A mobile phone (also known as a cellular phone, cell phone, and a hand phone) is a device that can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link while moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile phone operator, allowing access to the public telephone network. By contrast, a cordless telephone is used only within the short range of a single, private base station.
In addition to telephony, modern mobile phones also support a wide variety of other services such as text messaging, MMS, email, Internet access, short-range wireless communications (infrared, Bluetooth), business applications, gaming and photography. Mobile phones that offer these and more general computing capabilities are referred to as smartphones.
A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) (or mobile other licensed operator (MOLO) in the United Kingdom) is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which the MVNO provides services to its customers. An MVNO enters into a business agreement with a mobile network operator to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates, then sets retail prices independently. An MVNO may use its own customer service and billing support systems, marketing and sales personnel or it may employ the services of a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE).
Countries such as the United Kingdom, Scandinavian countries, and Spain are leading this business model in Europe.
TracFone Wireless, Inc. is a prepaid wireless service provider in the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. TracFone Wireless offers its wireless products and services under various brands that include TracFone, NET10 Wireless, Straight Talk, SafeLink Wireless, Telcel América, and Simple Mobile. TracFone Wireless is subsidiary of Mexico's largest telecommunications company América Móvil and operates as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) having multiple agreements to provide service utilizing the networks of the United States largest wireless carriers including AT&T Mobility, Sprint Corporation, T-Mobile US, and Verizon Wireless.
TracFone was established in 1996 as Topp Telecom Inc., a prepaid mobile phone company, in Miami, Florida. In February 1999, Topp received a major infusion of capital from Teléfonos de México (NYSE: TMX), a.k.a. TelMex, Mexico's largest telephone company. TelMex paid $57.5 million for a 55 percent controlling interest in the company.