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It hit me like a bus when I saw, how much it cost to keep a phone active. The line charges, the data charges and the phone cost all rolled into one seemed like just too expensive. After optimizing for our investments and spending through Personal Capital, I was looking at other ways to optimize spending.
AT&T used to be my network carrier when I was in Florida. After moving to the remote town of Bagdad in Arizona, I had to switch to Verizon because that was the only carrier which serviced that area. I started out with a flip phone and then switch to a smart phone. Between my wife and I having a phone each, our Verizon monthly bill used to run over a hundred dollars with a 2GB data plan. And then I came across this post from Frugal Professor.
It became clear to me that I was clearly being suckered into paying too much for a basic necessity. These days internet and phones are in fact basic needs just like food and water. More so in the age of Covid-19 when you need these to stay in touch with people you cannot physically meet. Upon doing some research I found the world of MVNOs.
What is an MVNO?
MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators are entities which don’t own any cellular towers or networks. These operators buy cell coverage on wholesale rates from major network providers and then set their own independent retail rates. So essentially, in terms of service you get the same coverage. It also turns out that MVNOs are a cost effective way to get phone service.
I’ll tell you my experience. I was paying hundred plus dollars every month to have two phones with 2GB data (data is super expensive even on MVNOs). Since most of my browsing happened at home anyway, I decided to switch to Ting which offered coverage on T-Mobile and Verizon networks. At the time, I got a sim card from them for no charge. I activated the sim card, ported my number out of Verizon and was all set. My monthly bill dropped to an average of $15 per month. The plan that I got, charged me on a usage basis. If I used up to 100 minutes of…