media logos

A couple of new MVNOs to check out

While we cover a good number of virtual carriers, or MVNOs, in our pay as you go cell phone provider list, there are plenty of MVNOs that we don’t cover. We hope to get to all of them one day. But until then, we’ll continue covering them at the blog as we hear about them. In the last couple of weeks two new MVNOs have popped up in the news: Votel and Ultra Mobile. Read on to get the skinny on these new offers.

Votel is an MVNO of the Sprint network, and distinguishes itself with simplicity. That is, there are only two plans to choose from. Even better, the rates are reasonably low by any industry standard. The basic plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $33.33 per month, including taxes and fees. Android smartphone customers get the same services, obviously with smartphone data added, for $43.33 per month. There is, of course, a catch.

While the services does not require you to sign a contract, it does require customers to pay for three months in advance. It is still technically prepaid in that way. But it still requires a multi-month commitment. Many customers won’t like the idea of shelling out $99.99 for the basic plan or $129.99 for the Android plan — and first-timers have a $20 activation fee plus phone cost on top of that.

Votel offers three Android smartphones, with the LG Optimus Elite, at $170, ranking best among them. That is, they’re not all that great. THe selection for feature phones is predictably poor, considering the general deemphasis of feature phones in the market. YOu can check it all out for yourself at

Ultra Mobile is an MVNO of the T-Mobile network. Like Votel, it keeps things simple. With just three plans, consumers can find something that works for them. The basic talk and text plan is $29, adding data costs $39 per month, and adding 1GB of 4G data costs $49 per month. So the rates aren’t that out of line with industry standards.

Ultra Mobile adds an international element to their offerings as well, offering unlimited global texting to all plans. The $39 plan has a $5 monthly international calling credit, while the $49 plan has a $20 monthly international calling credit. There are other various add-ons, such as $10 international credits and $10 for 500MB of 4G data.

The biggest downside: You need your own unlocked GSM handset. Ultra Mobile does not sell phones of its own. They have an approved device list for those who have questions. Potential customers can find out more at