Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Samuel Scott, Pat Romanski, Greg O'Connor

Blog Feed Post

Is 2013 the Year of the MVNO?

By

straighttalk

For 50 a month, get all the Text/Calls you can

For the past 8 months, I’ve been using different versions of MVNOs. MVNOs are mobile virtual network operators, they run on top of traditional wireless carriers, providing access for a fraction of the typical mobile network costs. MVNOs come in many different varieties, from Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk to T-Mobile’s Solavei. My experiments with these have led me to the following conclusions;

  • traditional mobile network services are overblown and a waste of money
  • CDMA networks (Sprint/Verizon) are a waste of money
  • the booming second-hand smartphone market combined with the way Google is selling Android smartphones provides freedom from traditional contract schemes
  • MVNO’s are smarter than regular operators, they provide incentives and flexibility
  • there is a difference in service between AT&T/Verizon, Sprint/T-Mobile and then MVNOs (and you pay for it)
  • a dedication to MVNOs requires some hard work, it requires some technological know how but it’s not impossible
boostmobile

Boost operates on Sprint’s networks

So why might this year be the year of the MVNO?

Assertion 1: traditional mobile network services are overblown and a waste of money - Traditional mobile networks in the US require a commitment of $80-100 a month, to start. You pay for data, minutes and text messages, often a fee for each service. Carriers do not give you a break for underusing, but will charge you an arm and a leg for any overages. While T-Mobile and Sprint will offer you “unlimited” for around $80, their service is somewhat lacking, AT&T and Verizon no longer have any unlimited plans, and charge a ton for data, and a criminal amount for SMS.

Assertion 2: CDMA networks (Sprint/Verizon) are a waste of money - These networks use proprietary coding, so that the smartphones can only be used on their networks. If you only have CDMA (not 4G LTE) your data speeds are incredibly poor, and battery life suffers due to technological limitations. This vendor lock in has forced people to stick to bad contracts, and bad service. Global networks are possible on CDMA smartphones, but you cannot just jump from provider to provider, or get services anywhere you choose. Yes, Verizon does offer 4G LTE, but I only believe you need those services for Streaming and Tethering, and not much else.

cricketAssertion 3: the booming second-hand smartphone market combined with the way Google is selling Android smartphones provides freedom from traditional contract schemes - You can find a used Galaxy Nexus GSM for around $200, a used Samsung Galaxy S3 for $300 and an iPhone 4S for the same price. Google is selling the best smartphone for $299/349 right now (when they are available). It is no longer a requirement to get contract reduced prices to get a good phone, but if you are willing to tinker, you will get the latest and greatest capabilities. Purchasing a subsidized/contract type phone just is not worth it anymore, the benefits do not out weigh the cost of being on a contract.

Assertion 4: MVNO’s are smarter than regular operators, they provide incentives and flexibility - Most MVNOs have a variety of ways in which the operate. One, gives you credits for adding other users, another, lets you add things such as tethering. They can be used for only a few days a month, or in one lump fee for the year (with a savings tacked on). T-Mobile even allows you to take out insurance on your smartphone, on a pay as you go basis. By making you a part of the marketing and sales team, you can save yourself money (or make it!).solavei

Assertion 5: there is a difference in service between AT&T/Verizon, Sprint/T-Mobile and then MVNOs (and you pay for it) - You won’t have a store you can go into to get your phones to work, it’s unlikely you’ll have insurance, and there isn’t always quality customer service available. Most MVNOs offer zero roaming, because they only are attached to a single carrier. If you’re a rural user, this can ruin your experience. Similarly, if you have to have service all over, you are best off with AT&T/Verizon, if you need to save the money, Sprint/T-Mobile are decent, but if you are adventurous MVNOs can work, and work well. When you go the MVNO route, you take customer service into your own hands, with Google/Titter and more, you need it.

virginmobileAssertion 6: a dedication to MVNOs requires some hard work, it requires some technological know how but it’s not impossible - Pretty much any device can be activated on MVNOs, but only if you work at it. I had to put a fake IMEI into one service just to get a simcard. Sometimes you’re searching the internet for proper APNs, or just taking hours to get things going. It happens, but I’ve found it to be relatively worth it. I have used a variety of them (all on GSM variants) and think each one has its own merits.

So is it?

I think so, everyone has heard about Cricket or Boost Mobile, but there are variants for every carrier and (pretty much) every device. MVNOs offer the ability to make your own decisions about your smartphone carrier, and with the device you use most often, you should have flexibility.

How am I doing it?

Right now I’m on Solavei, you can find more details about it via this link, or you can just straight enroll via this one. Solavei is an MVNO that runs on T-Mobile, and gets true HSPA+ speeds (which do not quite rival 4GLTE, but are more than enough). The service is the same as T-Mobile, just without roaming. Is it the perfect solution, no, but it does allow me to cut in half a monthly bill that just was not cutting it.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, or find me on Twitter, right here.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International WebRTC Summit, to be held Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 15th International Cloud Expo, 6th International Big Data Expo, 3rd International DevOps Summit and 2nd Internet of @ThingsExpo. WebRTC (Web-based Real-Time Communication) is an open source project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that aims to enable bro...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Containers are not new, but renewed commitments to performance, flexibility, and agility have propelled them to the top of the agenda today. By working without the need for virtualization and its overhead, containers are seen as the perfect way to deploy apps and services across multiple clouds. Containers can handle anything from file types to operating systems and services, including microservices. What are microservices? Unlike what the name implies, microservices are not necessarily small, but are focused on specific tasks. The ability for developers to deploy multiple containers – thous...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.