Home - , , , - Updated: H2O's enVie Wireless Verizon MVNO is Shutting Down

Updated: H2O's enVie Wireless Verizon MVNO is Shutting Down


H2O Wireless sent the email above to its dealers today saying that H2O is suspending its Verizon powered enVie Wireless brand services, effective immediately. H2O blamed unspecified "persistent underlying carrier issues" for the shutdown. H2O's other services, which are all AT&T based, are not affected. Surprisingly, there's no mention of the imminent shutdown on the public facing enVie Wireless web page.

Update 3/11: The enVie website has been updated with the following message:
"Due to circumstances beyond our control with our underlying carrier, all enVie Mobile services has been suspended. This does not affect the services on H2O, H2O Bolt and easyGO. Please contact Customer Service at 1 800-420-6981 about re-establishing your service. We’re sorry for the inconvenience."

H2O is offering affected enVie customers a free SIM and a month of service on H2O's $40 plan.  This offer is available at H2O dealers or by calling H2O customer support. Unfortunately, unless they have a phone with GSM support like an iPhone 4s or later of a Moto G4, enVie customers will need a new phone that's compatible with the AT&T network to take advantage of H2O's offer. According to an H2O spokesperson posting on HowardForums, H2O will also give a free GSM phone to any enVie customer who does not already own a compatible phone. Call customer support if you need a phone.

For most enVie customers, porting to another Verizon MVNO or to Verizon Prepaid is probably a better option than switching to H2O. Coverage will be the same and a phone change shouldn't be needed. Best Cellular, a MVNO that offers service on all four networks, including Verizon, is running a promotion for enVie customers. Anyone porting from enVie to Best will get their third month of service for free. Best Cellular is also offering a free SIMs with free shipping to porting EnVie customers. For more information see this Best Cellular blog post; enVie Mobile Customers Porting to Best Cellular Get a Free Month of Service. Best Cellular plans start at $15 per month.

H2O launched enVie in October of 2014. enVie's plans were competitive at first but they failed to keep up as other Verizon MVNOs like Boom Mobile and TracFone's Total Wireless introduced plans with better value.

Why H2O is shutting enVie down is the real question. "Carrier issues" is often a euphemism for "we're broke and can't pay our carrier partner's bills", but that seems unlikely in this case. H2O is a subsidiary of KDDI, which is Japan's second largest mobile operator. KDDI has been profitable every quarter for the last ten years and currently has $6.7 billion in working capital, so it's obviously not broke.

There does seem to be something negative going on in Verizon MVNO land. PagePlus, one of TracFone's Verizon MVNOs, is telling many of its customers that their phones are no longer compatible with the Verizon network and could be disconnected as soon as April 1st.  According to the owner of another Verizon MVNO, what's happening is that Verizon is planing to block "ineligible devices" on any MVNO from connecting to their network by sometime in May. I heard today from another industry insider that the ineligible devices that Verizon will be blocking include grandfathered "flashed" non-Verizon phones, blacklisted (as lost or stolen or for non-payment) phones that somehow were not detected until now and Verizon Prepaid phones that have not meet their requirement to be used on Verizon Prepaid for a specified period of time before they can be put on a MVNO. Maybe H2O didn't want to have to deal with all the angry customers that Verizon will be cutting off and decided to cut Verizon off instead. But regardless on the reasons, enVie is going away and its customers will be forced to switch to H2O or another provider.


52 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Sad news.. We want more competition..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Surprisingly, there's no mention of the imminent shutdown on the public facing enVie Wireless web page."

      There is now.

      Delete
  2. Maybe next target is Total Wireless..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, but EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY? No wonder people hate Tracfone but will use it because they know it'll be there bad, ugly or good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just curious as to why you only list Boom Mobile and Total when there are stronger MVNOs (like Selectel, and Boss Cellular) and more "dealer friendly" (like Wireless Services U.S.). What is the sudden fascination with Boom? I don't wish them ill will in any manner, but they are one of the newest kids on the block. Just a my two-cents of curiosity. (you don't have to approve this if you choose not to...but maybe make some sort of comment/reply concerning it). Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only mentioned Boom and Total in the context of price competitiveness vs evVie. Boom and Total do seem to be the least expensive Verizon MVNOs at most price points currently.

