MVNOs - mobile virtual network operators - are doing pretty well. They lease network capacity from the Big Four U.S. carriers and resell it under their own brands with their own value added services. Google Fi has only been doing it for a few months, and the Android Blog recently shared some stats and it is clear it is making an impact in several areas:
a) Finally putting a dent on international roaming charges
“Since launch, more than 15% of our customers have used Project Fi abroad. From Mexico to Montenegro, customers have visited 110 of our 120+ supported countries all while paying the same rate for data that they would in the U.S.” Actually, the 20c a minute for calls back to the US is even more impactful.
b) Slowing we becoming less and less dependent on carrier networks even in the US
“We believe that using Wi-Fi should be seamless which is why we created Wi-Fi Assistant - a tool that automatically connects to high-quality hotspots and helps secure your connection. Over 50% of Project Fi customers are connecting to public hotspots using Wi-Fi Assistant on a weekly basis.”
c) Data-only SIMs are taking off
“We launched data-only SIMs in December to help Project Fi subscribers connect to data from devices other than their phones with no additional fees or restrictions. Since then, we’ve seen SIMs used everywhere from tablets to cars. While we’re just starting to experiment here, one thing is already clear: people want access to data on more devices.” As impactful is the ability to use your Fi phone as a hotspot without having to buy a separate MiFi and a plan for it.