The rise of niche MVNOs continues — and that’s a good thing

I was on vacation last week, so I’m just catching up on this post my colleague Kevin Fitchard wrote Friday discussing an upcoming MVNO aimed at active-duty military and their families as well as reserves and students at the military academies. Defense Mobile Corporation, as the provider is called, will launch Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — will use Sprint’s network to deliver inexpensive plans starting at $20 a month and topping out at $60 for family share plans. Unlike other cut-rate MVNOs, DMC’s handset lineup will include high-end devices such as the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One.
DMC is the latest example of a new wave of MVNOs that target users based on occupation, ethnicity or other factors, as I wrote last October. Some of these new service providers could move the needle not only by offering customized, discounted services but also by embracing Wi-Fi and other non-cellular technologies more aggressively than traditional carriers. Those kinds of strategies should make the U.S. mobile industry substantially more competitive. And competition is getting harder to come by as the Tier-One carriers get bigger and the smaller regional players disappear.