      Price isn't everything, of course and Selectel, Boss and your own Wireless Services are certainly more dealer friendly than Total. It looks like Boom has started recruiting dealers, I don't now how attractive their dealer offer is.

      Delete
    2. Dennis, thank you for your prompt, courteous and informed reply.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the mention Darrell! I love that even though we're offering different services, we're able to send each other referrals. There is DEFINITELY more than enough customers to go around and we each have our own niche that fits our customers very well!

      Again, thanks for the mention!

      Dennis: Thanks for always having the inside scoop on ANYTHING related to the prepaid wireless industry! I follow your site daily sir!

      Delete
    4. Hi Dennis,
      If you'd like to add a link to Darrel's site "Wireless Services US" that's a great option for dealers who need a great alternative.

      For enVie Mobile customers:
      Best Cellular is porting in enVie Wireless customers and offering FREE SIM Card + free port with plans starting at $15/ month.

      https://BestCellular.com/envie-wireless-shutting-down/

      Thanks for the great article Dennis!

      Delete
    5. Here's Darrell's site: Wireless Services US.

      I also added a Wireless Services US link in the sidebar that takes you to our coverage.

      Delete
  5. And nah, no way Total Wireless is next target. Maybe they will have device issues like Page Plus, WSUS and others but shut down? Nah. It's a Tracfone company. They suck in CS but they are always there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks like h2owirelesscdma.com is gone (currently 302'd to h2owirelessnow.com). FYI: Last update by archive.org is on Jan 30 2017.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks like h2owirelesscdma.com is gone (currently 302'd to h2owirelessnow.com). FYI: Last update by archive.org is on Jan 30 2017.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dennis I have AT&T slower dsl as my home wifi. I got this new streaming jail broken device where I can watch pretty much anything but you need at least 10mps of internet speed to watch without buffer. I can watch some stuff on my slow dsl but I'm considering getting a hotspot from H20 the 50 dollar plan for 20gbs with autopay for 45. Do those speeds typically average 15-20mps? Or do you know? And have you heard good things about their hotspot?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speeds are highly dependent on location and the current load on the network.

      I've never used H2O broadband but it should be capable of 10 mps if the conditions are right. The only way to find out for sure if it's fast enough is to try it at your location with your application.

      Delete
  9. Wait, WHAT?

    I purchased (through Best Buy) a used refurbished Verizon-Galaxy Note 5 & a refurbished Verizon-Galaxy S7 Edge (Factory reset on S7Edge was May 2016 so it could only have been used ~ 4-6 weeks max), both of which are on TracFone's Verizon network.

    Are you saying Verizon might consider my phones "ineligible devices" & block them from any MVNO service including TracFone's Verizon network?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Verizon phones on TracFone should not be affected.

      The types of devices Verizon is rumored to be kicking off the network are:
      1. Flashed" non-Verizon phones.
      2. Blacklisted (as lost or stolen or for non-payment) phones.
      3. Verizon Prepaid phones that have not meet their requirement to be used on Verizon Prepaid.

      Delete
  10. Verizon is doubling down on their stupidity and still insisting that this is still the year 2003 and CDMA whitelists are acceptable in the age of phones that will work with all the Big 4 carriers, SIM cards, and carrier owned MVNOs. AT&T and T-mobile will let on any compatible device on their MVNOs that is not stolen or sim locked, but Verizon and Sprint still insist you have to have to buy a device blessed by them and which will remain locked down to their MVNO to the maximum extent the FCC allows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes perfect sense to lock a subsidized device to a carrier until the discount is recovered. You can't have it both ways - they are not charities or the gov.
      You are NOT limited to using a device that is "blessed" by Verizon. They will block devices that were not compatible and then flashed; reported stolen; and had account balances owed. Nothing wrong with that at all. It's their network, and issues with flashed devices can increase their costs. Thieves should not be able to use the devices when they steal from other users or a carrier. People who buy from thieves will learn a good lesson.
      We all have to wait to see whether they will block all universal phones. This is not determined yet. It seems unlikely.

      Delete
    2. Curious what will happen with some of my flashed non-verizon phones that are operating flawlessly on Verizon MVNO. Thing is I flashed them and gave them ESN/MEID from legit VZW donor phones. No idea if they will pick up on those.

