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Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

6:30 PM -- There's another new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) breaking on the scene, and this one has the most inventive business model yet. T-Mobile US Inc. wholesaler Solavei announced its "social commerce network" ambitions today.

Here's how it works: you sign up for a $49-per-month unlimited voice, text and data plan. You tell your friends. They sign up. You earn cash. Their friends sign up. You earn cash!

For some reason, when I read about Solavei's new service, this scene from The Office kept coming to mind.

But, Solavei swears it’s not a pyramid scheme. Rather it's turning marketing on its head, using its customer's social connections rather than big ad bucks. You can earn $20 per month on every three mobile-service members, called Trios, you or someone in your network signs up to Solavei. Get three Trios, and your service pays for itself. Add more, and you start to actually make money on your wireless plan.

The company has some big names and big dollars to back it up too. It just closed its second round of funding at a $120 million valuation, and its board of advisers and investors include alums from T-Mobile, News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Wal-Mart and even the former chief of staff of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . Its CEO is Motricity Inc. founder Ryan Wuerch.

Those who sign up can choose from the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) One, HTC Wildfire or ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) Origin. The company says it's in pre-launch with thousands of members and will launch nationwide on Sept. 21.

I think it's great that all these MNVOs are popping up now with different, innovative business models. It makes for more choice in wireless, cheap alternatives to hefty wireless plans and, at least, makes the space more exciting to watch.

That said, I don't expect them all to make it, and after getting invited to more than my fair share of Stella & Dot and Arbonne parties, I tend to be skeptical of anything that requires asking others for money. But, it'll at least be interesting to see which ones catch on and which ones fall flat.

Check out a few others here: — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:25:59 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

I guess it really isn't a pyramid scheme, technically, in the sense that they're not completely scamming you. But these multi-level marketing things always seem a little slimy.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:25:59 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

A couple friends have approached me about changing my gas service too to one (a cheaper one!) that they had an incentive to sell. Maybe it's the wave of the future. Not my style though.

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:25:55 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

Well, if that's your response to your friends, then I guess my friends could very well have the same response if I tried to sell them on Solavei. But do like this MVNO's name...

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:25:52 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

Hey, I've bought more than my fair share of Arbonne, Stella & Dot and purses when friends host parties. Wireless service is different though. And, actually probably better, because it is more of viral marketing effect. If the service is good and you like the device options, it's a solid, cheaper option. You'll be glad your friend told you.

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:25:50 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

In that case, this MVNO could turn out to be the Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Chu of mobility :-)

Solavei 12/5/2012 | 5:24:43 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

The thing that is great about this company is that the worse case scenario is that you will have unlimited cell phone service for $49. Unlike Pyramid schemes where you pay a huge enrollment fee and if you never recruit a single person you are out of your enrollment fee.  The only fee here is for cell service. This is what makes Solavei so uniquie.

jaylevan 12/5/2012 | 5:24:31 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

I've been looking at How Do I Sign Up and the video on the site


is not working. I saw it about a week ago there, but now the Vimeo


page is a dead link. I like this plan, I've looked at a lot of Network


Marketing ideas over the last 10 years and I like this model.

johnbruno02 12/5/2012 | 5:23:33 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

send me an email and I'll send you the correct information


[email protected]

johnbruno02 12/5/2012 | 5:23:32 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

If you would like some more accurate information please email me.


Solavei is growing by leaps and bounds and I can show you how it is not a pyramid scheme and several different avenues that you can make money


[email protected]


 


Thanks,


 


John

OsideRida06 12/5/2012 | 5:21:23 PM
re: Solavei Launches Recruit-Your-Friends Wireless Service

Solavei has the chance to be great. I am really just looking forward to not having a cell phone bill for a change. I have been paying about $100/mo for I don't know how long. Even if I get just enough referrals to cover my montly fee I will be good to go. Solavei here I come. 

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