for a review, strategy session or just to talk about what you can do to end up on someone’s “Best” list this year. (AtriumUnlimited.com)
Enjoy and Good Selling!