      Delete
    3. and it is only going to get worse with the FCC under the control of Pai. I look for the government to let the big boys have their way with whatever they want. Maybe somebody else can address if ATT & Verizon are legally required to sell to a third party. MVNOs are useful to market a low cost product and brand, and minimize the impact on the premium higher priced (and more profitable) name brand. Other than that they are probably a headache for the wireless carrier. The only significant MVNO in the US is American Movil. ATT and Carlos Slim are now competitors in Mexico, can't see much love lost between the two in the US.

      Delete
  11. I wonder what the subscriber #s look like for the MVNO s metitoned thousands ? ten(s) of thousands ? AM/TF maybe several million (on VZW)?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Red pocket $10 plan is all 4 networks now with 100mb of 4g lte

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dennis - the Red Pocket carrier review and all four network comparison reviews should be updated. This low-cost plan is worth a special article, IMO.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, I'll update those posts with the $10 plan. I already did a post about the $10 plan and will update it as well.

      BTW, comments about a Red Pocket plan change on a post covering an entirely different carrier are off topic and detract from the conversation about the topic at hand.

      There are plenty of Red Pocket posts where comments about Red Pocket would be relevant.

      Delete
  13. Envie (H2OWireless - Locus Communications) gave no notice to its customers before cutting their service. When my service was killed yesterday, their customer service reps did not even know that the decision to drop Verizon (or visa versa) had been made. In a business where customer retention = profit, they are less than amateurish.

    ReplyDelete
  14. All this does is push users to GSM services.

    No matter how big they think they are, Verizon can only play hardball with customers and potential customers for so long. So, like Sprint, Verizon is cutting their own throat.
    I have to wonder if this will embolden Sprint to go after those Pre-Paid devices activated new out of box on MVNOs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt it, Sprint can not afford the lost customers.

      Delete
  15. "KDDI has been profitable every quarter for the last ten years and currently has $6.7 billion in working capital, so it's obviously not broke."

    While this is true, it's also possible that a la Softbank, they just don't want to invest too much into their US carriers? So while I hope this isn't the case, maybe H2O isn't doing too well without little to no cash coming their way from KDDI?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This makes no sense. H2O Wireless is owned by a holding company or two before shows up on KDDI's financials. KDDI may have purchased H2O Wireless, but its finances are its own. It's unclear to me what KDDI's wireless interest are in the US. Now, maybe just to build the business up enough to sell it.

      Delete
  16. H2O's loss is Boom's gain, given the former's AT&T service is absolutely trash-tier when it comes to coverage, reliability and speed (especially compared to Cricket).

    Then again, the refugees might just flock to other GSM carriers instead, forever escaping Verizon's tight-fisted control over device activations.

    Either way, jilting customers seems like an awfully arrogant move from the king everyone's looking to dethrone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cricket's data is not faster than H20's. Cricket data is throttled to 8 Mbps, H2O's is unthrottled with users reporting speeds as high as 60 Mbps.This HowardForums thread which hasa number of H2O speedtests posted.

      Delete
    2. Not to mention that, because H2O uses the prepaid AT&T network, there is no way possible it can have worse "coverage, reliability" than Cricket.

      Delete
    3. H20 coverage and reliability is identical to Cricket; they both use the same network. H20 data service is probably more reliable, since they don't suffer from the flakey Cricket proxy server issues.

      Delete
    4. "Either way, jilting customers seems like an awfully arrogant move from the king everyone's looking to dethrone."

      Horse hockey!! I don't understand how everyone seems to see this as H2O's doing and not as Verizon's doing.

      Delete
    5. "Cricket's data is not faster than H20's."

      It is, at least based on personal experience.

      YMMV, but unthrottled doesn't automatically mean that you're not still limited by network and prioritization in congested areas where AT&T needs to pick up the slack.

      Then again, I also just had a spontaneous Cricket outage, so the entire AT&T network itself is a crapshoot.

      "Not to mention that, because H2O uses the prepaid AT&T network, there is no way possible it can have worse "coverage, reliability" than Cricket."

      Real world experience Trumps baseless assumptions.

