Data hungry folks might be having a field day eating through their LTE data allocations, but some prefer to be thrifty and go the prepaid route. Recently heard from the tech grapevine: T-Mobile’s MVNOs are likely to be offering LTE access soon.
To the uninitiated, MVNOs, or Mobile Virtual Nework Operators, are carriers that don’t own the infrastructure, but buy resources in bulk from the bigger companies (like Sprint, T-Mobile, et al) and re-sell these in different packages. Now what’s so great about MVNOs is that they are usually able to offer these services cheaper. What’s not so great is that they sometimes don’t offer the same services or resources their main provider do.
Fierce Wireless reports that two of T-Mobile’s MVNOs, namely Solavei and Ready SIM, will offer LTE services once the “magenta” network launches its LTE network later this year. Both networks have confirmed their plans. “[A]s a T-Mobile MVNO, we get access to all network enhancements and upgrades, [and] this means that mean LTE is available we will offer it as well simply because it’s there,” said Roam Mobility (Ready SIM’s parent company) vice president for business development Emir Aboulhosn.
T-Mobile does not confirm this from their end, though, as they have not made a commitment as to when they will pass on LTE access to their MVNOs. “T-Mobile has not made any commitments to MVNO partners regarding timing of when they may have access to T-Mobile’s LTE network, and not all partners may receive access,” the company said in a statement. As such, while it plans to cover 100 million customers with LTE coverage by mid-2013 and 200 million by year-end, MVNO subscribers might not necessarily be among the first to benefit.
There might be hope yet, as other major networks offer LTE service through their MVNOs, such as Ting and FreedomPop, which run over Sprint. Will the 3.9 million MVNO subscribers out of T-Mobile’s total 33.3 million userbase enjoy access to LTE? Time will tell.