The X Games will see athletes from around the world descend on Aspen, Colorado, this weekend to compete in the extreme sports competition, and MobileX will be there as the exclusive wireless carrier partner.
It’s not a big stretch, considering MobileX’s previous sponsorship with NASCAR driver Brodie Kotstecki and MobileX founder Petter Adderton’s fondness for the extreme. After all, the Boost brand he helped found in Australia was named after a surfing maneuver.
But it’s novel in the sense that MobileX is still fairly new to the wireless scene. Although Adderton has been in the wireless and MVNO business for decades, MobileX only officially launched about a year ago. It uses Verizon’s network and promises big savings on data usage thanks to its unique application of artificial intelligence (AI).
Adderton, who founded Boost Mobile in Australia before bringing it to the U.S., said the first event he ever sponsored after launching Boost was the X Games in Aspen, which was “extremely successful,” he said.
Now as CEO of MobileX, “the X Games really ties in well” because of what they’re trying to do with “expression, freedom and creativity,” he said. Over and above just the name, “it really is about people expressing themselves and that’s what really works well for us.”
Adderton is trying to bring some sizzle to the wireless game, not entirely unlike what happened in 2002 when hip-hop artists sang the praises of the Boost brand.
With the exception of John Legere’s stint as CEO of T-Mobile that for a while “made it a little bit interesting,” the mobile industry is boring, Adderton said. For the most part, the mobile carrier mentality is one of a “country club” culture, he said.
That’s why it’s important for MobileX to be seen as an exciting brand. “It’s really important for us to focus on building a brand that resonates with customers and people want to wear the MobileX brand,” he said, noting that back in Australia, people are so enamored with the Boost brand that – even today – they want to wear it.
As the official wireless carrier partner, MobileX commercials and signage will be featured throughout the coverage of the X Games on ESPN/ABC, Twitch and YouTube from today through Sunday, January 28.
MobileX is not disclosing how much they’re spending; there are different levels of sponsorships.
However, Adderton noted that the cost of running MobileX, which is in the process of raising another round of financing, is relatively low because it’s in the cloud, with the major costs being marketing, sales and distribution.
Of course, distribution is key, and a big part of MobileX’s partnership with the X Games is Walmart, where MobileX is rolling out to about 3,700 stores nationwide and on Walmart.com. MobileX already is in a lot of Walmart stores and expects to be in most of them within the next couple weeks.
While Adderton is not shy about sharing his critiques of the U.S. Boost brand as it’s been operating under the ownership of Dish Network, he admits that building the MobileX platform was not easy. In fact, MobileX was “a disaster” when it first launched in beta in 2022 and the negative reviews were “100 percent right,” he said.
Now, they've fixed a lot of those issues, and “where we are today is light years ahead,” he said. There’s still an added step to activate iPhones because MobileX refuses to buy handsets from Apple, but the onboarding process is easier, he said.
For now and the foreseeable future, MobileX is a bring your own device (BYOD) service. The plan is to offer unlocked devices in the future. “We won’t be in the subsidy business,” he said, adding that customers will be able to take their unlocked devices to any other service provider if they choose.
One area yet to be fully explained is how MobileX plans to distribute its service with the help of dealers. Adderton said he’s always been a big supporter of independent wireless dealers and he wants to inject some energy into the space. For more on that, Adderton’s message is “stay tuned.”