      "H20 coverage and reliability is identical to Cricket; they both use the same network. H20 data service is probably more reliable, since they don't suffer from the flakey Cricket proxy server issues."

      It's not identical or reliable, at least not in practice.

      Cricket's only given me two outages over the course of using them for about 4 months total.

      H2O was riddled with dropped signals and slow speeds throughout a single month (using the exact same phone), which is why I switched back.

      "Horse hockey!! I don't understand how everyone seems to see this as H2O's doing and not as Verizon's doing."

      I have no idea why you'd think I was referring to H2O.

      Verizon is THE carrier to beat, where as H2O is just a small-time MVNO.

      Delete
  17. This all probably has to do with VoLTE. Older phones do not support, so they wont be able to talk or text, making them useless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, see the page plus article re your speculation. Nothing to do with VoLTE. Older phones are fine on VZW network until end of 2019

      Delete
  18. What's the best replacement available in a real store? I'm tired of online companies vanishing into thin air.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just read the Verizon carrier comparison review to pick what's best for you.

      Delete
    2. TracFone. Available at Walmart, Target, etc.
      Not going away anytime soon despite the haters.

      Delete
    3. Carlos Slime's Amèrica Mövil brands survive at the expense of it's customers. No mutual benefit, just parasitic Movil doing its best to rip off/suck dry the customer. Movil may kill all their "hosts" some day, well over a million "died" (ie: fled) Movil brands last year alone.

      Delete
    4. Carlos Slim is the worse corporate chieftan in the mobile world. Except for Legere, Son, the Verizon guy whose name I forget but I think he is one of the Marx brothers, and the rest.

      Delete
    5. "TracFone. Available at Walmart, Target, etc.
      Not going away anytime soon despite the haters."

      Reading Pre Paid Phone News...

      (I refuse to call it PPPN because I am not lazy, and because it sounds like a technical propane acronym of some kind).

      ....I came to hate Tracfone brands. But my friends who use it love it, and have no problem. US phone nerds have higher expectations.

      They want their phones to work, and that's it. Tracfone Straight Talk (which they all have) gives Verizon coverage, which does the trick. You mention Sprint to them, and they give sad faces. T-Mobile merely causes them to look perplexed.

      Delete
    6. Thank you. I got a BYOD kit and a refill card today. My phone is working again for less than $30 out of pocket.

      Now I know why enVie is one of the seven deadly sins.

      Delete
  19. It's difficult to respond to a specific individual when so many post as 'anonymous'. I did misunderstand the Verizon reference above. I have not had the signal issues you speak of with H2O. The only issue I've had with them is their customer service which is not that big of a deal since I've only needed to call them twice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're in a good area (which it sounds like you are) then it doesn't matter either way.

      But when the network's shoddy or congested, H2O just doesn't cut it.

      Delete
  20. "Why H2O is shutting enVie down is the real question. "Carrier issues" is often a euphemism for "we're broke and can't pay our carrier partner's bills"

    And if it is like PTel and Defense, it means "Any day now, will will shut our business down with 3 days notice, taking your number and at least a month's payment with us....

    We will only let people know with emails to a few, our front web page will never let on that anything is wrong until 8 hours before we close. Which means that 90% of our customers won't know we are shutting down until their phones stopped working. The other 10%, those who were notified by those dratted "Prepaid Phone News" muckrakers, will face busy or disconnected lines as they try to port out. Each will spend an average of 4 hours struggling to save their number and get their money back. Only some will succeed.

    Haha, suckers!"

    ReplyDelete
  21. Free H2O SIM, 1 month $40 plan, and a free device in certain cases for former enVie customers. See the post on HoFo:

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1894584-Locus-Communications-H2OWireless-is-discontinuing-Envie-Mobile-WITHOUT-NOTICE?p=16821843#post16821843

    ReplyDelete
  22. Dennis I would like you to know that h2o wireless has close to 1 million subs. The locus page that claims 300,000 subs is old and outdated.

    Proof:

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1894584-Locus-Communications-H2OWireless-is-discontinuing-Envie-Mobile-WITHOUT-NOTICE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would that be close to 1MM subscribers like there were 1.5 million spectators at the inauguration ;-)

      Delete
Comment Page :