MNVOs

What low cost service should I get my new phone with?

Mint Mobile

Episode 1627

Jeff from San Diego, CA

Jeff wants to get a new iPhone (he's using an iPhone 4) but he doesn't wait to pay a lot for data. Leo says to go with Mint Mobile (who is a sponsor on the TWiT Network). It's an MNVO (mobile virtual network operator) and you can pay $300 a year and get 12GB annually. That's a pretty good deal.  Another option is Google Fi. It requires one of their phones, but you can pay as you go and it's very affordable. Plus you get access to multiple networks: it's great for international travel. 

Are smaller wireless companies good?

Cell phone

Episode 1125

Brian from Orange, CA

Brian is looking beyond the "big three" of cellphone carriers and wants to know which one of the smaller mobile carriers are best. Leo says that most of the smaller carriers, known as "mobile virtual network operators" (MVNOs), buy their network service at a discount rate from the big three, often times Sprint, and then resell it. And it's often a better value than the big three. Straight Talk Wireless from Walmart, for instance, is one such MVNO. Which one is best will depend on which of the big three's are best in Brian's area.

Why won't caller ID work on my phone?

Caller ID

Episode 1109

Roger from Rutherford, TN

Roger is getting bizarre caller ID issues with his wife's phone and sometimes he can't connect at all. Leo says it's likely an issue with the carrier. Caller ID comes from the carrier and Leo says it sounds like they're doing some odd things with it that the phone is having trouble understanding.

As for not being able to connect to the home phone, Leo says that also sounds like a strange provider issue. Roger's carrier is an "MVNO" or third party that buys service from Sprint and then resells it. Leo suggests calling the carrier and and the MVNO and get them to fix the issue.