It's not often that A-list celebrities acquire wireless carriers. But it just happened.
In a statement on Monday, Mint Mobile, a budget-friendly wireless carrier that sells everything from iPhones to Android phones, said that actor, writer, and producer Ryan Reynolds has acquired a stake in the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it's a big move for a carrier trying to make a name for itself in the highly competitive wireless market.
In a statement, Reynolds, who is best known for starring in a variety of popular films, including Deadpool, Van Wilder, and others, shared some insight into why he bought into Mint Mobile. He acknowledged that the move is "a bit unconventional," but added that he believes American consumers are looking for cheaper wireless mobile plans. And Mint Mobile can deliver on that.
"I'm excited to champion a more practical approach to the most essential technology," Reynolds said.
At first glance, it might seem like a bad move to invest in a small wireless carrier. But in truth, it makes some sense.
Mint Mobile was founded in 2016 and has built its network atop T-Mobile's network. So, wherever T-Mobile service is available, Mint Mobile is too.
In just the past few years, Mint Mobile has attracted a growing customer base by offering the latest phones, including new iPhones and Android devices with access to its network at prices larger carriers can't beat. Indeed, a three-month plan at Mint Mobile costs just $15 per month, with 3GB of data and 4G LTE service. The company is offering a deal on its 8GB and 12GB plans, which typically cost $20 and $25 per month, respectively. For now, you can get them for the same $15 a month fee.
When users sign up, they can choose to buy a phone or bring their own to the network. To do the latter, they'd need only an unlocked phone capable of connecting to a GSM network. That's the vast majority of phones available today.
Mint Mobile is one of many small carriers, called MVNOs, that live atop wireless networks deployed by the big four -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. What they lack in infrastructure, they make up for in cheaper plans, generally reliable customer service, and surprisingly high customer satisfaction. A study from J.D. Power earlier this year found that most MVNO carriers easily outpaced the big four in customer satisfaction.
So, at a time when people are actively seeking new and appealing wireless carrier experiences, Reynolds is jumping in with a company offering just that. And he's doing it at a time when the industry is growing.
As he noted himself, Reynolds's decision isn't a typical one for a celebrity to make. But over time, it might prove to be a very smart move.