MVNO Solavei files for bankruptcy protection

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) MVNO Solavei filed last week for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but said it will continue to operate normally while it restructures. The company launched service in the fall of 2012.

Solavei said that all of its services will continue uninterrupted and "member compensation" will be paid according to regular schedules. The company filed its voluntary bankruptcy protection petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington because it wants to restructure its debt "in line with operating income and more accurately align costs and infrastructure needs."

"Solavei members and employees will notice no changes in service or operations as we work with our vendors and investors to refine the social commerce platform and model we pioneered," Solavei CEO Ryan Wuerch said in a statement. "Solavei will emerge from this process equipped to continue our growth with strong operations, a better cost structure, and opportunity for our members."

A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment.

Solavei said in a FAQ on its website that it expects to "have the support of our lenders and our vendors" to remain viable as a long-term business. The company expects its reorganization plan will be approved and that it will emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of 2014.

In October 2013 Solavei launched its Marketplace program, which the company said would give its users access to offers and discounts from 16,000 large and small retailers nationwide, including a majority of the top 30 largest U.S. retailers.

The Marketplace was an expansion of the company's commission-based business structure into the retail realm. The MVNO, which launched in September 2012, encourages its users to sign up additional customers to the service by giving its customers $20 per month for every three new customers they sign up to the Solavei wireless service. Those payments are made through a Solavei-branded Visa debit card. The company's rate plans range from $39 per month for unlimited voice, messaging and 500 MB of data before throttling up to $69 for unlimited voice texting and 4 GB of data before throttling.  

 For more:
- see this Solavei announcement
- see this BusinessForHome article

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