There seem to be an awful lot of new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) popping up lately, from Republic Wireless and Voyager Mobile to FreedomPop and Ting. MVNOs — network-less operators that resell another carrier’s voice and data services – practically went extinct in the last decade, but in the last few years they have enjoyed a big resurgence. According to Wireless Intelligence, there are now 812 MVNOs throughout the world, and they only seem to be multiplying.
The biggest concentration is in Europe, which hosts 526, or about 65 percent, of the global total. That makes sense when you consider Europe’s huge number of operators: the region’s dozens of countries each have multiple operators, each of which, in turn, has multiple virtual operator partners. Considering North America, which Wireless Intelligence defines as the U.S. and Canada, includes only two countries, it still has an impressive number of MVNOs: 73.
That number doesn’t include the operator sub-brands the Tier I carriers own, for instance Sprint’s Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile USA and Assurance Wireless. According to Wireless Intelligence there are 17 sub-brands in the U.S. and Canada and 224 globally.