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Sprint's status as practically the only network source for MVNOs definitely doesn't help the emerging virtual carriers.
If Sprint continues to shoulder the MVNO burden virtually alone, the cell phone industry won't get the flood of new virtual carriers some have predicted.
SK-Earth Link debuts in March and will be part of Earth Link's bundle of broadband, wireless access and phone offers.
The companies say that a market full of fewer, and bigger, players leaves plenty of room for small, agile entrants.
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, are companies like Virgin Mobile USA that sell cellular service without actually owning a network to carry the calls. wireless providers, Sprint practically stands alone in its willingness to open its network to what some would call upstart competitors. giants Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless want little to do with these deals because, representatives say, the payoff has too many risks, such as overcrowded networks that ruin coverage and voice quality for everyone.
Instead, just a trickle of new operators will appear, reducing the effect competition has of stabilizing or reducing prices.
The unwillingness of the other carriers to play ball with MVNOs could suggest that they don't think it's as good an idea for their futures.
What's new: Lots of Americans don't want--or can't get--a cell phone from the few major carriers. With Sprint the only wholesaler of note, the potential to infuse competition in a consolidating industry--and to reach underserved markets--is reduced.
But, publicly at least, Cingular and Verizon representatives still say the operators aren't a willing MVNO host.
"You can't just throw any kind of (stuff) on the network," said a Verizon Wireless source.
There are no signs, she says, that the 2.8 million MVNO customers on its network are hurting service quality. We anticipate this to be a very (good) business," she said. Cingular is now testing the waters by supporting, rather quietly, 7-Eleven's MVNO.
The carrier doesn't provide revenue figures from selling wholesale access to its network, preferring instead to speak in glowing, but amorphous, terms. The carriers' cold shoulder toward MVNOs is thawing, argues A. Verizon Wireless backs a cell phone option available through On Star, the in-car wireless remote attendant.
Plus my private cell phone is in need of replacement. I know there are phones with 2 SIM cards but that's not an option at this moment because the phone they gave me at work doesn't have 2 slots.