Flat Wireless is the latest small wireless network operator to exit its current wireless network business.
The company, which sells wireless services under the ClearTalk brand, said it will shut down its commercial wireless network in small markets across Texas, California and Arizona, and will instead become a Boost Mobile dealer.
“It is a giveaway in this prepaid space and you need very deep pockets and a light at the end of the tunnel. We had neither. We hope to transform ClearTalk into a different type of business and continue to remain viable. I have a lot of employees that I hope I can retain,” said Kevin Beierschmitt, Flat Wireless’ CEO.
Beierschmitt said the prepaid wireless space became increasingly competitive following AT&T’s acquisition of prepaid Cricket provider Leap Wireless and T-Mobile’s acquisition of prepaid operator MetroPCS.
“The elimination of those CDMA operators made handsets very difficult to get, difficult to program to our needs, and high cost,” he said. “We also had challenges with the majors on fair and reasonable roaming rates. The FCC has not helped us much in this regard.”
As a result, Beierschmitt said Flat has sold off much of its spectrum holdings (though he declined to provide details on those transactions, some of which haven’t closed) and said that the company will transition its ClearTalk retail operations into retail stores selling Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid service. He added that the company also plans to redeploy some of its network assets and spectrum in order to obtain roaming revenues.
As noted by Wave7 Research, ClearTalk discontinued services on March 16 and is working to transition its customer base to Boost by offering switchers a $49.99 iPhone 6 or free Android phones.
The developments are further indications of a maturing and consolidating wireless industry, one that’s rapidly coalescing around the four nationwide wireless network operators: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.