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Ryan Reynolds now owns a stake in budget carrier Mint Mobile

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AP Photo/Steve Luciano

No, you’re not hallucinating. Actor Ryan Reynolds has bought an ownership stake in Mint Mobile, the low-cost carrier that theoretically saves you money by letting you purchase service in advance. It sounds like a complete mismatch when celebrities have a habit of backing junk science or designer headphones, but to Reynolds it makes sense — it’s better to promote a “more practical approach to the most essential technology” than luxury products you don’t really need.

And this isn’t strictly a publicity move, either. Reynolds will help with communications and marketing, but he’ll also be involved in “strategic decision-making” at Mint. You’re not likely to see Deadpool hawking service, unfortunately, but his actor will have a very real say in the future of a wireless carrier.

To some extent, this reflects the shifting cellular landscape in the US. While the top four carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Engadget parent Verizon) still tend to dominate, there’s been a rush of virtual providers like Mint, Ting and Google Fi that have experimented with different business models. Reynolds’ involvement gives their unconventional forumlas a dash of extra credibility, even if they’re not about to topple the establishment.

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