MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators, are companies that resell wireless service under their brand. This is something your likely to see more of, as some MVNOs are actually getting decent traction, such as AMP'D mobile, Boost mobile, Helio, and yeah, big ones like Virgin Mobile. But brands, such as ESPN, have also gotten in on the game.
Matt Marshal at VentureBeat points out that you don't need to be a big brand or invest ANYTHING to sell your own branded wireless service, with Sonopia. They're a two-year old company in Menlo Park, CA that allows organizations and individuals to offer branded wireless plans to consumers. They're calling them MVCs, or mobile virtual carriers. Matt points out that one such company offering the service is the National Wildlife Fund. They provide a range of phones and plans, with basic service starting at $39.95 for 450 minutes.
It doesn't cost organizations or individuals anything to get started, although you'll only reap the benefits of 3-8% of your customer's monthly payments. Still, with someone else shouldering all the costs and support, that's money in the bank. Many brands already have branded credit cards, why not wireless service?
Learn more by visiting the Sonopia site.