Understanding MVNO’s Can Reduce Your Mobile Phone Bill
Have you noticed how Irish mobile phone operators (and I’m sure operators in other counties) are increasing the price of their contracts, usually by offering 4G data speed benefits to justify the cost increase.
Take the Samsung S6 on Vodafone Ireland on a mid-level package of €40 per month for 12 months and an upfront cost of €299. Total 24 month cost of nearly €1100. And for that you get 1.5Gb of data, 100 minutes (plus unlimited Vodafone calls and unlimited texts). Many people are surprised that their mobile costs are at least €550 per annum.
I’m going to show you how you can save money / get additional benefits using an MVNO.
What is an MVNO?
An MVNO is a virtual mobile provider. They buy access to a network in bulk and resell to consumers. In Ireland, this is usually on the combined Three/O2 network (Three has a good data network, and the take-over of O2 gives them improved voice coverage). They have limited or no retail presence, and most of the management is online.
Is the MVNO service any Good?
Yes – because he MVNO is a major customer, the service has to be provided to the company, which in turn is passed onto the user.
Who are the Irish MVNO’s?
At the moment, the major Irish MVNO players are Tesco Mobile and Blueface. However the market is about to get interesting with the impeding entrance of MVNO’s owned by Carphonewarehouse and UPC. This will increase competition, and drive down prices.
A Samsung Galaxy S6 purchased for €650 upfront on a €10 per month deal with 48months.ie costs €890 over two years, and whilst the data limit is less at 1GB, there is three times as many minutes. This equates to a saving of €105 per annum.
Not only are you saving money, you also have the freedom to move between provides as the deals change, as you are not locked into a contract.
But surely there is a disadvantage
The only disadvantage is the upfront outlay for the handset. This can be reduced further if you don’t require a flagship phone or are coming out of contract (my own situation is I’ve reduced my €50 per month contract to €20 per month on 48months.ie)
Also be aware that many MVNO offer mobile broadband at 3G speeds, however in my experience on a good 3G connection, YouTube and Netflix’s plays perfectly on mobile devices.
Surely the established providers will react and drop their prices
I hope they do, and if they respond and make their networks more accessible, as the MVNO contracts are only 30 days long, you can painlessly port back to the tier one operator of your choice.
So next time your contract is up for renewal, don’t just upgrade with your existing provider, have a look around, you may be surprised with the savings you make.