Virtual operators have driven a good chunk of the growth in the U.S. mobile market in the last two years, according to GSMA Intelligence. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile host 23 million MVNO connections alone.
SMS formerly has been a mobile-phone only club, but cloud-messaging provider Zipwhip has virtualized the SMS client, allowing you to send text messages from any wireline number — if not from an actual wired phone.
Sprint isn’t holding anything back when it comes to supporting its MVNO partners. Ting will not only get access to a device Sprint started selling only last month, but it will gain immediate entry onto Sprint’s brand new LTE network — permissions other carriers would never grant.
Free data, a 4G sleeve that wraps around the iPod touch, and a VoIP client — FreedomPop now has all of the pieces for a full-fledged mobile service though its technically just a data-only mobile virtual network operator.