Best Cellular looks to expand overseas as MVNO market heats up

Smartphone girl

Like many other prepaid service providers, Best Cellular recently added data to its monthly plans as competition in that market continued to heat up. But unlike most of its rivals, the MVNO is looking to expand overseas.

Best Cellular is based in Hotchkiss, Colorado, and provides service through every major U.S. carrier. The company doesn’t disclose subscriber numbersowner and CEO Curtis McCoy concedes it’s “still a relatively small MVNO” compared with players such as TracFone and Boostbut it isn’t shy about positioning itself as a bargain-basement alternative to some of its bigger rivals.

The MVNO last month overhauled its lengthy list of monthly plans, lowering prices and adding data. Its menu of CDMA offerings now starts at $15 a month for 350 minutes, 100 texts and 100 MB of data, for instance, and tops out at $60 a month for unlimited voice and texts, and 5,000 MB of data.

Best Cellular offers service nationwide and is in discussions to expand into Italy and Brazil “in the near future,” McCoy said. And it’s actively targeting users of MVNOs such as EnVie Mobile, which recently went belly-up in a move that underscored the ultra-competitive prepaid market.

“We are finally in a position to acquire the customer base of failing MVNOs like: Ring Plus, enVie Mobile, Defense Mobile, etc.," McCoy told FierceWireless via email. “Each acquisition we make gives us more pull to get lower wholesale costs from the carriers.”

That competition has only heated up in prepaid as the battle over unlimited data services has expanded into the market. T-Mobile’s MetroPCS expanded its monthly 8 GB plan to include unlimited data, while AT&T’s Cricket cut the price of its existing unlimited plan from $70 to $60 a month.

Sprint’s Boost has begun offering four lines of compressed unlimited data for $100 a month for users who switch carriers. And Sprint's Virgin brand joined the party with a new $60-a-month unlimited plan, Wave7 noted last week.

McCoy claims that Best Cellular can thrive in the brutal market, though, due in part to its 15 years of experience and its focus on forging strong alliances with dealers.

“We started working on the quad-carrier MVNO back in 2002 and finally launched our first retail store location in 2012 as ‘Boss Cellular,’” he said. “The process was extremely slow but we decided to focus on doing everything RIGHT instead of launching too early and running into unexpected problems that have killed so many MVNOs over the last 10 years.”