Which Network Is Your MVNO On?


WhistleOut
07 July 2017

If you're on an MVNO, or thinking about signing up with one, you probably already know that they offer some of the best deals in the wireless industry.

Mobile virtual network operators--MVNOs for short--are carriers that rent space on larger networks. They come in all shapes and sizes, and unique value propositions. 

An easily overlooked consideration when shopping for a MVNO is whether it runs on a network that a) has good coverage where you spend the most time, and b) works with your phone type, if you're bringing a device along with you.

Important 

CDMA and GSM are abbreviations for the two radio systems used in cell phones. Each of the four major networks--AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint--are either CDMA or GSM, not both. That's why many Verizon phones won't work on AT&T's network, and vice versa. In the United States, Sprint and Verizon use CDMA, while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. 

The following is a list of MVNOs and their affiliated networks, so you can know your coverage options before you sign up. Be sure to keep reading to see the overall coverage maps for the four majors. 

MVNO Networks
MVNO Network(s)
Boost Mobile Sprint
Consumer Cellular AT&T, T-Mobile
CREDO MobileVerizon
Cricket AT&T
FreedomPop Sprint, AT&T
GreatCall Verizon
H2O Wireless AT&T
MetroPCS T-Mobile
Mint SIMT-Mobile
Net10 T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular
Page Plus Verizon
Pix Wireless Sprint, AT&T
Project Fi Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Three
Red Pocket Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T
Republic Wireless T-Mobile
ROK Mobile Verizon, Sprint
Simple Mobile T-Mobile
Straight Talk Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T
Tello Sprint
TextNow Sprint
The People's Operator T-Mobile, Sprint
Ting T-Mobile, Sprint
TracFone Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T
Twigby Verizon, Sprint
U.S. Cellular U.S. Cellular
Ultra Mobile T-Mobile
US Mobile T-Mobile
Virgin Mobile Sprint

Now that you know which MVNOs belong to which networks, the next thing to consider is how comprehensive the coverage is on those networks

Looking at the United States as a whole, it becomes immediately apparent that Verizon covers the most territory, followed closely by AT&T. Next is T-Mobile, and pulling up the rear is the Sprint network. 

Verizon Network

When it comes to sheer network scale, Verizon is king. Their network will keep you connected from almost anywhere in the United States. If coverage is important to you, choosing an MVNO that runs on Verizon is not a bad idea. 

Verizon MVNOs
MVNO Network(s)
CREDO Mobile
Verizon
GreatCall
Verizon
Net10
Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, U.S. Cellular
Page Plus
Verizon
Red Pocket
Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T
ROK Mobile
Verizon, Sprint
Straight Talk
Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T
TracFone
Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T
Twigby
Verizon, Sprint
AT&T Network

While Verizon's network rules the land, there's no denying the potency of AT&T's coverage either. It's only a few clicks below Verizon in terms of overall area covered in the United States, making it a great option if you're located in a rural region or do a lot of traveling. Fortunately, there's no shortage of MVNOs running on AT&T's network. 

AT&T MVNOs
MVNO Network(s)
Consumer Cellular AT&T, T-Mobile
Cricket
AT&T
FreedomPop
AT&T, Sprint
H2O Wireless
AT&T
Net10
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, U.S. Cellular
Pix Wireless
AT&T, Sprint
Red Pocket
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
Straight Talk
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
TracFone
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
T-Mobile Network

While T-Mobile's network can't boast the overall expansiveness of Verizon's or AT&T's, it's known to be quite strong--even, sometimes, the best--in metropolitan regions. A number of MVNOs run on T-Mobile. 

T-Mobile MVNOs
MVNO Network(s)
Consumer Cellular T-Mobile, AT&T
MetroPCS
T-Mobile
Mint SIM
T-Mobile
Net10
T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular
Project Fi
T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Three
Red Pocket
T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, AT&T
Republic Wireless
T-Mobile
Simple Mobile
T-Mobile
The People's Operator
T-Mobile, Sprint
Ting
T-Mobile, Sprint
TracFone
T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, AT&T
Ultra Mobile
T-Mobile
US Mobile
T-Mobile
Sprint Network

The Sprint network may show less purple on the map than the other big networks, but it's no slouch in many populated regions, including the eastern seaboard, the upper midwest, and Southern California. There are more MVNOs on Sprint than any of the other networks, including big names like Virgin Mobile (a Sprint subsidiary) and Boost Mobile

Sprint MVNOs
MVNO Network(s)
Boost Mobile Sprint
FreedomPop
Sprint, AT&T
Net10
T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, U.S. Cellular
Pix Wireless
Sprint, AT&T
Project Fi
Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Three
Red Pocket
Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T
ROK Mobile
Verizon, Sprint
Straight Talk
Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T
Tello
Sprint
TextNow
Sprint
Tello
Sprint
The People's Operator
Sprint, T-Mobile
Ting
Sprint, T-Mobile
TracFone Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T
Twigby
Sprint, Verizon
Virgin Mobile Sprint

It would be a mistake to use these maps as the sole metric by which you choose your carrier, though. Sprint or T-Mobile may very well provide the best coverage in the places you live, work and recreate; to find out your best coverage options, type your address into our coverage check tool, and we'll filter out any carriers that provide substandard coverage. Click back over to the above list to find out which networks they run on. 

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